View previous topic | View next topic

Impossible

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

Jenny
737778.  Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:50 pm Reply with quote

There must be a lot of quite interesting things that seem impossible mustn't there?

I came across one I'd never heard of before today - dry water, although it has apparently been around since 1968.

Dry water is 95% water surrounded by modified silica which keeps it from reforming into liquid, so it is powdery. It was intended for cosmetic use but has been discovered to speed up catalyzed reactions and have incredible storing capabilities. It can store three times more carbon dioxide than water or silica separately, and also store methane. It is easier to transport and safer as a storage mechanism for harmful liquids.

It also speeds up the reaction between hydrogen and maleic acid to create succinic acid, a widely used product.

More details here and here.

 
Zebra57
737933.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:44 pm Reply with quote

The river that runs uphill.

 
Spud McLaren
737953.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:09 pm Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
The river that runs uphill.
This?

Or this?

Not this, though.

No rivers run uphill.

 
Alfred E Neuman
737980.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:44 pm Reply with quote

I liked this quote from the wiki.ansers.com link:-

Quote:
There are some rivers that run from south to north (which is opposite of most), and some that seem to run "backwards",


Most rivers run north to south? They do? Seems at the very least to be slightly parochial.

 
Jenny
738001.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:36 pm Reply with quote

St John, New Brunswick, has reversing waterfalls, unlikely as that sounds - I've seen them.

 
Jenny
738002.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:39 pm Reply with quote

Reddy's post 737773 on internal decapitation might be another 'impossible' as well.

 
PDR
738008.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:07 pm Reply with quote

A vectored-thrust VTOL aeroplane can simultaneously get 8,600lbs of vertical thrust and 5,000lbs of forward thrust (a total of 13,600lbs) from a single engine that is only developing 10,000lbs of thrust with the nozzles inclined 60 degrees downwards. So 3,600lbs of "free thrust" appears in an impossible burst of geometric obstinacy...

If seperate lift and thrust engines were used this would not be possible, and it's the primary reason for the choice of the single-engined vectored thrust layout for the Harrier (still the world's only effective operational VTOL fast jet). Hawker's marketing department once tried to brand it "Geometric Thrust Augmentation", but it never caught on. The real benefit comes in the STOL and ski-jump performance rather than actual VTOL performance.

NALOPKT(&EFGAS)

PDR

 
Spud McLaren
738017.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:00 pm Reply with quote

I'm sure this applies to many combinations, but one I remember from Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopedia was that you can take a pint of an alcohol and mix it with a pint of water, but the resulting mixture will occupy only 1.92 pints.

 
Zebra57
738019.  Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:12 pm Reply with quote

Spud wrote "No rivers run uphill", while this is basically true there are situations when the impossible occurs.

Between December 1811and February 1812 the massive New Madrid Earthquakes were reported to have reversed the flow of the River Mississippi.

 
RLDavies
738045.  Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:37 am Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
Spud wrote "No rivers run uphill", while this is basically true there are situations when the impossible occurs.

Between December 1811and February 1812 the massive New Madrid Earthquakes were reported to have reversed the flow of the River Mississippi.

Oh, that reminds me of a quibble I had with the show. When discussing the New Madrid earthquake many series ago, the redoubtable Mr Fry pronounced the town as if it was the Spanish city of Mahd-RID. But, as anyone from Missouri will tell you, it's MADD-rid.

And it was indeed a dem'd big earthquake. Rang the church bells in Boston.

 
Spud McLaren
738076.  Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:51 am Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
Spud wrote "No rivers run uphill", while this is basically true there are situations when the impossible occurs.

Between December 1811and February 1812 the massive New Madrid Earthquakes were reported to have reversed the flow of the River Mississippi.
But that's running backwards, or (more accurately) in the opposite direction from that which it normally takes - not "uphill". The lie of the land altered. The water still flowed from one location to a slightly lower one, it's just that the slightly lower one was formerly the slightly higher one. In fact

"There were temporary river waterfalls where the Mississippi ran backwards during 1811-12 earthquakes. It happened early on Feb. 7, 1812, when a thrust fault created a sudden dam several feet high in the bottom of the river loop near New Madrid.

The main section involved was from island 10 northward about 10 miles to island 8. It lasted for a few hours, though the new dams/waterfalls lasted for a few DAYS, and ruined several flatboats."

from http://showme.net/~fkeller/quake/mississippi_river_ran_backward.htm


In effect, a dam was suddenly created and the water backed up. That's completely different from defying gravity and flowing uphill. You can get water to flow uphill, but either by use of specific additives, or under lab conditions.

 
Jenny
738174.  Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:54 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
When discussing the New Madrid earthquake many series ago, the redoubtable Mr Fry pronounced the town as if it was the Spanish city of Mahd-RID. But, as anyone from Missouri will tell you, it's MADD-rid.


And Madrid in Maine is pronounced MADE-rid, Vienna is pronounced Vy-EN-na, and Calais pronounced CAL-us to rhyme with palace.

Edited for typo.


Last edited by Jenny on Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Neotenic
743671.  Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:08 am Reply with quote

When telephones were impossible

There's also this, apparently from an item in a New York paper in 1868;

Quote:
A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires.

 
PDR
743674.  Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:24 am Reply with quote

They were quite right - it is impossible. No human voice ever gets past the menu system...

PDR

 
Flash
743678.  Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:44 am Reply with quote

Neo - my spidey sense reckons that Popular Science was either the victim or the perpetrator of a hoax, there. An interesting thing, though: if you scroll up a couple of pages from the 1928 article you link to, there's a description of a working fax machine (under the title "Shorthand sent by telephoto", top of p72).

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group