Ski Massacre Trial Diagrams

Of all the labels for the Paltrow trial just ran in America's Utah, the descriptor above from one satirical 'analyst' did produce in me a readily audible snigger.

As most reporting seemed to focus on the fashion choice of the counter-suing A-List defendant first, the absurdity of the proceedings second, I'd left it all fairly well alone.

Until introduced to Dr Irving Scher.

A Defence witness. Regaling us with his biomechanical engineering specialism. [Equations start in this link around 48mins in & the drawings for roughly ten minutes from the 59th]

Is he blessed with demon communication skills to adequately enlighten us in his said area of prowess?

Not form normally associated with a doctorate, but let's see.

Compare your own to his oral method of explanation should we wish to conduct a swift benchmark.

Then move on to likewise contrast yourself with how he scrawls on the whiteboard to provide illumination to his spoken words.

Yes, there is a potentially relevant caveat.

Namely that he is patently not selling. A courtroom is not a boardroom.

Yet he is in the business of persuasion here. Else he would surely have turned down the invitation to appear as an expert witness.

Jurors to be swayed.

If they were to disagree with his slant on events, the reputation may well take a tumble too.

First up, the good doctor trashes the prosecution mathematics.

He takes us back to schooldays falling asleep in double-physics, writing up equations for velocity.

His purpose being to discredit the previously stated meaning by dint of their proffered calcs being out by quite some distance. As indicated by the ringed vulgar fraction for a quarter [¼] far-right;

"only a forth accurate".

I did quite admire that choice of language.

Definitely not everyday usage.  And despite the tricksy subject matter - the amount being not 4,860 Newtons, but he suggests, 18,678 - when repeated would surely stick in the minds of those tasked with making a decision. As it was drummed home when he then roasted the 'other side's' numbers of their Dr Bain.

Shame though no red pen was in hand for that encircled highlight.

The doc moved on from algebraic expressions to drawing.

"I'm not the best Pictionary player".

Endearing self-deprecation? Ought an expert in this field be a brilliant 'Pic' player?

What follows are stick figures. Depicting a skier pre- and post-fall. First up, the 'top-down view'.

Where you might get hit from behind [F for force] determining which way you rotate.

That little dimple hanging downwards is the nose. The coloured, smallest circle, the 'centre of mass'. This particular skier looks rather plump, hey. And on the thinnest of skis.

Then below, he draws the side view.

If you get struck below the centre of mass, you fall backwards. And your boot gets released from the heel clip.

Note those centre of mass circle and force arrows again.

And you gotta love the smile and frown. The happy skier merrily sliding along. As opposed to the unhappy one, just been klapped.

He finished with another birds-eye. With difference between collision recollections and what science says is likely in a "spread-eagled' scenario. Using a second colour now for the defendant.

Before focusing [as he's about the draw in above] on how a ski becomes released and creates a V-shape [other lines pixelated out below].

One widely reported summary comment of his evidence is interesting;

"Paltrow’s version is consistent with the laws of physics".

It subtly shouts, 'Believe Gwynnie" to the jury.

A kind of "buy me".

He doesn't get excited. His delivery is mellow. He is deliberate.

His drawings are basic. Without hyperbole. Yet clear.

No matter the outcome of this affair - yes, the jury did find for the defendant, "100%", and at least one juror is already on record as saying this 'snow science expert' was the clincher - are your diagrams helping prospects buying you this way?

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