If you wake up one morning
with 1,000 times the strength you had the night before,
how will you handle delicate day-to-day tasks?
Everything must seem so fragile to you
since the scale of your strength has expanded one thousand times.
You’d have to be very careful
when you’re shaking someone’s hand
so you don’t end up breaking their bones
or crushing everyone you hug.
And using a fork to pick up a piece of broccoli
from a Styrofoam plate without driving the fork through the plate
is going to be as difficult as brain surgery.
Say the day comes and you get the chance to save a damsel in distress
falling from a helicopter.
So, you hold out your arms, hoping to catch her.
Seconds later, you will find yourself
holding her lifeless body.
Well, pressure is force divided by area.
The smaller the area, the bigger the pressure.
This is why we can lift heavy objects
without breaking our skin,
but a tiny needle can make us bleed
with just a little poke.
The pressure that will be exerted on her body
can be calculated by force divided by the area on the top of your arms
that comes in contact with her.
It doesn’t matter if your arms are strong enough
to catch her body without breaking your bones.
Her spine is not strong enough to be caught by you without being damaged.
Even if you rip off the nearest door
to provide a bigger area to catch her with,
you still wouldn’t be able to save her anyway.
Remember, it’s not the fall that kills her,
but the sudden stop at the bottom.
Let’s say she’s falling from a 32 store building,
about 300 feet, and you are 6 feet tall,
maybe 10 feet on your tippy-toes,
with your arms above your head holding a door,
in hopes of distributing the pressure across a larger surface area,
but all you’re doing is essentially moving
the ground up by 10 feet.
So, she’s now falling from 290 feet,
instead of 300 feet,
reaching the speed of 173 feet per second
just before impact,
not counting air resistance.
It’s the equivalent of crashing at 94 miles per hour
into a wall with a door in front of it.
The only thing that could save her is flying.
But that power comes with its own host of scientific issues.
If you could fly,
what you must do is fly up to her,
start flying down at the speed she is falling,
hold under her,
then gradually slow down until you come to a complete stop.
This process requires a lot of cushion space
between the point she starts falling and the ground.
Every second you waste on changing into your superhero costume
and flying up to her height,
her head is getting that much closer to the pavement!
If she’s falling from a high place,
and you can’t get to her until she’s only a few feet above the ground,
there’s really nothing you can do
other than magically turn the pavement
into marshmellow to allow her enough time to slowly come to a stop.
Then, break out the chocolate and graham crackers
and you’ve got s’mores.
Now, which superpower physics lesson
will you explore next?
Shifting body size and content,