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A cartoon illustration of the thought experiment.

The buttered cat paradox is a joke paradox based on the tongue-in-cheek combination of two adages:

The paradox arises when one considers what would happen if one attached a piece of buttered toast (butter side up) to the back of a cat, then dropped the cat from a large height. In 1993, OMNI magazine announced the winner of Competition #54. The paradox, submitted by John Frazee of Kingston, New York, was the grand-prize winner.[1]

Contents

Thought experiments

Some people jokingly maintain that the experiment will produce an anti-gravity effect. They propose that as the cat falls towards the ground, it will slow down and start to rotate, eventually reaching a steady state of hovering a short distance from the ground while rotating at high speed as both the buttered side of the toast and the cat’s feet attempt to land on the ground.[2] In June 2003, Kimberly Miner won a Student Academy Award for her film Perpetual Motion.[3] Miner based her film on a paper written by a high-school friend that explored the potential implications of the cat and buttered toast idea.[4][5]

In humor

The faux paradox has captured the imagination of science-oriented humorists. Testing the theory is the main theme in an episode the comic book strip Jack B. Quick, the title character seeks to test this theory, leading to the cat hovering above the ground, with the cat's wagging tail providing propulsion. The March 31, 2005, strip of the webcomic Bunny also explored the idea in the guise of a plan for a "Perpetual Motion MoggieToast 5k Power Generator", based on Sod's Law.[6] In Science Askew, Donald E. Simanek comments on this phenomenon.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ Morris, Scot (July, 1993). "I have a theory...". Omni 15 (9): 96. http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200111/letters.cfm. 
  2. ^ UoWaikato newsletter
  3. ^ Available at http://www.kminer.net/files/movies/miner-perpetualmotion_480_360.mov
  4. ^ University of Leeds. Perpetual Motion.
  5. ^ Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2003
  6. ^ Feline cunning and sods law
  7. ^ Donald E. Simanek, Science Askew: A Light-hearted look at the scientific world, Taylor and Francis, 2001. pg 201. See here on Google Books

External links

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The buttered cat paradox is a paradox based on the tongue-in-cheek combination of two adages:

The paradox arises when one considers what would happen if one attached a piece of buttered toast (butter side up) to the back of a cat, then dropped the cat from a large height. In 1993, OMNI magazine announced the winner of Competition #54. The paradox, submitted by John Frazee of Kingston, New York, was the grand-prize winner.[2]

Contents

Thought experiments

Some people jokingly maintain that the experiment will produce an anti-gravity effect. They propose that as the cat falls towards the ground, it will slow down and start to rotate, eventually reaching a steady state of hovering a short distance from the ground while rotating at high speed as both the buttered side of the toast and the cat’s feet attempt to land on the ground.[3] In June 2003, Kimberly Miner won a Student Academy Award for her film Perpetual Motion.[4] Miner based her film on a paper written by a high-school friend that explored the potential implications of the cat and buttered toast idea.[5][6]

In humor

The faux paradox has captured the imagination of science-oriented humorists. Testing the theory is the main theme in an episode of the comic book strip Jack B. Quick, the title character seeks to test this theory, leading to the cat hovering above the ground, with the cat's wagging tail providing propulsion. The March 31, 2005, strip of the webcomic Bunny also explored the idea in the guise of a plan for a "Perpetual Motion MoggieToast 5k Power Generator", based on Sod's Law.[7] In Science Askew, Donald E. Simanek comments on this phenomenon.[8]

See also

References

External links


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