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Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the he's-not-heavy dept.

GNOME 144

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have long hypothesized that objects weigh less at Earth's equator because the planet's spin and shape lessen gravity's pull there versus at the poles. Satellite accelerometers have confirmed this, but a digital scale manufacturer decided to test things the old-fashioned way. Enter the Kern garden gnome. When placed on a scale at the South Pole, the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator, a difference of 0.6%."

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144 comments

This is why (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434241)

I buy my drugs at the North pole.

Re:This is why (5, Insightful)

PacoCheezdom (615361) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434273)

But if you bought them at the equator, you'd get a .6% discount! It's pay by weight, you know.

Re:This is why (5, Funny)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434321)

But if you bought them at the equator, you'd get a .6% discount! It's pay by weight, you know.

He's clearly high.

Re:This is why (3, Funny)

stoofa (524247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434325)

Maybe he has so many drugs in his system that he's developed a paranoid fear of gnomes and heard rumours they were gathering on the equator.

Re:This is why (3, Funny)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434623)

I make it a rule; never buy drugs from gnomes.

Re:This is why (2)

stoofa (524247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434713)

Sounds fairy snuff to me.

Re:This is why (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435029)

I knew it! Santa Clause has the good stuff :) why wont people tell me these things! i always find out the good secrets after the party is over!

Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434243)

So it has come to this.

Re:Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity? (5, Funny)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434379)

Re:Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39437795)

Really? I ctrl-f for xkcd and I get this bullshit?
http://xkcd.com/852/

.6 percent (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434271)

That should be more than enough for heavy metal arbitrage.

Re:.6 percent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39435147)

You could arbitrage a ton of feathers too. It's brilliant unless the market uses the mass of said commodity. Large gold and silver bars are sometimes specified in kilograms--a unit of mass. The troy ounce is, AFAIK a unit of mass. The real question is how good are there measurements? It only has a chance of working if you trade in large bars and they don't think about it. Coins are standardized so it doesn't work.

Re:.6 percent (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435201)

And just how, pray tell, do you think they measure the mass of the bars Mr. Nitpicker? Some elaborate physics experiment?

I have no idea if they account for it or not, but this is something that they'd need to take into account.

Re:.6 percent (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435385)

And just how, pray tell, do you think they measure the mass of the bars Mr. Nitpicker? Some elaborate physics experiment?

Using either a beam balance, or a force-measuring scale that's locally calibrated with a known reference mass.

Re:.6 percent (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435369)

You guys are losing sight of what is important here.

What is truly important about this news is that I can lose some weight by moving toward equator.

Re:.6 percent (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437763)

Yeah, but if you could actually find an arbitrage and keep it secret long enough then you'd be rich and you could have all the hookers and blow you want no matter how much you weigh and it wouldn't matter if you were just some bored loser who had nothing better to do than post on Slashdot in annoyingly long runon sentances in between chapters of books by Faulkner who is your literary idol.

Good for Kern Precision Scales (1)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434285)

Nice to see some practical science that illustrates a point.

myke

Next to the standard kilogram (3, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434289)

Next to the standard kilogram, there will be a standard garden gnome.

0.6% is not a small number. I'm looking forward to discussing the next international health survey and asking "Did you normalize your weights for gravitational variance?"

Re:Next to the standard kilogram (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435693)

0.6% is NOT a small number. Unfortunately, it's also not NEARLY the right percentage, calculated from those given masses (technically: g-reduced weights, since mass is assumed invariant).

Re:Next to the standard kilogram (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435719)

Aaaand I didn't read one of the given masses correctly. Damn it.

Re:Next to the standard kilogram (2)

VanGarrett (1269030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437691)

My problem with the use of a "gram" to make this measurement, is that a "gram" is a measurement of Mass, rather than a measurement of weight. By presenting the weight in grams, they have illustrated the inaccuracy of their scale, rather than the variance of local gravity. As there doesn't appear to be a unit of weight in the Metric system, they perhaps should have expressed the value in Pounds.

Makes sense (4, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434297)

I know that, whenever I see a garden gnome, I feel a powerful urge to use it to test gravity. Especially if there's a large asphalt or cement driveway nearby.

Re:Makes sense (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434447)

Incidentally, Valve thought the same thing [crackedrabbitgaming.com] . It was somewhat of a different method, however.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39436107)

Best Achievement EVAR!

