It's been a while since I've had a class that deals with this, and I'm quite sleep deprived, so take this with a grain of salt:
Zombie Protestor wrote:1) If I drop two items of different mass, they fall at the same rate, blah blah blah. I got that. But if I connect those two objects, say, by putting a ball of putty on the end of a pencil, does the ball of putty end hit the ground first? I seem to from all the archival footage of bombs dropping that they are dropped horizontally and rotate so that they are vertical.
It will depend on the surface area of each, and where the center of mass is. The orientation which causes the least air resistance should be the one that you end up with. This doesn't directly answer your question, but looks like it might be an interesting read: http://www.hnsa.org/doc/missile/index.htm
Zombie Protestor wrote:2) What if I put two items of different mass on an incline? Say, I have a full minecart and an empty one and let them go at the top of different 45 degree inclines. Will the heavier one reach the bottom first? If so, is this simply a function of its ability to better overcome friction rather than it falling faster?
They should both go at the same speed, assuming all things are equal (including air resistance, so if you piled your extra load up higher, it would slow it down. here's an interesting wiki:http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_To_Bui ... ar/Physics
and, of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclined_plane