ABC asks physicists: What was it like for Mitt's mutt?

Very clearly a hit piece, yet just goofy and tongue-in-cheek enough to qualify as ironic and “playful.” Jon Stewart has taught you well, young Skywalker.


Background here if you missed Muttgate when it first broke. Ann Romney answered the critics this morning, writing on the campaign blog that it’s no big deal, that in fact the little scrapper loved hurtling through space at 60 mph in his cozy kennel camper. Fair enough — but what do Nobel-prize-winning physicists have to say about this very important scientific story?

All kidding aside, what exactly would be the dangers of strapping the family pet to the roof of a speeding vehicle for 12 hours?…

Dr. Russell Cumming, a professor of aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University, got a little more technical.

“At that speed, assuming sea level conditions, the poor little dog would have about 10 pounds per square foot pressing against his head,” said Cumming.

And in layman’s terms?

“He would constantly feel a little less than 3 pounds pressing on his head for the entire trip,” he added. “The windshield would help, but boy that would get tired.”

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Douglas Osheroff of physics at Stanford University said the dog crate on top of the car would change the air flow around the vehicle.

“Beyond a certain velocity, the air flow becomes turbulent,” said Osheroff. “The airflow isn’t going to be laminar,” which means it won’t have a uniform distribution.

Cumming said that’s bad news for Seamus.

“Chances are the windshield would only protect the front of the dog, but the air flowing around the windshield would buffet the side of the dog — that would be tiring,” said Cummings. “My wife’s a vet, and she would be more worried by the dehydration of the dog’s eyes under those conditions.”


Coming next week: ABC’s Brian Ross convenes an expert panel of biologists to assess the long-term psychological damage inflicted by Rudy’s “weasel rant” on ferrets.

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on November 29, 2023