Re:Makes sense (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435253)

I know that, whenever I see a garden gnome, I feel a powerful urge to use it to test gravity. Especially if there's a large asphalt or cement driveway nearby.

Understandable. But not a very efficient way to deal with a gnome infestation.
The Extension Office of Utah State University actually has a video on Gnome Management in the Garden [youtube.com]

We are the 0.6% (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434299)

Occupy the South Pole!

Wrong units... (5, Informative)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434309)

"When placed on a scale at the South Pole, the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator..."

The grams is a unit of mass, which is invariant depending on gravity. The metric unit of weight is the kilopond [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Wrong units... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434367)

Congratulations. I hearby award you the pedant award.

Re:Wrong units... (4, Informative)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434525)

Million-dolar spacecraft [cnn.com] have been lost for less. Units matter.

I don't know why a company that made scales would make that particular mistake, but then, if NASA can do it, who am I to judge.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435199)

Every analytical balance I've ever seen reads out in g, mg or micrograms. Not Nt, mNt, or your silly kiloponds.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435221)

Sorry. Wrong abbreviation. N for Newton, not Nt.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39435463)

Thanks for clarifying that. I found the original a little confusing since "Nt" is the abbreviation for "Newt", which is a Standard American unit of administrative inertia. It's good to know that the Republican Circus has not yet spread to Slashdot.

Re:Wrong units... (2)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435655)

Why would you say it is a mistake? The company makes scales that measure in grams (a convention although strictly inaccurate). They showed an object of the same mass measures differently. The only variable that changed when measuring force is gravity, therefore they proved what they set out to prove. There is no mistake there at all.

Re:Wrong units... (2)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39436681)

Why would you say it is a mistake?

They make high precision scales, and they're going around the world saying, "Look how our scale gives a different mass measurement for the same object in different places." In the video on their site they talk about how they do in fact go out of their way to adjust the scales for local gravity (wherever they're being shipped to? Somehow?), but they could push that emphasis more.

What they're showing is that the mass reading (as opposed to weight reading, which is accurate) is not consistent when you move them around the world, and that their instruments in particular are sensitive enough to be affected. That's true and important, but they should be making more of a fuss about their calibration services if they're going to be showing off that sensitivity.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437041)

In theory a fancy scale could include high precision standard weights for automatic calibration.

Then the user can press the calibrate button and the scale calibrates itself.

Cost a lot more of course, but sometimes that's a plus for the seller.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437053)

What I'd be interested to know is if it can help you figure out the phase of the moon ;).

Re:Wrong units... (5, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434375)

That's why we in the US still use pounds. That way, it's always accurate.

Re:Wrong units... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39435021)

The Imperial (US) unit of mass if the Slug (really - look it up). So we here in the US have the same dichotomy.

Re:Wrong units... (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437963)

Not quite. The slug is a unit of mass, but so is the pound ...sometimes. We have the pound-mass and the pound-force, with the latter being described as the weight of an object with a mass of one pound-mass under standard Earth gravity. The slug is then defined based on the pound-force as an amount of mass that accelerates at 1 ft/s^2 when exposed to one pound-force of force.

If you're thinking that having two nearly identically named units to describe two closely linked parameters is just asking for someone to mix them up, the congratulations -- you've found one of the many flaws of the Imperial measurement system.

Re:Wrong units... (0)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435027)

A bit like the broken clock that shows the correct time twice a day...

Re:Wrong units... (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434381)

True. But in fact, these scales appear to measure things in kgf and cut off the f, giving 0.30982 kgf vs. 0.30786 kgf.

Random related anecdote: I used to work for an e-tailer, and trade-legal scales used for calculating postage for goods to be shipped to a customer have to have buttons to calibrate for the gravity at any given latitude. In dimensional terms, this acts as a conversion factor from kgf to kg.

Re:Wrong units... (3, Interesting)

snookums (48954) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435023)

I once saw an ad for a digital bathroom scale that claimed it "never needs calibrating" and was "accurate to 0.1%". I immediately called bullshit* on this in my head and am glad to know that I was justified in doing so.

