How many ways to measure building heightwith a dead cat?***

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TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:14pm PT
For shorter buildings, one can time the fall of the cat.

The height is then calculated from the formula:
 height = 4.9 meters * t^2,

where t is measured in seconds.
climberweenie

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:23pm PT
one could also use a long measuring tape from the top, using the cat as ballast to get the tape down to the ground. Don't forget to add the height of the cat.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:32pm PT
Well, you calculations maybe off if the cat died of bird flu. How long is cat's gut? Maybe measure height in guts...
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:34pm PT
Good Janet. That is why the first answer only works for relatively short buildings (or in low wind conditions). For taller buildings it may be useful to attach the cat to a weight lifting plate or a bowling ball.

Of course, it really does not matter what sound it makes hitting the ground using this particular technique.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
St. Louis
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:37pm PT
If the cat has been run over by a car, you could assume that the cat measures, from tip of tail, to head approximately 31". Stacking them tip to tip, (and this is easy given their stiffness) you could estimate of the height of any building.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:39pm PT
Crimper - that is good, or just measure the building in units of flat cats.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:42pm PT
Hold the cat by the end of the tail at sufficient distance from the building where the body of the cat can be visually superimposed over the full height of the building. Measure distance from building to cat, measure cat, measure length of arm, calculate angle from eyes to cat nose and tail, and extrapolate height of building...
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
St. Louis
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
After reading Healy's suggestion, I feel really inadequate. That is simply brilliant!

By the way, I wanted to mention that one can use cats to determine the volume of any room in a building. For example, on average a cat equals 1.2 sf, (we can refer to this unit of measure as a "cat"), then my office has a volume of exactly 1,820 cats.

Cool.
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:46pm PT
healyje, you can do it simpler. Hint - You do not need to measure the angle. :-)
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:47pm PT
Janet, surely you have an answer to that problem.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:51pm PT
Trad, in math I am an drooling idiot...
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 12:56pm PT
healyje, you can only get partial credit with that answer. But collaborating with colleagues is permissible. :)
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
St. Louis
Mar 3, 2006 - 12:57pm PT
Janet:

I concede that your method of measuring volume appears more efficient. I will continue toiling away to develop a better measurement strategy....
ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
Monterey, CA
Mar 3, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
You can put a mirror on the ground at a fixed distance from the building and then walk toward the mirror and the building until you see the top of the building. Once you you see the top, drop the dead cat on the ground as a marker. Measure your height (only to your eyes- this is why you need the cats- your normal height wont work) using any one of the 'dead cat' measuring tips above, the distance between the mirror and building and the distance between the dead cat and the mirror. You can then, using geometry (think SOCAHTOA) figure the agle your eyes make with the mirror. Using Snells law (incidence angle = refracted angle if there is a homogenous medium) you can very accurately determine the height of the building. The only down side to this is that it could require two dead cats-one to mark and one to measure.. . but it would be the most accurate in that it relies only on pure science without requirements for simplifactions to account for friction..
BTW.. you would want to Skin the Cat before any sort of drop tests or measurements since the fur would surely induce errors.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 3, 2006 - 01:33pm PT
I like that one...
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 02:28pm PT
Nice TK, That works very nicely. Clearly you could probably finish healy's solution as well.

The volume problem is an interesting variation, that I have not yet had time to really think about.
G_Gnome

Gym climber
The Big City
Mar 3, 2006 - 02:42pm PT
If measuring volume, make sure to leave the skin on the tail, as skinned cat tail is awfully slippery.
ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
Monterey, CA
Mar 3, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
The volume is not an easy one.. I would say impossible... for a number of reasons.
First, there is "compaction of dead cats"(tm) wherby you have dissimilar contributions from what once were equi-volumous cats.
Second, you need to have equi-volumous cats to start off-width.

I would say that if you are into measuring room volumes... you should head to PB in san diego and round up about a hundred (scale +/- for a wag at the actual volume) of those plastic chicks that walk around. Hint.. tell them that there is a people magazine photo shoot at your place of interest. dunk one of these girls into a medium sized graduated cyllindar (hint- you will need extra ballast to offset the bouyance of fake tits for complete submersion). Measure off the volume change on the cyllinder. You know have the volume of the average chick. A good assumption based on my field research is that there is very little variance on their dimensions so just start stuffing them in the room...
count them as they go in (hint: do this yourself as you won't want a PB chick doing any counting)

Now have a ST party and celebrate with Wine, Beer and zima(for the dummies).
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 03:24pm PT
Rajmit, that would only work like in healy's example if you were able to measure the angle. And unlike healy's example, you would need to account for a catenary shape sag. Try to figure out how to do it without the need for measuring the angle.

BTW. We are starting to run out of cats.

Perhaps we should be restricting ourselves to single cat solutions. :-)
TradIsGood

Trad climber
Gunks end of country
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 3, 2006 - 03:27pm PT
tofu, strictly whether he could use less than half depends on the angle. If he measured if from very close to the base, he would hardly save any cats at all.

Also folks, in the feline spirit, let's not leave out the details. Just don't say use geometry. Note that original solution to get you thinking did not just say use the well known formula for distances versus time for falling objects on earth.
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