Climactic cliffhanger from The Italian Job solved with science
Spoiler Alert: If you want to be surprised by the ending of The Italian Job, stop reading now.
We had a theory that humanity was officially bored when the carpet rake was invented. Once people didn't have to subdue woolly mammoths for dinner, they could focus on how to subdue the shag. That theory has been bolstered by news that the cliffhanger ending of The Italian Job has been attacked – and solved – by a host of amateur minds responding to a contest held by the Royal Society of Chemists (RSC).
The end of The Italian Job sees the gang in the front of a bus teetering over a cliff, looking at all the gold at the back end of the bus and knowing they can't get to it without plunging to gold-plated deaths. The question posed by the RSC was simple: How could the gang get the gold out of the bus and remain alive to spend it? Ironically, the answer was all about physics, not chemistry.
The winning entry, submitted by John Godwin, describes the following sequence: Break the windows at the back to reduce weight; break two windows at the front, hold one gang member upside-down out of the window to deflate the front tires and stabilize the vehicle; drain the rear fuel tank through an access panel at the bottom of the bus; gang members leave one by one from the front, collecting stones to replace their weight; keep adding stones until someone can safely go to the rear to retrieve the gold.
And for that, Godwin won a trip to Turin. If you happen to be bored, you can always read Godwin's 6-page, scientifically thorough treatment, or check out the some of the other 2,000 entries and diagrams at the RSC site. So now that we've got that taken care of, what's next... what really happened to Thelma and Louise?
[Source: RSC via Yahoo!]
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