Perpetual Motion
Posted by Sri Lankan New Zealander on 10/10/2001:

Perpetual Motion

When a cat is dropped it always lands on its feet and when toast is dropped it always lands buttered side down. Therefore if a slice of buttered toast is strapped to a cat's back, buttered side up, and the animal is dropped, the two opposing forces will cause it to hover, spinning inches above the ground. If enough toast laden felines were used they could form the basis of a high
speed monorail system.

This theory was mailed to mathematicians and physicists,
....and then this mail got the following reply :-

I've been thinking about this cat/toast business for a while.
In the buttered toast case it's the butter that causes it to land buttered side down - it doesn't have to be toast, the theory works equally well with Jacob's crackers. So, to save money you just miss out the toast and butter the cats. Also, should there be an imbalance between the effects of cat and
butter, there are other substances that have a stronger affinity for carpet. Probability of carpet impact is determined by the following simple formula:

where 'p' is the probability of carpet impact, 's' is the 'stain' value of the toast covering substance [an indicator of the effectiveness of the toast topping in permanently staining the carpet]. Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, has a very high 's' value, while the 's' value of water is zero, 'tc' & 't(t)' indicate the tone of the carpet and topping, the value of 'p' being strongly related to the relationship between the colour of the carpet and topping, as even chicken tikka masala won't cause a permanent and obvious stain on if the carpet is the same colour.

So it is obvious that the probability of carpet impact is maximised if you use chicken tikka masala and a white carpet - in fact, this combination gives a 'p' value of one, which is the same as the probability of a cat landing on its feet. Therefore a cat with chicken tikka masala on its back will be certain to hover in mid-air, whilst there could be problems with buttered toast as the toast may fall off the cat, causing a terrible monorail crash. It is, therefore, in the interests of public safety that the buttered toast on cats idea is scrapped, to be replaced by a monorail powered by cats smeared with chicken tikka masala floating above a rail made from white shag pile carpet.

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