Watch a Ping Pong Ball Rip Through a Soda Can at 500 MPH

Anyone who has ever played a spirited game of ping pong knows that the plastic balls are relatively fragile. But those delicate spheres can do some serious damage—when turned into 500 mph projectiles. In a new video (above) from Tested, hosts Norman Chan and Kishore Hari are joined by Zeke Kossover from the Exploratorium in San Francisco for an experiment involving a ping pong ball, a soda can, and a device called a "vacuum cannon."

The reason ping pong balls don't hurt when they're thrown is because of air resistance. As Kossover explains: "The ping pong ball, for its size, has a lot of air resistance. They're about two and a half grams, and they're fairly large for two and a half grams, so the wind resistance slows them down super fast. Even if you were to hit it at 60 miles an hour, by the time it gets to the other side of the table it's only going about 10 miles an hour." The key to getting the ball to move faster is to remove air from the equation, which is where the vacuum cannon comes into play.

After sealing each end of the cannon's tube with mylar sheets, Kossover draws the air out of the tube with the vacuum, then punctures one end so that air is allowed to rush back in. According to Kossover, that leads to about 45 pounds of force pushing on about two and a half grams (.00551156 pounds) of ping pong ball. In other words, it's a whole lot of energy barreling toward the unsuspecting aluminum can.

Watch the full experiment above, or check out the GIF below to skip to the satisfying result.

Images via Tested on YouTube

[h/t Nerdist]

arrow
Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
Design
A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios