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Spurred by two recent threads trying to give scientific, plausible explenations for things that happen in the show, I've decided to start a thread that's an umbrella for these discussions.

 

"Eggheads" (MLP speak for "nerd", I guess) because we're "in your fantasy, ruining it with science" (where's pencil's signature when I need it?).

Okay, not ruining, but explaining. As Twilight yelled at Pinkie Pie, "There's a perfectly rational explenation for this!"

 

This means everything to do with science and physics, how enormous dragons can structurally exist (I say bones reinforced by carbon-fiber and a lightweight body like birds. Good? Good.), how does magic work, liquid rainbow, how does Celestia raise the sun, and things like that, all explained in a scientifically possible plausible way.

 

EDIT (2/22/12)

So, basically, it's like we're scientists and we're observing the show happening IRL. We've got to figure out what in the world is going on to make it possible.

 

Unresolved mysteries:

-How can Pegasi and other objects sit on clouds?

Note: Twilight cast a spell that let ponies stand on clouds.

-What are liquid rainbows?

-How can Rainbow Dash fly so fast?

Note: I'm not sure, but I think it's impossible to go supersonic just by pushing on air. Jet engines compress air, push on it, and burn it.

-What is the average airspeed velocity of an unlaiden swallow?

-How does Rarity's Gem Finding Spell work?

Note: Read my hypothesis on how unicorn magic works XP

 

Mysteries with a hypothesis:

-How does Celestia raise/lower the sun?

-How does unicorn magic work?

 

Many of these mysteries may never be solved. But let's see what we can do :P

/EDIT (2/22/12)

 

One quick thing I need to cover, this is not about stylized expression;

For example, In "Griffon the Brush-Off", Rainbow Dash tries to avoid Pinkie. Somehow, Pinkie ends up places far away in an instant. We don't need to explain how Pinkie teleports. Pinkie doesn't teleport. That's just a cartoon form of expression to say that Dash couldn't get away from Pinkie no matter how hard she tried.

This goes for things like Twilight becoming flat when hit by doors or crushed by pianos and anvils without dying ("Feeling Pinkie Keen"), Rainbow Dash breaking through solid walls or crashing into stone cliffs without serious concussions (many times), etc. It's just a stylized expression, so it doesn't need an explenation.

 

But sometimes the story depends on it. For example, If they decided to sneak into a room by flattening Twilight with a door (like on "Feeling Pinkie Keen") and having her crawl under the door, then it'd need an explenation. If Luna had actually used magic and thrown a grand piano at Twilight and crushed her with it and she lived, then it'd need an explenation. But unless it's a detail important to the plot, it can be just taken as stylized expression.

 

Now let's get down to science!

I believe Twilight Sparkle would be pleased.

So, that's the end of my introduction, and the beginning of my example of post structure here, all I ask is to clearly state what scientific problem you're addressing, and the explenation. Well, that is, if you're actually addressing one and not just commenting on someone else's post :P

 

Now, without further adue, let's do some book! Yes, asdf reference ftw.

Posted Image

 

Mystery: Celestia/Luna Day/Night Cycle.

Hypothesis-1:

Equestria-World (Equestria is a country, not the planet, it says so in "Heartwarming's Eve") has an enormous moon that orbits very closely in the opposite direction of the planet's spin. Under normal conditions, over thousands of years, the gravitational tides from the moon would cause the moon to go to a higher orbit, and the planet to slow it's spin. However, Celestia and Luna use their magic to hold the moon close to Equestria-world, and spin the world, so that neither of those two things happen.

 

The general public doesn't know all the technical details, all they understand is the basic message: "They raise and lower the sun and moon."

 

When Nightmare Moon returned and defeated Celestia, she was able to do the exact opposite, and stop the planet's spin.

