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Tortoise v. hare

(OK, Turtle v. hare for Americans)
  (+29, -6)(+29, -6)(+29, -6)
(+29, -6)
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Tortoises (turtles, if you must) are perhaps the most aerodynamic of all land-bound vertebrates. Puzzlingly, though, they are also amongst the slowest. Hares, in contrast, are aerodynamically bad (long legs, floppy ears, whiskers) yet are paradoxically fast. I propose running tortoise v. hare races in wind tunnels, with an air velocity sufficient to make the outcome a gambling proposition.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005

[link]






       tortoises are heavy.   

       don't you think the (hare's)ears help in some way?   

       edited just in case you thought I meant the tortoise's ears.
po, Feb 19 2005
  

       To be honest, I think that the ears are there mainly for effect, and that hares are not *really truly* as fast as they would like us to believe. The ears may be intended to mimic those thingys (you know, thingys) which provide a down- force at the front of formula-1 cars. Clearly, however, they are too flexible to be of much use in this capacity.   

       On the tortoises-are-heavy front, I'm not sure that they're much heavier than a hare.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005
  

       p.s. - I should clarify that the race is run *into* the wind. Otherwise it would be silly.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005
  

       p.p.s. Regarding my profile page, this is an error. It is actually *I* who have been partially restored from a cached copy.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005
  

       spooky
po, Feb 19 2005
  

       You should meet my backup.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005
  

       I think I know her.
po, Feb 19 2005
  

       "Her"?? Blimey - his restoration must have been more 'partial' than mine.
Basepair, Feb 19 2005
  

       I doubt it...
po, Feb 20 2005
  

       Poor bunny, getting blown around the wind tunnel. Those ears will be like sails.   

       "don't you think the ears help"   

       The ears help the rabbit hear predators. I don't think they help speed.   

       "tortoises are heavy."   

       That helps them resist the wind in the wind tunnel.
robinism, Feb 20 2005
  

       The story is still "The Tortoise and the Hare" for us 'mericans. For the more intelligent and/or grown-up of us, tortoises and turtles are two different types of animals even if the story does work both ways.
tekym, Feb 20 2005
  

       Wouldn't this be a turtle? I guess tortoises can swim too, but it'd be less dramatic than a wind-tunnel. Tortoise ploughing steadfastly into the wind, carefully maintaining his angle of attack to minimise unwanted areodynamic lift from the top of his curved shell. Hare battling against the elements, ears flapping, claws digging in for purchase to avoid the risk of a catastrophic rolling event (also known as a "tumbleweed incident", "blowout" or "hareball")....
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       Why not just drop them from a height? (With a soft landing pad of course.)
JesusHChrist, Feb 20 2005
  

       Lacks the thrill of the chase. However, your suggestion does have its merits - could one train animals to fall fast? I'm not sure which would have the advantage here - the tortoise might experience significant lateral forces if falling head-first (curved shell), thereby swooping off sideways and losing time. Hang on a bit while I run some tests.
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       Interesting. Dead heat from 6ft; tortoise wins at 20ft; hare wins (by a hare's breadth) at 50ft. Now, about this soft landing pad.... and does anyone have some Araldite please?
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       secure a rabbit to a tortoise securely with packing tape. find a large snowy hill and push. tortoise hare luge.
benfrost, Feb 20 2005
  

       Benfrost - also an interesting idea, but in order to make this a competitive event one would require at least two tortoises and at least two hares. I was assuming that most people have, at most, one of each. When I were a lad, we were glad to have either.
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       How about "The Porpoise and the Hare" ?   

       *flop flop* Oh Flipper! C'mon, baby, you can do it! Sow that darn hare somethin'! Poppa's got ten big ones riding on this! *flop flop eek*
Trickytracks, Feb 20 2005
  

       Awww. Now it's getting silly...
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       I remember hearing that the way those cats survive the fall from apartment buildings is by "flying squirling" the skin inbetween their 4 splayed legs. This loose skin would probably also act like a fin a la James Bond's sport coat in that famous parachutless scene in the beginning of some movie or other -- if the hare wanted it to. I bet the hare would end up winning again. Poor hapless turtle.
JesusHChrist, Feb 20 2005
  

       Sniff. Rabbit, Mmmmm
The Kat, Feb 20 2005
  

       It's a hare, which is different from a rabbit. And faster than a cat :-)
Basepair, Feb 20 2005
  

       Attendant at Empire State Building: Excuse me sir, where are you going with that tortoise and hare?   

