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The BDLPSWDKS Effect in the title is an acronym for Bernoulli-Doppler-Leidenfrost-Peltzman-Sapir-Whorf-Dunning-Kruger-Stroop Effect, as explained by Ponytail in the comic. She stands in front of a slide that shows Cueball being subjected to this effect.
The effect mentioned appears to be a mashup of seven scientific principles (with nine scientists names included) from different scientific fields, with elements from each principle appearing in the resulting description of the effect:
The Leidenfrost effect refers to how liquid will produce an insulating vapor layer when in near contact with an extremely hot surface, causing it to hover over said surface. This is referenced by the firetruck lifting off on a layer of superheated gas.
Bernoulli's principle in fluid dynamics (also mentioned in 803: Airfoil) states that an increase in the speed of a fluid with certain properties occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy. This is referenced by the lifted firetruck hurtling rather than just speeding.
The Doppler effect in physics refers to the change in a wave's frequency for an observer moving relative to its source. Sound from the oncoming firetruck increases in pitch. In tonal languages, changes in pitch change the meaning, making it harder for Ponytail to understand the word screamed by the driver.
The Peltzman effect refers to how regulations intended to increase safety are ineffective or counterproductive. Red means stop and green means go, so yelling "red" would induce the (usually) counterproductive behavior of starting to walk more, rather than less.
The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis states that a person's world view and cognitive processes are affected by the structure of the language the person speaks. Speaking a language without a word for "firefighter" would conceivably not contain a word for "firetruck" either, thus avoiding the association with danger firetrucks have, slowing down Ponytail's reaction.
The Dunning–Kruger effect refers to unskilled people mistakenly perceiving themselves as more skilled than they really are, while skilled people underestimate their own abilities. Obviously, if Ponytail isn't fluent in the language, s/he'd take more time to process "green", as opposed to "red" in a well-understood language.
The Stroop effect refers to the phenomenon in which it is easier to name the color of the ink in which a word is written when the word refers to the same color as the ink than when the word refers to a different color. Firetrucks are red, this suggests that the driver shouting RED would get a faster response than the driver shouting GREEN.
Usually, for an effect to be considered real, the scientific method requires the effect to be replicated by different experimenters in different times and places. It is hard to imagine several scientists in different parts of the world creating the setup to replicate this effect; however the title text mentions it has been done countless times.
Furthermore, the opportunity of publishing this comic strip may (or may not) be related to the recently issued sequels of franchises such as `Mad Max` and `Carmageddon`, where it's not unusual to find heavy wheeled vehicles trampling pedestrians for the lulz.
- [Ponytail stands next to a screen displaying a firetruck hurtling toward Cueball on what appears to be a layer of gas.]
- Ponytail: The Bernoulli-Doppler-Leidenfrost-Peltzman-Sapir-Whorf-Dunning-Kruger-Stroop Effect states that if a speeding fire truck lifts off and hurtles towards you on a layer of superheated gas, you'll dive out of the way faster if the driver screams "red!" in a non-tonal language that has a word for "firefighter" than if they scream "green!" in a tonal language with no word for "firefighter" which you think you're fluent in but aren't.
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Doesn't the reference to the "Doppler" effect refer to the fact that the Doppler effect may distort the meaning of words in a tonal language, thus making it harder to perceive the word being shouted out of the firetruck? A-jay (talk) 07:52, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- I thought this too - tonal languages will inevitably suffer more from Doppler distortion than non-tonal ones, so it's going to take the listener longer to react to it. Obviously, that's not the sole cause for the delay with the BDLPSWDKS effect, but it's surely a contributing factor. Bish (talk) 11:22, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
I think it is a bit more complex than effect mentioned having an individual referent. It becomes complex because the language level, for example, interacts with the physics level. (I think this is the joke, that such random effects from different fields can actually interrelate in some bizarre scenario) A tonal language would be much more susceptible loss of meaning due to blue shift from the doppler effect than a nontonal language. Shouting red is also probably a reference to the 'red-shift' in the doppler effect, which, depending on the speed of the truck may distort the sound the shout or make it unintelligible. At sufficient speed, this would also distort the actual color of the firetruck, which is a topic Randall discussed in one of the What-If's about traffic lights and should probably be linked here. --MareCrisium (talk) 08:15, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- I thought of the red being a redshift as well, but what the heck is "GREEN" then (rather than "BLUE")? Odysseus654 (talk) 09:05, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- I'm pretty sure this is a reference to an idea that appeared (I don't know whether it's true, but I assume it also appeared in other places) in my Intro Psych textbook – that humans respond, in theory, to green firetrucks better than they do to red ones. See, for example, . See the end of the third paragraph. If that's not a contributing factor to the BDLPSWDKS effect, I don't know what is. COgnaut (talk) 01:03, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
- Colors undergoing a red-shift move through the whole spectrum in sequence. Green is in the middle. Red-shifts happen when something is moving away from you, and blue-shifts happen when something is moving toward you, (although sometimes the more common term red-shift is used to describe both effects in casual context) but neither means that they thing turns red or blue. They mean that the color moves toward the red or blue side of the spectrum, from the (somewhat arbitrary) "middle" which is usually depicted as green. If the firetruck is coming toward the observer, they would be experiencing a blue-shift. If the fire truck is red, and moving very fast toward the observer, the apparent color would move toward the other end of the spectrum, but it may not be moving fast enough to get all the way to blue. Randall already did the calculations for a what if about the speeds necessary to change from red to green in an question about stoplights. --MareCrisium (talk) 00:06, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if the reference to whether the language has a word for "firetruck" is a Sapir Whorf reference? If there's no word for firetruck, the listener (victim?) is likely to be more confused by the situation than a listener who can at least recognize what kind of vehicle is about to kill him/her (Curses! There's no sexless personal pronoun in this language!) So the reaction time of the first person is likely to be longer than that of the second person.