 

Alternate Hypothesis:

Equestria-World developed normally, until one year an absolutely, almost star-sized planet (A Brown Dwarf star, actually) came by the solar system and with it's gravitational pull, flung Equestria-World into Interstellar space. The young Celestia, at the time an extremely powerful magician, far more powerful than Twilight currently is, is the world's oldest blank-flank. However, still, despite her almost social outcast status, she still loves the ponies, so she does what she can; she pulls hydrogen from the Brown Dwarf, using magic over astronomical distances, and crushes the hydrogen into a small star, during an explosive burst of magic like we've seen Twilight experience, earning her cutie mark of the sun, by creating it.

 

Normally, the heat and power of fusion would blow the star apart; being so small, it doesn't have enough gravity to hold itself together against the force of the fusion; but it doesn't have to. Celestia constantly holds it together, making it possible for it to raise each morning.

 

 

 

Scientific Mystery: Unicorn Magic.

Hypothesis:

The Quantum world is made up of probabilities. There's only a probability that a quantum particle is going a certain speed, at a position, has some amount of energy, etc. Only when you observe the particle you "collapse it's state", and force it to one actual state, rather than a probability.

The classic example is Schrodinger's Cat:

Let's say there's a cat in a box. It's 100% impossible to observe anything in the box in any way until you open it. There's a little device inside, that if it receives one particle of radiation, then it will kill the cat.

For every second, there's a certain percent chance that the particle emits some radiation.

So, in reality, the cat is both dead and alive. Both realities exist, but when you open the box, you "collapse the state" and force the quantum world to choose one reality or another.

Another example:

The twin-slit experiment. This has actually been done.

You have a flashlight that shines on two slits. The flashlight only puts out a single photon of light. If light goes through both slits, then the light creates a pattern on the wall behind them. If you put a single photon through, the single photon will somehow go through both slits, because it has a 50% chance of going through each, and create the pattern on the back wall. It will be in both places at once, because it has a chance of being in both places at once!

But if you put a sensor on one slit or another, then the photon will only travel through one slit or another.

 

It seems, that observing the quantum world can change it.

 

So here's how unicorn magic works: somehow, their horns allow their minds to directly "observe" atoms, and cause it to collapse however they want it. Because of heat, atoms are always moving, vibrating. When they want to lift a rock off the ground, the atoms are moving in any direction. When they "observe" the rock, they "collapse the state" and cause many of the atoms to move in one direction or another, instead of a multitude of directions. And here's the kicker; they can choose how the state collapses! So they make the atoms move up! When they stop, the atoms go random again, and the rock stops moving up.

 

An interesting effect of this is that things they move would cool off slightly while they're moving them. They're turning the kinetic energy of it's heat, the individual vibrating motion of the atoms, and making many of the atoms move in the same direction, so what energy used to be in heat, is now moving the object. When they stop moving it, it returns to heat.

 

A great example is Twilight making Spike's tux in the very beginning of "Feeling Pinkie Keen". She didn't make new matter, she was turning objects into other objects; she was re-arranging their atoms.

 

 

-

 

So those were probably two of the hardest ones. Don't be intimidated, try your hand at it, discuss, etc, it's all in good fun, and even if you get something wrong then it's just an opportunity to learn, and who doesn't love learning?

Well, I guess a lot of people, but I'm sure Twilight does...

Edited by EASA - Dr. Braun
  • Brohoof 4
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That was amazing, I love how you explained unicorn magic, even though I skipped the first part, I read the "So here's how unicorn magic works" and kinda got it, lol.

( I request somepony explain the Sonic Rainboom, and how unicorns can create mustaches :P)

Dragons:

Not all about MLP.

Dragons are simple. They have a light bone structure like birds, like she said. They have 3 sets of limbs, not entirely strange, though unusual.

Breathing fire is a common perplexion. I've heard of many different theories, few of which made much sense. I do remember one that made sense to me then and still does now, even though idk I'm only 12 so...

It's that a dragon has a bit of some metal (I don't remember it was some metal, lol) in the bottom of the dragon's mouth, and when it wants to breathe fire, it just clicks its teeth against the metal and creates a spark, then blows and lights countless ponies on fire ^_^

Although I don't know if that could actually happen.