       Man: Umm...to test aerodynamics.
MrDaliLlama, Feb 21 2005
  

       [po] Re your initial anno...."He ain't heavy....he's my tortoise..."
normzone, Feb 21 2005
  

       hahaha!
po, Feb 21 2005
  

       And I always thought it was Neil Diamond....   

       [He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
  

       -Written by B. Scott and B. Russell
-Peaked at #7 in 1970 as performed by the Hollies
-Peaked at #20 in 1970 as performed by Neil Diamond
-Peaked at #30 as the B-side to "Let It Shine"
in 1976 as performed by Olivia Newton-John]
normzone, Feb 21 2005
  

       [basepair] If the tortoise experiences a lifting force on his shell, why couldn't he tilt so that the force accelerates him earthward? Of course, the tilt would produce greater drag, so I don't know if he would really benefit from the tactic.   

       If any callous tortoise-owning 'baker with air travel plans could test this, I'm sure we'd all be interested.   

       And horrified.   

       And hungry.
friendlyfire, Feb 21 2005
  

       I'm not sure - the tortoise's scaly legs must increase drag, but if the hare's ears are made of erectile tissue, then they could be rigid enough to provide down-force. Hmm, "like hare on viagra" could be a modern simile...
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 21 2005
  

       Would the scales increase drag, or would they actually help, like the dimples on a gold ball?
friendlyfire, Feb 21 2005
  

       [Friendlyfire] - you're drifing away from the original aim, which was a horizontal race. (I mean, a vertical race WOULD be silly, now.) However, I don't think any "negative lift" device can make a free- falling body fall faster than a streamlined "straight down" one. (Can anyone help me here? Antigliders?)   

       [Absinthe] - I think you're right about the erectile ears. Naturally, all competitors would have to be drug tested.   

       Is there a gap between the tortoise's body and its shell? If so, some interesting ram-jet effects might arise.
Basepair, Feb 21 2005
  

       NB - "Drifing" - present participle of the verb "to drife" (intr.) - to move away by degrees. (alt. sp. - "drift" [obs.])
Basepair, Feb 21 2005
  

       [basepair] Fair point - the race is indeed horizontal. But would the "tilting the shell to point the lift slightly in the direction of travel" strategy still be feasible?   

       Actually, thinking about it, the whole lift factor would simply raise Turtle off the floor, and he'd be dashed against the rear wall. Score one for Hare.
friendlyfire, Feb 21 2005
  

       [FriendlyFire] Hmmm - I see your point about forward-tilting the shell. On the other hand, if a wing-like surface can provide a lift *into* the direction of the relative wind, are we not dangerously close to perpetual motion, or at least dangerously positive feedback? On the lift/stability issue, I wonder if we might not eventually see the emergence (through widespread usage of winning tortoises for stud purposes) of a aero-racing tortoise with its shell flat on the top and curved underneath? Of course, the legs would have to lengthen to reach the ground.... Hang on for a second while I do a few more tests....
Basepair, Feb 21 2005
  

       ....WOW! That was awesome. The down-force is incredible! Good job tortoises have sturdy legs. However, he does not look at all happy wearing his shell that way up.
Basepair, Feb 21 2005
  

       Can my tortoise swim?   

       [Terry Carman] No, tortoises generally can not swim. Tortoises are terrestrial, which means that they live on land. Unlike aquatic turtles, tortoises lack webbed feet. Should a tortoise by accident fall into a pond or swimming pool it could sink to the bottom like a rock and drown.
yabba do yabba dabba, Feb 21 2005
  

       All this about turtles and turtoises is confusing me. But one thing I do know [yabba do] is that I had one of these creatures once (in so far it is possible to own a living creature) and it had paws suitable for walking on land with sharp nails and everything, clearly a land animal. Yet it could swim very good and liked it. At least that's what he told me..
zeno, Feb 21 2005
  

       As most wind tunnels are the pulling type (fan behind) to avoid turbulence, I recommend a mesh screen to avoid tortoise-hare soup.
RayfordSteele, Feb 22 2005
  

