The bread comes in on little cat feet
Date: Fri, 21 May 93 14:18:50 PDT
Subject: The bread comes in on little cat feet
[If only Dr. Science had material like this... -psl]
From theresem Fri May 21 10:00:22 1993
From: Mark Dodge <email@example.com>
This question was posed to the Usenet Oracle:
If you drop a buttered piece of bread, it will fall on the
floor butter-side down. If a cat is dropped from a window
or other high and towering place, it will land on its feet.
But what if you attach a buttered piece of bread, butter-side
up to a cat's back and toss them both out the window?
Will the cat land on its feet? Or will the butter splat on
And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
Even if you are too lazy to do the experiment yourself you should be
able to deduce the obvious result. The laws of butterology demand
that the butter must hit the ground, and the equally strict laws of
feline aerodynamics demand that the cat can not smash its furry back.
If the combined construct were to land, nature would have no way to
resolve this paradox. Therefore it simply does not fall.
That's right you clever mortal (well, as clever as a mortal can get),
you have discovered the secret of antigravity! A buttered cat will,
when released, quickly move to a height where the forces of
cat-twisting and butter repulsion are in equilibrium. This equilibrium
point can be modified by scraping off some of the butter, providing
lift, or removing some of the cat's limbs, allowing descent.
Most of the civilized species of the Universe already use this
principle to drive their ships while within a planetary system. The
loud humming heard by most sighters of UFOs is, in fact, the purring of
several hundred tabbies.
The one obvious danger is, of course, if the cats manage to eat the
bread off their backs they will instantly plummet. Of course the cats
will land on their feet, but this usually doesn't do them much good,
since right after they make their graceful landing several tons of
red-hot starship and pissed off aliens crash on top of them.
© 1993 Peter Langston