I can now reveal all. Joe Rouse, if that is his real name, did not write those comments. He just did some nifty cut and paste work from this site and this one. And here is the really cunning twist executed by the slippery Mr. Rouse... he chose two sites that contradicted each other and had mutually inconsistent explanations for how wings generate lift. Just to drive me crazy. And it's working.
So who should I believe? Mr Rouse's first comment was from the NASA website. You think you would be able to trust these guys. After all they are rocket scientists. But don't forget these are the people that brought us Apollo 13, and the Columbia and Challenger shuttle disasters, not to mention that little matter of mixing up metric and imperial units that led to the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter.
On the other hand, the source for Rouse's second comment, this article by C Johnson, Physicist, is even more dubious. C Johnson, Physicist tries to impress us with his or her credibility on this topic be letting us know up front that, "I received my education in Physics at the University of Chicago. They seem to have done a good job."
Don't you just hate it when people do that? Do you think that Albert Einstein introduced his paper on General Relativity with the words, "I was educated at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School. They seem to have done a good job"?
Or when Francis Crick wanted to tell the world about his discovery of the double helix structure of DNA did he boast, "I was educated at University College London. They seem to have done a good job"?
And when George W Bush was trying to convince us that there were WMDs in Iraq should he have started all his speeches with, "I was educated at Yale and Harvard. They seem to have done a good job"? Would that have made him more credible?
No C Johnson, Physicist, I really don't care where you studied physics. I will believe your article if you have good arguments backed up by solid evidence. But if you write spurious pseudo-science I will not be swayed by the fact that you went to some parvenu mid-west school founded by a religious sect and a robber baron.
Oops. That last sentence came out a lot nastier than I intended. See what this Rouse guy is doing to me? He's turning a kindly old grandfather into a mean-spirited old curmudgeon. On behalf of Rouse I apologize to all alumni of the University of Chicago which I am sure is a perfectly fine school if you like that kind of thing.
Where was I? Oh yes. NASA and C Johnson, Physicist. So what do these two papers say?
C Johnson, Physicist, after explaining that "there are many, many, many alleged descriptions of the Bernoulli Effect or of Bernoulli Lift or about how airplanes fly, which are not accurately correct" then goes on to repeat the hoary old myth about two air molecules that start together at the leading edge of the wing and must end up together at the trailing edge after one has traveled under the wing and one has traveled the longer distance over the top of the wing.
I made my own feeble attempt to debunk this nonsense in my post on Geeking Out. So I'm especially glad to see that, on this one, NASA agrees with me and not with C Johnson, Physicist. Here's what the NASA site says ...
The most popular incorrect theory of lift arises from a mis-application of Bernoulli's equation. The theory is known as the "equal transit time" or "longer path" theory which states that wings are designed with the upper surface longer than the lower surface, to generate higher velocities on the upper surface because the molecules of gas on the upper surface have to reach the trailing edge at the same time as the molecules on the lower surface.NASA goes on to say that the air passing over the upper surface of the wing, in reality, has an even higher velocity than you would suppose from this equal transit time balderdash.
You see what this Joe Rouse character is doing? Looking like he is being helpful but steering us towards sites that contradict each other in explaining how wings generate lift. Oh, this guy is clever. So clever he makes my head hurt.
C Johnson, Physicist's paper essentially breaks down the causes of lift into two components: a Bernoulli Lift caused by the lower pressure above the wing in that (incorrectly described) faster moving air; and a Reaction Lift caused when the wing is tilted upwards because "the air which hits the bottom of that tilted surface is deflected downward (action), which creates an equal and opposite reaction, upward lift, in the wing itself." (Newton's Third Law - Action and Reaction).
At first this sounds plausible as it does explain such mysteries as how airplanes can fly upside down. But wait, what does Slippery Joe's other reference, the NASA site say?
There is also an incorrect theory which uses Newton's third law applied to the bottom surface of a wing.... It neglects the physical reality that both the lower and upper surface of a wing contribute to the turning of a flow of gas.Once again. The incredibly annoying Mr Rouse gives us a morsel of explanation with the left hand and then takes it away with the right hand. Diabolical!
So who should we believe? NASA or C Johnson, Physicist? What do you think?
Anyway, my brain is hurting from all of Joe Rouse's shenanigans. It's enough to send a sailor spinning wildly into calenture.
I need a rest. No more geeking out on theories of lift for a few days. But I will be back.