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Handballing In Outer Space (Not What You May Think)

Imagine you are playing handball in outer space (don't think too hard about this... just go with me for a second). You are floating without any gravity in a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10 foot perfectly square room. In front of you is a grid of squares numbered 1 through 25, as in the picture. The back and side walls also have a grid - but the ceiling and floor is blank. You have a rubber ball in your hand.

If you started in the exact center of the room, and threw the ball directly in front of you (and then got out of the way), the ball would hit the middle of the 13 square in front of you, return without friction to the exact center of the room, and then hit the exact center of the wall behind you, before repeating this sequence over and over forever.

Here is some notation to describe the motion of the ball:

F = Front wall
B = Back wall
L = Left wall
R = Right wall
U = Up, the ceiling
D = Down, the floor

So, you can say "F13" which is the middle tile of the front wall. Or, "R25", which is the southeastern-most tile of the right hand wall. Note that there is no "U5" or "U6"... if the ball hits the ceiling, it is just noted as "U".

Also, you can use an apostrophe to represent endless repeating. In this notation, the ball traveled in the first example a path of: (F13 B13)' which is another way of saying F13 B13 F13 B13 F13 B13... (etc.)

What would the result be if you started at the exact center of the room, and threw the ball at the exact middle of the F23 tile?

(F23 D U B3)'

How about throwing the ball from the the exact center of the room to F15? (Scroll for answer)

Center to F15 =
(F15 R11 L11 B15)'

Now, how about the exact center to F14? Answer in a screened comment, and I will post the answer tomorrow night at 11:59 PM Friday (May 14, 2010) with the people who got it correct.

Finally, I can't figure out the exact center to F20. Does anybody want to solve it for me?

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(F14 R14 B11 F13 B15 L12 F12 B12 R12 F15 B13 F11 L14 B14)'

Even if I'm floating in a space without gravity, I need air to breathe. Air means friction, and currents, so even if I have perfect aim and contribute no spin to the ball, it will not bounce endlessly along the same trajectory. In an airless space, the mass of my body exerts some gravitational force, and again, the trajectory of the ball cannot help but respond......then there's the fact that my aim won't be absolutely consistent, or reliably accurate.....

There is no air. How do I know this? Because all the air is in your lungs. How do I know this? Because you really really suck. Minus three points from Hufflepuff.

Is that your final answer? :)

I think centre to F14 would result in:

(F14, R13, B12, F12, L13, B14)'

This is interesting. I'm working on centre to F20 but I can't quite get my head around it.

I'm sick so I can't calculate the F14 out beyond F14, R14, B11.

For the other problem you have to think in 3 dimensions. If we break the velocity vector into it's 3 components we see that the speed in x is 4, the speed in y is 5, and the speed in z is 2, This would make the next hit R16, I think.

Looks like it would be a LONG pattern. Possibly hitting a corner.

14 will hit 12, 20 will hit 21.

what kind of a homo would I be if I didn't suck? Besides, even with no air, there's the gravitational issues and human error in aim to contend with.....

It'd be more fun to guess what square my pee hits.

After having wild monkeysex in the floating room, and seeing how cool it is to play with a large quantity of floating mud in the anti-gravity space..

(F14 R12 L12 B14)'
- Using the logic if your presented answer is correct for F14, and you slid one over and in, then it would just expand the pattern slightly.

For F20, I would guess...
F20, then down to L21, then to the Floor. Then, you flip the room around, so
Ceiling, then up to R1, then B6, then repeat.

Oh, screw it, let's just try some watersports in anti-gravity.

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