* Note that this was in Australia where we actually measure our mass in kg, rather than our weight in lb. It may well have been that accurate as a weighing machine, but not as a "massing" machine.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434413)

Or as an alternative, you could use the more know unit of weight Newton.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434421)

You're measuring force here. The SI measure of force is a Newton (N) = 1 kg * m * s^2

Re:Wrong units... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434579)

It's N = kg * m / s^2. (or N = kg*m*s^-2)

Re:Wrong units... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434647)

Newsflash, Einstein: Digital scales don't measure grams; they measure the resistance on a strain gauge and convert the result to grams via calibrated experimental values. Hint: the units they're using don't mean what you think they mean. When they say it's X grams, they don't mean that literally.

What they actually mean is: when it's at the South Pole it produces a resistance equivalent to that produced by X grams sitting on the strain gauge at the test facility; and when it's at the Equator it produces a resistance equivalent to Y grams sitting on the strain gauge at the test facility. They know the mass of the object is constant, so they're reporting a measured change in weight.

p.s. I assume they accounted for any temperature effects on the resistance.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

NameIsDavid (945872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434653)

Newtons would also have been fine.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

bluephone (200451) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434907)

Yes, but a scale such as the ones being used can't really measure mass independently of a known gravitational pull, so while it's reporting in grams, it's really reporting weight because of the variable pull of the earth. AFAIK without a balance beam, you're not going to accurately measure mass with gravity as a variable. I presume these scales are intended to be calibrated once they arrive at the destination. This experiment isn't calibrating the scale to local gravity, I imagine.

Re:Wrong units... (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435255)

Dude, the link you provided is entitled Kilogram-force. When you're talking about pounds you don't specific if you're talking about pound-mass or pound-force, as it's obvious from the context which it's supposed to be. We use the same conventions in SI-land, it's obvious from the context of the article that it's talking about kilogram force, and not kilogram-mass.

Also, unless things have changed in the 5-years I've been out of uni, the SI unit of weight is the Newton.

Re:Wrong units... (2)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435621)

The grams is a unit of mass, which is invariant depending on gravity. The metric unit of weight is the kilopond [wikipedia.org].

Sort of. The metric system is no longer used and has been replaced with SI. The kilopond or kgf is not part of the recognized SI system, and instead it used the Newton (N). When people now mention metric they actually are saying SI, but regardless, kilopond is not in that system of measures.

Re:Wrong units... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39437785)

Newton according to SI.

Hmm... (5, Funny)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434365)

Does it also test the Earth's travelocity?

(I'm so, so sorry. I'm a sick man. I need help.)

Re:Hmm... (0, Offtopic)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434431)

I had mod points yesterday......alas I don't have them today. I would have spent them on this comment.

Traspeed (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434443)

Does it also test the Earth's travelocity?

Imagine a travel agency called "Traspeed". It'd be like Hotwire or Priceline, filling unused seats on a flight and unused rooms in a hotel. Except you wouldn't even get to pick where your vacation will be, just "a ski resort" or "a beach resort" or "an amusement park" or the like. So you never know where you're going, but you know how fast you'll get there.

Re:Traspeed (1)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434909)

That'd actually be quite fun, if it was cheap enough. I'd be kind of concerned about safety though.

spin doesn't decrease gravity's pull (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434369)

the mass of the earth is the same whether it's spinning or not. the spin causes centripetal acceleration, which is in the opposite direction of the acceleration due to gravity. i.e. the 'centrifugal force' cancels out a little bit of the 'gravitational force', but the gravity force itself is only slightly different because of shape, not because of the spin itself.

or am i missing something?

Earth != sphere (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434635)

The earth's shape is a geoid [wikipedia.org] , which is flattened compared to a sphere [wikipedia.org] . Because the distance from center of mass to the surface is smaller at the poles than at the equator, gravity is stronger at the poles, and the weight of an equal mass is greater.

Re:Earth != sphere (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435019)

So if you wanted to feel the greatest possible gravitational force for a given mass you should squash it into a flat disk and stand in the middle?

yes but they are claiming that the spin (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435079)

changes gravity.

i.e. they are specifically claiming that 'gravity is different due to the spin'. but the spin is only relevant in that the earth's "geoid" shape is thought to be due to the spin. the spin itself doesnt change how gravity works. at least not that i am aware of. if the earth stopped spinning all of a sudden, but remained a geoid... then the gravity at the poles wouldn't change, nor would the gravity at the equator. the only thing gone would be the centripetal acceleration due to spin. things would 'weigh less' because they lacked centripetal acceleration not because gravity suddenly changed.

an interesting question about your point is this - if you take stuff to the top of a mountain, does it weigh 'more' or 'less' than at sea level?

correction things would 'weigh more' w/o spin (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435101)

and if the earth sped up by a huge amount, things would 'weigh' a lot less. in fact, some things would go flying off into space... if earths outer edge somehow managed to reach escape velocity (in some unimaginable cataclysm). gravity itself wouldn't have changed though.

