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Bouncing UK Children Cause Earthquake 221

Posted by timothy
from the up-and-down-simultaneously-sounds-impossible dept.
Xibalba writes: "This is kinda cool. One million children in the UK jumped up and down simultaneously in an attempt to see what would seismically happen." This cries out to become an annual (and international) all-ages event. Bounce! Bounce! Gain weight! Bounce! Repeat.
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Bouncing UK Children Cause Earthquake

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  • of a scene from "Pay It Forward" where a student suggests changing the world through a website instructing kids in china to jump at the same time and thus divert the earth off its orbit...

    Didn't think anybody would take this seriously, though...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:03AM (#2266269)
    Just let Steve Ballmer jump around a little again.
  • Isn't it a bit irresposible of those scientists? What if they have made a real big earthquake with damage and such? Shouldn't they be a bit more resposible?
    • by dragons_flight (515217) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:25AM (#2266329) Homepage
      I'd like to think you're joking, but since I'm not sure I'm going to reply anyway.

      They were expecting the jumping to be equivalent to about a magnitude 3 earthquake on the Richter scale which is a common seismic event that shows up on seismographs but which people can't even detect. A significant quake will be more like a 5 or higher on the Richter scale. This scale is logarithmic so a 4 is actually 10 times more powerful than a 3, and a 5 is 10 times a 4.

      Thus the scientists would have to have been mistaken about the impact of all that jumping by a factor of 100 to actually rattle people. Any scientist worth his salt ought to be able to estimate the effect of what he's doing more precisely than 2 orders of magnitude, especially if it might be dangerous for him to be wrong.

      Note: The 10 times factor applies to wave amplitude, energy content scales by about 10*Sqrt(10) or 31 times from one level to the next.
    • No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unformed (225214) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:28AM (#2266333)
      We're British scientists. We don't need reasons to do things, just cool things [laughlab.co.uk] to [rense.com] do [netlondon.com].

      -
      The Lameness filter can filter this.
    • Agreed that this is an experiment that the school children of California should probably pass on.
    • Fear is for lesser scientists. Next week we're bussing the kids to a local bridge [cam.ac.uk] and having them jump in synch.
    • by RedBear (207369) <redbear.redbearnet@com> on Saturday September 08, 2001 @07:25AM (#2266742) Homepage
      What if they have made a real big earthquake with damage and such?

      Lord Richter: "Do not be so proud of these children you've instructed; the power of one million bouncing children is insignificant next to the power of the Force..."

      Commander of Child-Powered Earthquake Machine: "You don't frighten us with your scientist's ways, Lord Richter. Your sad devotion to that ancient profession has not helped you conjure up new fault lines, or given you clairvoyance enough to--urk! Ack! Ick! Urg!"

      Prime Minister Tarkin: "Enough of this! Richter, stop jumping up and down on him!"

      Lord Richter: "As you wish..."

  • Enuf said...

  • A third came up with a more likely, if less exciting scenario.

    ``There will be lots of hospital visits from people with sprained ankles.''


    Well, it wasn't noted who said it, but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say Ruri Hushino. Definitely.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:08AM (#2266285)
    See, the children were in elementary school, which is a higher education than the journalist had.

    Early estimates suggested 75,000 tons of energy had been released during the minute of jumping.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You know, being one of the most "massive" sets of the population, geeks really could have alot of power (much more than we have!). Just imagine if we could concentate just 100,000 of us around particular targets (DMCA, MPAA offices, certain Redmond, VA corporations, legislators houses, etc.)! I can imagine it now: 100,000 CowboyNeal clones, wannabees, jumping up and down, elbow to elbow; sweating like pigs, and wheasing like asmetics, all whilst bringing down international organizations to their knees! MUHAHAHAHAHA!
      • I don't think it would be the earthquakes that would be scaring the "international organizations" to their knees, but rather the sight of thousands of sweaty, wheezing geeks who probably haven't showered in months. Hell, the world could be for the geeks' taking if they wanted to. (I say 'they' because I don't consider myself a geek, I'm too ignorant to be a geek)

    • See, the children were in elementary school, which is a higher education than the journalist had..."Early estimates suggested 75,000 tons of energy had been released during the minute of jumping."

