Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Spinning Along

There is progress!


The turtle you see on the Turkish spindle is the new turtle after one was finished up on Day 3. I just adore Turkish turtles.


One of these years I'd like to actually watch some cycling while I spin during the Tour de France. My access to a TV is extremely limited for the foreseeable future, so instead I catch up on podcasts and eavesdrop on conversations about mathematics. Note that I might choose to eavesdrop on some other conversations were there any others on which to eavesdrop...

Actually, being dropped into a culture so intellectually over my head (on this particular topic, anyway) has been pretty fun. What I've been thinking about these days is if I can get budding mathematicians to explore a thing or two about math, or more likely physics, by teaching them to spin. Spinning is really a study in the moment of inertia (that's the measure of how much an object likes or dislikes spinning), and it's interesting that spindles come in different varieties. The purple silk spindle you see in my photos is like the super-fast spinning ice skater of the spinning world. Get all that motion out as quick as you can so you can dazzle people or get that silk to stick together before it slides apart, whichever one it was you were trying to do. My Turkish spindle with its arms all sticking out is like the skater right at the beginning of a twirl, spreading their mass far and wide so they can show a lot of tricks over time before they run out of steam, or get lots of yarn drafted out before backspinning starts. These spindle facts are kind of intuitive to anyone who's spent time spinning on the playground swingset, and once you know some things about the properties of yarn/fiber, it becomes clear why the variety exists. I'm curious now, though, what further ideas there are to explore here. I like the idea of navigating the intersection between theory and reality, and while I don't have the theoretical knowledge, I'm pretty good at the practical stuff, and that counts for something. It may be the kind of thing I need to set some nimble brains loose on...

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