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Lead and Rubber Drop

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 Puzzle ID: #18327 Fun: (2.49) Difficulty: (1.55) Category: Science Submitted By: gander Corrected By: Gander

You're standing on the edge of an ocean with a high powered rifle and a small rubber ball. The ocean is smooth and there is no wind. Holding the rifle level with the ground six feet high, you fire a bullet out to sea. The very instant the bullet leaves the barrel you drop the small rubber ball from the same height as the rifle. Which will hit the water first, the bullet or the ball?

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Comments

 doggyxp Jul 23, 2004 Cool. jimbo Jul 26, 2004 When I read the problem, I wondered whether your answer would take the Earth's curvature into account. Good puzzle! Gander Jul 31, 2004 Thankyou, this is my first teaser. coastcomfort Aug 01, 2004 This would be a better trick question in my opinion. I said the bullet would hit the water first, because the ball would hit the ground where your standing. If I really have to factor the curve of the earth, (although the degree of difference in @2miles would be negligable) then I would also have to account for the 4"-10" rise in the bullet that is experienced due to the rifeling. Good one though, thanks. bluetwo Nov 12, 2004 obviously the bullet. you didn't take into account the 15' wave, did you? cornfused Mar 21, 2005 Good one. I took into account the 15' wave and still guessed the ball. That 15' wave was 30 miles out. Nicholle Apr 21, 2005 I don't understand the deal with the wave. hard tho! shandela May 02, 2005 lol about the wave. didn't take into account the curvature but depending on the size and composition of the ball, would it have been high enough for air friction to effect it? shandela May 02, 2005 ooh, and wind currents could make a differnce to. pretend there's a large updraft and it's a very light ball so the wind blows the ball up before it starts coming down. but ignore me, i'm just being obnoxious. Gander May 06, 2005 Uh huh, your right! It could have been a beach ball. lessthanjake789 May 28, 2005 well, as someone mentioned, the curvature in such a distance would most likely be negligible, but there is another reason the ball would hit first - you measure height from the center of a uniform object. im assuming the ball is bigger than the bullet... well the outer edge of the ball will touch before the outer edge of the bullet does, but again, this is still splitting hairs, as is the curvature-related answer bookworm91 Nov 10, 2005 i didnt get the curvature of the earth part. i just figured the ball only has to drop, and the bullet has to shoot forward and fall in a sort of arc, which makes its travel distance a lot farther. good one. Warrior_Poet Jan 19, 2006 The curvature of the earth is not sufficient to say that the ball hits first. If you want to stray from the truth that they hit at the same time, you would also have had to tell us where the moon and sun were in relation to the earth, causing tides to shift, and taken into account the resistance of the air. Use the simplified model or the real one, but don't make half-assed assumptions like curvature of the earth. brandiMcBride20 Feb 27, 2006 I am more concerned for the poor unfortunate guy out there having a peaceful day of fishing,, then wiz! splat!

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