Tuesday, December 06, 2005


On a cylinder

You wake up one morning to find yourself on top of a mile-high telephone pole that has a 12-foot radius. With you is a German Shepherd dog, a can of unopened chicken soup, a tube of very strong epoxy and a half-mile long rope. Is there any way you can reach the ground safely? (The telephone pole consists only of a smooth, cylindrical column. It has no additional structures.)

hm . . . a twelve foot radius. wrap a length of rope around the edge of the pole. Hold both ends (there will be a lot of slack left over) and pull it tight. Slip over one edge of the top and pull the rope as hard as you can to slow down your decent. Good luck. The dog and can of soup aren't needed.
Assuming the rope can fray, peel it into two strands half the width of the original and tie them together.

If not, get the dog to bite open the can of soup and use the sharp edges to kill the dog. Skin it, and remove the intestines and any other long organs/organ systems. Tie the bodily tissues together and tie one end to the rope. Put the epoxy on the bodily tissues in an attempt to harden them. While they are hardening, use the sharp can edges to hack away at the telephone pole, carving out a small post to which you will tie your rope. Once the bodily tissue has hardened, tie the rope end or your chain to the small post you carved out. Slide slowly down your nice long rope/dog chain. You'll get rope burn, but hopefully you'll live. If the chain is too short to reach the ground, jump and hope you survive the now much shorter fall to the ground.
This is likely the most common solution, so I guess I'll put it out there: Glue the end of the rope to the edge of the pole. Once the epoxy has cured open the can of soup and pour it over the glued end of the rope. The dog immediately begins to feed on the soup and thus the rope end. It will take exactly 30 minutes for the dog to knaw through the rope. Since you need to cover 1/2 mile in thirty minutes you had better get moving. You must travel at a rate greater than 88 feet per minute. Once you reach the end of the rope, (hopefully you haven't forgotten the remaining epoxy) glue the end of the rope to the side of the pole. Once the dog has knawed completely through the upper end of the rope, it will fall down and allow you to repel the remaining 1/2 mile without any time constraint. Unfortunately; however, the dog dies of starvation after many days of unnecessary starving. Maybe some of the epoxy should have been mixed in with the soup in an attempt to poison the dog in order to prevent it's needless suffering.
First of all; Amanda and Dr. whatever, you two are sick, killing the dog like that! Second, use dan's idea, because it can save the dog. First do what dan said, then use the remaining rope to make a sling for the dog and shimmy down, like in Disneys Mulan.
I would open the can (with the help of the dog), and feed the dog the soup to make it weigh more, then tie the rope to the dog and kick it off the pole, terrible I know. Then I glue the can the the side of the pole with the glue, then tie yourself to the other end of the rope and lever yourself down to safety...
First you make friends with the dog, as you will need it to trust you. You drink a little of the soup, and pour the rest out for the dog to lap up. The soup is in one of those cans that has a pop top that you pull off, leaving a sharp circle of aluminum.

You epoxy the bottom of the can to the middle of the top of the pole, leaving a nubbin you can use to secure the rope. As Amanda says, you'll need to un-ply the rope into two pieces and tie them together to make an almost mile-long rope, securing one end around the soup can. It's a few feet less than a mile because of the knots, and the sling you'll need to make to lower yourself down slowly.

You use the sharp edge of the can top to shave the dog and cut your own hair pretty short (not so short that the top of your head gets sunburned). You spin the mixtures of hair using your shoe as the weight for a drop spindle, so that you have enough yarn to muzzle the dog, tie its feet together with it around your back like a shepherd with an injured shepherd, and use what's left over to wrap around your hands so you won't get rope burn.

You lower yourself and the dog down in the sling you've made, using knots you learned in the Scouts. What with the 12 foot radius and the sling you'll end up about 20 feet short of the bottom, but you can shinny down that without much problem.
But since that's a horrible lot of work, this is what I'd probably end up doing --

Share soup with dog.

Use top of can to cut rope into foot-long pieces.

