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"The Straight Dope" on the physics of the "Bliss" video scenario...

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As some of you no doubt know, "The Straight Dope" is "Cecil Adams"'s newspaper-column-turned-website devoted to answering all sorts of miscellaneous questions, investigating urban legends, and fighting ignorance [since 1973!].

 

Well, the featured question today is a recycled SD classic column from 1979: "What if you fell into a tube through the earth?" Muse fans recognize this scenario from

, in which Matt (sporting orange foundation, raccoon eye makeup, red hair and some great clothes) dives into a CGI tube (that looks like it was designed by a guy with a serious ass fetish and maybe a bit of an H.R. Giger fixation) through the earth, falls and falls and falls some more, with Dom and Chris looking on sadly (although that could be due more to their having to wear fugly, glammy makeup and not mourning Matt's fate per se), and finally falling up or out into the void of outer space -- still singing, and with wind still winnowing his hair, never mind that there's no air in space... (what a trooper! Forget James Brown... surely this is the hardest-working man in showbiz!)

 

Naturally, since the column dates from '79. there are no Muse references in play. But Cecil makes it abundantly clear that what you see in the "Bliss" video is not what would happen IRL, whether your earth-core-tube was a vacuum tube or had regular atmospheric pressure (as in "Bliss" -- recall that wind rippling through Matt's hair and rumpling his clothes...).

Edited by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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That is very true...:yesey:

 

 

 

 

 

But Bliss...:D:D:D:D:D:D I don't mind if it's not very realistic. ;)

I never really thought about that though, thanks! :D

Edited by the_invincible_dude

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AsDom and Chris looking on sadly (although that could be due more to their having to wear fugly' date=' glammy makeup and not mourning Matt's fate per se) [/quote']

:LOL:

 

Naturally' date=' since the column dates from '79. there are no Muse references in play. But Cecil makes it abundantly clear that what you see in the "Bliss" video is not what would happen IRL, whether your earth-core-tube was a vacuum tube or had regular atmospheric pressure (the "Bliss" scenario -- recall that wind rippling through Matt's hair and rumpling his clothes...).[/quote']

 

Thanks for mentioning this, but yeah Im pretty sure most people realise it wasn't realistic and know you wouldnt be able to sing in space let alone have wind rippling through your hair...

But still art doesnt need to make logical sense, eh?:p

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:LOL:

 

 

 

Thanks for mentioning this, but yeah Im pretty sure most people realise it wasn't realistic and know you wouldnt be able to sing in space let alone have wind rippling through your hair...

But still art doesnt need to make logical sense, eh?:p

 

Oh, I know, but it's still an interesting read. To save people the trouble, here's what Cecil says about what would happen if the tube had air:

 

"Once we start figuring for the effects of atmospheric friction, of course, the situation changes. After a certain point in the course of falling you'd reach a top speed called "terminal velocity," where air resistance would counteract the accelerating effects of gravity. With less momentum, you'd only fall a relatively short distance past the center of the earth before you stopped and started heading in the other direction. Eventually you'd reach equilibrium at the earth's center."

 

 

 

So, to sum up: Matt wouldn't ever get far beyond the core, because once he's penetrated deeply into the earth, his relative gravity wanes and reaches zero (at the core), so that atmospheric friction becomes a correspondingly much greater factor in determining his velocity and acceleration (unlike in the vacuum tube scenario). This rather surprised me, to be honest, but I was mediocre in physics. :$

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Update: now The Straight Dope's resident skunkworks' worth of engineers, scientists, and maybe even a mathematician or two are weighing in. So dig out your solar-powered TI calculator, draw up a lawnchair, and enjoy the spectacle... this could go on for days, weeks, or even months. (My money's on "days" or maybe a week, tops, with this one though.)

 

Remember the "Mythbusters" segment from a year or two ago on whether or not an airplane could take off from a conveyor belt... and how Adam and Jamie were referring to an unnamed website for spawning this humongous debate that raged on for, like, hundreds of pages of message board vitriol? They were referring to The Straight Dope, where the airplane-on-a-conveyor-belt conundrum was hatched. The debate raged on for months, with the most vociferous partisans on each side poring over the overarching theories and minutia alike like terriers working over rats (yrs truly being an early casualty, bowing out gracefully and licking her wounds). "Tenacious" doesn't begin to describe them, folks...

