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snopes 04 February 2007 09:15 PM

People in serious need of math and science lessons
 
Comment: This is in regard to the contestants who have missed the first question on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" In particular the Frenchman who missed the question regarding which object cirlces the earth.

There a actually 2 correct answers. The obvious answer is the moon. But mars also circles the earth by virtue of the fact that it's orbit around the sun lies outside of earth's orbit around the sun.

Of the nine plants generally recognized as comprising the solar system, Pluto has the distinction of circling the sun, the other planets and all their moons.

inkrose115 05 February 2007 12:26 AM

But... I thought poor Pluto wasn't a planet anymore? :fish:

Edit: Now I'm curious. Out of all the mail y'all get, I wonder what percentage of it is this... amusing.

Troodon 05 February 2007 01:09 AM

I think I see what the letter is trying to say - the orbits of the outer planets are so large relative to the orbit of the earth that they appear to circle the earth. Of course, what is happening is that they are circling the sun but the earth is just always very close to the sun compared to them.

hambubba 05 February 2007 03:06 AM

I think it's the big circles that give it away.

Really, those planets are like balls on a hula hoop, it's obvious to anyone who has ever opened a science book.

One-Fang 05 February 2007 03:07 AM

Nah, I get what they mean. It's not the answer WWTBAM was looking for, but I can sort of buy it. If an object travels in a great big circle, can we say that it "circles" anything inside that circle? This is what they're getting at. But since the Earth is not the centre of its circling plane, maybe you can't say that?

snopes 05 February 2007 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by One-Fang (Post 50623)
If an object travels in a great big circle, can we say that it "circles" anything inside that circle?

You could, but the question asked which body orbits (or "revolves around") the Earth. Mars does not "orbit" the Earth -- it orbits the sun, traversing a path concentric with Earth's.

- snopes

KingDavid8 05 February 2007 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 50354)
Comment: This is in regard to the contestants who have missed the first question on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" In particular the Frenchman who missed the question regarding which object cirlces the earth.

There a actually 2 correct answers. The obvious answer is the moon. But mars also circles the earth by virtue of the fact that it's orbit around the sun lies outside of earth's orbit around the sun.

Of the nine plants generally recognized as comprising the solar system, Pluto has the distinction of circling the sun, the other planets and all their moons.

Actually, by that logic, there are six correct answers (if we're counting Pluto), since all planets but Mercury and Venus and Earth itself have an orbit that lies outside the earth's orbit.

But I think he's wrong on the last point. Pluto's orbit isn't always outside of Neptune's orbit. It's occasionally closer to the sun than Neptune. Or am I also in need of a science lesson?

David

Traveler in Black 05 February 2007 02:37 PM

Strictly speaking, don't the Earth and the Moon both revolve around their barycenter?

There's a logic problem that asks: if a squirrel is going around a tree, and an observer is circling the tree at a rate such that the tree is always interposed between the observer and the squirrel, does the observer go around the squirrel or not?

There's also a classic SF story that extends this principle to a stranded astronaut on an asteroid and the hostile ship that's searching for him, but I can't seem to recall the title or the author.

Dog Friendly 05 February 2007 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Traveler in Black (Post 51029)

There's also a classic SF story that extends this principle to a stranded astronaut on an asteroid and the hostile ship that's searching for him, but I can't seem to recall the title or the author.

I can't recall the name of the story, but the author is Arthur C. Clarke. I think it's in the collection "A Fall of Moondust, and other stories".

Dog ("My mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it") Friendly

Eddylizard 05 February 2007 04:24 PM

Doesn't Earth have two moons though, plus a possible third one under dispute?

Cruithne

snopes 07 February 2007 09:20 AM

Comment: I heard that we could easily (more or less) stop global warming
the same way the ice age(s) came about centuries ago when volcanos
erupted. I'm no scientist but wouldn't spewing dust or something like
volcanno smoke "cool" the earth down like it did before?

Drainfluid 07 February 2007 11:24 AM

Jeremy Clarkson has a better solution

In summary: since the main problem with global warming is rising sea levels, we should just make a 75 mile long hosepipe, stick one end in the sea and the other in space, where the vacuum will suck the sea levels lower.

Problem solved.

KingDavid8 07 February 2007 11:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drainfluid (Post 53548)
Jeremy Clarkson has a better solution

In summary: since the main problem with global warming is rising sea levels, we should just make a 75 mile long hosepipe, stick one end in the sea and the other in space, where the vacuum will suck the sea levels lower.

Problem solved.

That's so crazy it just might work!

Or not.

David

stalker 07 February 2007 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drainfluid (Post 53548)
Jeremy Clarkson has a better solution

In summary: since the main problem with global warming is rising sea levels, we should just make a 75 mile long hosepipe, stick one end in the sea and the other in space, where the vacuum will suck the sea levels lower.

Problem solved.

Quote:

Of course there is a small problem with this idea. Gravity means the hosepipe will keep falling back to the ground again
Erm...and the water. So all you'd gain is the water that is shooting up the pipe and that which would be constantly falling as rain. Which I'm guessing won't be that much unless the pipe is really, really, really wide.

It could be used as a renewable energy source though. Kind of an upside-down hydroelectric power plant.

Troberg 07 February 2007 01:04 PM

Quote:

In summary: since the main problem with global warming is rising sea levels, we should just make a 75 mile long hosepipe, stick one end in the sea and the other in space, where the vacuum will suck the sea levels lower.
That would work nicely.

Provided, of course, that the vacuum of space isn't more than 17 m or so higher than the ocean.

To fix that, we just need to find some way to blast away the atmospere. And to reduce gravity so that the ocean don't just fall back down again.

Nah, there is probably some easier way.

ganzfeld 07 February 2007 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troberg (Post 53595)
[A tube of water extedning into space] would work nicely.

Provided, of course, that the vacuum of space isn't more than 17 m or so higher than the ocean.

Actually, water at sea level would only rise about ten meters in the column. Unfortunately, sea water would rapidly evaporate into the vacuum causing it be less than perfect, eventually filling the column with water vapor and other gases. (Water evaporates in a vacuum.) Water barometers need to have something to prevent the water from evaporating, such as antifreeze.

Troberg 07 February 2007 01:52 PM

Quote:

Actually, water at sea level would only rise about ten meters in the column.
Correct. That's what I get for relying on memory instead of doing the math.

I'd like to see the pipe strong enough to hold a column of water that reached into space. I don't even think it could be built, it would collapse under its own weight, even without the extreme water pressure.

stalker 07 February 2007 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 53626)
(Water evaporates in a vacuum.)

I'm guessing you know and were just short-handing but it's really just that its boiling point is lowered. Water will freeze in a vacuum if the temperature is low enough (e.g. comets).
Of course, in this context it works as the temperature 10 metres above the ocean is unlikely to be cold enough to freeze water in a vacuum or even keep it as a liquid.

snopes 13 February 2007 06:57 AM

Comment: I heard years ago that a baby fell through a second or third
story window without breaking the glass and the "reason" for this is that
glass like all solids is made of molecules moving very quickly, and that
sometimes all those molecules will line up to make it so that other solids
can pass through them, but only temoprarily. How true is this? i don't
even remmber where I heard it, but it seems like maybe 20 years ago.

Tisiphone 13 February 2007 11:29 AM

:lol: I remember Aule's brother talking about this, saying that since particles are always moving then technically if you kept hitting the table with your hand eventually your hand would pass through it. Of course in reality this would never happen, but if you're bored and near a table or a window...


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