Why Cats Land on Their Feet: And 76 Other Physical Paradoxes and Puzzles

By Mark Levi | Go to book overview

2
OUTER SPACE PARADOXES

2.1 A Helium Balloon in a Space Shuttle

Problem. Two astronauts, Al and Bob, are strapped to the opposite ends in a space capsule, as in Figure 2.1. Al is holding a large helium-filled balloon, and everything is at rest. Now Al pushes the balloon, which begins to drift toward Bob. Which way will the capsule drift, as seen by an observer hovering in space outside the capsule? Since the astronauts are strapped to the walls, let's consider them part of the capsule.

Figure 2.1. Which way does the capsule move after Al pushes the
balloon?

-5-

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Why Cats Land on Their Feet: And 76 Other Physical Paradoxes and Puzzles
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1 - Fun with Physical Paradoxes, Puzzles, and Problems 1
  • 2 - Outer Space Paradoxes 5
  • 3 - Paradoxes with Spinning Water 17
  • 4 - Floating and Diving Paradoxes 28
  • 5 - Flows and Jets 39
  • 6 - Moving Experiences- Bikes, Gymnastics, Rockets 57
  • 7 - Paradoxes with the Coriolis Force 77
  • 8 - Centrifugal Paradoxes 84
  • 9 - Gyroscopic Paradoxes 104
  • 10 - Some Hot Stuff and Cool Things 117
  • 11 - Two Perpetual Motion Machines 127
  • 12 - Sailing and Gliding 132
  • 13 - The Flipping Cat and the Spinning Earth 142
  • 14 - Miscellaneous 146
  • Appendix 161
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 189
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