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Written in continuing honour of De Selby,
(of Flann O'Brien's Third Policeman fame.)
A cigarette paper will balance on one
if placed in nearly perfect conditions.
the wind from a feather would knock it
The positioning of the paper needs to be
to prevent it from
falling forward and toppling the
banknote similarly placed beside it.
If this note falls, it will in turn knock
the postcard, and then the piece
of plywood beside that.
Each of the objects assembled is
marginally bigger and heavier than the
one preceding it in the line, but is
of being de-stabilised by the one before,
due to its added momentum acquired in
the act of falling over.
At the end of the line of gradually
increasing objects is a shipping
placed on one of its ends like a single
In this way the wind from a single feather
will, by a process of sequentiality,
knock over a 40 ton container.
Honest! It wasn't my fault, guv!
Look, I've told you time and time again: No, and I mean NO breathing on this job. Got it? [Ling, Jan 24 2007, last modified Aug 10 2010]
[senatorjam, Aug 09 2010]
||Ideally the chain of events would start with a single vagrant photon, in the infrared range.
||Photons have zero mass, so they
wouldn't transfer any momentum, but I
thought of extending the idea in the
direction of a single Higgs Boson. Those
boson are heavy, but it
would be too hard to control then,
as they are far too unruly.
You are right that photons have no mass, but they do have momentum, and can transfer it (although miniscule amounts per collision.)
||Arrr! Make 'em topple the plank!
||"Human existence being an hallucination containing in itself the secondary hallucinations of day and night (the latter an insanitary condition of the atmosphere due to accretions of black air) it ill becomes and man of sense to be concerned at the illusory approach of the supreme hallucination known as death."
||Yes, the domino scene. But variations are welcome.
||Haven't seen Robots - but will watch
out for it now.
||Would it be that in somesuch part of the process of tumbling, one of the earthwards travelling items or objects might or might not be a bicycle, velocipede or penny-farthing? By dad! That would be a thing!
||I think there is also a car commercial along this line
||//Even the wind from a feather would knock it over// - actually, used properly, feathers are capable of generating a surprising amount of wind. Some theories suggest that a number of feathers, if waved about in a coordinated way, would generate sufficient 'wind' to allow a small animal to achieve powered flight for a period.
||I think you'll find that my idea preceded that Guinnness advert by several months.... the advert, made by Nicolai Fuglsig, came out in Nov 07 in fact. Of course the thought process belongs to the great De Selby, in who's dept I will always remain. (He's stopped accepting payment)