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The Feline Conservation of Weight Principle - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 12:29
Subject: The Feline Conservation of Weight Principle
Security: Public
It's about time I wrote this down. Since I'd just formulated this in a reply in mizkit's journal, I thought I'd repeat it here:

sounding like a million cats in army boots.
I have this theory. OK, perhaps only a hypothesis, since nothing is falsifiable when cats are around.

It's called the Feline Conservation of Weight Principle, and it goes like this:

Cats are averagely proportioned small animals, with a weight according to the physical principles of size, density and local gravitational field. However, they are exceptional hunters, extremely light on their feet when stalking, and so on.

It is obvious to an observer that a cat weighs less when stalking. We know this is not due to the gravitational field changing, since the prey don't suddenly also develop strange lightness, so it must be that the cat now has less mass. This is obviously contrary to the normal laws of physics, particularly the law of conservation of mass. Except that the conservation laws are actually slightly bendable - for instance, a subatomic particle may come into existence from nowhere for a suitably brief period, just so long as it disappears again - and this is one of those cases. So long as the average weight of the cat is constant over the longer term, it may vary up and down. When stalking, some of its weight is 'postponed' to the future.

The 'cats in army boots' phenomenon is merely the time that the extra weight comes into effect to rebalance the average.
(Slight editing of the original applied.)
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The Uitlander
User: uitlander
Date: 2007-01-26 13:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm... you really should have worked a reference to Schroedinger into that ;-)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 13:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm. Yes.

I'll have to think of how, though.

Heisenberg would be easier, but he's not the cat man.
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oldbloke
User: oldbloke
Date: 2007-01-26 14:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Newton invented the catflap
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 14:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Another detail that I'd missed. But yes, it's all making terrible sense.

If you don't here from me again, you'll know why.
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surliminal: java
User: surliminal
Date: 2007-01-26 15:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:java
Really!

My contribution was going to be that all cats are linked via an etheric field and therefore can share weight out between the whole tribe as opposed to just who eats the food.

And it's ALL ended up with my Java. (Which is ok as she doesn't exactly hunt for her supper :)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 15:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hah.

Now we have more than one hypothesis, we can attempt to test the differences between them. If yours is correct, then the total weight of all cats together will be constant.

OK ...

All we need is a terribly precise set of scales that we can get all the cats in existence on at the same time. We let one hunt while still on the scales and ensure that the weight doesn't change. Then we take that cat of the scales, check the new weight registered, and let that cat hunt. If the measured weight increases by an amount between zero and the weight of the hunter, then we have evidence consistent with your version. If we get a result outside that range, then the etheric field hypothesis will have been disproved.

I like it.

Anyone got a large set of scales? I'll get busy with the cat herding.
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surliminal
User: surliminal
Date: 2007-01-26 16:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Best chuckle of the day.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 16:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad to have kept you amused.
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User: beckyl
Date: 2007-01-26 16:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Does hunting things other than food make a difference? Our cats hunt such varied things as toes, each other, bits of string, invisible, cat-eating ghosts...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 16:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Now that's a question.

I think there's a PhD thesis in here. Who can I get to sponsor it, I wonder.

(And are non-graduates allowed to do PhDs?)
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User: beckyl
Date: 2007-01-26 13:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cats obviously have selective control of this phenomenon to some extent - witness that any cat who doesn't want to be picked up is always heavier than the same cat who doesn't mind or would like to be carried.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 13:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Aha, a very good point. Yes, I think we have noticed this is the past, and even remarked upon it, but I'd not recalled the point.
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MKIllingworth
User: mkillingworth
Date: 2007-01-26 13:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cats are also heavier when walking over you in the bed than they are sitting on your lap.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 13:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed.

Also, it's noticeable with ours that they're perfectly capable of settling onto your lap so lightly that you never even notice their arrival.

You know, I think I'm onto something here. I can't think why nobody seems to have pointed this out before, but it's the final proof that cats really are aliens.
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glinda_w
User: glinda_w
Date: 2007-01-26 16:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
ah yes. Annie weighs much more when settling onto... softer... parts of my body than when lying on my shoulder or hip if I'm on my side.

The lap thing also has something of a stealth field effect, and they use *that* one at other times as well...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 16:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, yes. The stealth field.

Strangely enough, though ours have the stealth field, they only use it for sneaking onto a lap. If they're after food on a plate, or have brought prey in, they never keep quiet.
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Megabitch
User: megabitch
Date: 2007-01-26 14:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This would be akin to Korenwolf's compression of aggression theory? The one that states that all women have exactly the same levels of aggression. The smaller the woman, the more compressed the aggression and the more force behind it when it is let out.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 14:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm, who could he have been thinking of?
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Michael
User: drachii
Date: 2007-01-26 17:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You could probably do something similar for the amount of noise cats make =D
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 17:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
True, but that's more obviously voluntary in nature. It's the contravention of the laws of physics that's weird.
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Mary Kay
User: marykaykare
Date: 2007-01-26 19:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Around our house the theory is that cats have complete control of gravity in their immediate vicinity. That's what a cat which is 12 1/2 pounds of solid muscle can jump up on the bed without being noticed while a 5 pound ball of fluff sounds like the 2nd army division on the stairs at 4am.

MKK
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 23:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Uhhuh.

Whereas my thesis is not that gravity varies so much as whether they take notice of it when it's not convenient. Sort of like holding your breath - you can for a while, but then you need to breathe harder for a bit to compensate.
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glinda_w: Annie
User: glinda_w
Date: 2007-01-26 21:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Annie
and now I'm wondering where the "shed massive clouds of fur at will" phenomenon fits into all this?

(Annie just lapcatted me, and all of a sudden, there were puffs of cat fur in the air, and in my breathing - I *know* it's deliberate.)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-01-26 23:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suspect it's a different phenomenon. Cats are far too subtle to have just the one trick up their sleeve.
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