Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Physics strikes again

So there I was, driving home from the OES thing on Sunday. In the back of the car were several helium balloons. (The dinner involved *vast* numbers of balloons, and the cleanup crew simply stuffed about half of them into the Associate Grand Matron's hotel suite, producing a thicket of strings hanging down from the ceiling. As her Marshal, msmemory agreed to take a few off her hands.) One of the balloons was deflating just enough to be floating relatively free in the car. And as I was driving, something was bugging me.

It took several minutes to puzzle out exactly *what* was bothering me, but I eventually got it. Every time I stepped on the gas, the balloon would float forward. Every time I braked, it would float backwards. Precisely the opposite of what every instinct tells me about acceleration and deceleration.

After a minute or two, I managed to construct a plausible explanation of why it was happening (having to do with the movement of air within the accelerating car). But yay for simple demonstrations that physics can still surprise me...

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