I challenged you to come up with a short and ‘philosophical’ reason for why the tip of a plank can fall faster than free fall. The point was not to explain the experiment but to teach a lesson about critical thinking, waterproof argumentation, and so on.

‘Philosophical’ means: Get to the vital core and convince with fundamental insight.“ No formulas that a layman cannot comprehend, so, basically no formulas.

Lady Gaga on her bike with a black hole between her legs – Artist’s impression. Always make a leggy girl showing legs the first picture (even girls and boob guys like leggy girls).

The last time, readers’ answers showed mainly how widespread this misconception is that mathematics is necessary to understand deeper connections. People are duped into accepting something as correct because it is full of formulas. It goes so far that even those who were well on the way to correct answers did not trust their own abilities merely because they did not add equations.

Let’s see whether we have learned something from that debacle and try a fresh challenge:


Usually, bicycle brakes are of the Lady Gaga Rim-Job-Brake type, employing those Sado-Maso style clamps with pervert little rubber shoes in kinky black. They grip the rim of a wheel to slow down the action. Lets refer to such succinctly as Rim-Brake.

Now they sell more expensive brakes that grip a disk near the center of the wheel instead or are even inside the short axis or hub of the wheel which is as dark as a black hole. Call this the Steven Hawking hub-singularity-velocity-deaccelerator or short Hub-Brake.

A hub-brake

Hawking’s secret new hub-singularity-brake innovation creates a big bang in a parallel universe every time he brakes his wheel chair below the speed of light.

There are people who fight debates about which brake is better to the spokes of the wheel. One of the reasons for an expensive center-brake is that it is less asymmetric with regard to the wheel and so you obtain a longer lifetime for the wheel. Not that I ever had wheels failing before they were stolen or I destroyed them jumping curbs.

So here the challenge: Give a short ‘philosophical’ reason of why either the rim-brake or the hub-brake is better for the spokes of the wheels.



0) Don’t change the topic just because of my formulating the one or the other sentence awkwardly. The core of the question is clear, so I do not care about the brake squeaking like Lady Gaga or the lamp not working. Also, do not cheat by going to brake sellers’ web pages.

You only cheat yourself. Better study my solution to the plank-versus-rubber-ball challenge and learn how a good argument works:

1) Do not focus on aspects that are (a) not quite equal or should be different neglecting this or that and (b) dependent on going a certain fraction(of length or angle) here or there. Even if it is all true, such is never as convincing as aspects that are obviously (a) identical especially if they are so moreover in (b) extreme situations (wheel with infinite versus zero radius, bike at zero velocity versus velocity of light, …).

2) Use symmetries (~ identical again)if possible (e.g. energy conservation).

3) Have a good answer? Hold your horses! Question what is wrong with it before you post. Imagine your greatest enemy has stolen your answer and published it before you. You hate his guts; now destroy him! (If you do not follow this advice, I will likely destroy you and then people will be all complaining again about me being rude. Science is not about being nice. If you are wrong, I gonna stick your nose right into your smelly semi-solids like you deserve it.)