      Y'know, maybe those kids who thought the Earth would shatter aren't so stupid after all, if they relied on that figure. After all, they might have assumed that the idiot journo in question was talking about the mass-equivalent of the energy released, plugged it into e=mc^2, and got...well, a pretty respectable bignum.

  • Scientists said a million children with an average weight of 110 pounds jumping 20 times in a minute would release two billion joules of energy and trigger the equivalent of an earthquake measuring three on the Richter scale.

    So, Chinese would be very easy to collapse the whole world. Gather all their people and make them jump just like that of the experiment! It will create a 3600 Richter earthquake! I've never heard of earthquake with scale 10 or greater. Scale 9 is devastating enough to destroy several counties.

    The hypothesis is invalid, I guess.

    • Re:Consequence? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dutchie (450420)
      It will create a 3600 Richter earthquake!

      Yeah, except the Richter scale is logaritmic. So a Richter 4 is 10 times as strong as a Richter 3. So to cause a Richter 10, 10^7 * 1M people would need to be bouncing up and down.
    • Re:Consequence? (Score:5, Informative)

      by strictnein (318940) <strictfoo-slashdot@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:15AM (#2266301) Homepage Journal
      nope, you just don't understand the richter scale

      an earthquake of 10 is not just 1 notch above an earthquake of 9. It's 10 times more powerful.

      From http://www.everything2.org/index.pl?node_id=515312 &lastnode_id=141724

      Listing is: Richter Scale # - Amount great than Richter Scale of 1 - info

      1 1 no noticeable effects...detected only by seismographs
      2 10 only slightly noticeable even if close to epicenter
      3 100
      4 1,000 slight damage near the epicenter
      5 10,000
      6 100,000 moderate destruction
      7 1,000,000 severe destruction
      8 10,000,000 one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded
      • Chilli had a 9.5, i think that is the biggest

        http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/WORLD/19 60 _05_22.html
      • I think you are also confusing the two scales used to rate the power of an earthquake.

        The richter scale is used for the intensity, whereas the other scale(i think it is called mohs?) is used for the damage caused by the earthquake for the area.

        This can be seen when an earthquake occurs in an area that does not have many earthquakes. Because the buildings aren't earthquake resistant, and people don't have contingency plans the actual damage to property and life is gretaer.(ie high on moh, low on richter).

        The opposite can occur in earthquake resistant areas, where buildings are made to survive earthquakes, and children are trained for earthquake procedures.(ie high on richter, low on moh)

        It has been years since I studied geology, but as far I remember, thats how it works.

        • whereas the other scale(i think it is called mohs?) is used for the damage caused by the earthquake for the area

          Mercalli-Sieberg (at least that's what we learnt at school)

    • sorry, the Richter scale is logrithmic, so it would at best be a 5 or 6.
    • While, everyone has already pointed out that the scale doesn't work that way, I want to add something. Would you really want to use this as a weapon (even if you could)? After all the jumpers and their country would be right at the epicenter of the thing.

      Okay everyone, let's destroy our homeland in order to break some windows belonging to those no good foreign devils.
      • Remember a seismic wave travels at a finite velocity, and waves can be made to constructively interfere.


        If you timed everyone's jump well enough you could make it so that the small vibrations from each individual jump would propagate out of China and all arrive at an outside target at the same time, without any destructive effect inside China.


        Think of it this way: if you had 1000 people drop drops of water into a swimming pool at the same time, and all the drops were on the edge of a circle, you could create a large disturbance in the center of the circle that would be bigger than the disturbance at the drops themselves.


        Now pulling this off would require a fairly advanced model of wave propagation through the earth, as the wave velocity varies through different layers of the crust. You'd probably only be able to concentrate a fraction of the available energy that way. Actually you're guaranteed low efficiency by the laws of thermodynamics. But in principle, concentrating seismic waves is certainly doable. in fact I'm sure there has been some military research into concentrating the seismic waves from precisely timed explosions.

