5. You can jump out of an airplane that is about to crash and catch the baddie who took the last parachute.

May 24, 2023

The names Bond, James Bond. In Moonraker  with Roger Moore (1979) 007 jumps out of a plane without a parachute to avoid an assassination attempt. He catches up with, Jaws, arch-baddie, in mid-air and takes his parachute. Jaws survives his fall by landing on a big top circus tent.

In Point Break with FBI agent Johnny Utah, Keanu Reeves, leaps from a skydiving plane after Patrick Swayzes’ characer, Bohdi, who has taken the last parachute. Utah catches Bohdi in mid-air, and after a tense confrontation with a gun, both survive using Bodhi’s chute. The remake was in 2015.

There are more movie and real life stories at the  Free Fall Maths link.

Note: We’ll assume Bhodi and Utah have equal horizontal velocities (plane exit velocity plus wind) so the following calculations only involve the vertical or falling velocity. The terminal velocities used for Bhodi and Utah are realistic estimates.

6. If the pilot dies the control tower can talk you down.

May 22, 2023

So mathpigs, here is a small taste of what you would need to do to land a small aircraft in an emergency if the pilot is unconscious/dead.

A = Airspeed

Find airspeed indicator on instrument panel.

Instrument Panel Piper PA-28

Check speed.

Knots or mph or kph?

Avoid red zone. Too fast.

Knots outer scale. mph inner scale. Recommended velocity between blue & red.

B = Contact nearest air traffic controllers.

1. Call MayDay MayDay MayDay

2.  Look for plane ID. It will be on instrument panel somewhere.

3. Check fuel.

On the Piper Cherokee there are 2 fuel tanks, R & L. Check both.

Check aircraft operating handbook to see fuel consumption and remaining time in air.

Quick calc.

C = Checklist

Follow Emergency Landing Checklist in aircraft operating handbook for Power OFF or Power ON landing.

Keep in mind, if your air speed is too low you can drop from air, but the higher the landing speed the bigger crash.

Crash energy increases with the square of speed. It’s a parabola!!!!!

The likelihood of a passenger with

very small.

The likelihood of a passenger with

8. You can survive any amount of beating in a fight.

May 14, 2023

Every action hero gets into a fistfight. James Bond, Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones. Then there are all the stars known for their fight scenes. Sylvester Stallone ( Rocky),  Arnold Schwarzenegger (True Lies), Jackie Chan (Any movie), Bruce Willis (Die Hard 1,2, 3 etc), Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon I, II, III etc), Jean Claude Van Damm (Blood Sport, Street Fighter), Brad Pitt (Fight Club), Fast & Furious 1,2,3 and so on.

But can the human body take this punishment?

We can work it out. Measurements taken at The University of Manchester have shown that local boxing hero Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton really does live up to his name. (DailyScience)

Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton can pack a punch!!!!!

Similar results were found at Uni Manchester BBC (

So one punch is equal to being hit by a car …… if only for a split second!!!!!!!!!!! Nevertheless you can be killed by this one punch.

You’ll find some great punching physics here

9. A single match or candle will light a room the size of a football stadium.

May 4, 2023

This is the rework of a previous post.

Action heroes such as Indiana Jones or even film kids like Tom Sawyer or The Goonies who go into a cave, anabandoned house, a crypt or a catacomb light the entire place with one match, one candle, a lighter or a cellphone.

Is this real?

Now mathspigs, if you are interested in a career in stage/film lighting or even architecture you will need this maths.

60Watt light globe tells us how much power it uses. But some 60W globes are brighter than others. Light is measured with weird units.

USA uses Foot-candles. Can you imagine the pickup line ‘You brighten up my world like a footcandle’? A foot-candle is the brightness of a candle 1 foot away. Now think of a bubble around the candle. Brightness is mostly measured using one square foot or one square metre of that bubble:

1 LUMEN = 1 Footcandle/ft squared

1 LUX = 1 footcandle/m squared

Don’t get too hassled by these units.  As a rough rule:

1 candle = 1 LUX

From graph you can see by 3m a Birthday Cake is not very bright even in a haunted house or crypt.

Challenge: Draw a graph of the brightness of your own Birthday Cake!

