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Old 13 February 2014, 03:13 PM
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Yesterday, two Olympians (Switzerland and Slovenia) tied for the gold in Alpine Skiing. They had exactly the same time. The second-fastest time, a Swiss woman named Lara Gut, got bronze.

Why didn't she get silver if she was the second-fastest?
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Old 13 February 2014, 03:21 PM
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She wasn't second fastest, she was third fastest as two people were faster than her. She may have had the second fastest time, but she was third fastest.
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Old 13 February 2014, 03:24 PM
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Science. Truthfully, I have no idea.
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Old 13 February 2014, 05:27 PM
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Silver is by far the fastest. Next is gold. Compared to those two, bronze is not a very good heat conductor at all.
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Old 13 February 2014, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Billion View Post
Why didn't she get silver if she was the second-fastest?
Because medals are awarded on the basis of relative standing, not speed.
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Old 14 February 2014, 12:31 AM
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Why do barbers/hairstylists wet your hair before cutting it? Does it lessen the chance of hair getting snagged by the scissors, or is it simply so the hair clumps together? Or is there a different reason?
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Old 14 February 2014, 12:14 PM
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Second place is the first loser. In the case of a tie, since there is no first loser, there aren't any losers.
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Old 14 February 2014, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Meka View Post
Why do barbers/hairstylists wet your hair before cutting it? Does it lessen the chance of hair getting snagged by the scissors, or is it simply so the hair clumps together? Or is there a different reason?
I find it both makes the hair easier to manage while cutting/styling, and reduces the amount of little bits of cut hair flying up into my face.
It can't be the only reason, but it's much easier to clean up, the water weight making clumps of cut hair fall straight to the ground.
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Old 14 February 2014, 06:10 PM
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IMU that curly hair should be cut while dry, however.
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Old 14 February 2014, 08:54 PM
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Having been watching my son playing with his Playmobil pirate ship, I have what is probably a very stupid question. How do anchors work? It seems that something that can be pulled up by sailors can't be heavy enough to hold a ship in place. Are anchors very heavy? Does wind not blow ships enough? Do anchors not really work?
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:03 PM
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The anchor is supposed to grab an obstruction underwater (edit: or dig into soft soil), it isn't just the weight that makes it hold the ship in place. For smaller boats, the standard anchor is like two pivoting shovel blades that are supposed to dig into soft soil/sand or hook onto rocks when the ship is shoved by the wind.

ETA: This is why anchored buoys are often used around coral reefs, they do much less damage than hundreds or even thousands of anchors dragging and pulling off small chucks of coral.

Last edited by GenYus234; 14 February 2014 at 09:06 PM. Reason: clarify and add data
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The anchor is supposed to grab an obstruction underwater (edit: or dig into soft soil), it isn't just the weight that makes it hold the ship in place. For smaller boats, the standard anchor is like two pivoting shovel blades that are supposed to dig into soft soil/sand or hook onto rocks when the ship is shoved by the wind.
All that, but I wanted to add that the anchor chain/rope should have substantial play, especially with smaller craft. I had a case once where new boat-owners anchored both ends by hooking the anchors and pulling them taut. When a storm came across, the lack of give when the water level rose caused the boat to flip like one of those monkey-between-two-sticks toys. Two youngsters drowned because of that. So, if you go boating, learn to use your anchors, wear your flotation device, and know how to swim.
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:12 PM
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Yes, and in high winds and without anything other than sandy bottom to hang onto, a ship can drag its anchor as it's pushed by the wind.
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
All that, but I wanted to add that the anchor chain/rope should have substantial play, especially with smaller craft. I had a case once where new boat-owners anchored both ends by hooking the anchors and pulling them taut. When a storm came across, the lack of give when the water level rose caused the boat to flip like one of those monkey-between-two-sticks toys. Two youngsters drowned because of that. So, if you go boating, learn to use your anchors, wear your flotation device, and know how to swim.
The shovel type I described should have lots more play that just what would be needed for storm surge or tide as it needs to be pulled at an angle so the flukes can dig in. The USCG says the amount of anchor line (or rode) played out should be 7-10 times the depth of the bottom at the point of anchoring.
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Silver is by far the fastest. Next is gold. Compared to those two, bronze is not a very good heat conductor at all.
I think you're forgetting to take into account gravitational time dilation. Gold is the densest of the three, followed by silver, then bronze. Therefore time passes slightly slower in proximity to the gold medal compared to the bronze.
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Old 14 February 2014, 09:38 PM
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"What a shame, the US misses out on Olympic osmium by two tenths of a second. This is the second iridium medal for Smith who had to settle for platinum in yesterday's 400 meter relay."
  #17  
Old 14 February 2014, 09:57 PM
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Gold is the best thermal conductor, silver the best electrical conductor. Bronze, well, it's not even on the periodic table...
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Old 14 February 2014, 10:03 PM
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Pure silver is. But silver exposed to sweat is going to corrode and silver sulfide is not as good as a conductor of electricity. Which is why critical electrical connections are plated in gold.
  #19  
Old 14 February 2014, 10:29 PM
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Correction - gold is not a better thermal conductor than pure silver, nor even sterling silver. In fact, pure silver is about 35% better than pure gold for thermal conductivity.

Gold is only 65% as conductive, electrically, as pure silver, but gold plating is only used for low-power applications, as it only matters for repeatedly open/closed connections. High-voltage electrical distribution typically uses copper plates "tinned" with silver, and these connections, where the metal-to-metal surface is undisturbed, have better electrical performance than gold-plating. The key is in the thickness of the oxide/sulfide layers compared to the current involved, and with higher currents, there's no practical advantage to the gold, especially if it is also subject to mechanical wear.

For electronic components (like a circuit board or audio jack where connections are not permanent) the gold plating works well for the power levels involved - but if you start carrying hundreds if not thousands of amps, it's good enough to use clean tinned-silver for metal-to-metal surfaces. Especially for "permanent" connections. For connections that are repeatedly made or broken under friction (like, say, an audio jack), the gold plating is not very durable and wears off - so copper alloys perform better in the long run.

There's a misconception too, about platinum, and its electrical conductivity. It is only 15% as conductive as silver, and its use in things like, say, lightning rods on top of chimneys or smokestacks, is only because of its inert nature in a highly reactive atmosphere. Platinum is also a poor thermal conductor compared to gold, silver, copper, or even aluminum - so it is limited only to "hostile" installations.
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Old 15 February 2014, 12:28 AM
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Thanks, GenYus, ATNM and erwins! Ok, follow up question. I just watched Battleship
[spoilers]
At one point they use a battleship's anchor to act as an emergency brake and swing the ship round. Artistic license?
[end spoilers]
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