## Wednesday, December 10, 2014

### Search Challenge (12/10/14): Finding measures of things

Not to worry... we'll close off the "KML analysis" problem tomorrow. I know a couple of people still wanted to work on it, so I'll write a post with all the answers on Thursday.

And in the meantime, here are a couple of quick Search Challenges to keep you going.  Here, the Challenge isn't so much finding an answer, it's really about understanding the question.

1.  Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park (see above) is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.  It's also dangerous, as people get too close to edge and slip over the side in a heartbeat.  The Challenge here is this:  What is the elevation of Vernal Fall?
2.  What is the distance to Jupiter?
3.  How big is a 2x4 ("two by four") piece of wood?

Warning!  These seem trivially simple,they're all easy to look up... and that's why they're interesting search challenges for this week.  They don't take long to answer, but each one has a hidden gotcha.

Tell us what the answer is for each question, and WHY you think that's correct.

Discuss.

Search on!

1. From the World Waterfall Database
http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/waterfall/Vernal-Fall-6430/
Elevation of the top of the waterfall: 5036 feet
Height (the total loss in elevation between the absolute top and bottom of the waterfall): 317 feet
Vernal Fall was first properly examined by USGS surveyor Francois Matthes in or around 1913, at which time he determined the height of the falls to be 317 feet, and that measurement has been assumed to be accurate ever since. However, topographic maps make it seem almost abundantly clear that this figure could not be physically possible and instead indicate the height of the falls to be more like 200-230 feet. Given what the Topo maps show, we were quite skeptical that a measurement taken 100 years ago would prove to be accurate, yet when we surveyed the falls in May of 2013 we measured the falls to stand 309 feet tall, so Matthes' figure of 317 feet is not only within an acceptable margin of error, but is simply too close to our measurement to assume it to not be accurate.

Because of its popularity Vernal Fall is also among the most deadly waterfalls in California. Since 1924 at least 17 people have been swept over the falls after having strayed too close to the river and more may have fallen victim to the river below the falls as well. Most recently in 2011 a group of three crossed the guard rail at the top of the fall to pose for a picture closer to the river, and all three lost their footing, slid into the river and were swept to their death while hundreds of onlookers watched helplessly. When visiting Vernal Fall, please heed all warning signs and stay within the guard rails where provided.

2. 1. What do you mean by elevation? Do you want the elevation of the land at the top of the falls, the land at the bottom of the falls, or do you mean the height of the falls. In order: ~5065 ft,~4750 ft, 317 ft. (Wikipedia and Google Earth)

2. When? The distance between Earth and Jupiter is constantly varying.It ranges between a minimum of 628,743,036 km and a maximum of 928,081,020 km. (4.2 to 6.2 AU. This makes sense, as the diameter of Earth's orbit is 2 AU.) (Google search for Jupiter maximum and minimum distance)

3. What kind of 2x4, softwood or hardwood? Finished softwood dimensional 2x4s are 1.5" x 3.5". Hardwood 2x4s are 1 3/16" x 3 3/16" if surfaced on one side and 1 3/4" x 3 3/4" if surfaced on two sides. (Wikipedia)

1. Well said. Thanks.

3. Earth to Jupiter distance
Because both planets travel in an elliptical path around the sun, Jupiter's distance from Earth is constantly changing.

http://distancefrom.facts.co/earthtojupiter/distancebetweenearthandjupiter.php
Average Distance:787 million kilometers
Current Distance (December 2014): 739 million kilometers
Maximum Distance: 968.1 million kilometers
Minimum Distance: 588.5 million kilometers

4. How big is a 2x4 ("two by four") piece of wood?
Or: Why one-inch isn't really one-inch

Everybody has heard of a 2x4 (pronounced "two by four"), but few people realize that the actual height and width of a 2x4 is really somewhere close to 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" depending on dryness of the material and milling methods.

5. •4784' @ the base (which is the part that really would hurt one) 5101 @ the Silver Apron - the launching pool?*
•41.08 light minutes (this month) 4.9 AU - can't compute the aphelion/perihelion relative ratios, where's AI when needed? this would be right up Wolfram|Alpha's alley?
•38x89…mm (all nominal), but as dimensional lumber, not 8/4x16/4 & not factoring bowing/warpage - cuz wood measurements are too simple - or am I just being knotty?

*17 since 1924… (as of 2011)

1. Hmmm. The photospheres are working for me. What happens when you try them? (Direct mail me with your answer. Thanks.)

6. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers

1. Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park (see above) is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. It's also dangerous, as people get too close to edge and slip over the side in a heartbeat. The Challenge here is this: What is the elevation of Vernal Fall?

[vernal falls elevation] [vernal falls facts] [define waterfall elevation]

Criteria for a Waterfall qualifying for the WWD

Vernal Fall, facts, data, history.

The total elevation gain along the 1.5 mile walk to Vernal Fall is 1,000 feet

[define crest elevation][define crest elevation waterfall

Crest:
The top of the waterfall. More specifically, the top edge from which water falls. Also referred to as the brink.

[vernal falls facts and figures intext:elevation]

Mist Trail

Answer: From Google: Elevation: 3,326 or 1,014 m. I couldn't find what this measure refers to. Height: 318' (97 m)

Vernal Fall was first properly examined by USGS surveyor Francois Matthes in or around 1913. Height of the falls 317 ft (in 2013 was measured as 309.)