       Are they? I didn't know that. Makes sense, though. I wonder if the aviation wind tunnels are pull through as well.
bristolz, Feb 22 2005
  

       I didn't realize that either. Perhaps there's room for both types (turbulent and non-turbulent) - sort of the equivalent of flat-racing versus jumps.
Basepair, Feb 22 2005
  

       [zeno]: The 'claws plus swimming' thing may have been a terrapin. (Like a Panic PIN, but used in cases of terror.) (Also a Syd Barrett song.)
angel, Feb 22 2005
  

       What, like thirty hardshelled terrapins gathered together in a cave terrified of swimming and grooving with a pict?
zeno, Feb 22 2005
  

       [bris], yep. The fan would spoil the airflow. Basepair, there's no point to a turbulent windtunnel; it would ruin the experiment.
RayfordSteele, Feb 23 2005
  

       [RS] it's not an experiment, it's a gambling opportunity. I think the turbulence would add the necessary element of uncertainty.
Basepair, Feb 23 2005
  

       Una - for clarity: reptilian participant = tortoise = "any slow-moving plant- eating land reptile of the family Testudinidae" (not turtle or terrapin). Mammalian participant = hare = "any of various mammals esp. of the genus Lepus resembling a large rabbit". (Further clarification - giant tortoises of the Galapagos kind are explicitly disqualified from tortoise/hare races, but may be raced against capybara.)
Basepair, Feb 23 2005
  

       This is madder than a mad hare on National Mad Day in March.
Ling, Feb 24 2005
  

       Una - Leatherback turtles would be disqualified on all of the aforementioned criteria. *However* - in principle there is no reason why one could not establish a suitable handicapping system to equalize any given pair of animals. For example, leatherback turtles v elephants on a very steep, sandy slope. Or butterflies v. caterpillars in treacle. Or George Bush v. Tony Blair on the surface of the moon (simply because I'd rather they were both there). The possibilities sadly unlimited.
Basepair, Feb 24 2005
  

       Definitly. [+]
daseva, May 26 2005
  

       Come on guys. You know in a wind tunnel the hare would scurry off downwind and the tortoise would draw into its shell. Or haven't you watched any of those Animal Channel type shows? I like dropping them off the Empire State Building best (as did that guy *Galileo* using the Tower of Pisa with cannon balls and stuff). You might see if the hare's ears could be used to provide lift (ala Dumbo), or the tortoise could ride its shell in like the space shuttle. Wouldn't want to provide too much duress to the animals, so would station marksmen on the ground to shoot them before they smash onto the pavement. Is that wierd enough, or must I kick it up another notch?
MauiChuck, May 29 2005
  

       //You know in a wind tunnel the hare would scurry off downwind and the tortoise would draw into its shell//

You are, of course, not thinking of trained racing hares or racing tortoises. After all, would you expect a wild horse to happily run around a large circular track jumping over things whilst a smallish person sits on its back?
Basepair, May 29 2005
  

       Tortoise would most definately win. Though you would have to prevent the tortoise from scratching its shell for it would decress the aroedyamic shape.. It would have to be a hand raised/trained tortoise with a very smooth shell. The two tortoises I own have very rough shells from being out side all their lives. Tortoises can be suprisingly fast as well as extremely violent.
10clock, May 30 2005
  

       "Raul's Wild Kingdom" taught me that the turtle is nature's suction cup.   

       Also, poodles can fly.
AfroAssault, May 30 2005
  

       When do we get to drink from the firehose???
daseva, May 30 2005
  

       According to British/American super-author Bill Bryson in his book A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING tortoises were destined to become the alpha mammal[edit: ANIMAL] on the planet until people came around.
Blumster, May 30 2005
  

       //tortoises were destined to become the alpha mammal//   

       Unlikely, since they are not mammalian.   

       Apparently, the philosopher Aeschylus was killed by a falling tortoise. Maybe they can secretly fly - I bet they spin when they do so. This would explain UFOs.
Loris, May 31 2005
  

       Some Japanese film features a giant spinning flying tortoise to fight against Godzilla.
DesertFox, Dec 19 2005
  

       Maybe the Olympians ran out of discuses.
Cuit_au_Four, Dec 19 2005
  

       You'll get sued by Aesop for copyright infringement.
Honduras, Dec 19 2005
  
      
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