The journey to work this morning was completely doppelganger free and, for a change, I had no reason to question reality at all. The only fly in the ointment, so to speak, was a large wasp which boarded the 08:57 train at Queen’s Park station without a ticket. As we set off, I began to question whether the wasp was having to fly at 40mph inside the moving train carriage to maintain its constant, and threatening, position right next to my head. I was always rubbish at physics, and the subject of Relative Motion, along with wondering how to save myself in the event of a lift crash has always troubled me.

As the train accelerated, the wasp fell back down the carriage a bit, which seemed to support my initial hypothesis, but once we reached a constant speed again, it was back with a vengeance. I reckoned that if it was having to fly at 40mph but couldn’t understand why it wasn’t getting anywhere, it might get really angry and then sting me in order to get something solid to hang on to for a rest. It wouldn’t mind dying in the process, because wasps are perverse that way. Their only reason for existence is to frighten people in enclosed spaces before casually stinging them anyway.

Just as I was about to observe the wasp’s flight pattern in relation to the train’s acceleration and deceleration in a little more detail, the train stopped and the stripey blighter got out at the next station.

I can only assume it must have seen the ticket man coming.

(If anyone knows the answer to what speed the wasp was flying at, if the train was travelling at 40mph, please put me out of my misery)

4 Responses to “Bzzzzzzz”

  1. 1 the physicist's wife April 29, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    The physicist informs me that the wasp is flying at 0 miles per hour relative to the train, and 40 miles per hour relative to the platform. Then there was a lot of waffle about Eistein’s Theory of Relativity, and I didn’t get the hang of how the speed of light came into it, but it did seem to. Some child of our acquaintance did recently ask the physicist about jumping on a moving train and why don’t you land further back in the carriage if you try to jump straight up in the air, and we were treated to diagrams. And of course, bearing in mind the speed our planet is moving at, and the galaxy, it all adds up to making the concept of staying still quite impossible.

    • 2 moiradancer April 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      I get the first bit, and I’m with the child of your acquaintance re jumping on the moving train, no matter what the diagrams might say. I particularly love the poetry of the last bit, but I still don’t know what to do if the rope snaps on the lift I’m travelling in

      • 3 kentigern May 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm

        Nothing, you’ll hit the bottom at the same velocity as the lift will, standing or jumping.

        In normal operation it is almost impossible for a lift to freefall so I wouldn’t worry unduly.

  2. 4 moiradancer May 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Oh no, I thought a well timed jump was all I needed. I’m sticking to the stairs from now on

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