Big Challenge:Draw a graph of your Teacher’s Birthday Cake!!!!!! Ahhhh!!!!

We know:

1 candle = 1 LUX

Now compare the brightness of 1 candle to the brightness of other sources of light:

If you want sufficient light to live your everyday life you’d need:

80 candles just to go to the toilet!!!!!!

10. You can out run a lava flow … METRIC

May 1, 2023

This is a rework of a previous post with full calcs.

Every volcano disaster movie from Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones to Dante’s Peak (1997) withPierce Brosnan someone somewhere tries to out run a lava flow. Is this possible?

The answer is maybe. You will find everything you want to know about lava flows here.

On January 10,1977, at Nyiragongo lava sprang from the sides of the volcano moving at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (60 km/hr). About 70 people were killed.

Measuring the temperature of lava. Photograph by R.L. Christiansen, U.S. Geological Survey, January 9, 1973.
The fastest Lava flows recorded were in Hawaiiin 1950 when Mauna Loa erupted. The lava traveled at 10 kilometers per hour through thick forest. But once the lava flows became established and good channels developed, the lava in the channels was flowing at up to 97 kph.

Speed of average sprinter = 16 – 24 kph

You would be scorched after 3 minutes!!!!

10. You can out run a lava flow … USA UNITS

May 1, 2023

This is a rework of a previous post with full calcs.

Every volcano disaster movie from Volcano (1997) with Tommy Lee Jones to Dante’s Peak (1997) with Pierce Brosnan someone somewhere tries to out run a lava flow. Is this possible?

The answer is maybe. You will find everything you want to know about lava flows here.

On January 10,1977, at Nyiragongo lava sprang from the sides of the volcano moving at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. About 70 people were killed.

Measuring the temperature of lava. Photograph by R.L. Christiansen, U.S. Geological Survey, January 9, 1973.

The fastest Lava flows recorded were in Hawaiiin 1950 when Mauna Loa erupted. The lava traveled at 6 miles per hour through thick forest. But once the lava flows became established and good channels developed, the lava in the channels was flowing at up to 60 mph.

Speed of average sprinter = 10 – 15 mph

You would be scorched in 33 seconds!!!

MOZZIE MATHS: How much blood do those little blood suckers suck?

December 9, 2022

You can learn almost everything you need to know about mosquitoes from this article on:

The Conversation.

DART vs ASTEROID: Middle School Math

September 27, 2022

Guess what?

Amazing and Terrifying Wildfire Maths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . METRIC UNITS

July 25, 2022

With wildfires  burning across the US and Europe , Mathspig had to update this firefighter maths post for middle school classrooms.

Radiant Heat Stats WA Fire Dept FACEBOOK, Australian Bushfires 14 NOV 2019 MyFireWatch WA

Wildfires USA 2022 Map: NASA

Background Story

On 5th August 1949 Wag Dodge was dropped by parachute with 14 other fire fighters into Mann Gulch, a steep-sided gully in a Montana pine forest. Fire fighters who parachute in to put out small blazes started by lightening are called Smoke Jumpers. As they worked their way down the sides of the gully the breeze was blowing away from them. But the wind soon shifted. This produced an updraft, which increases the speed of the fire front. The 15 Smoke Jumpers turned and started running for their lives uphill.

METRIC UNITS

Time Trial:

Mark out a 10 m course. Make 3 time trials.

t1 =

t2 =

t3=

tav = (t1 + t2 + t3)/ 3 =

Your Speed S = 10/tav = ……… m/sec

HOW FAST IS A GRASS FIRE?

This will, of course, vary depending on the wind speed. A typical grass fire in Australia in a flat area can travel at 20kph (up to 30 kph) in a gentle breeze.

Fire Front Speed Grass Fire

Fire Front Speed = 20 kph = 20 x1000/(60 x 60)

= 20 x 0.27777777 = 20 x 0.28 m/sec

= 5.6 m/sec

CAN YOU OUT RUN A FIRE?

Average Running Speed Boy 13–14 yo = 3.0 m/sec

Average Running Speed Girl 13–14 yo = 2.4 m/sec

We’ll assume, boy or girl, that you are really motivated and can run away from the fire at top speed of 3.0 m/sec. Now calculate the distance you can run and the fire front moves in 10 secs intervals up to 1 minute.

