Discus with a difference

If ever there was a situation in which the word “hiatus” would be appropriate, it is this…

So… After an unexpectedly lengthy pause (during which time I and my wife have turned 29, I’ve celebrated my fourth wedding anniversary, welcomed the arrival of a new nephew and organised/executed my brother’s stag do) I’ve decided it’s time to crack out those rusty fingertips, top up the engine with coal and get back on that trans-imagination blog train.

Ezra loves the journey to the blog train station

Ezra loves the journey to the blog train station

And so in an instant we find our minds drifting… Drifting away from the rumours on BBC football gossip website, away from the inexorable march of the moss on the conservatory roof, away from the allure of that freshly-purchased Carte D’Or ice cream in the freezer, and back towards those perplexing questions that continue to haunt us. The questions which since time immemorial have plagued the minds of the greatest thinkers on our planet. The very questions whose late-night ruminations have driven away the well-guarded sanity of countless pleasant folk…

For example…

“Which animal could I throw the furthest?”

Now, I should include a health warning at this point. The main threat of insanity from questions such as the one listed above is spending too much time thinking about them. For that reason, I have done an unreasonable amount of thinking in a controlled, safe environment and presented the fruits below so that you don’t need to put yourselves at risk.

But for those of you who have no problems flirting with danger, pray read on…

The ground rules

OK, so let’s say we’re standing on a circular platform of diameter 5 metres. All around us there is a circular pit filled with cubes of foam (like the ones they used to have when you did gymnastics as a child) to ensure the safety of the animals being tossed. Or you can choose to have water instead. Whatever run-up or throwing style that can be performed on the platform is allowed. Players are disqualified if (on later questioning) the animals report any pain when being thrown. Animals are not allowed to help but must remain limp during the throw.


First thoughts

So, what do you think team? I’ll give you a few seconds to think what you’d go for.


















OK, so I’m going to be honest – the first thing that came to my mind was a rabbit.


It’s reasonably light, could be held in one hand and could even by slung by holding its ears in hand – although I have a feeling this would be more than a little painful for the poor little copraphage. A pet rabbit weighs 5-8 pounds (2.3-3.6kg) and is roughly 30-40cm long. So that’s like throwing one of those big bags of potatoes from the supermarket. Hmmm. Not sounding such a good bet now.


Let’s have a think then

And when I say think, I obviously mean Google.

According to some random research I’ve found, throwing at 36 degrees is the best, and some other useful research – I use the term ‘useful’ loosely of course – seems to show that the best weight for throwing distance is 120g and the best size is 2.5cm radius (think big pebbles on a beach).

So all we need to do is find an animal that weighs 120g and is about 5cm long (think big pebbles on a beach). Here are my candidates.

Common limpet: weight 40-80g, length 2.5-5cm
Golden hamster: weight 100-125g, length 13-18cm
Horsfield’s tortoise: weight 150g-2kg, length 13-25cm
Common Goldfish: weight 10g-2.2kg, length 4-24cm
Adder: weight 50-180g, length 65cm
Rabbit: weight 2.3-3.6kg, length 30-40cm

That seems like a decent list of competitors. I wonder if there is in fact any other “event” ever imagined in which the limpet is a realistic challenger… Most disgusting thing ever? The slow rock race? Hang on – how about world’s strongest natural material…! Now there’s a surprise.

Anyways, my money’s on the goldfish, if we choose a beefy one of the right age and size that’s been brought up in huge tank, with a healthy sociable environment, an overpriced water filter and that’s been fed exclusively “peanut-butter-and-protein-shake”-flakes.


Time for a practical session

Now as much as I enjoy droning on endlessly in my ethereal world about all the stuff animals could and couldn’t do, it’s rare to get such an opportunity to actually conduct a practical experiment in the flesh. I would not be the respected scientist I claim to be if I didn’t do some sort of experiment at this stage. Obviously I won’t be throwing around real animals, but will try to found appropriate household prototypes – sack of spuds for the rabbit etc – and launch them as far as my wiry frame can carry them.

If anyone reading this has another idea of another animal they think I could throw further (along with weight and length stats), then let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list for tryouts. Then I’ll post the results next week.

I hope you don’t get pins and needles from remaining continually on the edge of your seats until then…


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