Use concave end of can to light rope on fire, and keep fire burning steadily.

Stand upwind of fire, use bottom of the can to make
light flash signals over the edge of the pole, aimed at village below. ... - - - ...

Take off clothes, arrange them to read "HELP."

Wait for someone to be sufficiently curious to say, "There's mile-high telephone pole with smoke and SOS flashes on the top, maybe we should send a helicopter up to investigate."

Saunter naked but proud into helicopter with an air of "I do this all the time, stop gawking like a peasant." Ask pilot to call literary agent to negotiate rights to story. Retire comfortably with dog, who never thought there was anything strange about the situation.
I should add that I'd use the chicken chunks as the slightly abrasive polishing agent so that the bottom of the can would concentrate the sunlight enough to light the rope.

See http://trackertrail.com/survival/fire/cokeandchocolatebar/

Carol Maltby
Train the dog to be able to untie the rope from the soup tin on command of a whistle. Then cover one end of the rope in epoxy, dangle it down, and glue it halfway down the side of the cylinder, wait for it to set well. Now glue the soup tin to the edge of the cylinder and tie the other end of the rope to the tin. Climb down the rope until you reach the halfway point where you glued the first end. Whistle up to the dog to untie the other end of the rope and pull it over. Now climb down the rest of the rope to the ground.
Poor dog...
Why not making friends with him in order to teach him to stay still (whatever the circumstances) AND to come to you on a whistle command? You could then tie one end of the rope around the dog (be sure to encase the whole torso) and the other around the soup can. Then put the glue on both sides of the can, lower it long the pole until you have rope, swing it gently until it sticks to the pole, wait there caressing the dog and praying whatever angels you beleive in, then tell the dog to stay still and start climbing down the rope. Once you reach the can, you whistle... and close your eyes! When the poor dog stops dangling, you climb down the rest of the rope, free the dog and drop him, jump down too trying not to get hurt, lie down caressing your dog.
I think we need to start with the assumption that we save the dog too. The goal is to save ourselves, but I think there is more to life than being selfish.

It also reminds me of a legal case where sailors stranded at sea killed and ate one of their party. (the lazy teen)

Second, I have a feeling that there is a rock climbing technique to descend a pole. (like Dan's idea) Perhaps we could use a length of rope around the pole like a clamp. (perhaps using the can to tighten it or a "Prussic") We probably want to practice to get a technique down (with a safety) before taking the plunge.

Or, maybe the glue can be used to make handles like a ladder going down the pole. (I don't know if we can cut the rope, but a metal can might help.) A cut piece of rope could also make a harness for safety and to hold the dog on the way down.
PS: I just realized, a rock climber would create a harness, a rapel device, and 3-4 anchors. (short segments of rope tied and/or glued to the pole)

One would create an anchor at the top. (doubled for safety) Then loop the rope through and descend as far as it would go (just under 1/4 mile) on two strands. Then they would create another "bomber" anchor, (wait for the glue to dry), tie themselves to it, and pull the rope down and start the process over.

The process would repeat until they were on the ground.

Note: At one rope length above the ground, they could simply tie the rope to the last anchor and descend on a single length.
I got over a detail that troubled me, so i'll complete my plan like this:
1st: the drunken authors of this problem must know of a german shepard able to tow a man for some chicken soup, otherwise how could they have thought of such a sick situation?
So, after harnessing the dog, wait as long as you can, until he (too) is starving like hell. THEN, open the can (of course it has a pull-off lid) and pour it's content in the center of the pole. Keep the empty can, grab the glue and hurry all the way down the rope while doggy pulls towards his soup. At the end of the rope, glue the can to the pole, tie your end of the rope around it and wait for the dog to finish his soup. I guess it won't take long before he gives up and lets himself fall...
Then you go down, drop him, jump down too and thank him.
Let me say up front that the dog will die. Ok,I don't like it either, but sometimes sacrifices must be made.

