Monday, August 21, 2006

A study in contrasts

My 7-year old daughter asks out of the blue, "What's 149 +137?" I pull up a sheet of paper and start to show her how to figure it out, but she waves me away, thinks a bit, and says, "It's 286, isn't it?"

"That's right! Yay!"

That afternoon my husband comes home talking about his chemistry students, "When I mentioned the Chinese working on a space elevator for a lunar colony, a 17-year old senior in the class started laughing so hard he couldn't sit up straight. 'It'll never work! What will they do when the moon isn't in the sky? It goes down in the daytime!' Seventeen years old, a high school senior, and no one had ever taught him that the moon orbits around the earth."

4 comments:

Pat said...

Oh, my, your comments make me SO glad my kids didn't go to school in your state! Or are we looking at the difference between 1980 and 2006?

OTH, your kids are decidedly outliers on the curve.

Lioness said...

No, all that happened on the same day.

Brian Dunbar said...

"When I mentioned the Chinese working on a space elevator for a lunar colony, a 17-year old senior in the class started laughing so hard he couldn't sit up straight. 'It'll never work! What will they do when the moon isn't in the sky? It goes down in the daytime!' Seventeen years old, a high school senior, and no one had ever taught him that the moon orbits around the earth."

If you're talking an elevator connecting the earth to the moon - he's right. The moon doesn't stay over a single spot on the earth (of course you know this).

However there is a possibility of a lunar space elevator working - from a point in orbit around the moon to the surface. NIAC granted a study covering just that two years ago.

Also we think a earth - orbit elevator will work just fine.

brian dunbar
liftport

Henry Cate said...

My wife's comment was "That's a amazing."

I wonder if the boy knows the earth is round.