Dang, Mythbusters should so do that!

 

Anyway, I don't think I could actually come up with any thing, just something I remember readin, lol

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That was amazing, I love how you explained unicorn magic, even though I skipped the first part, I read the "So here's how unicorn magic works" and kinda got it, lol.

( I request somepony explain the Sonic Rainboom, and how unicorns can create mustaches :P)

Dragons:

Not all about MLP.

Dragons are simple. They have a light bone structure like birds, like she said. They have 3 sets of limbs, not entirely strange, though unusual.

Breathing fire is a common perplexion. I've heard of many different theories, few of which made much sense. I do remember one that made sense to me then and still does now, even though idk I'm only 12 so...

It's that a dragon has a bit of some metal (I don't remember it was some metal, lol) in the bottom of the dragon's mouth, and when it wants to breathe fire, it just clicks its teeth against the metal and creates a spark, then blows and lights countless ponies on fire ^_^

Although I don't know if that could actually happen.

Dang, Mythbusters should so do that!

 

Anyway, I don't think I could actually come up with any thing, just something I remember readin, lol

 

Taking something you've learned somewhere and applying it to a situation is what physics is all about! ;)

 

I remember watching a show by Discovery called - "Dragons - A fantasy made real" or something like that. The dragons' gut made hydrogen gas, and then they basically "burped" it, and, with the spark you mentioned - breathed fire! The hydrogen also made them lighter, so they could fly easier.

 

... They have a light bone structure like birds, like she said. ...

I'm a he! XD lol, jk, dunworry about it, there's no way you could tell other than the smilies - which are all female :P

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Im not one for science... but I might as well try. (Nice picture of Twilight, BTW.)

 

For pegasi and other thing sitting on clouds, well, who knows whats inside a Pegasus? The pegasi have got to have something inside of them that makes them lightweight. (Swallowing a whole bunch of balloons can be an idea. ^_^ ) Or something about different atom structures.... I dunno, Im just throwing some things out there. Im not that smart in my science class anyway.

 

there's no way you could tell other than the smilies - which are all female :P

Im a guy, yet I like to use smilies once in a while.... *Feels awkward.*

 

But there is always checking profiles!

Edited by TwilightRubix
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I'm a he! XD lol, jk, dunworry about it, there's no way you could tell other than the smilies - which are all female :P

 

Lol sry I do that all the time cuz of ppl's avatars, it just gets in my mind that they have girly colorful ponies as there profile pic so.. yeah lol.

 

And lol, I'm sure pegasi swallow balloons whever they're bored :P lol sry

Actually, its hard to try and think of an explanation for how pegasi can walk on clouds :/

 

I can't think of anything else and igtg to bed, I might think of somethin tomorrow :)

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What do you mean? African or European?

 

I don't know that!

-Aaagghhh!!!

BOOM

 

This is a really cool read, Dragons could have a special lighting mechnism in their mouths that lights a flammable substance which it can expel. Like an aerosol can + a lighter.

 

I like the catin the box theory, its truely facinating.

 

Methane or hydrogen both work, but hydrogen has the added bonus of making them lighter, too, which is very important; structural strength needs to increase as the creature gets bigger; if you make a building twice as tall, you either need to make it wider, or use a stronger material, because the area which the pressure is disapated over squares, but the weight goes up by the third power, so the weight per area goes up, meaning you need stronger materials.

 

If you doubled the size of a human, their bones would have to be bigger proportional to the rest of their body to hold their weight. That's why it's impossible to make a creature very large, and why there aren't any flying creatures the size of, say, an elephant. You just can't have something lightweight with big enough wings to fly that's really big. So the gut full of hydrogen helps lighten the dragons.