Re:yes but they are claiming that the spin (2)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435891)

an interesting question about your point is this - if you take stuff to the top of a mountain, does it weigh 'more' or 'less' than at sea level?

More. High school physics teaches us that F=(GM1M2)/R squared

Re:yes but they are claiming that the spin (2)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39436067)

You mean less, I hope. It weighs less at the top of a mountain than it would at sea level because the distance(R) is bigger.

Re:yes but they are claiming that the spin (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39436281)

Ack, sorry, yes. My bad. Apparently my university maths did dreadful things to my high school physics.

Re:yes but they are claiming that the spin (2)

cwebster (100824) | more than 2 years ago | (#39436715)

changes gravity.

i.e. they are specifically claiming that 'gravity is different due to the spin'. but the spin is only relevant in that the earth's "geoid" shape is thought to be due to the spin. the spin itself doesnt change how gravity works. at least not that i am aware of. if the earth stopped spinning all of a sudden, but remained a geoid... then the gravity at the poles wouldn't change, nor would the gravity at the equator. the only thing gone would be the centripetal acceleration due to spin. things would 'weigh less' because they lacked centripetal acceleration not because gravity suddenly changed.

an interesting question about your point is this - if you take stuff to the top of a mountain, does it weigh 'more' or 'less' than at sea level?

The spin does cause the Earth to be shaped like an oblate spheroid as you mention but it does alter the gravity you experience as well. The local balance of forces if you are at rest relative to the Earth involves gravitational force and an apparent force (centrifugal) caused by centripetal acceleration. This alters your effective gravity that you experience ever so slightly (ie g_eff = g_newtonian + f_cent, where f is a specific force [units ms-2 or N/kg]) .

Re:spin doesn't decrease gravity's pull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434703)

You likely forgot to take into account whether we were experiencing a full moon.

The REAL reason (1)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437079)

It's warmer at the equator than at the poles, and everybody knows things weigh less when they heat up. That's why they expand.

Wrong units (4, Insightful)

mmontour (2208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434391)

It's sometimes an acceptable shorthand to express a weight in grams, but not when that's the whole point of the story. The _mass_ in grams is (hopefully) not changing. The _weight_ in newtons (or any other dimensionally-correct unit you prefer) is what's changing.

If you're using a device that measures weight and reports it in grams, then you need to re-calibrate it against a known reference mass at each new location.

p.s. don't forget about buoyancy. Accurate measurements need to be done in a vacuum chamber.

Re:Wrong units (2)

32771 (906153) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434625)

I'm sure we could measure the mass of the garden gnome through inertial measurements.

You know accelerate the thing real hard and then measure the dent it leaves in the wall of the wall of the vacuum chamber.

Maybe we can get the weight through ballistic measurements in the vacuum chamber? Where it lands is determined by gravity.

So basically, (1, Funny)

Xandrax (2451618) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434397)

Garden Gnomes just showed themselves to be more important to science than Creationalists and global-warming deniers.

Re:So basically, (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434459)

Garden Gnomes just showed themselves to be more important to science than Creationalists and global-warming deniers.

Hold your horses - Wait for them to run them through the particle accelerator and we'll just see about that.

Re:So basically, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434683)

are you denying a lack of temperature increase in the last decade?

lost in transport? (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434399)

how much was lost during transport?

Re:lost in transport? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434435)

how much was lost during transport?

Pretty certain it had the same number of Gnomons (Gn) at both locations, but we'll have to wait for the reports to come in from GIT (Gnomic Institute of Technocracy)

Re:lost in transport? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437275)

We smoked some of the gnome on the way over. Sorry.

Great news for dieters! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434415)

You are allowed one more chocolate chip cookie at the Equator than on the South Pole.

Re:Great news for dieters! (1)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434567)

If "one more cookie" equals 0.6% of your total cookie consumption, then you're eating over 1600 cookies. Somehow this does not seem like a typical "dieter".

