Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Physics Explanations for Folk Songs


Me, singing:  I’d rather be a hammer than a nail…

Son:  WHY would you rather be a hammer than a nail?  According to Newton, when the hammer hits the nail, the force on the hammer is just as strong as the force on the nail.  And then the hammer is used repeatedly to hit other things, whereas the nail is hit only once or a few times.  Clearly, it’s better to be a nail.

Oh, yeah?  Try telling that to the nail.

4 comments:

Jon said...

Good point! The windsield/bug reference may work more in your favor, sowing that while the force imparted to each may be identical, it is only a fatal/catastrophic event for one of them!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

NEVER thought it about it that way before.

Suburban Correspondent said...

You didn't explain to him that, if you were a hammer, you could hammer in the morning? And you could hammer in the evening? All over this world?

Maria Sondule said...

oh but you see...
the hammer expects to hit the nail. The nail has to wait on edge to see if the hammer will hit it. (assuming she has no way to tell when the hammer is about to come down) This causes the nail an extreme amount of anxiety. Plus, if the nail didn't want to be hit, she'll likely suffer PTSD after the fact due to the assault.
In terms of physics, it's better to be the hammer because even if the same force is exerted on both the objects it does not effect each of them the same way. For example, a bus runs into a fly. Both the fly and the bus have the same amount of force exerted on them, but only the fly is hurt. Why? Because the amount for force proportional to his body size is huge.
The hammer is smaller than the nail thus the same amount of force will harm it more greatly. (also causing PTSD)
Which is why you would want to be the hammer.