    • ...but this one goes to 11.
    • Perhaps its not so much a question of the number of children dropped, but instead the overall force at which they hit the ground itself.

      The solution - Why not try dropping a million kids from a few thousand feet up in a vacuum chamber and see if it has any effect. ;-)
    • How long could a jump earthquake last? Once it go really going it would be centered on the jumpers themselves.

      Careful what you wish for pudgy english children.
      • Are they as fat as all the North American children these days. I can't believe how many porkers there are running around. It's becoming a fashion statement it seems. Especially for boys. I was driving up north (in Quebec) and saw this sign for a place called Super Aqua Club (a waterslide for those who don't speak french :) Anyway, this sign shows these two ten year olds who probably weighed in at about 160 lbs each. Tabarnac!

        And if you drive south of here and cross the US border it extends to all age groups.

  • Had to check my calendar, with a weirdo article like this, though.
    Guess this is what the Brits do on Friday when they run out of real science to do.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sharkey (16670) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:10AM (#2266291)
    But drop that in one spot and it would have caused quite a big hole in the ground

    They aren't actually suggesting that all of Britain's children be dropped in one spot to see how big a hole they'll make, are they?
    • They aren't actually suggesting that all of Britain's children be dropped in one spot to see how big a hole they'll make, are they?

      Of course not, but some Mr. Swift has a plan for Irish children...
  • WOW! "Early estimates suggested 75,000 tons of energy had been released during the minute of jumping." Couldn't they capture that energy some how. Next time they peddle on exercise bikes that generate electricity and sell it to California. Heck why don't California schools put every kid on a exercise bike for full length of a class period while at school. Physical Ed. is covered and California's energy crisis is cured!
    • Yeah, but what would happen to California if suddenly all its geeks jumped up and down at once? Wouldn't this have a chance of triggering the San Andreas fault, and solving the California power problems in quite a different way (no California => no California power problems...)
  • by dcoffey (170347)
    I remember years ago one of the Australian national radio stations, 3JJJ, tried to get everyone Australia wide to do the same. Everyone was to jump for five minutes at a set time on what was termed 'J-Day'. I can't recall the estimates on the number of jumpers, not more than some thousands I would guess, but I remember that not much happened.
  • Did the children know in advance that the military would be using the data they generated? Not that they'll get much out it.

    Whiners in Califonia and other active areas can all get together to relieve the tension on a regular basis and lessen the damage of those pesky ground movements. The government can start a program to pay homeless and unemployed to jump at designated times and places. Some of the money could come from military budgets.

    "Will jump for cash. My ankles are quite healthy."

  • Toto, this ain't the metric system anymore.
  • by mmmmbeer (107215)
    I saw some of this on tv. The kids didn't actually jump simultaneously. That is, they weren't in synch as they jumped up and down. They did all start and stop at about the same time though, which is what they mean by simultaneous, I guess.
    • by Jace of Fuse! (72042) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @03:44AM (#2266491) Homepage
      The kids didn't actually jump simultaneously.

      It wasn't simultaneously, otherwise the effects WOULD have definately been much greater.

      There is a military command (I can't remember the exact order) given in a march that instructs marching soldiers to lose cadance when crossing a bridge. Failure to do so has been known to collapse bridges as the combined force of dozens of troops marching in unison is capable of creating a powerful ressonance.
      • by GregWebb (26123) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @08:27AM (#2266836)
        While I've certainly heard of this before, its effectiveness may well be limited.

        Has anyone heard of the Millennium bridge across the Thames in London? Pedestrian suspension bridge, kept in suspension sideways IIRC so no tall pillars or overhead cables. Problem was, it wobbled. It wasn't damped enough so could sway quite noticeably from side to side and was closed. There was then a controlled re-opening for people who knew full well it would wobble. They then realised they were going to have to have squads of staff to break up those maliciously walking in step and so amplifying any forces.

