08 January 2006

Comically Yours,

Today two separate comics I follow had great strips.

Foxtrot - Snowball Physics

I'm afraid there's a couple terms here I'm not familar with, I'm wondering if Bill Amend made a mistaken assumption that the ball's motion is the arc of a circle, rather than a parabola, as the range formula has an extra term. :-P Usually Amend gets his physics right, and more so than I would've thought of off the top of my head, so I'm suspecting that the mistake is mine.

ETA: Jethereal and I haven't gone through the math, but we're pretty sure what he did was assume the ball was travelling in the arc of a circle while Jason was holding it, hence the d, l, and α, and then when he lets go it travels in a parabola with the normal range formula. You'd want to let go of the snowball at an angle α=45ยบ=π/4 as it would then be launched at the same angle, which gives the best range. The extra term to the range formula is probably for that circle arc, though technically he should also account for his own height. :)

Non Sequitur - Science

Ah, the wonder of theories! A biologist/teacher I was talking with last week said she really wished scientists had picked a word other than "theory" for it.


utenzi said...

Good choice of comics, ZP.

As for the biologist, that's funny, ZP. I hope the teacher was being witty or ironic. Regardless of the combination of letters used, anti-science folk would attack the word. Damn Luddites.

Samit said...

the foxtrot strip is too cool!

zandperl said...

The fact that the two comics were on the same day shows that there must be a Designer! Oh wait, the comics syndicate they're both put out by...

The problem the biologist had with the word "theory" is how its use in science is so nearly opposite its use in common English - "nearly definitely known" vs. "wild guess," respectively.

Yeah, I love that strip! The guy's (Amend) so smart, and he manages to write the geeky strips on two (or sometimes three) levels: people who don't know the physics or math go "oh, that's a geek joke, that's funny!" while people who do know it (like me) then go and realize that all the math/physics makes sense. Sometimes he even puts further jokes within the math too.