The airplane-treadmill conundrum

“Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway. The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction. Can the plane take off? “I say no, because the plane will not move relative the the ground and air, and thus, very little air will flow over the wings. However, other people are convinced that since the wheels of a plane are free spinning, and not powered by the engines, and the engines provide thrust against the air, that somehow that makes a difference and air will flow over the wing.”

The plane will take off.  It's a badly worded question.  Why?

This article is something that only happens in bad novels, or so I thought.  Somebody finds an acetate of the first studio sessions of the Velvet Underground, that was never released, and bought it in a yard sale in Chelsea for a quarter.

Goldmine - The Collector's Record and Compact Disc Marketplace

Cory Doctorow says I should read this.  I always listen to Cory. Peter Watts' Backlist


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12 December 2006