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iPad falling from space - hoax or not?
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iPad falling from space (looks a bit suss to me)
Posted: 10 January 2012 02:06 AM   [ Ignore ]
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iPad survives fall from space with the help of some amasing* iPad cover thang. Video here

I’m voting hoax. What do other people think?

It does look a bit suss with the way it’s all been conveniently edited and how the iPad screen seems a little too scratch-free after “falling from the edge of space”.

*I’m an Australian so amasing (with an “s” not a “z”) is correct for me.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, given that a falling object achieves Terminal Velocity pretty quickly, you really wouldn’t have needed the near-space trip to demonstrate a product. Fling it out a Cessna, same effect.

ALso, there’s no reason that was the *only* one they dropped.. If they’re trying for ‘authenticity’ as a marketing angle, they can afford to drop a few iPads, on the basis that ONE of them will probably survive (if their product is any good).

Anyway, some of those products are freaky good. I was at my local pizza joint the other day, and some of the college-age kids there were deriding one of their fellows for his insanely ‘clunky’ iPhone case. “Dude, look at that thing! Why do you have such a huge case on it?” His response was to wordlessly pick up his phone and hurl it at the brick wall ten feet away, then finish his beer before getting up to retrieve it.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 04:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Robin Bobcat - 10 January 2012 04:13 AM

Well, given that a falling object achieves Terminal Velocity pretty quickly, you really wouldn’t have needed the near-space trip to demonstrate a product. Fling it out a Cessna, same effect.

ALso, there’s no reason that was the *only* one they dropped.. If they’re trying for ‘authenticity’ as a marketing angle, they can afford to drop a few iPads, on the basis that ONE of them will probably survive (if their product is any good).

Anyway, some of those products are freaky good. I was at my local pizza joint the other day, and some of the college-age kids there were deriding one of their fellows for his insanely ‘clunky’ iPhone case. “Dude, look at that thing! Why do you have such a huge case on it?” His response was to wordlessly pick up his phone and hurl it at the brick wall ten feet away, then finish his beer before getting up to retrieve it.

I take it you’re a “Can’t be” then.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Peter - 10 January 2012 02:06 AM

*I’m an Australian so amasing (with an “s” not a “z”) is correct for me.

I really, really hope you’re being sarcastic there.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 04:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Eh, I am of the ‘Beyond neither the scope of plasibility nor marketing hijinks’. So a reserved ‘Maybe’ with a side order of ‘I don’t have an iPad, so I don’t care’.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Smerk - 10 January 2012 04:42 AM
Peter - 10 January 2012 02:06 AM

*I’m an Australian so amasing (with an “s” not a “z”) is correct for me.

I really, really hope you’re being sarcastic there.

Is there some meaning of “amasing” I don’t know about?

We really do use “s” instead of “z” in many cases. Although the Americanised version, i.e. amazing, does get used a lot. Then again “Americanised” might be more proper than “amasing”. I’ll have to buy an Australian-English dictionary. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been a bit über with my local spelling.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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To start with: 30 km is *nowhere* near the “edge of Space”. Space starts at 100 km.

30 km is in fact an altitude on which some (military) aircraft can and do still fly.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Peter - 10 January 2012 05:21 AM
Smerk - 10 January 2012 04:42 AM
Peter - 10 January 2012 02:06 AM

*I’m an Australian so amasing (with an “s” not a “z”) is correct for me.

I really, really hope you’re being sarcastic there.

Is there some meaning of “amasing” I don’t know about?

We really do use “s” instead of “z” in many cases. Although the Americanised version, i.e. amazing, does get used a lot. Then again “Americanised” might be more proper than “amasing”. I’ll have to buy an Australian-English dictionary. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve been a bit über with my local spelling.

Well I’ll be….

I just checked the online Australian English National Dictionary Centre and it really is “amazing”. I can look back on my life only to find I’ve been substituting one “z” too many.

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Posted: 10 January 2012 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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What I noted in the footage is that it appears that the iPad was continuously level with the horizon throughout the fall. With the extra things added to the iPad (the metal beam, and what is probably a GPS beacon underneath) the thing seems to have behaved aerodynamically and turned into a quite stable orientation presenting a maximum surface for air drag, reducing the fall speed. It creates it’s own wing effect, so to speak, in this attitude, akin to a falling leaf.

I think the test is real, but wonder if the iPad’s fall behaviour would be the same without the extra paraphernalia attached to it: and wonder whether it is an effect of the flat iPad construction rather than the protective casing.

What they should do, is drop another iPad without the protective casing (but the same paraphernalia attached - the balloon harnass/metal rod, GPS tracker etc.)

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J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 10 January 2012 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have developed some suspicion that they deliberately created an aerodynamic shape.

Look at the yellow cushioning under the iPad. It almost looks like a “lifting body” profile to me, an aerodynamic shape that creates lift. The tracker (or whatever the cylindrical thing is) below and the metal rod probably act as weights to stabilize it even more, making sure it always is belly-down. At any rate, this orientation maximizes drag and minimizes fall speed, and turns the iPad into a “wing”.

If you look at the video of the descent, the iPad appears to be actually gliding down. Look at the way it comes down for example.

Below are three snapshots from the video, the last just seconds before “impact”, showing how it behaves aerodynamically: from a certain altitude onwards it is always level with the horizon, gliding down rather than “falling”:


In fact, given that on a per-frame basis the image just before landing isn’t that much smeared (see 3rd picture above), this shows you that it made a “soft”, slow speed landing. Not a hard impact.

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The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 10 January 2012 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The way it is spinning around, it reminds me of a helicopter that has lost its engine and is auto-rotating down to a landing.  That would tend to give it a much more gentle impact than simply crashing straight down.

I don’t really see any reason why this whole video couldn’t be true.  Though as was mentioned, there’s also no reason why this couldn’t have been the last of two thousand previous failed attempts.

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