I recently read a theory outlining how to create infinite power by strapping a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat, which would cause the setup to hover, spinning above the ground forever. Since cats always land on their feet, and toast always lands on the butter, it would theoretically never touch the ground.

Well I think this is total crap, because what happens when the cat dies?! Nobody ever said that dead cats always land on their feet.

Ah... But the reason bread lands butter-side-down is due to the rate of rotation. If you had bigger slices of bread or higher counters, it could land right side up. It is only because the standard slice of bread rotates just fast enough that when falling from a standard counter top or table top that the bread hits top down.

So what, I hear you saying? So we use a normal slice of bread, and drop the whole thing from counter-height.

Ah!, I say again, because you've failed to take something important into account.

The cat/toast ensemble will start spinning. The cat pulls its feet under itself into landing position... But the toast yanks the cat back up! But the contraption has been falling all this time, and before you know it, the breads rotation rate is insisting that the butter side should be up.

So now you have both cat and bread pushing in the same direction! Cat lands feet first. And then, cat rolls over and rub-scratches it's back on the Persian carpet, and walks off to look for a good place to nap.

You can't change the laws of nature. Not with a cat, anyway.

The problem isn't wether this would create some sort of perpetual motion machine, which it probably would, but how you'd harness the motion to do something useful with the generated energy.

The cat/buttered toast unit will certainly hover above the ground, spinning eternally, but in order to add propulsion, you need to install a new unit, powered by tomato sauce and expensive white Italian shirts.

First dress the cat in your most precious and virgin-white shirt. Then strap the buttered toast to his back - he should hover above the ground. You now need to carefully affix a mechanism which propels tomato sauce in the direction you want the cat to travel. (It should be relatively easy to get the spinning motion of the cat/toast unit to power this mechanism). The cat will instantly be propelled in the direction of the tomato sauce! Replace the wheels of your automobile with four of these cat/toast/white shirt/tomato sauce units and you have an excellent hover-car which should never need refuelling!

The principle behind this, of course, is that expensive white shirts cannot resist being splattered with deep red tomato sauce. My mate Neal came up with this whole concept.

Of course, all these writeups fail to take into account the sheer impossibility of strapping anything to a cat.

I have been owned by cats which could slip out of a custom-tailored, woven-titanium, glue-filled, impact-riveted straightjacket without trying.

A more practical use for felines in heavy industry would be to harness their innately liquid properties and create one of the following systems:

As an added benefit, cats are nonpolluting, self-cleaning, and are exquisitely cute...always a help when the EPA wanders through on inspection.
This just washed up in my in box...
An American magazine held a competition, inviting its readers to submit new scientific theories on ANY subject.

Below is the winner:

Subject: Perpetual Motion

When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands buttered side down.

Therefore, if a slice of toast is strapped to a cat's back, buttered side up, and the animal is then dropped, the two opposing forces will cause it to hover, spinning inches above the ground.

If enough toast-laden felines were used, they could form the basis of a high-speed monorail system.

.....and then this mail got this reply from one of the recipients:

I've been thinking about this cat/toast business for a while. In the buttered toast case, it's the butter that causes it to land buttered side down - it doesn't have to be toast, the theory works equally well with Jacob's crackers. So to save money you just miss out the toast - and butter the cats.

Also, should there be an imbalance between the effects of cat and butter, there are other substances that have a stronger affinity for carpet. Probability of carpet impact is determined by the following simple formula:
p = s * t(t)/t?
where p is the probability of carpet impact, s is the "stain" value of the toast-covering substance - an indicator of the effectiveness of the toast topping in permanently staining the carpet.

Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, has a very high s value, while the s value of water is zero.

t? and t(t) indicate the tone of the carpet and topping - the value of p being strongly related to the relationship between the colour of the carpet and topping, as even chicken tikka masala won't cause a permanent and obvious stain if the carpet is the same colour.

So it is obvious that the probability of carpet impact is maximised if you use chicken tikka masala and a white carpet - in fact this combination gives a p value of one, which is the same as the probability of a cat landing on its feet.

Therefore a cat with chicken tikka masala on its back will be certain to hover in mid air, while there could be problems with buttered toast as the toast may fall off the cat, causing a terrible monorail crash resulting in nauseating images of members of the royal family visiting accident victims in hospital, and politicians saying it wouldn't have happened if their party was in power as there would have been more investment in cat-toast glue research.

Therefore it is in the interests not only of public safety but also public sanity if the buttered toast on cats idea is scrapped, to be replaced by a monorail powered by cats smeared with chicken tikka masala floating above a rail made from white shag pile carpet

(original author unknown)
In answer to ryano, who claims that his cat-array vehicle might be propelled by means a shirt/ketchup drive, I have only this to say.

1. First dress the cat in your most precious and virgin-white shirt

This is, of course, impossible. It is well-known that any cat worth its salt will resist any attempt to dress it up in this manner. As the cat is equipped with razor-sharp claws, the shirt will be ribbons before the scheme even gets off the ground.

2. You now need to carefully affix a mechanism which propels tomato sauce in the direction you want the cat to travel

Outrageous! The Law of Conservation of Energy does not apply to ketchup. My own experiments have proven that the amount of force required to extract even a tablespoonful of sauce from a bottle would draw so much energy from the cat/toast array that there would be no lifting power, and the whole scheme would be dashed before it gets off the ground. Ahem.

3. Replace the wheels of your automobile with four of these cat/toast/white shirt/tomato sauce units and you have an excellent hover-car which should never need refuelling!

Here, all his arguments fall down totally. The premise is that the cat will be drawn in the direction of the ketchup, which is, presumably, meant to be fresh (old sauce and Italian shirts have much less attractive power). This would require an almost constant flow of sauce, which surely, in the name of all that is holy (and logical) means that the sauce will require replenishment. Thus, the sauce itself is fuel.

This always assumes that the torn and bloody shirt is still attracted to the ketchup in the first place.
The principle behind this, of course, is that expensive white shirts cannot resist being splattered with deep red tomato sauce

This underlying principle nonetheless remains true at all times. My hypothesis (as yet untested) is that even tiny amounts of sauce will be attracted, and thus, a simple gravity-fed ketchup feed might be arranged. Hang teflon-coated thread sufficiently far in front of the cat/shirt/toast array. Arrange for small amounts of sauce to drip slowly down the thread. The shirt will be gently attracted to the sauce as it drips off the end, gradually moving the vehicle forward.

Of course, this would not produce the same high acceleration as the original concept might have, but in the same way as the ion drive, this small acceleration, over a long enough period of time, would be enough to build up a tremendous speed.

I have discussed this with Dr. Ryano, who said "Very true! I urge you to node it", and present this to you for your serious consideration.