Ask Chips 12: We succumb to the outsourcing craze


March 11, 2005, midnight | 14 years, 9 months ago

World renowned physicist answers questions


Due to the highly complex nature of the questions for this installment of Ask Chips, we decided to do what all technical companies are doing and outsource the labor. This week, we have invited a special guest answerer to tackle these mind-numbingly boring questions in the hopes that this will spur you all on to much more meaningful queries. Our special guest for this round will be AP Physics teacher Mr. Schafer, who has graciously offered his expertise in answering these questions.

An ewok asks: "Would Luke Skywalker (from episode VI) beat Anakin (from Episode II) in a lightsaber battle? Why or why not?"

Schafer: By Episode VI, Luke had already finished his training with Yoda, while in Episode II Anakin seemed to be going through a pretty moody phase and seemed to still be trying to figure out just "who" he is. I figure
head to head Luke wins. Plus, we know that Anakin does eventually lose to Luke, but that is as Darth Vader. The better question though is, "Is Yoda the man?" To which I think we can all agree the answer is "Yes."

Chips says: We agree entirely. While we would like to see father and son fight while both are in their prime, we also admit that Yoda could take both of them out without even breaking a sweat.

Arkitect asks: "I was wondering how many floor tiles there are in Blair. Also, the number of floors would help too."

Schafer: Seems to me that this is a great applied math problem. Since each tile is one square foot all we need to do is figure out the square footage of the building. To do this though, you are probably going to need some
help. I suggest the online Chips staff, since I am covering this column.

Chips: Thanks, but no thanks. We just googled the square footage, as we do for every research-based question and found that the building is 32,000 square feet. Oh yeah, and there are three floors at Blair, the pool on the fourth floor is just a rumor we use to fool with the freshmen.

Late again asks: "Is it really possible, without running, to get from any point in the school to any other point in 8 minutes? Chips index says 618 steps from portable 7 to 315...but how long does that take?"

Schafer: Well, like any good scientist, I conducted some experiments to answer this particular question. I found that I could walk at a natural pace and cover just about 2.5 miles in one hour. That corresponds to 3.7 feet per second. Now, eight minutes means you have 480 seconds to go from point A to B, which means that you can cover up to 1,760 feet without running. Now, I would guess that an average step is about 2 feet such that the largest distance any student would need to cover is 1,236 feet, well within our maximum distance. So, yes, you can make it from any point in school to any other point without running.

Chips: We did some of our own math, and we found that in Schafer world, that farthest distance takes us just under 6 minutes to go from point to point, and that doesn't include locker stops, so without a little luck and careful planning, we aren't quite as sure. And good grief Schafer, you didn't factor the energy loss climbing stairs, the effects of drag or the relativistic time dilation, which leads us to our next question...

Einstein asks: "If a spaceship moving in direction V at 75% the speed of light encounters a black hole moving in the opposite direction at 50% the speed of light, couldn't horizon and come back out?"

Schafer: No. By definition, the event horizon is a region in space that defines the boundary of the black hole. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, and since light itself cannot escape the black hole, then we must conclude that once in, we are staying in. Further, as Stephen Hawking points out in his, "The Theory of Everything," in reference to black holes, "Thus, if light cannot escape, neither can anything else."

Chips: We would have to agree since we really have no idea what he's talking about.

Bball playa asks: "What can I do so that I can jump higher? I can reach 9"

Schafer: What we have here is a problem with gravity, namely that you can get stronger or get less gravity. For the first situation, find a gym and start working out your legs. For the second, you may need to travel, like to the moon.

Chips: Nine leaps has us a grand total of 10 inches off the ground. If we ever want to be like Mike, we are going to have to do a lot more than just drink Gatorade.

Confused driver asks: "Why do we park in driveways and drive on parkways?"

Schafer: Probably for the same reason we buy "jumbo shrimp," talk about
things that are "pretty ugly." Or, just study "civil wars."

Chips: After all this, we are just as confused as you. All we know is that we are never having a guest columnist again.




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