An elephant and a slam dunk walk into a seesaw

basketball

What would happen if a man with a basketball stood on a seesaw and an elephant stomped on the other end?

Boredom does strange things to people, especially when circumstances force it. Of course, I’m referring to COVID-19 and self-isolation. It means there’s no basketball to enjoy right now but that hasn’t stopped Rhett Allain from asking a question “you won’t find in any textbook”:

A man with a basketball stands on one end of a seesaw. An elephant stomps on the other end. What happens?

Firstly, what the hell? It turns out this is a thing that actually happened. Zion Williamson eat your heart out.

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No sports? No problem! 🐘🏀

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Secondly, I have no idea how you’d answer that (I got a D at AS-Level in Physics). But Rhett gave it a go and as a former maths geek, I was intrigued. The first test was whether it was real, followed by trajectory graph, a quadratic equation to work out the path, trigonometry, and a whole lot of mechanics. Slam dunks are a matter of physics, with or without elephants.

And then the final question – how much margin of error was there? Could this be recreated with any of the variables slightly different? Read the full workout on Wired.

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