finally, the myth of stopping power put to rest


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taliv
April 3, 2013, 12:36 PM
http://what-if.xkcd.com/18/

Calculations show a crowd of 2,500 people firing two AK-47s each would be able to stop our runaway [12 metric ton GE Genesis I] locomotive within the space of 30 meters—in only a second and a half. Mission accomplished.

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sota
April 3, 2013, 12:41 PM
I laughed substantially at that.

c4v3man
April 3, 2013, 12:43 PM
Great read... a wonderfully thorough explanation of a completely ridiculous question.
As the train plows ahead, people in front magically fly sideways off the tracks. This is unrealistic, but we can’t let them slow down the train with their bodies—that would be cheating.

josiewales
April 3, 2013, 12:47 PM
That was really good! Kinda like a engineers view Santa Claus!
http://www.engineeringedu.com/Santa.html

Tommygunn
April 3, 2013, 01:09 PM
Imagine how quickly the locomotive could have been stopped if those people had been equiped with phased plasma rifles in the 40 megawatt range!!!!!:evil::neener::rolleyes:

sota
April 3, 2013, 02:01 PM
actually a great way to pose the question... what human deployable weapon systems can stop a train inside of their effective distance.

that would be an interesting list.

Gregaw
April 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
Wow, I hope everyone has on their ear and eye protection! Now I feel like looking for videos of people double wielding AK-47s. brb

Gregaw
April 3, 2013, 03:31 PM
That looks like a bad idea.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Auj4aJHxRQ

http://www.liveleak.com/ll_embed?f=aa276a854d9b

beatledog7
April 3, 2013, 04:57 PM
But if we alter the scenario so that the locomotive is on a movie set with the villain aboard, and we have a solitary good guy shooter with a .45 Auto, one shot and the train not only stops dead in its tracks but explodes into a massive ball of flames...

Girl runs out to kiss hero...roll credits.

Bovice
April 3, 2013, 04:59 PM
.45 ACP has more knockdown power than 9mm.

*Runs*

9mmepiphany
April 3, 2013, 05:04 PM
Engineers are always great about how they think of things...like this, from further in the article where they have upped the number of shooters to 40k:

At t=0, 40,000 people open fire. The AK-47 typically has a 30-round magazine and fires 10 shots per second. Within a third of a second, a quarter of a million bullets are in the air. Stray shots no doubt cause a lot of fatalities in the front of the crowd, but with a trained and disciplined group of shooters, the bulk of the shots could actually manage to hit the target.

taliv
April 3, 2013, 05:35 PM
so THAT'S what homeland security needs with all that ammo!

Texan Scott
April 3, 2013, 05:41 PM
Calculations are incorrect ... in a human wave attack against armor, REAL zealots use their bodies to slow the enemy advance. Anything less would indicate a lack of commitment.

481
April 3, 2013, 10:05 PM
Now I know what engineers do in their spare time. :what:

Grassman
April 3, 2013, 10:13 PM
You could kill a rabbit with a BB gun.......

tactikel
April 3, 2013, 10:24 PM
They actually could melt the locomotive if their phasers weren't set to stun!! :D

Chevelle SS
April 3, 2013, 10:41 PM
Wow!

Mat, not doormat
April 4, 2013, 12:06 AM
Once I stopped laughing and could speak coherently again, I tried explaining to a "non-details person," why I thought that was so funny. I didn't have a lot of luck.

Blackstone
April 4, 2013, 09:53 AM
xkcd is great :D

taliv
April 4, 2013, 10:01 AM
i thought this was a particularly interesting observation

Interestingly, the bullets from the front rows of shooters occasionally catch up with—and collide with—slower bullets from the shooters behind them. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.

Gaiudo
April 4, 2013, 10:48 AM
Nice find, and very funny.

Spdracr39
April 4, 2013, 11:12 AM
Kinda interesting but it in no way actually applies to the asteroid theory because laser beams have no mass and depend entirely on a temperature variance created to explode the said asteroid. It can't be deflected or slowed down by the beam only pierced and hopefully exploded into smaller fragments and slightly altering course because of said explosion.

Dave P
April 4, 2013, 11:51 AM
So 2500 people with AK's can stop that train.

I guess that means maybe 5 people shooting the mighty M-14 could do the same thing!

Fish Miner
April 4, 2013, 01:12 PM
Photons can have mass- As the particle is accelerated to ever higher speeds, its relativistic mass increases without limit.

Thus a laser can have mass.

But not much :)

rangerphil
April 4, 2013, 03:18 PM
I have to say it, but a GE locomotive weighs a heck of a lot more than 12 metric tons...maybe 120 tons

4season
April 4, 2013, 04:16 PM
But they are overlooking the fact that only one well placed shot can stop the same train if that shot were to hit the engineer, or activate the brakes.

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