Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Abnormal Force

I always hated the Normal Force in physics.

The idea that there is a force, intrinsic to all things, the moment you set one object down upon the other, thus converting all of the top object's kinetic energy into potential energy. And this force is miraculously exactly equal to the weight of the object, effectively negating gravity's pull and supporting the object by pressing up against it from beneath.


I call bullshit. Grab your mops and brooms, kids, I'm formalizing a declaration of shenanigans.

This "Normal" force is just the structural integrity of any object. It's saying something is "solid" and sturdy enough to support a weight on top of it without snapping in half like a .GIF of a fat person breaking a tiny chair. There is no "structural integrity field." Trust me, I've seen science fiction. It'd be great if there were, but there isn't. "Normal force" is just shoddily designed math to make physics professors happy. Oh, the math balances. Great for you! You know what doesn't balance? Physical structures. They sink. Because the ground doesn't have a magic number holding it up. It has amorfous dirt and bedrock.

Today I met a computer engineer, whose degree was initially in chemistry, though he worked with physics mostly. We got talking about calculus, then Riemann sums and spatial understandings of math and tesseracts, and then I just out and out called bullshit on the Normal Force to his face.

And he agreed with me. He openly admitted that Normal Force is just fudging numbers to make all the forces come out equal on paper. God forbid an object at rest is actually pulled upon by gravity forever and supported by only mostly stable matter beneath it. Fat guys are fat until they break the chair, they don't find a perfect balance and stay in place forever.

So there you have it, Mr. Lopez. You may have been fun in high school physics class, but I just got a scientist to agree with me. Normal Force is bullshit, and you could have just told me so, but you stuck to your guns and just played your smooth jazz.

But now I have an English degree and work in tech support, so who's laughing n–


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