17 January, 2006

Physics 1.0

There are two kinds of men; the ones who are driven, and those unfortunates who aren't. When it comes to games, sport, and in general, any physical strain other than the usual functions, i fall into category two. It requires brute force, or divine intervention, to get me to go run around. Oh, and yes. recently, i was forced to add another reason to that list. The sight of my ever growing belly. (for ease of understanding, and to deliver an effect that english rarely can, i shall call this part of my body by the tamil word i.e. 'toppai'.)

So basically, i started playing badminton. Now, there might be certain sceptics who believe that true exercise can only be achieved by Jai Alai, my friend being the foremost (she believes it's a pregnant ladies' game). I don't. Its a beautiful game, teaches you a lot. We learn a lot of things in life from sport. These baddy days are no exception.

Physics. The greek tragedy of my life. Something that has always remained just that elusive to my intellect. And also the single reason why I ended up doing Civil Engineering after my HSCE. And 5 years later, i learn some of these fundaes, on the baddy court.

Picture this. A doubles game is on. In the middle of a rally, some smart aleck (on the other team, obviously) hits a drop shot. I'm closer to the shuttle (which is falling rapidly) than my unfortunate partner. I reach out, while trying to move to the shuttle. But NO! my feet are made of lead, and i cannot move. This is one of those situations where, as i have mentioned earlier, you are either driven to move, or you are not. I, unfortunately, am simply not able to make myself do so, for reasons unbeknownst to myself. Seeing my puzzled expression, my partner says, "why did i have to get a partner who has such high inertia?"
Physics spake thus : A body in rest, will continue to remain in rest unless some external force is used. Conversely, a body in motion, will continue to remain in motion, in the absence of any external force. In my case, read as "I will not move for the shuttle, unless it is within arms reach. If by any chance an exception (that proves the rule) occurs, I will either run into the net, or my partner."
Just to prove his point, I run into him the next time around. Perfect day. For both me and my partner.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle: Moment of inertia mastered, I now realise that my toppai is the culprit. Solution: play more badminton. The Inertia should reduce as time goes on. So here I am, playing badminton again. Another day, and another partner. The score: 4-6, and the other side serves. a couple of shots later, i see the shuttle coming toward me. Nothing too difficult. A nice lollipop. Any decent player, with half his wits around, would be able to dispose of it with consumnate ease. Me, I smack my lips, ready the racket, and swing at where i think the shuttle should be. Contact is made, but without the usual slap noise associated with it.
Next i know, the point is won. I try to locate the shuttle, in the area I expected it to fall. But no shuttle there. It's in the other quarter, which providentially was vacant.
Physics spake: for a moving particle, either the position or the velocity is known. If one is known, there will be a delta error to the other. read as " when i think the shuttle will reach me at time x, the area within which the shuttle might probably make contact will be defined by the contours of the racket. hence the resultant velocity and direction of motion, will be subject to an error factor, which depends on the degree of uncertainty of the position of the shuttle in the first place" (Phew!!)
I've won the maximum number of points off the rim. All hail.
Parallax Error:
The flip side is that, when the error in the position becomes too high, it goes beyond the purview of this law. For two reasons. One, the error is no longer representable as delta. Two, in this case, I lose the point. and there is no law governing losing(nobody has ever come out with a book which says "you can lose" have they?) But englishmen being what they are, give nice names to things that are not bound by any law of the land, or of Mr. Physics.
The weakest part of my game (somebody asked me a couple of weeks ago, what are you strong at?.. i'm still wondering...) has to be the smash. It's non-existent in my armoury. Every time i see the shuttle coming down lazily in a beautiful arc, asking to be hit, i say, this is the time, today i'll learn how to hit the smash! yes, after i master this art, i shall be
the lord of the flings,
the king of the slings,
the master of the smash,
i'll beat you now, prakash!!
I swing, with all the strength in my arm. And I wait for the sound, the sweet sound...... of silence. i look around, and i find the omnicient shuttle at my feet, looking up at me and smiling, like the dog who knows that his master is a dodo, but doesn't want to say so for the sake of their friendship.
This, I am informed by my partner(who was incidentally also in case 1. A very frustrated partner mind you) is called parallax error.
so i learn. i learn more of physics, and less of badminton. I still can't hit the smash. Nor can i beat MoI, or Mr Heisenberg. As always, physics is always, just that bit difficult for me to comprehend.


Raj said...

try the gym. that's a better place to learn physics I guess.

Raj said...

hey, u better get out of that place. I'm sure its stifling your creativity. no posts in a long time.
by the way, check out inkypinkyponky.blogspot.com. you'll find some of the OUCH stuff that might ring some nostalgic notes.

The Cyborg said...

good to cya start bloggin... still stuck in the middle of nowhere?

addy said...

hi john, can you tell me more? i'm not sure i understand what is it that you want to use.

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