OT: Speed of light [was Re: Why not a Python compiler?]
Erik Max Francis
max at alcyone.com
Mon Feb 11 23:42:46 CET 2008
Jeff Schwab wrote:
> Erik Max Francis wrote:
>> Robert Bossy wrote:
>>> I'm pretty sure we can still hear educated people say that free fall
>>> speed depends on the weight of the object without realizing it's a
>>> double mistake.
>> Well, you have to qualify it better than this, because what you've
>> stated in actually correct ... in a viscous fluid.
> By definition, that's not free fall.
In a technical physics context. But he's talking about posing the
question to generally educated people, not physicists (since physicists
wouldn't make that error). In popular parlance, "free fall" just means
falling freely without restraint (hence "free fall rides," "free
falling," etc.). And in that context, in the Earth's atmosphere, you
_will_ reach a terminal speed that is dependent on your mass (among
So you made precisely my point: The average person would not follow
that the question was being asked was about an abstract (for people
stuck on the surface of the Earth) physics principle, but rather would
understand the question to be in a context where the supposedly-wrong
statement is _actually true_.
Erik Max Francis && max at alcyone.com && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
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