This is not looking good. See more Firefighters Need Maths here.

We can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations. Wildfire Algebra: Detailed Worksheet using simultaneous equations and solutions  here.

NOW YOU ARE RUNNING UP HILL. WHAT HAPPENS?

We’ll assume, due to being motivated by having a fire licking your heels, that you can run at your top speed up hill for a short time, at least. But here is the problem.

Heat rises and so there is a Chimney Effect pushing the fire uphill. The rule of thumb used by fire fighters is:

Each 10º increase in slope, the fire front speed doubles.

Now you can calculate the distance travelled by the fire front up a slope at a 30º angle.

Don’t forget you can use the WEB 2.0 Calculator here.

Even at your top running speed, which is unlikely up a slope, you can run 180 m in 1 minute. In that time the forefront has moved 2688 m or 2.7 km.

It depends how far away you are from the fire front, but it seems you cannot out run this fire front.

Again we can do very accurate calculations using simultaneous equations.

See Firefighters Need Maths here.

Wildfire Algebra: Worksheet and solutions here.

CAN YOU OUT RUN A WILD FIRE?

High winds can turn a bush or forrest fire into a WILD FIRE with wind speeds up to 110 kph and temperatures up to 2000 °C, which can and does melt glass and cars.

The fire front speed doubles with every 10º, so speeds for the fire front can reach 220 kph, 330kph and up to 550kph.

What happened to the Smoke Jumpers?

When the fire front changed direction Wag Dodge and 14 other Smoke Jumpers found themselves running for their lives up a steep slope. What did Wag do next?

ANS: Here’s the amazing thing. Wag realised he could not out run the fire at that point. So he stopped. Took off his back pack. Took out some MATCHES and lit a fire in the grassy patch in front of him. Just before the firewall hit he threw himself face down on the burnt patch. He survived. The other 14 firefighters did not.

Winter Olympics 2022: Why do figure skaters spin so fast?

February 3, 2022

Here is the sensational pairs team from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

But why do ice skaters spin so fast?

Here is the math!

REASON  1:

Well, mathspiggies, the girl in this video is right. Angular momentum remains constant unless external forces are applied.

L = mvr

L = angular momentum

v = linear velocity

r = separation of object

Louisa Barama, USA

Let’s have a look at this equation:

The fastest spin on ice skates was achieved by Natalia Kanounnikova (Russia) with a maximum rotational velocity of 308 RPM (rotations per minute) at Rockefeller Centre Ice Rink, New York, USA on 27 March 2006. See Guinness Book of Records.

Record spin :  vr = 308 RPM

Other spins include:

Mao Asada, Japan, triple Axel

Triple Axel spin vr = 220 – 280 RPM

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Maximum Triple Axel spin vr = 402 RPM

Skaters can spin faster during a triple axel jump because there is no friction from the ice slowing their spin.

To complete a quad axel, it’s estimated that the skater would have to rotate in the air at:

540 rpm.

…………………………………………………………………………………

Camel spin vr = 90 RPM

Kim Yuna, South Korea

REASON 2:

a camel spin into a very fast standing spin?

Now, mathspiggies, you must separate Linear Velocity (v1 ) from Angular Velocity (vr ). Linear Velocity is measured in m/sec ie. it is the speed of, say, a skaters foot around the circle. Angular Velocity is measured in either RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) or degrees or Radians per minute. Ie. It is the rate of spin. We can’t judge how many m/sec a skaters foot is moving in a circle. We can only see how fast they spin. In other words, we see their Angular Velocity. When a skaters foot is in the Camel position that foot travels in a very big circle.

But when that same foot is in a Triple Axel postion it moves in a very, very small circle.

Patrick Chan, Canada, Camel Spin

Patrick Chan, Canada, Triple Axel

By halving the radius, firstly, a skater’s Linear Velocity doubles due to the conservation of angular momentum.

Then, secondly, by halving the radius the circumference of the circle moved by , say, the skaters foot is halved.

Overall, by doubling the velocity around the circle and halving the circumference a skater increases their rotational velocity by a factor of 4.

Look at the numbers:

Camel spin vr = 90 RPM

…………………………………………………………………………………