DailyDirt: Skipping Across The Water

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Skipping objects like stones across a calm lake is fun when you’re a kid, but it also involves some interesting physics that could be useful for other applications. The Water Bouncing Ball toy can turn anyone into a pretty good “stone” skipper (though, maybe not hitting a record-setting 88 skips). Understanding how objects can skip across water could lead to better ways to travel across water, possibly making shipments cheaper or faster.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Skipping Across The Water”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Curmudgeon Alert

Planing hull sailboats is sufficient technology, thank you very much. Hydrofoils go beyond necessity. They are exciting to watch, especially when they screw up, but are impractical for the average sailor. Study something that makes plane old sailing better. Maybe like this, but powers that be help you if you wind up with no wind and an adverse current.

Paul Renault (profile) says:

"another machine beating a human record by an insanely large margin"

No, it’s a team of scientist plus a machine plus a power grid beating a human record by an insanely large margin.”

If you put a five-year old child by itself next to a machine also by itself, the child will outskip the machine.

The machine, of course, won’t do anything.

Anonmylous says:

Re: "another machine beating a human record by an insanely large margin"

Plus the machine skips aluminum discs, not stones. It won’t beat humans at throwing non-conformist objects through anything but sheer power and even that can be matched by a human with a tool. That is what we do, improvise tools to get a task done using our bodies.

Its great they want to understand the physics of skipping objects, but realistically, a human body is more suited to throwing a massive variety of objects, more than any constructed mechanical arm, by a wide margin. And until we can figure out how to improve on that, it won’t change. We’re still constructing tools for specific tasks with narrow rulesets. Within those rulesets, yes you can outperform a human. On a single task. Can that same machine flip an omelet, write a sentence in flowing cursive script, open a jar of peanutbutter, and juggle a pair of oranges? Cause with a little practice, every human can do all of that and still skip a rock across a pond.

Anonymous Coward says:

Machine beating man...

Back in the days of “iron men and wooden ships”, gunners would aim their guns to graze the sea, causing cannon balls to “skip” and thus extend their range. Does that count?

If not, what about the Dam Buster raid? Machine (Lancaster Bombers, with spinning motors for the bombs) dropped the bombs at speed and they then bounced across the Dam lakes until the hit the dams, travelling an outrageously greater distance than any person can skip a stone. The bombs were also far heavier than any person could lift.

klaus says:

Re: Machine beating man...

Barnes Wallace confessed to Wing Commander Gibson that the “bouncing bomb” was not completely his idea, and that Lord Nelson found that he could increase the destructive power of cannonballs by getting them to ricochet off the water.

BW: “Usually he pitched them about two thirds of the way between his guns and the target. But there is some evidence to suggest that during the Battle of the Nile he dismissed the French flagship with a yorker.”

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