Re: Intelligence and Environment (was Re: Better People)

Wed, 09 Jun 1999 14:24:44 +0200

It appears as if Stephen Adamson <> wrote:

| But what will happen to the precocious kid who has the
|Internet at his fingertips-- the world's biggest library, the world's
|biggest thinktank, the world as his peer group?
| Consider: 25 years ago, a smart, aspiring young teen asks:
| "Dad, why don't satellites fall to the Earth?"
| Dad thinks for a long time and finally says: "That's a really
|good question, son. I guess it must be because they go so darn fast."
|And that's the end of it. The young man can go to the library or a
|science teacher, (and probably would), considering that was feasible.
| Consider that against today when the father says "Well, *I*
|don't know, but we can do an Internet search and find out," and the
|kid knows by the end of the evening.

I entered the precocious kid mode, and tried the above, gave the question "Why don't satellites fall to the Earth?" to Altavista.

Altavista returned a list of pages about satellites, but nothing to answer the question.

Then I tried, to read the Altavista Help, and tried the question "+satellite +intro"

Altavista then returned the page

as the second entry. By clicking on "Anatomy of a Satellity", I found a page with a "clickable satellite". Clicking on "Orbit" gave the URL

which starts:

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ Surprising as it may seem, after a satellite is launched into space, it needs little to no power to keep it moving. Satellites move in a path around the Earth called an orbit. Every satellite must have an orbital path (remember, satellites that travel into deep space to look at distant planets are not true satellites, they are in fact space probes), and the type of path it takes is determined by the physics involved.


A satellite's orbit works because of a balance between two forces. The orbit is a combination of the satellite's velocity - the speed it is travelling in a straight line - and the force of the Earth's gravitational pull on the satellite. These forces are similar to the forces that keep all the planets in their places in the solar system. That gravitational pull is the result of the mass or weight of the Earth and the mass of the satellite. Basically, gravity keeps the satellite's velocity from sending the satellite flying out in a straight line away from the Earth, and the satellite's velocity keeps the force of gravity from pulling the satellite back to Earth. \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

Mission accomplished.