Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bull's Bottom Blamed for Stock Market Crash

This week, in an unprecedented spectacle of synchronized nosediving, stock markets across the world nosedived spectacularly. Almost immediately, experts cropped up all over the place, trying to explain this catastrophic event. "It's because of the US sub-prime crisis", noted a surly man in a suit. "It's a grave portent of recession", informed a shrill-voiced Asian correspondent. None of this placated the traders however. No amount of frowning, scowling or jowl scratching from any of the reporters provided a convincing enough answer. And as the markets kept plunging, the mystery deepened.

That was till the ingenious traders at the Bombay Stock Exchange finally cracked it. The global nosedive they found out, was caused by the offensive posterior of the bull placed in front of the BSE. The newly erected statue of the bull was apparently placed in the BSE with its buttocks pointing towards the traders, which quite clearly is an inauspicious poition. And unless the bull turned around and repositioned its behind according to astrological charts, the traders forewarned, the sensex would continue to plunge downwards.

With all this talk of bull posteriors, one is tempted to slip in a pun about the excrement that egresses from the aforementioned b.p. However, I shall refrain from making any dung-related puns, and instead shall redirect you to this video of Carl Sagan on Astrology.

It's astounding how many people still believe in the pseudo-science of Astrology, despite the fact that there is not one logical argument in its defense. Like Carl Sagan says towards the end of the clip
How could it possibly work? How could the rising of Mars at the moment of my birth affect me, then or now. I was born in a closed room. Light froom Mars couldn't get in. The only influence of Mars that could affect me was its gravity. But the gravitational influence of the obstetrician was much larger than the gravitational influence of Mars. Mars is a lot more massive, but the obstetrician was a lot closer.
Indeed. To flog the already overemphasized point, let's put it in numbers. Using the formula g=GM/r2, to calculate the gravitational pull of a body, we calculate the gravitational influence of Mars as

gMars = G × MMars/rMars2
where, G = 6.673 × 10-11 m3/kg s2
MMars = Mass of Mars: 6.42 × 1023 kg
Average distance of Mars from Earth: 230 million km

Thus, gMars = 8.1 × 10-10 m/s2

The corresponding pull of an obstetrician weighing say 85 kg, standing 10 cm from the baby is gobs = 5.65 × 10-5 m/s2. That is an order of magnitude 5 times as much as for the planet Mars. And that's not even taking into account the gravitational pull of the nurses, the operating room or even the hospital. So much for being under the influence.


At March 9, 2008 at 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl Sagan still rules. The Cosmos is so much beter than the brief history of time.


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