Ok, Here’s a Physics question for you guys, in two parts. How do I answer the following problem?

You stand on the seat of a chair and then hop off.

(a) During the time you are in flight down to the floor, the Earth is lurching up toward you with an acceleration a. What is the value of a? Visualize the Earth as a perfectly solid object.

If the seat of the chair is 33 cm off the floor, how far does the Earth move while you are falling?


It’s not Your Stupid Advice’s job to do your physics homework for you, we’re more of an advice column for people who need, well, advice. That said, I think there are some very basic physics lessons that you missed that will help you with this problem, so let’s go ahead and answer this one.

First of all, Newton proved once and for all that objects with different mass will travel to Earth at different speeds. So if I weigh 135 pounds, I will arrive at the earth 32% slower than someone who weighs 190 pounds. This is a basic scientific fact.

Second, I agree that it should be called a flight even though it’s very, very short but saying the Earth is lurching towards you is ridiculous. It’s more of an outright attack on you. The Earth hates when people escape and she will come after you, with a vengeance paralleled only by Michael Myers on Halloween, should you do something to remove yourself from contact. This is also a scientific fact.

Third, the earth is 71.11 percent water, so visualizing the planet as a perfectly solid object is really dumb. This is a fact and then a critical judgement on your mental acuity.

Fourth, 33 centimeters is 12 inches. Where are you going to find a 12 inch chair to jump off of? Hobbiton? I’ve stepped off of curbs higher than 12 inches. If you were to jump off a 33cm chair the earth wouldn’t even know enough to be pissed at you for leaving (see point 2).

Clearly your physics teacher has no idea what he’s talking about. You need to take the points above and write a letter to him to let him know how far off he really is about science. Make sure you remind him that the theory of gravity is just a theory. Also, bring an IKEA catalog with you to show proper measurements for a chair.

After you do that, just sit back and wait for your A. You deserve it.


In an effort to solve this problem I turned to physical experimentation. This is a difficult procedure, because you must remember that at all times, we are hurtling through space at a ridiculous speed. When you take into account the Earth’s rotation, the movement around the sun, the sun’s movement through the galaxy and our spinning across the universe, we are travelling at an estimated speed of 2142720km/h. Once I realized this I had to go have a lie down for awhile. This was unsettling. That is too fast and it makes me queasy.

After a few hours and a light snack, I decided to once again tackle this problem. After I played Batman Arkham City for awhile. Damn that game is good. Seriously, have you tried it? A few hours and you won’t give a damn about physics anymore. I am a professional though and I chose to man up and answer this stupid question so I could get on with the important things in my life.

So…in order to take that pesky speed into account, I chose to represent it as simply R, where R stands for Really Mindbogglingly Fast. The distance from Point A (me) and Point B (Earth) is relatively simple as you have already established this in your question. It is simply 33cm. This constant shall be represented by 33. Since it is a number and already represents what it is (why complicate things?). Let’s hold on to these symbols and we can slot them into our formula later.

We’re moving right along here aren’t we? Ok. We need to establish my moving speed now. I unfortunately suffer from a genetic glandular disorder which causes me to reach terminal velocity almost immediately. This can be problematic and causes me to reach speeds of about 90m/s pretty much instantaneously. If the the chair is .33m tall, this means that it takes me only .22 seconds to crash into the ground with an impact force of 32658.62 N.

With all of these components in mind I stepped aboard the chair to gather some good old hard data. Unfortunately, when I fell, the high speeds and crushing force caused me to shatter my left leg. Currently, I am hospitalized and it looks like it is going to be a long and grueling road to recovery.

I have not answered your question.

I am in immense pain.

I hope you are satisfied with yourself.

You and physics are both assholes and you deserve each other.


One response to “Ok, Here’s a Physics question for you guys, in two parts. How do I answer the following problem?

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