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Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why beanball wars are stupid

Jun 12, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

Even though Neil deGrasse Tyson is on record preferring Superman to Batman, he does retain at least some residual credibility in a few areas. Such as physics. And based on these tweets from a few minutes ago he was watching the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game last night:



I am not a physicist by a longshot, but I’m feeling like, even though I agree with his point, there’s something off about the comparison as it relates to the shape of the objects, spin and stuff like that. I mean, I don’t ever want to see guys hit in the head with a ball, but I sort of feel like 100 guys hit in the head with 90 m.p.h. fastballs would do better, on the whole, than 100 guys shot in the head with a .22.

Or am I falling victim to the old “which weighs more, 100 pounds of lead or 100 pounds of feathers” joke? I may be. There’s a reason why I was a social sciences major.

104 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. earpaniac - Jun 13, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    Like I said, over 50! Green Lanterns tried to stop Superboy-Prime, and the official death toll was 32! And you think just one can stop Superman?!

  2. txnative61 - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Everybody seems to be really over-thinking this. Simple way to determine who’s correct—all believing the bullet the same conduct a practical experiment by standing in front of each—–then have an observer report the results. I suggest trying the baseball first.

  3. ghostfishhunter - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    So a baseball weighs 2187 grains (7000 grains per pound @ 5 ounces) and travels 132 FPS at 90mph

    An (average) .22 bullet weighs 40 grains and travels (average) around 1200 FPS

    the formula for foot pounds of energy is – Energy=(Weight x Velocity squared)/450395 (fixed constant)

    So a baseball traveling at 90mph and weighing 5oz imparts 85 foot pounds of force on a stationary object.

    A .22 bullet traveling at 1200 FPS and weighing 40 grains imparts 140 foot pounds.

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