Crest elevation 5036 ft.
Gain elevation 1000 ft.
Sea level 5045.93 ft

2. What is the distance to Jupiter?

This is like when they ask about distance to the center of the Earth or Earth dimensions. It varies according to where we land and how we measure from one point to another.

[Earth distance to Jupiter]

Nasa Jupiter Fact

Distance from Earth
Minimum (10 6 km) 588.5
Maximum (10 6 km) 968.1

Nasa: What Is Jupiter?

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun. Jupiter's average distance from the sun is 5.2 astronomical units, or AU. This distance is a little more than five times the distance from Earth to the sun.

Astronomical unit (AU): the average distance from the sun to Earth - about 149 million kilometers (93 million miles). Earth is 1 AU from the sun.

Answer: From Google: ".Because both planets travel in an elliptical path around the sun, Jupiter's distance from Earth is constantly changing. When the two planets are at their closest point, the distance to Jupiter is only 365 million miles (588 million kilometers)." Info from space.com

3. How big is a 2x4 ("two by four") piece of wood?

[2 x 4 wood]

Lumber Nominal vs Actual

[wood history of 2 x 4]

When Did a 2x4 Become 1-1/2" x 3-1/2"?

[2x4 wood dimensions]

Understanding Wood Sizes

Answer: From wikipedia: a "2x4" board historically started out as a green, rough board actually 2 by 4 inches (51 mm × 102 mm). After drying and planing, it would be smaller, by a nonstandard amount. Today, a "2x4" board starts out as something smaller than 2 inches by 4 inches and not specified by standards, and after drying and planing is reliably 1 1⁄2 by 3 1⁄2 inches (38 mm × 89 mm). It is made to absorb natural variation.

Size will vary with wood conditions. Therefore the actual size is 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches.

1. Nice answer. You managed to get almost all the variation in there!

7. #1 Elevation or Height - Elevation would be two points. One at the bottom and one at the top of the falls. Elevation is based on sea level. http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/geology/leveson/core/linksa/sealevel.html
Height would be distance between two points.

#2 The distance from where to where & when would be what I would ask.I anticipate Jupiter’s rotation would influence the distance as well.

#3 Big is vague. As well the normal term is 2 x 4 which is only an approximate measurement at best.

I’m off to work on the KLM challenge.

8. This is how far I have gotten given the clues to this week's challenges.

1. Search [ measure waterfall elevation ] Something behind the obvious. Interesting images suggested. Most falls do not fall at a 90 degree angle. Elevation from sea level?

2. Search [ measure distance to planets ] Teaching about the Mars expeditions, I knew (the same as others) about the distance changing due to elliptical orbits. I wonder if someone has created a motion chart or a model that would show the distances based on Earth date and time.

3. Search [ measure 2x4 ] Again saw results that the size is not a measure of 2x4, but I am questioning the question. What measure are you looking for when asking how BIG something is?

1. Exactly right. What does "big" mean here?

9. 1). Simple Google search says the elevation is 3,327' but then when we went to the world waterfall database the entry says that the elevation at the crest is 5,036'. The differing amounts could be because of errors in calculating the elevation.
2). The distance to Jupiter from Earth varies because of the elliptical orbits of each planet. The distance can vary between 365 million miles and 601 million miles. We checked these figures with the Nasa.gov site by using the site limiter in our search and looked for the distance from Earth to Jupiter. Their calculations (which were in Kms. so we had to convert) confirmed the 365 million miles but the furthest distance was a little different they had 597.2 million Kms.
3). A 2x4 is actually closer to 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" and depends on the dryness of the wood and how it was milled. We did a search for what is the dimension of 2 X4 lumber and got many results with the same answer.

10. Vernal Falls

http://www.seeyosemite.com/vernal-falls.html says 5044 ft

http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/waterfall/Vernal-Fall-6430/ This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database. Says Crest elevation is 5036 ft. THis is right because it has neen surveyed, mapped and measured by specialists. And USGS is apparently casual about doing this for waterfalls.

Drop is 310 - 320 ft

Jupiter

http://www.space.com/18383-how-far-away-is-jupiter.html

Jupiter and Earth are in elliptical orbits so the distance constantly changes from closest 588 million km apart and the farthest 968 million km apart.

2x4

Well one answer as to how big it is -- depends on the length ;)

Another is that the short dimensions are much smaller due to planing, so, 1.5 x 3.5 according to http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/softwood-lumber-dimensions-d_1452 and
http://www.engineersedge.com/commercial_lumber_sizes.htm and my own experience

Can vary a tiny bit due to moisture content.

jon tU pleased that no spreadsheets were harmed in finding these

11. Again my comment failed to get thru. next try

Vernal Falls

http://www.seeyosemite.com/vernal-falls.html says 5044 ft

http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/waterfall/Vernal-Fall-6430/ This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database. Says Crest elevation is 5036 ft. THis is right because it has neen surveyed, mapped and measured by specialists. And USGS is apparently casual about doing this for waterfalls.

Drop is 310 - 320 ft

Jupiter

http://www.space.com/18383-how-far-away-is-jupiter.html

Jupiter and Earth are in elliptical orbits so the distance constantly changes from closest 588 million km apart and the farthest 968 million km apart.

2x4

Well one answer as to how big it is -- depends on the length ;)

Another is that the short dimensions are much smaller due to planing, so, 1.5 x 3.5 according to http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/softwood-lumber-dimensions-d_1452 and
http://www.engineersedge.com/commercial_lumber_sizes.htm and my own experience

Can vary a tiny bit due to moisture content.

jon tU pleased that no spreadsheets were harmed in finding these