        The problem, though, was that with the bridge wobbling sideways people were inevitably going to try and stabilise themselves so as not to collapse. So, as you feel a wobble sideways you brace yourself against it and so exert a sideways force on the bridge which makes it wobble in that direction... and you get the idea. Everyone quickly falls into step with each other, so amplifying the wobble...

        Spot the problem.
      • "Route step, march!"
    • Phased array jumping is much more effective.

      There was a more sophisticated idea by Daedalus (in Nature?) a few years ago; instead of jumping all together, phase the jumping spatially in order to direct the energy. By carefully controlling the order of jumps one can focus the resultant energy at any point around the earth - similar to phased array radars.
  • by dohnut (189348) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:19AM (#2266316)
    • by VValdo (10446)
      ...I have instant access via my Apple 380S GT to all the world's data banks...

      Instant access via his what ?

      W

  • by suss (158993)
    Quoting from a website:In 1998, Primus were at Pinkpop, where they caused a small earthquake (1.2 Richter). That was a record. The band to surpass the record, which was done the same day, is Rage against the Machine.

    Those kids could've learned something from those metalheads... they were actually jumping up and down to that music too!
  • (here [paintthemoon.org]) except that this actually worked.

    And think about it, how cool would it be to be 6 years old, and tell your parents "You can't punish me, or I'll earthquake your room."
  • here in colorado USA they measured a 3.0 earthquake in the Trinidad region. Colorado has rare and usually never any serious earthquakes. The fact that trinidad near the arizona border had a small earthquake and this seem almost related. It would be funny if those kids did cause the quake here in colorado.
  • I believe they already do something like this in San Francisco every year.

    On April 1st, some San Franciscans participate in the "Leap of Faith". Much of San Francisco is built on landfill (filled in ocean - not actually a garbage dump, I think). Anyway, everybody lines up on the "land" side of the dividing line, and at the same time they all jump and land on the other side. If half of San Francisco goes down the tubes... Pat Buchanan will probably call it "The wrath of God".

    • On April 1st,

      Yeah, right...

    • You know, I try to follow what I call the "Ummm Rule". It's based on the idea that if my explanation for a hypothetical accident begins with "Ummm...see, it was like this...", than maybe I need to reconsider my plans.

      ("You left the keys in the car?"

      ("Ummm, yeah, see, 'cause I was only going in for a minute...")

      As improbable as it seems, this would seem to me to be a classic Ummm situation:

      "You destroyed half of San Francisco for a laugh!?"

      "Ummm, well, yeah, but we didn't think it would ever really work...!"

  • To no use (Score:5, Informative)

    by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:38AM (#2266346) Homepage Journal
    According to the BBC [bbc.co.uk] the result was... not much.

    For those /.'ers who sneer at reading linked articles the kids just went out and jumped about for a minute. No attempt at synchronization beyond a wall clock and some teacher calling out "OK Luvvies - jump about now!" There wasn't even an attempt to get the kids on a beat (apparently BBC1 couldn't be persuaded to play Queen's "We Will Rock You" at the right time ;-)

    However as directly useless as this may be to science it's doubtless opened the eye's of Britians youth to what promises to be only the first of the many pointless exercises they will be required to go through in their lives, always a lesson worth learning.

    • Re:To no use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chester K (145560) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @01:59AM (#2266366) Homepage
      However as directly useless as this may be to science it's doubtless opened the eye's of Britians youth to what promises to be only the first of the many pointless exercises they will be required to go through in their lives, always a lesson worth learning.

      It also could have interested a few children in seismology, or science in general, and some of those children may grow up to become a world-reknowned scientist who discovers a way to accurately predict earthquakes, saving innumerable lives.

