The Buttered Cat Paradox..

..I’ve recently been playing about with a widget that, when activated, displays a random article from Wikipedia. It’s usually pretty arcane stuff, but this morning it gave me this..

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1. Cats always land on their feet.

2. Buttered toast always lands buttered side down.

The paradox arises when one considers what would happen if one attached a piece of buttered toast (butter side up) to the back of a cat, then dropped the cat from a height.

Some people maintain that the experiment will produce an anti-gravity effect. They propose that as the cat falls towards the ground, it will slow down and start to rotate, eventually reaching a steady state, hovering a short distance from the ground while rotating at high speed as both the buttered side of the toast and the cat’s feet attempt to land on the ground. This, however, would require the energy that keeps them rotating and hovering to come from the gravitational energy expended in the system’s fall, otherwise it would violate the Law of Conservation of Energy..


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