- "They/them/etc." has been the accepted sexless personal pronoun for a long time (in the order of centuries), even in the singular. The only people who say you shouldn't use it for such a purpose are the same ones who say you shouldn't split an infinitive despite it having been acceptable for centuries, simply because it's impossible to split infinitives in Latin. --126.96.36.199 19:42, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- "...simply because it's impossible to -- in Latin -- split infinitives."188.8.131.52 19:10, 2 June 2015 (UTC)larK
- Quite false-I think it’s perfectly okay to occasionally split infinitives but never okay to use they/them in singular. 184.108.40.206 12:53, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
- Then you should ask them why they find that correlation. “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 13:54, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
There's a whole class of psychology experiments (with both human and animal subjects) that uses reaction-time as a measure of degree of understanding in various situations. Is this effect named after a famous experimental psychologist? If so, Randall may have to issue an update to this cartoon... -- Ribbit (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
If you think English has no sexless personal pronoun you *clearly* haven't read comic 145. Ahem... --MareCrisium (talk) 08:49, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- Off topic, but I agree 'them' is a sufficient pronoun in this case, since you've already specified the singular 'listener'. Bish (talk) 11:22, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
Might the comic also involve the game Red Light, Green Light. In the firetruck version of the game, firetrucks don't stop for red lights. There's more to it than that, but you can google around for it because I don't want to post about that... 220.127.116.11 00:06, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge, the Bernoulli effect is, in fact, responsible to the aerodynamic lift. While it is correct that most people trying to explain aerodynamic lift use an incorrect explanation, the incorrect part has nothing to do with Bernoulli, as implied by the explanation. Shachar (talk) 09:53, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
The Bernoulli effect describes how pressure distribution changes with speed, and needs to be understood if you want to fully grasp all the science behind it. That being said, there isn't an intuitive way to grasp how airspeed varies across a wing's surface which ultimately means that any accurate explanation dependent on the Bernoulli effect goes well beyond the scope of a layperson's understanding. It's better to note that wings are tilted to push the airflow downward and for every action their's an equal and opposite reaction.(User talk:Some Guytalk) --18.104.22.168 11:36, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
- Um, I'll give you half points – it depends on what type of wing you're talking about. You can have a "high lift" type wing fly straight and level and still provide plenty of lift. But a low chord wing (eg "fighter jet style") more greatly depends on forward speed and angle of attack to stay up than the lift provided by the wings. Needless to say, airplanes make people think - and too often the more people think about them, the more confused they get. Jarod997 (talk) 13:10, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
There's a difference between saying this is how wings generate lift and this is the only factor in the equation. On top of which angle of attack is not defined by the zero lift angle. that being said, every scrap of airfoil data I've ever seen shows a proportional relationship between (angle of attack - zero lift angle of attack) and CL (and by extension lift). Is that everything a professional needs to know about aerodynamics? Far from it. Is it an adequate explanation for laypeople? As far as I'm concerned, yes.--Someguy22.214.171.124 20:57, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
"The Peltzman effect refers to how regulations intended to increase safety are ineffective or counterproductive. This is likely referenced by the observer responding to a dangerous situation more slowly if the language he is warned in has a word describing the object he's in danger from ("firefighter") than if the language didn't." The comic states that the person reacts more *quickly* if the language has a word for firefighter... 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- I think it's actually about how the firefighter has gotten himself into a dangerous situation due to the feeling of safety he has from being in a modern firetruck, since a major case of the Peltzman effect is that increased car safety leads us to drive at higher speeds. The innocent pedestrian is less safe because the firefighter is driving more recklessly. Not-my-username (talk) 16:10, 29 May 2015 (UTC)
He totally could've added the McGurk effect in there. Just saying. 188.8.131.52 15:37, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Isn't part of the Doppler joke the fact that it is a fire truck, as emergency vehicle sirens are very often used as an example of the Doppler effect?
184.108.40.206 13:18, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
Is there a name for the law that states "red ones go faster"? I believe that too was referenced, but possibly not by name. 220.127.116.11 19:59, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
- I'm not sure if this helps, but I'll leave it here. 18.104.22.168 20:01, 25 December 2015 (UTC)
Saw a nice post on this before I actually saw the comic, and came here to create a reference to it: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=19252 ... for extra commentary. Jadawin (talk) 21:44, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
And then I read that link's comments to the end, and saw a link here! Circularity achieved! Jadawin (talk) 21:48, 2 June 2015 (UTC)