What-If 0044: "High Throw"

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What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Red Hal » Tue May 07, 2013 8:07 am UTC

http://what-if.xkcd.com/44/

How high can we throw?

Image

Is this a Sierpinski Triangle of giraffes I see before me?


Edit: Added leading zeroes.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Hiferator » Tue May 07, 2013 8:28 am UTC

Ah, dang it. I came here to ask, if the giraffe stack would converge to a Sierpinski triangle.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby higgs-boson » Tue May 07, 2013 8:35 am UTC

We should file Ponytail as an above-average thrower.

Image - "a mechanism for hitting yourself in the head with a baseball after a four-second-delay"

Not taking into account aerodynamic effects, Ponytail throws the baseball about 4 giraffes high.

Hum. Ouch.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby flicky1991 » Tue May 07, 2013 8:41 am UTC

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Synthetica » Tue May 07, 2013 8:47 am UTC

The question didn't specify that it had to be on earth ;)

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby teelo » Tue May 07, 2013 8:53 am UTC

The answer did not address the part about how influenced by marijuana the thrower could be.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby rhomboidal » Tue May 07, 2013 9:05 am UTC

I have to say, I find the entire premise ridiculous: giraffes would CLEARLY make better basketball players than golfers or baseball players.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Klear » Tue May 07, 2013 9:16 am UTC

But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby higgs-boson » Tue May 07, 2013 9:29 am UTC

Klear wrote:But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?


In theory you can make use of the same range for deceleration as for acceleration.
The forces on the object (and on the thrower) would be of the same amount, as well.

'something' e { hedgehog, cactus, quail egg, spear, unstable ordnance } ... better you get yourself a mitt and practice.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby peewee_RotA » Tue May 07, 2013 10:36 am UTC

Can anyone explain the rest of this what if to me? I read the 2nd paragraph and now I need to go lie down.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby McBee » Tue May 07, 2013 11:32 am UTC

Throwing (gently) a swallow on the right day in autumn would yield pretty good results too....

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby alessandro95 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:38 am UTC

Anyone has already submitted another what if to ask why on earth they shoot blood from their eyes?
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby hamjudo » Tue May 07, 2013 11:51 am UTC

As of today, the record for highest throw goes to the Voyager 1 launch team. And it looks like they will be able to hold that title for at least another decade, probably more.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby peewee_RotA » Tue May 07, 2013 11:59 am UTC

And of course the worst height goes to the seamstresses who try to throw rugs.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby YttriumOx » Tue May 07, 2013 12:13 pm UTC

alessandro95 wrote:Anyone has already submitted another what if to ask why on earth they shoot blood from their eyes?

According to Wikipedia (with my own emphasis):
Wikipedia wrote:At least four species are also able to squirt an aimed stream of blood (see Autohaemorrhaging) from the corners of the eyes for a distance of up to five feet. They do this by restricting the blood flow leaving the head, thereby increasing blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids. This not only confuses predators, but also the blood tastes foul to canine and feline predators. It appears to have no effect against predatory birds.

Personally, this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby peewee_RotA » Tue May 07, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

YttriumOx wrote:Personally, this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.


Humans are most likely seen as a predator (threat). It sure as heck confuses us.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby cellocgw » Tue May 07, 2013 1:51 pm UTC

higgs-boson wrote:
Klear wrote:But can you throw something so hight that you won't be able to catch it?


In theory you can make use of the same range for deceleration as for acceleration.
The forces on the object (and on the thrower) would be of the same amount, as well.

'something' e { hedgehog, cactus, quail egg, spear, unstable ordnance } ... better you get yourself a mitt and practice.


It's actually easier than that, since wind resistance limits the speed on the downward leg. In a vacuum, the return speed would equal the launch speed; with wind resistance it's always less. Unless you're throwing into a tornado.

As to being able to catch it -- you have to be mobile. Check out Coriolis effects (which apply even if you throw straight up, unless you're standing on one of the poles).
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby ctdonath » Tue May 07, 2013 2:05 pm UTC

YttriumOx wrote:this seems like a rather idiotic way of confusing predators and I'm sure the "foul taste" could also be achieved somewhat more elegantly. We have to assume that if there is a creator of the universe (as opposed to the far more reasonable competing theory) that he was blind drunk when he came up with this idea.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Someguy945 » Tue May 07, 2013 2:34 pm UTC

Image

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Draconaes » Tue May 07, 2013 2:39 pm UTC

Someguy945 wrote:Image

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.


I didn't really get it either. But then I saw you said it had 87 members, and 87 + 2 = 89, so I'm guessing it is referencing the 89ers.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Red Hal » Tue May 07, 2013 2:42 pm UTC

The stack is 16 giraffes high, adding two more makes 18, so ... Australian Rules football?

Also compare
Image
with
sierpinskytrianglewikipedia.gif
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby cellocgw » Tue May 07, 2013 2:46 pm UTC

Draconaes wrote:
Someguy945 wrote:Image

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.


I didn't really get it either. But then I saw you said it had 87 members, and 87 + 2 = 89, so I'm guessing it is referencing the 89ers.

