After giving my lesson on atmospheric refraction and mirages last week, I decided that the accompanying preso needed some Warner Brothers cartoon clips of hallucinations posing as mirages. It's a cartoon staple: character crawls through desert and becomes delirious with dehydration, then spots an oasis, makes a run for it and dives straight into... a pile of sand.
Since my web video-fu is such that I can reel in most video that I find useful, I set out to find a Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck desert mirage oasis dive. My initial attempts did not meet with success.
But I did come across a Road Runner cartoon called "Chaser on the Rocks" wherein Wile E. Coyote dives into a hallucination located directly above a slot canyon.
But it was from the Dark Ages of Warner Brothers cartoons: the mid-60s. Jack Warner closed down the animation studio in 1963, and the cartooning was essentially outsourced. Lower frame rates, canned music (rather than scored music), poor story-writing, poor directing, even poor openings and closings were the hallmarks of this disgraceful era.
No cartoons of this era warranted inclusion in any of the six Golden Collection DVD sets released by WB.
Someone had uploaded what seemed to be the entirety of the Road Runner oeuvre to YouTube. Before it was yanked by Warner Brothers, I clicked through all the episodes I hadn't seen. No doubt my eyeballs turned into spinning spirals as I watched.
Most were forgettable. All the Road Runner cartoons from the Dark Age used the same "theme music," a tiresome, trite twinkle of a tune that's likely to be found in Dick Cheney's Abu Ghraib iPod playlist.
But Episode 28, "Rushing Roulette" had a some usable moments.
Here's a video embed which may not last long. Just remember: it's Road Runner 28 - Rushing Roulette.
And here are some notes for using various vignettes in a physics course. There are moments involving elastic, kinetic, and potential energy, friction and normal force, energy conservation, geometric optics, and lift (helicopter propulsion). A nice mix.
And don't forget Dan Burns' Road Runner Physics page.