 

[gothic font] There will be blood. [/gf]

Edited by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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also, the planet Matt's falling through better not be spinning, otherwise he'd crash into a sidewall while falling:)

except if the hole is at the poles and the axis of the planet's spin is the same as the path travelled by Matt :)

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actually it woulld've been quite interesting if matt had come to an equilibrium in the center of the earth.. would've been a lot more work for the cgi people though :LOL:

 

:eek: trilateral symmetry com'n (lmao good name btw) you have the vocabulary of stephen fry!

vociferous partisans..... making me feel dumb :chuckle:

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Thanks, ducks... Fry, huh? High praise, indeed! He is easily my favorite author from the Fry & Laurie ouvre, especially since I haven't read anything by Laurie yet. (I've heard he's also penned a novel or two, hmm...).

 

On edit, futurophy, don't sell yourself short! I don't recall reading anything as clever as Fry when I was your age, except maybe a Douglas Adams novel or two... the universe is stretched before your feet, young man! :)

Edited by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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video[/url]' date=' in which Matt (sporting orange foundation, raccoon eye makeup, red hair and some great clothes) dives into a CGI tube[b'] (that looks like it was designed by a guy with a serious ass fetish and maybe a bit of an H.R. Giger fixation)[/b] through the earth, falls and falls and falls some more, with Dom and Chris looking on sadly (although that could be due more to their having to

 

Fucking amazing.

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yes indeedy, tried to read one once.. was too much for my poor teenage brain :LOL: but i do like his umm... air of fruityness? couldn't think of a better way to put that :chuckle:

 

 

edit on seeing you're edit- young woman :chuckle: and thanks :happy: even if i did fail at it.. though i was trying to read it in a dentist waiting room... could've had something to do with it :LOL:

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this speech is very interesting. but, please, don't forget the personal and metaphorical meaning that this video could have for every single person.

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yes indeedy, tried to read one once.. was too much for my poor teenage brain but i do like his umm... air of fruityness? couldn't think of a better way to put that

 

I'd like to take a shot at it, but only because I've lost the delicate sensibilities of your callow youth, my dear boy... ;)

 

air of fruityness?

 

Try, "spewing enough ethylene gas to hasten the ripening of every catamite, rent boy, and teenage boy in his ZIP Code," not that I'm accusing him of pederast tendencies. No, that's just a backhanded encomium of his uncannily convincing portrayal of Oscar Wilde.

 

Really fucking convincing...

 

A word of advice re. dear Stephen Fry, futurophy: should you ever encounter the thespian and novelist, you probably shouldn't go shakin' yer money-maker as Matty does in your avatar... unless you wanted to catch his eye, that is! (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) :LOL:

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I'd like to take a shot at it, but only because I've lost the delicate sensibilities of your callow youth, my dear boy... ;)

 

 

 

Try, "spewing enough ethylene gas to hasten the ripening of every catamite, rent boy, and teenage boy in his ZIP Code," not that I'm accusing him of pederast tendencies. No, that's just a backhanded encomium of his uncannily convincing portrayal of Oscar Wilde.

 

Really fucking convincing...

 

A word of advice re. dear Stephen Fry, futurophy: should you ever encounter the thespian and novelist, you probably shouldn't go shakin' yer money-maker as Matty does in your avatar... unless you wanted to catch his eye, that is! (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) :LOL:

 

:LOL:

meant fruity as in err.. see this is where vocab would come in handy.. emm.. it reads kinda.. richly but airily.. oh i give up lmao

but having watched a LOT of QI, i agree.. i think... if i read what you were saying right :LOL::facepalm:

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Reviving this zombie thread to add the Georgia State U. Physics Dept.'s take on it (via Reddit), duly simplified because they're assuming a uniform density for the earth and are disregarding air friction, the scorching temperatures inside the earth's core, and the issue of the earth's spin (i.e., is the tunnel running through the earth between the north & south poles, or between two other points?). As in the earlier write-up, a body falling through such a tunnel would behave according to Hooke's Law for a mass on a spring and end up oscillating forever (if the tunnel is frictionless).

 

The Georgia State analysis adds one interesting aside, though: adding a hypothetical satellite in [very low, not realistic] earth orbit to the scenario; the periodicity of the satellite in its rotation around the earth would be equal to that of the falling body travelling back-and-forth in the tunnel!

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