What If? (by XKCD)
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11-12-2012, 10:55 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Athens, GA
Originally Posted by
xX Hot Fuss
Only read the baseball one in the link. Why does a baseball moving that fast cause what is essentially a nuclear explosion??? I think i have a grasp on it but not sure...
1) Baseball is moving so fast that it is splitting the atoms and molecules in the air?
2) Assuming 1 is true, the resultant atom splitting causes a nuclear reaction?
Where do the Gamma Rays come in?
Gamma rays are released during the interaction of nuclei (fission/fusion) and through good, old-fashioned radioactive decay. What they are saying is that the ball would be moving so fast that the air molecules (O2, CO2, N2, etc) would fuse with the molecules on the surface of the ball, each fusion giving off a burst of gamma rays. This would essentially create an expanding bubble of superheated gasses as the escaping gamma rays trigger more nuclear fusion. The comic is actually saying that throwing a ball at that speed creates a chain reaction similar to what you see in stars...only on a much smaller scale, and not sustainable because of a lack of matter (that's why it goes off like a nuke instead of forming a "star").
And, btw, XKCD is the absolute ****. It's the geek equivalent to internet rule 34.
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