Certainly not that simple. Notice the platforms which have four, not 3 giraffes. Now build up the whole structure to support that final 3-giraffe platform to get 2 giraffes higher. This team is going to have hundreds of giraffes (the animal, not the unit of height) in it.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Xenomortis » Tue May 07, 2013 3:53 pm UTC

Not quite.
Another two in height will almost complete the top triangle. Move the top two to the left, duplicate them and move them to the right. Then make a second duplicate and put them on top.
Hence you only need six more to obtain the required height.
With 7, you complete the triangle.
To get higher than that though requires a lot more giraffes, since you need a second large triangle to be part of your base.
Image

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby thevicente » Tue May 07, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

I'm halfway thru the article, but I stopped to say this: in it wasn't for TRON, I'd never know what jai alai is:

edit: oops, too big?

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Maurits » Tue May 07, 2013 4:42 pm UTC

Someguy945 wrote:Image

If you hover over this image in the What-If, it says "two more giraffes high and you've got a team"

What does that refer to? This doesn't appear to be a Sierpinski triangle unless I am completely misreading it.

There are currently 87 giraffes

1) How many more giraffes will be added to make this 2 giraffes higher?

2) How would the new number be a "team"? I can't think of any "teams" that have a specific number of members greater than 87.


The stack is sixteen giraffes high.

16 + 2 is 18 giraffes high.

If you don't know much about baseball, you might calculate that there are 18 members of a baseball team if you count 9 starters * (offense + defense).

(I'm not entirely convinced by this line of reasoning.)

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby allanfieldhouse » Tue May 07, 2013 5:46 pm UTC

I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby KroniK907 » Tue May 07, 2013 6:09 pm UTC

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Patrik3 » Tue May 07, 2013 6:10 pm UTC

As soon as I read the question on the what-if, I knew that the punchline would involve self-propelled projectiles. :D Not specifically a balloon - I was thinking of firework rockets (Don't try this at home, though...).

Red Hal wrote:Image


The giraffes in the 7th row from the top are supporting 11.5 giraffes' weight, plus beams, each... in fact, the giraffes in the 4th row from top are supporting 12 giraffes' weight plus more beams... This tower is either incredibly infeasible or those giraffes have eaten their broccoli!

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby descor » Tue May 07, 2013 10:12 pm UTC

So IFLS just posted this picture. Inspired by this perhaps?
Image
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Eternal Density » Tue May 07, 2013 10:43 pm UTC

I was thinking of yet another kind of drumstick:
drumstick.jpg
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Klear » Tue May 07, 2013 11:20 pm UTC

KroniK907 wrote:This Seemed Relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9zCEMEDWX0


I'm pretty sure that A) giraffes can't swim, B) I know that piece of trivia thanks to something I read here of xkcd fora...

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed May 08, 2013 1:08 am UTC

Red Hal wrote:Image



Holy heck! A talking giraffe!


All in favor of making "Giraffe" an SI unit of measurement say Aye.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby linearchaos » Wed May 08, 2013 1:21 am UTC

Relevant: Matt Cain w/ Kari Byron & Tory Belleci from Mythbusters destroy things (with a baseball)

1:50 seconds of a pro pitcher destroying random objects, demonstrating just how good we can be at throwing, I would have thought this was made up if it weren't for the Mythbusters in attendance.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Davidy » Wed May 08, 2013 2:48 am UTC

Forgetting about giraffes, shooting blood and drumsticks for the time being, the question of throwing vertically has to be looked at from the human standpoint.

What-If postulates that a horizontal throw into a direction changing device is a reasonable way to approach the problem. I don't have the math to back it up but I'm pretty sure that much of the momentum of the thrown object would be dissipated by friction resulting in a vertical distance far less than a direct vertical throw.

That brings up another problem - the fact that human physiology is such that while it's easy to throw something horizontaly, it's hard to contort one's body in such a way as to acheive a truly vertical overhand throw. This leaves open the possibility of an underhand toss, which I believe is much less powerful than overhand.

Assuming that a perfectly vertical overhand throw could be achieved, if the object leaves the throwers hand at the 100 MPH of a very good pitcher, it will travel about 335 feet before falling.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby jalohones » Wed May 08, 2013 7:12 am UTC

McBee wrote:Throwing (gently) a swallow on the right day in autumn would yield pretty good results too....


That depends whether it's an African or a European swallow.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Perey » Wed May 08, 2013 12:44 pm UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:All in favor of making "Giraffe" an SI unit of measurement say Aye.

Aye! Then we can add SI prefixes. Like "kilogiraffe". And "petagiraffe".

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Klear » Wed May 08, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

So what about Planck Giraffe?

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby Red Hal » Wed May 08, 2013 2:09 pm UTC

That's 0.32324 x 10-35 giraffes.
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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby taemyr » Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 pm UTC

allanfieldhouse wrote:I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).


Aerobie can be thrown far due to the fact that iit generates lift. It will not do so if thrown straight close to straight up. Meaning the length you can throw an aerobie is irrelevant for how high you can throw it.

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Re: What-If 0044: "High Throw"

Postby allanfieldhouse » Wed May 08, 2013 4:21 pm UTC

taemyr wrote:
allanfieldhouse wrote:I question the accuracy of this "What-If". The current record for "longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature" is over a quarter mile using an aerobie. Why wouldn't he even compare the aerobie's maximum possible height? He clearly knows of their existence...

Wikipedia the aerobie world records for reference (the forum thinks my post is spam, so it won't let me post a link).


Aerobie can be thrown far due to the fact that iit generates lift. It will not do so if thrown straight close to straight up. Meaning the length you can throw an aerobie is irrelevant for how high you can throw it.


A different calculation, certainly. But not irrelevant. I'm not saying that the aerobie would necessarily be better than a golf ball, but it definitely deserves to be considered as a candidate.


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