Assumptions: we don’t know if the can of soup can be opened (and I don’t carry a can opener) so we’ll assume not; hope there’s enough glue in the tube and that it’s way strong; hope the rope is good for my weight at .5 mile (jeez, don’t split it!), and that .5 mile of rope doesn’t weigh too much; so…

start by gluing the can to the top of the pole near the edge, flat side down. Let it harden while you start tying.

Tie 6 loops in the rope, 1 near the top (loop #1) - a bit larger than the can's circumference - about 10 “ from the end of the rope (end A); 1 about 4 feet or so from loop #1 (loop #2). Then, starting from the other end (end B), tie 2 sets of 2 loops at 12’, 8’, 6’, and 2’ from end B. Tie a small loop at the very end (end B) as well.

Tie the dog to end A, like a very short leash. Put loop 1 around the can of soup (near the top). Put the tube of glue in your pocket. Holding onto the can of soup (near the bottom), lower yourself over the end and put your weight on loop 2. Wait for the dog to try to raise it’s head and make sure that your weight prevents it from doing so. Also, that the dog is able to raise up enough to have the rope come off the can when you allow it to by removing your weight. Very important!

Reset loop 1 on the can and start lowering yourself down the rope, using your feet so that it’s not just your hands holding you up. After all, you have .5 mile to go. When you get to the first loop (near end B), go past it and grab it with your left hand. Put your left foot in the next loop down. Now loop your left arm thru the loop (instead of just your hand) and reach down with your right hand and pull up the rest of the rope below your left foot. Put your right foot in the second loop from the end, and put your right arm thru the loop nearest end B (not the small one at the end) and use it to get the glue out.

Using both hands, apply the glue to the small loop at the end (end B). Press that small loop to the pole about 18’ to the right, and wait while the glue hardens. Use some slack in the rope if needed (to avoid contact with the glue). Once it hardens, test it to make sure it holds your weight ok.

Now hang from the loops at end B, transferring weight from left hand/foot to right hand/foot. Wait for the dog to eventually try to raise up again. Good thing it’s a strong dog (German Shepard), because it will need to pull upward on .5 mile of rope!

Keep testing by tugging on the rope. This might get the dog to take action sooner too. When you feel some give (because the loop is off the can and you’re now pulling on the dog), keep pulling till the dog goes over the edge. Sorry! Stay out of the way as the dog falls past you.

When the dog hits the bottom, lower yourself down. Should be close enough to the bottom to jump past the dog. Dig a grave, bury the dog. Say a prayer and thank ol’ Shep for sacrificing so that you might live.

Thanks to Brezny!
I was going to write what Dan said.
feed the dog, wrap the rope around the pole and work your way down. then call somebody to help the dog down
Quote from Carol:
Wait for someone to be sufficiently curious to say, "There's mile-high telephone pole with smoke and SOS flashes on the top, maybe we should send a helicopter up to investigate." End quote

OHHHH MYYYY This post was from 2005 and I don't know if anyone will see this...but I am laughing my head off at this thread. Carol's second post is just too funny! Thank you for the laughs today!
a mile high cylinder??? Are you f'n kidding me?! The answer is no, there is no way I can get down safely. Other people might be able to pull that off, but I'll be huddled in the very center of the pole, clutching the dog for comfort, and probably using the epoxy to glue myself to the pole in case the wind picks up.
The first thing is I would wonder how the devil I got up there with those items in the first place- somebody put us up there.
I'd sit there & share the soup with the dog until the perpetrator's curiosity was satisfied & got us down.
On the ground I would sick the dog on the person or people that did it. After the dog was satisfied, I'd tie up the guilty with the rope with the dog guarding him (them?), & then pour the epoxy over the rope.
The dog & I would go get pizza & beer & sit there in the shade & watch them figure out how they were going to get loose.
I'm going to take a different route on this. To begin with, I believe this is Cliff's "thought experiment". He has given us an impossible "real time" situation. Telephone poles are made almost exclusively from trees. This tree, with the part that must be buried, would be about 6000 feet long.