      But it's much more fun to be jaded, isn't it?
    • However as directly useless as this may be to science

      Well, the article in the "story" said that some people are going to be using the data to study how long vibrations move around in the crust of the earth, which I guess could provide some usefull data.
  • When I was a child, I often thought of what would occur if a huge number of people jumped simultaneously, but I never really thought it would happen. Apparently, though, if you have a PhD in Physics and a little notebook of all your kiddy schemes, then you can have them carried out as "research". Can't wait to see what will be in the news next. Im guessing something where we see what will happen if everyone in the world flushes their toilets simultaneously. Will this cause the polar caps melt, or the oceans to drain? Find out on yahoo! (or slashdot)
    • I was in a dorm a few years back and the occupants did almost the same thing. All of us flushed our toilets (approx 400 toilets) simultaniously (timed to when the local news started). Dunno what the hell happened, but we flooded the basement somehow. (5 floors, we had a math guru time the floors, sort of a time on target thing, and the first floor flushed 4 seconds after the music started, 2nd 3 sec, 3rd 2 sec, 4th 1 sec, 5th as they heard it)
      It was a while back...
    • Congratulations. You're the recipient of today's "Stick in the mud" award. Wear it proudly. Now take a bath.
  • I was listening to NPR last night, they were interviewing one of these scientists. Said he got the idea from an Oasis concert, guess people miles away were calling about an earthquake from all the fans jumping up and down. The vibrations could be felt farther away than the music could be heard. Kinda cool.
  • You will deposit exactly $100,000,000,000 in the Bank of Erehwon by noon on the last day of September 2001!

    If you fail in this, we shall ship all our children to your countries, hopped up on sugar and caffiene, and instruct them to jump up and down.

    They will do this in one major city EACH DAY, until our demands ar met!

    Ignore us at your own peril!

    [Note for the terminally humor impaired] The preceeding was an attempt at HUMOR. Commonly known as a JOKE.
  • See also... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cerberus9 (466562)
    Reminds me of:

    1) the effect when thousands of soldiers crossing a bridge intentionally fall out of step to avoid setting up sympathetic vibrations in the bridge, thus collapsing it (which used to be a real problem before they figured out the cause!)

    2) for the Chinese scanario: instead of having them all jump off a chair in their homes, line them up on the shoreline and have them dive in to the surf simultaneously - possibly setting up a tseunami heading eastward.
    • It's standard procedure in the U.S. Army to order "route step" (unsynchronized marching) while crossing a bridge. I suspect the bit about sympathetic vibrations causing a bridge to collapse is mostly an urban legend, at least for modern bridges. This page [utexas.edu] describes a structural failure of a hotel walkway during a dance. From what I remember, the cause was found to be inadequate design and construction of the walkway.
      • I suspect the bit about sympathetic vibrations causing a bridge to collapse is mostly an urban legend

        ROUTE STEP! That's it! I had forgotten!

        No, it's not an urban legend. I remember seeing a Black and White video clip that was inserted into an instructional video where a bridge began bouncing to the point that soliders were falling down over themselves. Apparently, some weaker bridges HAVE collapsed or sustained damage, and thus ROUTE STEP was created out of necessity. I remember specifically the video said that while some well constructed modern bridges probably would not collapse, the order is to be given regardless as a matter of standard practice to prevent possible "bad judgement calls".
        • It's all about google.

          http://www.3rdwisconsin.org/history/camp_hamilto n/ camp_hamilton_01.html

          The third paragraph explains how route step came to be.

        • Apparently, some weaker bridges HAVE collapsed or sustained damage

          you've written several confused posts now: you're on the right track but you've got the different concepts all muddled. it is not the strength of the bridge, nor is it the combined energy of the marchers, though those things do play a role.

          What is important to the collapse is the undamped resonance of the bridge which stores the energy as it is added to the system.

      • I suspect the bit about sympathetic vibrations causing a bridge to collapse is mostly an urban legend, at least for modern bridges.

        Tell that to Arup, Foster, and Caro. Although it didn't collapse, the so-called Millenium Bridge which they were responsible for over the Thames in London had to be closed to the public a day or so after being declared open because it swayed too much. That was in the middle of last year, and as far as I know it's still closed. Apparently one of its resonances was near enough to a multiple of average walking pace to cause trouble, and once the swaying started, people's reactions tended to syncronise their movements to the bridge's. They're talking about fitting expensive dampers - but perhaps a few retired army officers would do as well:

        "Break step, you horrible little people! Break step, I say!"

