The difference between FIRST students (and everyone else)

Hey FIRST community! I just finished watching the following TED talk video, and was astounded that most people couldn’t answer most of the four questions correctly. (admittedly, i didn’t get the first one right.) The speaker even said that most MIT graduates could not answer them. I was interested to see if students (high school and college) involved in FIRST (who get hands on experience every day) would be able to answer them correctly.
It’s an interesting video nonetheless, and I agree with most of what the speaker is saying. So reply with how many qs you got right, and if you think FIRST had anything to do with that.

MIT Lightbulb video.

I got them all right, and I doubt FIRST had anything to do with it…but I probably would have got at least one of them wrong 10 or 20 years ago. I’ve only recently begun to read a lot about interesting subjects like biology and cosmology, I didn’t learn any of that in engineering school.

(although I’ve been connecting light bulbs to batteries since I was a kid)

Four out of four right… not bad for a high school dropout with a PhD from SHK… :stuck_out_tongue: Course it took 45 years to get it. :wink:
Will admit #4 was the hardest for me.

-p :cool:

Oh wow 500 post… yeah guess I got alot to say about nothing :slight_smile:

I do love the TED talks. I think they are my most productive form of procrastination.

So we feel confident on 1-4… How about 5 and 6?

I’ll admit that they threw me a bit.

I grew up next to rivers, so my ocean color knowledge is lacking. Coupled with a bit of color-blindness (just a tiny bit there), I always thought the ocean turned dark during storms. Never noticed the color on a cloudy day.

Planes can fly upside down because they can angle the wings (along with the body). They pull the nose upwards so the thrust is at an angle upwards (not just horizontal). In fact, much of the force to fly comes from this angling of the plane. That’s why the front landing gear of a plane leaves the ground first, before the back landing gear (if you’ve been in a plane).

I had to look that up too. I would have gotten that question right in 5th grade when I played with paper airplanes and stuff. Physics and all that actually made my understanding worse…


Not necessarily, on the landing gear. Tail-draggers are getting rarer, though.

Now, do you know WHY the angling of the plane (or even just the angling of the wing) is so important?

I missed the first one, got the next three. Didn’t stick around for 5 and 6…

It’s Important because it kindof pulls the plane upwards. It pushes the air downwards and creates lift. ----->\ is a crude diagram. When the arrow (air) hits the wing (backslash), it is forced downward. As long as the forward force is enough to overcome this drag, you will get lift.


The question is worded kind of unfairly in this video; my immediate thought was yes, cut the wire into two and make a circuit. I’m sure some of them had that idea too.

Not quite. That’s the flat-plate wing. The airfoil makes most of the lift. When the angle of attack is increased from normal, then the effect you describe comes into play.

Right, that’s what I’m trying to say. When a plane flies upside down, the airfoil is working against it so they need to increase the angle of attack greatly to stay aloft. Drag is huge and it is not a very efficient way to fly, but it can be done.