Re:Great news for dieters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434953)

really? 0.6% of 1600 = 9.6

Perhaps you had a sugar rush

Re:Great news for dieters! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435249)

1 / 0.006 = 166.66...
One more cookie per calendar quarter maybe?

They did this experiment with a garden gnome. (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434429)

That's what they did.

So much for my greenhouse idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434491)

Dang it I was going to build a greenhouse at the pole and grow medicinal marijuana and sell it on the Internet. Now I can't as I'll lose too much money on customers at the equator.

Hypothesized? (1)

Zorpheus (857617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434505)

We learned in school that the standard gravity is 9.83 m/s^2 at the poles and 9.78 m/s^2 at the equator. That was more than 15 years ago, so I would say it is a known fact and not a hypothesis?

Seriously? Hypothesized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434537)

Because it's not like anyone's been, say, calibrating pendulum clocks at different latitudes, ever.

Nice slashvertisement for Kern, though.

So the South Pole Gnome was iced up . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434541)

. . . and the equator Gnome had sweated off those extra grams . . .

Missing from the summary. (2)

MasseKid (1294554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434675)

1) The object's mass
2) The object's theoretical weight difference at the different locations
3) The error bounds on the measurement.

Without any of this, I have no idea if this is shocking news, or merely expected. And I'm on slash dot, while it might be contained within the article, I don't come here to RTFA.

Re:Missing from the summary. (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435761)

Without any of this, I have no idea if this is shocking news, or merely expected.

It's just a publicity stunt. The actual science has been done already, in much greater detail [obs-mip.fr] without any gnomes.

Temperature Compensation (NT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39434763)

...

Only one question though (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434791)

Will Kern blend?

Last act (2)

The Infamous Grimace (525297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434837)

Afterwards, did they blast it into space?

really scientific...really (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434857)

Why did they use a garden gnome? Simple! If you read slashdot a lot, you'll recall that large, perfectly spherical metal balls that weigh precisely 1KG are notoriously inaccurate and change weights on a whim, lol.
By the way, the temperature difference alone is enough to mess up the scale, let alone atmospheric pressure.

Re:really scientific...really (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435085)

Hush! We're working hard here to make the Gnome (gn) the new SI unit for mass. Don't you dare mess with the Great Order of The Gnome!

Is this News?! (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39434943)

All I have to say is: no shit, Sherlock! This is news how, again?

knowing the sun rises in the east (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435001)

and sets in the west, if you were in a spaceship directly above the north pole looking down on earth which direction is the earth rotating? (counter-clockwise) what if you put a garden gnome at the north pole with one of those geeky propeller hats so the rotation of the earth gave it a slight lift and another gnome at the south pole with a geeky propeller hat so it has a slight lift too, (not sure where i am going with this but just thought i would throw it in the pot 0' gold)

Amalie (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435207)

Dang, those gnomes get around.

Physics FAIL (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435367)

the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator, a difference of 0.6%

This sentence is completely without sense. Barring relativistic effects, the object's mass in grams remains constant. One of those masses is correct (possibly), the other is a measuring error introduced by a scale not calibrated correctly for local gravity. The actual discrepancy is in the weight of the object in Newtons. This is, like, middle-school physics stuff.

That's like using an iron yardstick to determine that one meter in summer is equal to about 1.005 meters in winter, and conclude that space itself expands and contracts.

What is the difference (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435395)

What is the difference between a Dwarf and a Gnome?

... Dwarves ... are real.
-Gnome Saying
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEOBDSA3rqQ [youtube.com]

KERN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39435595)

Y U GNOME? [wordpress.com]

Atmospheric Pressure (1)

jasonmanley (921037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39435885)

But wouldn't the column of air above the scale in the one region be a different weight than the other? That means that the starting '0' displayed on the scale would be different - thereby giving a false starting point to begin with. IOW if the scale were empty in one region it would disply '0' then when they took it to the other region - without any adjustments - when it had nothing on it, it would not display a '0' correct?

The same scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39436041)

Assuming they use the same counter weights at both locations, how do they get different results?
If they used one of those electric scales that measures the change in the length of a piece of metal, did they account for the scale shrinking due to the temperature difference?
0.6% seems like a large number, but since they don't mention the expected variation I have no way to tell if it is.

wrong try again (0)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39437083)

A garden gnome's weight in newtons or pounds may change depending on local gravity and acceleration. Its mass specified in grams does not change unless you add or remove material.

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