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Question:
When a human is shot out of a cannon at the circus, how does he not get hurt and how do you know how far to put the net to catch him?



Replies:
I am not sure why he does not get hurt, but as long as the acceleration caused by the cannon explosion is not too great (less than 5 times that of gravity say) then it is probably ok. How they know how far to put the net is actually pretty easy - any projectile that gets shot at a certain initial speed and velocity always lands in the same place, so they just need to know where he landed last time. If the initial speed and direction are subject to variations, then they need to use a bigger net to make sure the variations do not make him hit the ground. The whole subject of what angle to shoot cannons at to reach points a certain distance away was of course very important for military purposes a few centuries back (and of course some of that stuff is still useful in modern wars).

Arthur Smith



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