Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Skepticism in the Classroom: "Wireless" Bungee

Bree Barnett Dreyfuss recently pointed out this amusing feat of daring-do to me. Take a look at this breathless tale of magnetically-braked cordless bungee jumping.

As a veteran of bungee jumping, I was thrown off by the use of the term "wire" in this context. "Rope" or "cord" are common terms used to reference the bungee, but not "wire". The term is obscured a bit via use of a second language (translation issues?). But by the end, the need for the use of that specific word is clear.

In any case, it seems not everybody picked up on the clues that the whole spot was a spoof. That's what Snopes is for: Bungee Leap of Faith.

But magnetic braking is far from unheard-of. Engineered use of eddy currents/Lenz's law has been deployed on a large scale for the benefit of thrill-seekers at amusement parks for years.

It seems the Ikea production team took some cues from this classic Mercedes Benz barrel roll fake. A team of nervous scientists working furiously toward a singular moment. An accomplished daredevil willing to risk life and limb for the sake of science and adventure. This one really goes over the top (!) in terms of cinematography and soundtrack. I like this version, which includes a wink at the end.

Tangent; If you missed the Bungee Physics Extravaganza the was born of my Victoria Falls leap. just click that link.

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