 

 

As for the cat-in-the-box, you can read more about it here, and the Twin-slit experiment here, personally I find the latter more intruiging, while the first is a thought expirment based off equations, the double-slit has actually been done, kinda spooky, really. If you're really interested you can read wiki's page on Quantum Mechanics, too, which has tons of further reading, external links, and etc. at the bottom of the page. On the right side of the page, in the box, if you open those categories there's tons of related pages [fundamental concepts, experiments, etc.].

 

If you really did read all that, though, you'd know more about it than me :P

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I don't know that!

-Aaagghhh!!!

BOOM

 

I Love that film!

:lol:

 

Methane or hydrogen both work, but hydrogen has the added bonus of making them lighter, too, which is very important; structural strength needs to increase as the creature gets bigger; if you make a building twice as tall, you either need to make it wider, or use a stronger material, because the area which the pressure is disapated over squares, but the weight goes up by the third power, so the weight per area goes up, meaning you need stronger materials.

 

If you doubled the size of a human, their bones would have to be bigger proportional to the rest of their body to hold their weight. That's why it's impossible to make a creature very large, and why there aren't any flying creatures the size of, say, an elephant. You just can't have something lightweight with big enough wings to fly that's really big. So the gut full of hydrogen helps lighten the dragons.

 

 

As for the cat-in-the-box, you can read more about it here, and the Twin-slit experiment here, personally I find the latter more intruiging, while the first is a thought expirment based off equations, the double-slit has actually been done, kinda spooky, really. If you're really interested you can read wiki's page on Quantum Mechanics, too, which has tons of further reading, external links, and etc. at the bottom of the page. On the right side of the page, in the box, if you open those categories there's tons of related pages [fundamental concepts, experiments, etc.].

 

If you really did read all that, though, you'd know more about it than me :P

 

If you've read any of the Dragonriders of Pern stories, Ann McCaffery describes how dragon flame ignition works. Here's a wiki explanation I found. If Memory serves, it was lifted from one of the actual Pern books.

 

Firestone

 

Firestone is a phosphorus-bearing rock found on Pern. Dragons and fire lizards are able to produce spontaneously flammable phosphine gas from firestone, and to burn Thread out of the air by emitting the gas.

There are two firestone varieties. One is highly unstable, prone to release potentially explosive gas on contact with even the slightest bit of moisture, which makes it extremely dangerous to mine, store, transport, and consume. (Evidently it does not explode in a dragon's mouth, however.) The second variety is relatively stable, and must be "digested" in a dragon's second stomach to produce phosphine. The stable variety was discovered on the beaches of the Southern Continent soon after Landing, by observation of the native fire lizards (in Dragonsdawn). About 500 years later it was rediscovered by Kindan the harper and successfully mined (in Dragon's Fire), and thereafter used exclusively by dragonriders.

Golden queen dragons cannot produce phosphine from firestone. They help fight Thread by deft spotting and flying with riders who use mechanical flame throwers.

Firestone is believed to render female dragons sterile, which is considered beneficial regarding the green females. They are the smallest dragons, and sexually active, which would produce too many too small dragons if they were fertile.

The traditional theory is debunked for the reader's benefit in Dragonsdawn, where it is noted that green dragons are sterile and gold dragons are unable to use firestone by design. Evidently that knowledge was lost and the folk explanation generated, before the Third Pass at latest. (Both the gold and green female fire lizards are fertile, and both use firestone to flame Thread. There has been little study of fire lizards since the early days, however, and wild green clutches produce few young because greens do not defend their nests or carefully choose secure sites.)

Edited by cuteycindyhoney
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought I'd revive this little thread with a thought that I had a while back after somepony asked, "Why are Unicorn's horns the same color as their fur?" It's a rather simple explanation, that i think everypony will to understand.

 

First of all, let's take a quick look at humans. Your fingernails, hair and even the outermost layer of your skin are all comprised of the same material; the protein keratin. Keratin can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom, but one thing in particular is the horn of a rhinoceros. A rhinoceros horn is made entirely keratin. It would be easy to assume that ponies horns are made up of keratin as well, but not the entire horn, just the outer layer. Of course the ponies fur would also be made of that same keratin, which is why the horn and fur on unicorn are the same color.

