Bet You Can't!: Science Impossibilities to Fool Youby Vicki Cobb, Kathy Darling
With this collection of irresistible bets, you can team up with science and be a winner every time. Stump your family, friends, or favorite enemy with these deceptively simple dares. They're all impossible to perform thanks to principles of gravity, mechanics, fluids, logic, energy and perception. For every trick whether it be blowing up a balloon in a… See more details below
With this collection of irresistible bets, you can team up with science and be a winner every time. Stump your family, friends, or favorite enemy with these deceptively simple dares. They're all impossible to perform thanks to principles of gravity, mechanics, fluids, logic, energy and perception. For every trick whether it be blowing up a balloon in a bottle or kissing your elbow the authors reveal the natural cause at work that guarantees human defeat.
Here's an entertaining and enticing introduction to basic scientific principles that proves yet another: science can be fun!
WINNER OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCE'S CHILDREN'S SCIENCE BOOK AWARD
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The Artful Use of Gravity
Gravity is the biggest downer of all time. True? Yes. But, surprise! Gravity can pull sideways or even up. The sun is pulling on the earth in a direction that is anything but down.
Gravity is the force of attraction between two masses, and when it's the only force operating, it draws the smaller mass to the larger one. The reason we think of gravity as a downer is because the most familiar example is the force of attraction between the giant earth and our body.
One way gravity exerts its force is very curious. All the weight of a body seems to be concentrated at a single center point. If a body has a supporting base, its "center of gravity" must be located directly over the base or the body will tip over. When an object has a regular shape, like the earth, it is easy to locate the center of gravity because it is at the geometric center. A seesaw is balanced at its geometric center, its center of gravity.
But irregularly shaped objects, like the human body, do not have a center of gravity that necessarily coincides with the geometric center. In fact, the center of gravity can be moved around. Skiing, for example, is one sport where an. athlete is constantly shifting his or her center of gravity to maintain balance. In this chapter, you may be moving your center of gravity around. That's where the fun comes in. The artful use of gravity can throw you totally off balance. Wanna bet?
BET YOU CAN'T PICK UP A DOLLAR BILL THATS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!
THE SETUP: Stand with your heels against a wall and your feet together. Place a dollar bill on the floor about a footin front of your feet. Now ... try to pick up the dollar without moving your feet or bending your knees.
THE FIX: That dollar is as safe as if it were in the bank. You can't pick it up. Here's why. When you stand straight against the wall, your center of gravity is over your feet (base) as it should be. When you bend forward, you move your center of gravity forward. In order to keep your balance, you must move your feet forward too. This maintains the base under the center of gravity needed for stability. Since the rules of this trick don't allow you to move your feet, you're dollarless. And if you persist in trying to pick it up, you'll fall flat on your face!
While you are standing there with your back to the wall, here are some more wasted efforts.
BET YOU CAN'T JUMP!
THE SETUP: Keep your heels, hips, and shoulders against the wall. Without leaning forward, try to jump. Whats the matter? Are your feet stuck to the floor?
BET YOU CAN'T LIFT YOUR FOOT OFF THE FLOOR!
THE SETUP: Turn your right side to the wall. Put your right foot and cheek against the wall. Now try to lift your left foot off the floor.
THE FIX: Both of these stunts require you to shift your center of gravity away from the support base. The first can't be done without falling over, and the second can't be done without moving the wall. The body maintains balance with little adjustments so automatic that we never think about them.
BET YOU CAN'T PICK UP A CHAIR UNLESS YOU ARE FEMALE!THE SETUP: Here's something your mother can do but your father can't. Begin by having the subject back away from a wall to a distance of four foot-lengths. Place a chair or stool between the person and the wall. Instruct the person to lean over and rest his or her forehead against the wall. Now the subject must pick up the chair and try to straighten up without touching the chair to the wall.
THE Fix: The reason men can't do this trick is because they have big feet! Women have feet that are smaller in proportion to their height. So, when a man backs four foot-lengths away from the wall and leans forward, his center of gravity is farther from his base than a woman's. He would have to rely on the leg muscles to compensate for this greater imbalance, and they just aren't up to the job.
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