Thursday, July 12, 2012

Relativistic Baseball!

Randall "XKCD" Munroe has started a new blog in the "what if" venue which I really find entertaining. He is taking what if questions and treating them as reasonable questions. The first question was, what would a pitch be like if the pitcher could throw at or near C.

Here is a short piece of the response I found in Boing Boing:

  • The ball is going so fast that everything else is practically stationary. Even the molecules in the air are stationary. Air molecules vibrate back and forth at a few hundred miles per hour, but the ball is moving through them at 600 million miles per hour. This means that as far as the ball is concerned, they’re just hanging there, frozen.
  • The ideas of aerodynamics don’t apply here. Normally, air would flow around anything moving through it. But the air molecules in front of this ball don’t have time to be jostled out of the way. The ball smacks into them hard that the atoms in the air molecules actually fuse with the atoms in the ball’s surface. Each collision releases a burst of gamma rays and scattered particles. fusion illustration fusion zone of baseball
  • These gamma rays and debris expand outward in a bubble centered on the pitcher’s mound. They start to tear apart the molecules in the air, ripping the electrons from the nuclei and turning the air in the stadium into an expanding bubble of incandescent plasma. The wall of this bubble approaches the batter at about the speed of light—only slightly ahead of the ball itself.
Boy does that sound like the most frightening game you ever heard of?  First pitch, top of the pitch and the whole stadium is reduced to slag from the fusion blast!  SWEET!


kallamis said...

Reading this, and listening to it on the podcast made me think of the same thing. I'm sure I'll hear it for being a fan of this particular anime show.
I instantly saw this baseball game with Goku on the mound, and Piccolo at bat. Okay, I'm a DragonBall and DBZ fan. But really it fits. Entire place turned to slag on the first pitch.
Okay, I'll take the abuse now.

Beam Me Up said...

oh you know I thought you would go the Fooly Cooly route I really did...the baseball references all through it and he was swinging away at the end to the mother of all baseballs! That final episode was so brilliant and so out of there. I am sorry Kall, that has got it all over DBZ!

kallamis said...

Actually, I have never gotten to see more than like 2.5 episodes of that. Been meaning to get it on dvd. My work schedule always got in the way, or there was something else i was recording while out. Glad you reminded me of that actually. I'd nearly forgotten.

kallamis said...

And you know what, Escaflowne is another one I have to see as well. Not sure what the network was doing with that, but we got the first 3, then it vanished, then we got 3 and 4, and then i think it was episodes 6, and then it simply vanished. Glad you reminded of this, thanks man. I owe you one.