 

As for the different colors, it would work the same way as the varieties of our own hair colors. Different pigments, caused from different mutations within the ponies genes, would easily account for such a diverse range of colors.

 

I was planning on posting this a while back, but I got delayed and forgot. Anyways, I hope that is a decent enough explanation for you all ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought I'd revive this little thread with a thought that I had a while back after somepony asked, "Why are Unicorn's horns the same color as their fur?" It's a rather simple explanation, that i think everypony will to understand. First of all, let's take a quick look at humans. Your fingernails, hair and even the outermost layer of your skin are all comprised of the same material; the protein keratin. Keratin can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom, but one thing in particular is the horn of a rhinoceros. A rhinoceros horn is made entirely keratin. It would be easy to assume that ponies horns are made up of keratin as well, but not the entire horn, just the outer layer. Of course the ponies fur would also be made of that same keratin, which is why the horn and fur on unicorn are the same color. As for the different colors, it would work the same way as the varieties of our own hair colors. Different pigments, caused from different mutations within the ponies genes, would easily account for such a diverse range of colors. I was planning on posting this a while back, but I got delayed and forgot. Anyways, I hope that is a decent enough explanation for you all ;)

I like!

 

This makes me think of my non-pony fiction, an alien race has a more diverse color patterns than terran (earthly) life. Simply put, different compounds to make different colors. This is probably the one of the first things I'd expect to see different in an alien race, especially considering, even here on Earth, we have animals with the whole rainbow of colors, poisonous frogs with brilliant reds and blues, green peacocks and hummingbirds, yellow lions, even pink flamingos. Name a color and something has it. No reason MLP ponies can't be that way, too.

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I would have participated earlier but a mouse operating error ate a post I had been working on for a couple hours and I lost my interest to rewrite it all :( I'll see abut participating later when I don't feel as bummed out.

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I would have participated earlier but a mouse operating error ate a post I had been working on for a couple hours and I lost my interest to rewrite it all :( I'll see abut participating later when I don't feel as bummed out.

 

If it were a simple mouse operating error, you should should have been able to recover the post with the auto saving feature. The forums automatically saves the data, and you can click in the bottom left corner where is says "Last auto saved: (insert time here)." It's saved me a few times when I've had the same sort of problem. It looks pretty much exactly like this. It doesn't make itself very obvious, so I can see how anyone might miss it. ;)

 

Back on topic, I would be pleased to read whatever you come up with, Pencils, so I'm going to do my best to motivate you to post in this thread. If you don't post a ridiculously long and well-thought-out post in here, I'm gonna cry :(

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If it were a simple mouse operating error, you should should have been able to recover the post with the auto saving feature. The forums automatically saves the data, and you can click in the bottom left corner where is says "Last auto saved: (insert time here)." It's saved me a few times when I've had the same sort of problem. It looks pretty much exactly like this. It doesn't make itself very obvious, so I can see how anyone might miss it. ;)

 

Back on topic, I would be pleased to read whatever you come up with, Pencils, so I'm going to do my best to motivate you to post in this thread. If you don't post a ridiculously long and well-thought-out post in here, I'm gonna cry :(

 

I didn't have that, but that is because I have a button in my mouse that takes my website back a step and somehow it cleared the saved comment out.

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A few problems I see with your "unicorns collapse quantum states" theory;

First off, it only works at the subatomic scale. If you have a pair of leather shoes in a box and close the box, it doesn't become every other object you could make with that leather until opened again, it's still a pair of shoes.

Even if it did work on a macroscopic scale, it only has the probabilities of things that are possible. It isn't possible for a rock to be a tux, so it couldn't collapse into a state of being a tux (although atom manipulation would probably work).

