If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast to a cat and drop it? My first friend said that the cat would eat the toast. My 2nd friend wanted to know what kind of toast: rye, or sourdough, and when I said it was regular white bread, she bit me. I said that the cat and toast would be sucked into a rift in the space-time continuum and the world would end. Who is right?
Ultimately though the problem is not one of science, but mathematics and some science. The <a href="[Link](Mouse over link to see full location) of Improbable Research</a> found that cats tend to land on their feet when dropped on their back... unless the drop distance is exceptionally short.
So having established that a cat will not <i>always</i> land on its feet we turn to the issue of the buttered toast. The folk-wisdom nature of this notwithstanding this is still an issue of probability. Surely buttered toast falls buttered side-up sometimes? It is merely much more probable that it does not since it has been proven that bad things are more probable than good things. Thus instead of being a perfect 1:1 ratio it becomes skewed in favor of the butter side.
downwithhydrogen answered Friday October 17 2003, 11:33 am: This is an interestng dilemma, and several things could happen. However, if we were to write, say, a program trying to demonstrate this, you'd never get as far as the execution stage. The compiler would zap you where you stood for the contradiction. Either that or you might end up sending it into some sort of infinite loop, in which case, neither the cat nor the butter would ever hit the ground. Personally, I like the infinite loop theory. [ downwithhydrogen's advice column | Ask downwithhydrogen A Question ]
Valdis answered Sunday October 12 2003, 5:17 pm: i used to think the cat would spin uncontrolably until it explodes covering everyone in cat and buttered bread.
but then i actually tried this experiment. i don't think the bread was tied very well though. the results were the cat landed on it's feet and the bread fell off and landed butter side down. [ Valdis's advice column | Ask Valdis A Question ]
chocolatenutbar answered Sunday October 12 2003, 4:36 pm: I think the cat would scratch/bite anybody who tried to strap toast to its back.
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