        There's more information about it all here [arup.com].

      • Re:See also... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bazoungus (125200)
        I suspect the bit about sympathetic vibrations causing a bridge to collapse is mostly an urban legend, at least for modern bridges

        It did happen on April the 16th 1850 in France, when a troop crossed a suspension bridge durong a storm near Angers (the Basse-Chaine bridge, over the river Maine) causing 220 soldiers to drown.

        There's a good sum up of the event here [www.cnam.fr] (in English)

        The cause is supposed to be the addition of gusts of wind causing the bridge to sway, and the troop marching steps, all giving a phenomenon of resonance.

        and it even was reported in the New york Herald at the time :

        http://www.goodbyemag.com/may00/herald-deaths.html [goodbyemag.com] (in English)

        however, the causes are very similar to what happened to the Tacoma Narrows bridge, on nov 07 th 1940, catastrophic wind swaying.

        I'm happy to share this part of my history,

        Baz.
      • There was a show on TLC/Discovery/The History Channel (damned if I can tell tem apart anymore) the other day that mentioned that when the Brooklyn Bridge was complete, the Army marched a brigade over it in step, as a deliberate statement of faith in the massive design.

        I remember the KC collapse, although swaying to the music was news to me. IIRC, the design was fine, but the plans had been modified during construction, replacing one big continuous rod with two smaller rods in series. I particularly recall a friend of mine, then an engineering student close to graduation, proudly noting that the decision had apparently been made by a junior engineer, "just like me!" :)

  • How como nobody have mentioned The great dinosaur robbery [amazon.com], where lots of secret agents (and a posse of elite nannies) go after chinese plans to "jump down"? Imagine, if 3 million english schoolchildren can create one/hundredth of a earthquake, what could half a billion of chinese people do? Create a couple of earthquakes? Problem is, they would probable only hurt themselves...
  • by ScottBob (244972) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @03:29AM (#2266478)
    In 1988, football fans literally caused an earthquake when Louisiana State University's quarterback threw a touchdown pass on a fourth-and-nine with 1 minute, 41 seconds remaining in the game, to beat Auburn 7-6. 79,431 cheering fans inside Tiger Stadium ("Death Valley") jumping to their feet all at once caused an earthquake that registered around 3 or so on the seismograph inside the nearby geological sciences building.


    But in the years since, the seismograph has fallen to the budget axe, and Tiger Stadium has been expanded to hold over 90,000. So if a "squeaker" of a game like that ever was to happen again, the resulting earthquake may topple the Louisiana state capitol building and ring bells in Alabama, but no one on campus will know how strong it was...

  • Surely for the restaging next year we should get BBC Radio 1,2,4 and 5 to simulcast Gabby Roslin or Chris Moyles introducing a classic Status Quo number which everyone is to pogo about and air guitar to for a minute.

    Get everyone in time with the radio and I'm sure the effect will be much better. This attempt musn't have been significantly different from that found every day at 3:30 when the schools kick out!

    Get everyone Rocking All Over The World (although I'd prefer Down Down myself!) and I'll bet we could cause a tsunami!
  • Let's hope China will not try to beat this "unofficial record". I just paid mortgage for my house !!!
  • From The Straight Dope: If all Chinese jumped at once, would cataclysm result?
    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_155.html
  • But I've also heard the (thought) experiment that if all of Earth's population decided to jump on one side of the Earth, that they'd knock it out of its orbit.

    Interesting way to perform stellar engineering...global warming? Nah, let's knock back the earth from the Sun a few hundred thousand miles ;-P.
    • #include <IAAP.h>

      Well, I haven't checked the calculations, but even if this de-orbits Earth, it will return to its orbit when the people come down again. There's something called conservation of momentum to ensure this.

    • I think nuclear bombs are more powerful than all the world's people jumping. And a meteor is far more powerful than that.

