By Dr. Leila Gonzalez
Note: This is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in the LA Times on April 1, 1999.
??????????For the last four weeks, we have
been considering the question: "How do ice skaters get spinning so
fast?" In last week???s article I told you that this week I
would finally tell you the answer. But guess what? Today is April 1st,
so you would probably not believe me, even if I did tell you!
Instead, I thought I would tell you about my favorite relative,
Aunt Tilty. Some people say she???s dizzy, but actually she is
extremely smart and can think circles around most anyone. She???s an
old spinster, so you could say that she knows quite a bit about
I told Aunt Tilty about your questions and comments on the ice
skater. ???Ah! A figure skater must be in motion to spin. I can make
something spin that isn???t moving at all!??? She drew this
picture (left) and told me to look closely at the gears. (If you
don???t see anything right away, Aunt Tilty suggested that you lay it
flat on a table and rotate the image around.)
??????????Aunt Tilty smiled. ???You know, ice skaters can only spin in
one direction at a time. I can make something that spins two ways at
once!??? She then drew this picture (right).
???Stare at it
and you can see it spin in both directions!
??????????It was getting late,
and after all that spinning, I was getting a little dizzy. As I got up
to leave, I accidentally knocked over a photo on the table next to me.
Aunt Tilty cried out, ???Oh dear! My parents??? wedding
picture!??? I picked it up to see if it had been damaged. Something
was wrong...there was only one person in the photo! She looked at it and
said, "No, Leila, both of my parents are in this picture. You must
be holding the picture wrong side up.???
As she set the picture back
down on the table, I saw what she meant. Do you see both of Aunt
walked to the door, she showed me an ancient looking camera. ???This
is the same camera that was used to take the photo of my parents. Let me
take one of you for your scrapbook.??? I gave her a big smile, even
though I still felt a bit dizzy. The camera whired and clicked. Then I
said goodbye and went home.
??????????A few days later I received a photo
from her. That old camera must be broken. It had taken my photo upside
down! But, as I looked at it more closely, it was obvious that my head
had been spinning at Aunt Tilty???s.
??????????If you are interested in seeing more
of Aunt Tilty's rather odd drawings, you should visit the new
???House of Illusions??? in Whyville. Next week, I will have some final thoughts (and your data) about
the world of spinning skaters, chairs, and cans of fruit!