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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Fun With Physics

In Game 2 of the World Series Detroit pitcher Doug Fister was struck in the head with a line drive. The ball hit his head and flew into the outfield. People on Twitter feared an injury similar to the one suffered by Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy*, right. However the next day the news reports quoted doctors that said the ball travelling as far as the outfield was a good thing.

* His Twitter avatar from shortly after the hit

Horses are weight-bearing creatures. Humans have used them for their speed  whilst carrying weigh over short distances for millennia. Why  then does the handicapper expect a pound mass to make a difference in a handicap race?

Just for fun, why did the kitten fall  off the roof?

Things in motion tend to stay in motion. It would be more worrying if the ball stopped a few feet away because that would mean that the pitcher's skull had absorbed the energy of the moving ball. Whereas if the ball travels to the outfield then little of the energy can have been absorbed by the pitcher's skull.

F = m*a. Or force = mass by acceleration. Weight only affects horse when they are increasing speed. Ironically this means that over two straight course*, the extra mass carried has a larger affect on the shorter course.

* Presuming a flat race as jumping is a form of acceleration even if the horse slows down before jumping.

Because it only had a little mu.

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