226: Swingset

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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[[Category:Comics featuring Cueball]]
 
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[[Category:Physics]]

Revision as of 06:12, 18 October 2013

Swingset
Someone bring me a pocket fan so I can drift around the yard.
Title text: Someone bring me a pocket fan so I can drift around the yard.

Explanation

When on a swing, there is a moment between swinging forwards/backwards and falling back down again where the force of gravity stops the acceleration of the swing. In this moment, you remain almost stationary at the peak of your swing and on a perfect swing (i.e. one with no friction or air resistance) you would achieve weightlessness.

Cueball is told this fact by an unknown woman and then he imagines that at the peak of the swing you become permanently weightless and able to float above the ground without any support.

On the title text he asks for a pocket fan, believing he could fly around the garden using this small device.

Transcript

[Woman talking to Cueball on swing-set.]
Woman: You know, at the peak of a big swing, you become weightless.
[Thought bubble from Cueball.]
[Cueball swings higher and higher. At the peak of a big swing he shoves off the swing. Cueball remains hovering in the air.]
Cueball: Hey guys. Come check this out.
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Discussion

A glass with water can be momentarily inverted at this moment and the water will not leave the glass!--DrMath 08:56, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Isn't the point about illustrating that you do in fact have weight even in instences that are written off as weightless? In space you just happen to be falling at the same velocity of your surroundings, maintaining orbit simply by moving fast enough to miss the Earth. On top of which, in a low enough orbit g is still close to 9.8 m/s^2 if only because altitude is insignificant compared to the radius of the Earth.--Passing Stranger 14:10 August 2014 (UTC)

The woman appears to be his mother. 173.245.52.173 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
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