Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fun with Gravity for Spring Break

Spring break is upon us and the kids are bored. Have no fear, science is here.

A wise man one said, "Gravity is God's gift to bored children". (Nobody wise ever said that.)

Top ten fun things to do with gravity on spring break:
1. Buy goop at the toy store and let it stretch into really long boogers.
2. Have sleeping bag and mattress races on the stairs.
3. Experience an all-night gravity adventure through a classic sci-fi story like "Ender's Game" and "2001: A Space Odyssey", or their watered-down movie versions, or watch the box office drama thrillers "Gravity" and "Interstellar".
4. Water balloon toss...with unsuspecting siblings.
5. Sleep outside on a trampoline and enjoy gravity-sponsored simple harmonic motion. (Wear mosquito repellent for sure.)
6. Use Google Sky Map on your  smart phone to locate cool astronomical objects like Eta Carinae (ooh, I can't wait too see that one blow!) and the Andromeda Galaxy. Then read Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, because it has the name Andromeda in it and the Andromeda Galaxy is a large gravitational object, but mostly because freaky stories are so fun!
7. Get some bungee cord or surgical tubing, make a slingshot, and launch leftover hardboiled Easter eggs into low earth orbit.
8. Buy a slinky or a yo-yo with your lunch money. (You know you want one!)
9. Go long-boarding on Lombard St. in San Francisco (with your parent's permission).
10. Defy gravity with a homemade hot air ballon. In high school we used to launch hot air balloons from school and land them on city hall a mile away--I love gravity! It works every time.

The obligatory tacky T-shirt quote: "Gravity: It's not just a good idea. It's THE LAW"

Credit: ESO/WFI (visible); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (microwave); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray) 

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