Measured Against Reality

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Falling Physics

This Straight Dope article on surviving high falls is good, but I think it lacks one specific fact. One question involved blacking out during freefall, and I think it's important to mention that you black out because of acceleration, not speed. Your velocity could be anything and you'd be just fine, because any constant velocity is indistinguishable from another (and hence from rest). But accelerations will black you out, at something around 10 g's (that's acceleration due to gravity, 32 ft/s^2 or 9.8m/s^2). But during free fall you're experiencing less than one g (less than because of air resistance).

Well that's not quite true, when you hit the ground you're going to get quite a few g's, but up until then you're golden (it's not the fall that kills you...)

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