      Also, the world would have to move tens of billions of miles for appreciable climate change. The earth already moves over a billion towards and away from the sun in its yearly irregular orbit. In fact, the northern hemisphere's winter takes place when the earth is one billion miles closer.
      • Also, the world would have to move tens of billions of miles for appreciable climate change. The earth already moves over a billion towards and away from the sun in its yearly irregular orbit. In fact, the northern hemisphere's winter takes place when the earth is one billion miles closer.

        That's impressive considering the average radius of Earch's orbit is 96 MILLion miles.

  • by ch-chuck (9622) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @06:40AM (#2266690) Homepage
    For our next big event, on signal, lets all simultaneously:

    1) flush toilets
    2) pick up a telephone handset
    3) switch on a large electrical appliance
    4) call for Chinese take out delivery
    5) withdraw funds from the bank
    6) visit the same web site
    • There was the experiment that was done in the early days of cellular telephony here in the US. A guy filled a football stadium-sized parking lot with people, loaned them all cell phones, had them dial, and then everybody pressed SEND at the same time. The point he was making was that the cellular system wouldn't handle such an event gracefully.

      It didn't. It crashed not only the local cell site, but several others as well.

      Of course, this is in a microcosmn what happens when there is a big "event" such as an earthquake or bombing - everybody tries to call Aunt Phillis and the cell network goes down. That's when we hams get busy....
      • Likely some of those were nearby cells which some phones got handed off to in order to deal with the load.

        A given location can access more than one given cell site, where I live, I've seen my phone connecting to 4 different ones, right in the same place (debug mode on the phone is cool ;)).

        So you can't say strictly that any site is part of one and only one cell. A failed site, a bush, etc can cause the loss or degradation of a signal which will cause the phone to look elsewhere.

        Often the phone can and does, then work off another site.

        • Actually, it wasn't the handoffs that killed the system. When the first site failed, it killed all of the sites that were part of that network via the trunk lines connecting the sites. The trunk lines are how the sites communicate hand-off messages, look up subscriber data, etc.

          There was a bug in the site firmware, and so when it overloaded, it started sending garbage over the trunks.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sure laugh about that, but keep in mind this is slashdot. remeber the time some poor guy wired his central heating up to the net alowing visitors of his site to change the temperature in his home by 0.001 degrees / visitor. all fun and games watching the temperature go up and down on a webcam aimed at a old fashioned thermometer until someone posted the sugestion "lets all turn the heat up guys" *and* got modded up...
    • #6 has all ready been done. It's called slashdotting.
  • by HardFocus (87842) on Saturday September 08, 2001 @07:46AM (#2266765) Homepage

    This story reminded me of Tesla's Earthquake machine [primenet.com] which, if you believe the stories, demonstrates just how much damage you can inflict when you hit the resonant frequency with a modest amount of power.

  • From the article:
    Early estimates suggested 75,000 tons of energy had been released during the minute of jumping.


    Exactly what do they think they mean by 75,000 tons of energy? Do they mean
    • "The energy of 75,000 tons of TNT detonating" (or 75 kT)
    • "The energy of a 75,000 ton object falling (an unspecified distance)"
    • Or for the pendantic: "An amount of energy equivelent to 75,000 tons of matter at E=MC^2"


    <sarcasm>
    Gosh, I do so love reporters and editors who are right on top of sceince <sic>
    </sarcasm>
  • Elsewhere around the world, the Weekly World News is still reporting that the chineese are going to drive their cars all in the same direction at the same time in order to change the rotation of the earth. Apparently the Russians are planning on flushing their toilets all at the same time in hopes that the rotation of the water in the toilets will send the earth plumetting into the cosmos.
  • by mrv (20506)
    Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, there was a "prediction" that there would be a great earthquake to hit the Mississippi River valley. (I think it was predicted for an intercontinental plate line running near St. Louis.)

    Anyhow, during the week or so of hyped-up media coverage (slow news week?), there were several "Fat is Beautiful"-type groups (and maybe a few weight-loss groups, too, I don't remember) that all decided to stand on the fault line and jump in unison, to get the big earthquake started. The earthquake never happened, but...

(1) Never draw what you can copy. (2) Never copy what you can trace. (3) Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

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