 

 

Also, here's my little explanation of a problem Feld0 brought up: why doesn't water evaporate to form clouds, when we clearly have seen steam and other examples of water turning into a gas?

(copypasted from episode discussion)

Boiling and evaporation are both water changing from a liquid to a gas; the difference is that with boiling water, it's happening mostly uniformly throughout the water, while evaporation is only at the surface. The random movements of the water molecules generate tiny amounts of heat, and sometimes, if a molecule on the surface of the water gets enough, it will have enough energy to "jump off" the surface and become vapor. How much heat is needed relies on a number of factors.

The most obvious explanation for why water doesn't evaporate but still boils in Equestria is that the normal air pressure is higher than it is on earth. This would make it much harder for standing water to evaporate, but wouldn't at all prevent water from boiling or even just letting off light steam.

Edited by Evilshy
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Isn't it possible that all of the ponies (or even dragons) have magic but the unicorns are the only ones with conscious access to it, for example the pegasai standing on clouds could be the pegasai subconsciously condensing the water vapor in the clouds to support them, pegasai can pass through clouds when they want to so it seems unlikely that it would be a physical trait that made clouds solid for them. The earth ponies could also be subconsciously attuned to magic making their farming skills better by unconsciously helping the plants with magic, and despite the fact that pegasai and dragons should probably not be able to fly if there was some sort of magical propulsion assistance (the contrails you see when the pegasai are going really fast could be an extreme version) it would be entirely possible for them to do it.

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A few problems I see with your "unicorns collapse quantum states" theory; First off, it only works at the subatomic scale. If you have a pair of leather shoes in a box and close the box, it doesn't become every other object you could make with that leather until opened again, it's still a pair of shoes. Even if it did work on a macroscopic scale, it only has the probabilities of things that are possible. It isn't possible for a rock to be a tux, so it couldn't collapse into a state of being a tux (although atom manipulation would probably work). Also, here's my little explanation of a problem Feld0 brought up: why doesn't water evaporate to form clouds, when we clearly have seen steam and other examples of water turning into a gas? (copypasted from episode discussion) Boiling and evaporation are both water changing from a liquid to a gas; the difference is that with boiling water, it's happening mostly uniformly throughout the water, while evaporation is only at the surface. The random movements of the water molecules generate tiny amounts of heat, and sometimes, if a molecule on the surface of the water gets enough, it will have enough energy to "jump off" the surface and become vapor. How much heat is needed relies on a number of factors. The most obvious explanation for why water doesn't evaporate but still boils in Equestria is that the normal air pressure is higher than it is on earth. This would make it much harder for standing water to evaporate, but wouldn't at all prevent water from boiling or even just letting off light steam.

Here's the thing, though, collapsing the quantum state doesn't happen at the macro scale, it's happening with every individual atom on the micro scale. It's sort of like, I'm not pushing an entire country, I'm just pushing on each individual citizen of the millions. Or, I'm not moving the beach, I'm moving each individual grain of sand. The nifty thing is that the magic is manipulating the probabilities. It's like tossing a coin, 50/50 chance, but sometimes, with some magic, you'll get heads three times in a row. So the magic is really working like controlled coincidence. That works for pretty much everything they do. Teleportation would be quantum tunneling.

 

And I think the water does form clouds. After all, remember in Ep1 Rainbow Dash had to get rid of unwanted clouds.

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Those clouds could've been left over from a rain storm or something. We've known for awhile that pegasi control the weather, and the latest episode said that cloudsdale provides all the rain for the entire country.

 

In any case, evaporation either doesn't happen, or is severly limited, to the point where the pegasi have to manually pull water up to cloudsdale in order to make clouds.

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Rainbows functioning as both an aetherial gas and/or energy that is generated by spontaneous phenomena through the atmosphere (such as a pegasus with wild abandon for terminal velocities, and life-saving on the brain), and also behave like a liquid being gathered in pools, can be explained by the nature of Supercritical Fluids.

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