An enterprising lumberman had felled a large tree, and needed to haul it up
a steep embankment. So he jacked up the rear end of his pickup and swapped
one of the rear tires for a bare rim. He attached one end of a rope to the
rim, and the other end of the rope to the felled tree. He put the pickup
into gear, expecting the rim to act as a makeshift rope crank that would
pull the tree up the embankment, saving him lots of sweat.
A great idea? Not if you're reading it here! You see, the tree vastly
outweighed the truck. The man was standing with one foot on the ground and
the other foot on the accelerator. When he gunned the engine, the tree
acted like an anchor, and the truck yanked itself backwards. The open door
rammed into him, and he was swept over the embankment along with the
When the dust settled, our lumberman had entered the great beyond. But his
escapade served as a warning to others. The next lumberman cut up the tree
where it lay, and carried it off.
Reader Malcolm points out, "Unless the truck had a
differential lock this could not happen. The differential gearing on the
rear axle would spin the other wheel but not the one with the load. It's
the same when you put one rear wheel in a ditch. If that wheel has no
grip, power does not go to the wheel still on the road. Agricultural and
off-road vehicles have differential lock, but there is no mention
Reader Daniel says, " Could this only happen if the
truck had a locking differential? Not necessarily. If the lumberman had
only jacked up one wheel, and not the whole rear end, the other rear wheel
would be held in place by contact with the ground, allowing the one with
the rope enough force to pull hard on the rope"
Discuss Differentials in the Philosophy Forum.
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Reference: Another brilliant submission from the files of a 30-year veteran of the ER, who says, "You cannot make this up!"