snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > We've Got Mail

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04 February 2007, 09:15 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655
Blow Your Top 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.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05 February 2007, 12:26 AM
inkrose115's Avatar
inkrose115 inkrose115 is offline
 
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,059
Default

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

Edit: Now I'm curious. Out of all the mail y'all get, I wonder what percentage of it is this... amusing.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05 February 2007, 01:09 AM
Troodon Troodon is offline
 
Join Date: 06 January 2004
Location: Waltham, MA
Posts: 8,077
Default

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.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05 February 2007, 03:06 AM
hambubba's Avatar
hambubba hambubba is offline
 
Join Date: 30 June 2000
Location: Gonzales, LA
Posts: 10,715
Default

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.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05 February 2007, 03:07 AM
One-Fang's Avatar
One-Fang One-Fang is offline
 
 
Join Date: 02 November 2005
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 1,610
Default

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?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05 February 2007, 03:19 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655
Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by One-Fang View Post
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
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05 February 2007, 12:27 PM
KingDavid8 KingDavid8 is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 4,126
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
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
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05 February 2007, 02:37 PM
Traveler in Black
 
Posts: n/a
Default

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.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05 February 2007, 04:08 PM
Dog Friendly
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveler in Black View Post

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
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05 February 2007, 04:24 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

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

Cruithne
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07 February 2007, 09:20 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655
Glasses

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?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13 February 2007, 06:57 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655
Icon97

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.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 13 February 2007, 11:29 AM
Tisiphone Tisiphone is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2006
Location: Durham, UK
Posts: 340
Default

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...
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 13 February 2007, 11:55 AM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

The one I was told was that if you sat next to the Great Wall of China and kept bouncing a tennis ball off of it repeatedly (in the style of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape) eventually all the molecules in the wall would move apart at the same time, allowing the ball to pass through.

Tisiphone, by all means try it with a table, but I would not recommend repeatedly hitting a window with your hand.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13 February 2007, 02:43 PM
Doug4.7
 
Posts: n/a
Teacher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
The one I was told was that if you sat next to the Great Wall of China and kept bouncing a tennis ball off of it repeatedly (in the style of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape) eventually all the molecules in the wall would move apart at the same time, allowing the ball to pass through.
Using quantum theory, that is possible, just not very probable.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 18 February 2007, 05:02 PM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,466
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug4.7 View Post
Using quantum theory, that is possible, just not very probable.
Is it possible, though? I know that atoms and molecules are always moving, but that movement is miniscule. They are vibrating, but they're not actually moving any great distance, otherwise the wall/window/other solid wouldn't be solid in the first place. I think if you tried to calculate the probability of individual particles in two different solid objects, of different densities, vibrating at just the right frequency to pass next to each other, the probability would be 0.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 13 February 2007, 04:44 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
Join Date: 19 December 2005
Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 1,376
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
The one I was told was that if you sat next to the Great Wall of China and kept bouncing a tennis ball off of it repeatedly (in the style of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape) eventually all the molecules in the wall would move apart at the same time, allowing the ball to pass through.
I think you'd cause a hole to be made in the wall through basic erosion before all the molecules would move apart at the same time. If the wall is still standing in the thousands of years it would take to drill a hole in stone with a tennis ball.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 13 February 2007, 04:52 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,857
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by FullMetal View Post
I think you'd cause a hole to be made in the wall through basic erosion before all the molecules would move apart at the same time. If the wall is still standing in the thousands of years it would take to drill a hole in stone with a tennis ball.
Might need a spare tennis ball or two as well.

Eddy "New balls please" Lizard
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 16 February 2007, 04:25 PM
PallasAthena's Avatar
PallasAthena PallasAthena is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 6,621
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
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.
More than you ever wanted to know about the thermodynamic properties of glass

Quote:
There is no clear answer to the question "Is glass solid or liquid?". In terms of molecular dynamics and thermodynamics it is possible to justify various different views that it is a highly viscous liquid, an amorphous solid, or simply that glass is another state of matter which is neither liquid nor solid.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 15 January 2013, 11:32 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,655
Icon101

Referred by: http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/baseballbats.asp

Comment: This counters your artical on hammers vs. firearms.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr...-data-table-11
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:31 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.