Other poles are made from metal & would have to be at least 5280 feet long. If you had either, neither would stand. There can be no attached structure, consequently, no supporting cables to hold it in place. The top of the pole where I live would be at an altitude of A little over 9000 feet. There is always wind & if it didn't break, no one could remain on top unless you epoxied yourself to it.

So what we have here is "Schrodinger's Pole" with me instead of a cat. In this thought experiment, I am real as is the pole, nothing else is- i.e. the dog, rope, epoxy, & soup. They exist only to draw you away from solving the problem.

The "Cat" situation is something of a closed system, in that a closed box must be opened to see if the cat exists as dead or alive. In Cliff's example, it is an open system, in that I exist in particulate, or bodily form only when someone is looking at me.

The answer to my problem lies in capturing a moment in which no one is looking at me. When I can capture that moment, I will go into a quantum "fuzzy" state which is quantum wave form, which is the state of the cat when the box is closed.

When I enter wave form, I am "spread out" everywhere in every direction, & being conscious, can direct myself anywhere I want to- in this case to the ground.

When my wave form comes into contact with the ground, my quantum wave form "collapses" back into particulate form, & I am standing on the ground in reality.

So, Cliff, I'm back home now. Come over & have some "real" tacos with me & my "real" dogs.
uhhh why not split the rope?
How about:
1. Epoxy the can to the top of the pole (near edge).
2. Tie rope to can and a noose 4' or so from can.
3. Put noose around dogs neck and kick him off, to his death.
4. After dog is dead, eat soup and use sharp edges of can to skin dog.
5. Use the rope to make some sort of kite with the dogs skin and make a cradle for you to sit.
6. Fluff up the dog/kite and wait for it to pick up, and use it like a parachute to increase the friction, thus decreasing terminal velocity and hope it is enough to safely lower you to the ground.
7. Hang the dog skin on the wall at home just like all of the deer, elk, bear, etc. that is already there.
8. Be glad to be alive, praying to wake up soon...
...alright even though the situation can be rationalized to death and picked apart for its physics-flawed details- you gotta love it for its ability to stimulate your creativity. This is my idea which may be the dumbest or best solution you've ever heard!!! It allows you to save yourself and the dog (no killing or skinning of said dog) and you both get to eat the soup and probably don't even need epoxy but you will take it with you just in case. Here goes, first tie one end of the rope to the dog in torso-harness fashion, then wrap a good portion of the rope in a spiral wrap around the pole from the top going down as far as you can. You will probably only be able to make as many passes around the pole as your arms are long but make them tight with no spaces inbetween each wrapping of rope. Now with the other end, fashion a waist and sling harness around yourself. Open the soup and share it as you both will need the energy for the mental and physical stress you're about to endure. Now you want to have made your ties and wrapps to where there is only about 3 to 5 feet of slack from the dog, to the pole wrap, to you. With as big as the pole is in circumference you may not have any left over rope anyway but if you do make it so the left-over rope is at the ends of each of your harnesses. Ok, then you twist over each other the dog's strand and your strand to where you both make a turnequette, tightening the spiral wrap on the pole. You may have to go over and under with your strands a couple of times until it is tight enough to where you can hold the dog in your arms (don't worry you wont have to apply hardly any upward force because of your harnesses and the friction of the wrapp) So what you have now is layers of rope wrapped on this pole so that you have protection against slide-burn as you go down as you can rest your body, legs and the dog's body against this moving protective layer. Now the fun part- slide and periodically loosen your tunequette's grip and rock your way down inbetween gravity's pull and the fluctuating grip on the pole that your rope possesses. You should be fine but if fatigue happens- use the epoxy on a part of the rope that is glued to the pole to allow you and the dog to free hang and rest until you have energy to pry the edge of the spiraled rope away from the epoxy and continue down until on the ground safely. And then make a not to self if you survive never to drink too much and pass out at a party again!
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