100kph minus 100kph

By on July 2, 2007

Ever wonder what would happen if you threw a ball out the back of a moving vehicle at the same speed the vehicle was moving? I have — my little brother & I argued about this when we were kids, but Dad would never let us try it. Some Japanese guys had the same question in mind, and went as far as setting up a pretty sophisticated experiment involving a truck and a pitching machine, made a video of it & put it up on YouTube for our edification.

The ball does pretty much what I thought it would — it falls to the pavement. No rips in the space-time continuum, no vacuum vortex sucking the contents of the vehicle out the back, or anything else my brother thought would happen. Just a tad disappointing. I half hoped he was right.

But after seeing that video, what I really want to know now is why the driver was wearing a helmet but the guy riding in the back of the truck wasn’t. Hmmm…

from haha.nu

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Comments

  1. [Spoilers]

    That was awesome. What’s interesting is that the ball dropped straight down, as if the two speeds canceled each other out perfectly, but then the ball bounced forward. It must have had a fair amount of spin on it.

  2. must have had a fair amount of spin on it.

    That’s what I thought too. Either that or the speed of the truck was slightly faster than the ball exiting the thrower. They used a radar gun to check the speed of the ball, but only used the dashboard speedometer for the truck, so I could see it being off by a bit.

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