This section is from the "The New Student's Reference Work Volume 5: How And Why Stories" by Elinor Atkinson.
That depends. On the weight of it? No, indeed. You remember how Galileo, the great astronomer, dropped a one-pound and a ten pound cannon ball together from the leaning tower of Pisa? They struck the ground the same instant. The speed with which things drop depends upon the height from which they fall. If you fall from the limb of an apple tree sixteen feet from the ground, you strike the ground in just one second. But if you fall from a church steeple three times as high, or forty-eight feet, you strike the ground in two seconds. Every second a falling body gains thirty-two feet on the distance covered in the preceding second. You fall sixteen feet in the first second, forty-eight feet in the second, eighty feet in the third, one hundred and twelve in the fourth and one hundred and forty-four in the fifth, or four hundred feet in less than a twentieth of a minute. This increase in speed, according to the height, is what makes a long fall "hard." The earth is struck with greater force. The gain in speed would be multiplied many times each second, instead of being added to at the rate of just thirty-two feet, if it were not for the resistance, or pushing back of the air. The air is a cushion. If it wasn't for the air raindrops, and especially hard hailstones, would hit us with the force of bullets.