DCML Digest, Vol 21, Issue 5

Donald D. Markstein ddmarkstein at cox.net
Fri Nov 5 13:01:03 CET 2004

>With known weight and volume of a single ping pong ball they 
>should surely have been able to exactly calculate this on 
>beforehand down to the last ping pong ball.

Well, yes, I suppose they could. But let's not forget this show is less 
a treatise on the efficient pursuit of knowledge than -- well, a SHOW. 
Calculating isn't as visually interesting as filling a space with balls 
and measuring, especially considering the ridiculous lengths they go to 
for accurate measurement.

> Or they could have taken a floating ship, stored it full of 
>ping pong balls and then flooded it. And see if the water 
>which now flows in the spaces between the ping pong balls 
>is too heavy for the ship and drowns it.

And how could that possibly substitute for the triumphant moment when 
the boat, which had been resting on the bottom, suddenly floated to the 

>I hope they counted the balls and not 
>just the total volume they filled with balls. Because packaging
>can make a big difference there.

OF COURSE they counted the balls (or at least, poured them in from boxes 
the manufacturer claimed held a certain number). These guys are nothing 
if not fanatically devoted to numerical accuracy, at least when it can 
be achieved in a way that amuses the audience.

>The most efficient way top raise a sunken ship would probably be 
>to put a giant, empty ballon inside and pump it up below water.

Which, in fact, IS how sunken ships are often raised. (As noted on the 

Quack, Don

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