Gibraltar is an interesting & unusual place. You realise this the first time you touch down in the airport and notice that your are landing on a motorway that has been closed at both ends like a level crossing. The unusual qualities only become more apparent after more time spent there. It is a peninsular, that whilst attached to Spain is under British Sovereignty. This means that you get amazing Mediterranean weather in a place that has police in British uniforms, UK style post boxes and the Queen on its money. Oh and also they have monkeys! In fact the hotel we stayed in at the time had notices in the rooms saying not to leave your windows open as they will get in and trash the rooms.
Unfortunately, during the visit we had only seen them in the distance cavorting up the Rock of Gibraltar. However, just as we were leaving a few came and had a little sit down in the car park. This is the photo taken below.
Click for high-res version
The Barbary macaque is (other than humans) the only free living primate in Europe. They are unusual in Monkey populations in that they do not have a tale. This means that they were originally classified as being more closely related to apes than monkeys. However, due to the rise of the genetics we now know they are closer to monkeys than apes. They are one of the “Old World Monkeys”.
A bit of a challenge is always good. So I have decided to set myself one, which I intend to help motivate me to gain a new skill. That new skill is photography.
The challenge is to post up and blog about a photo I have taken, once a week (initially). As my back catalogue of photos isn’t particularly extensive, I will run out of pics pretty quickly! This will force me to do something I have been meaning to do for ages, learn all the technical stuff involved with photography.
The photos may not always be science related, but I will strive to attempt to get some science in there no matter how tenuous the link is!
So, here we go…number 1:
Click for the full image
This photo was taken from the top of the Empire State Building looking south at the night lights of Manhattan. So, now time for a little bit of science to go along with this. The science question is, will a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building really kill/maim someone on the ‘side-walk’ below? The answer, unsurprisingly is no.
This oft quoted fact has been dis-proven so many times that I would hope that it isn’t viewed as a fact by anyone. Because, the fact of the matter it is likely to hurt a little bit. But, it is unlikely to cause any major damage to you. This is because pennies generate a lot of aerodynamic resistance as they fall. As a result, they have a rather low terminal velocity of 100mph which it will reach in about 10 seconds. This coupled with the low weight of the penny (about 1 g) means that it will be able to impart about 1.35 J of energy on impact and as described in my previous post depending on the area of the skull 14.1 – 68.5 J would be needed to fracture it.
So there we have it, a photo and a bit of science.