www.whyville.net Aug 5, 1999 Weekly Issue

My Aunt Tilty

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By Dr. Leila Gonzalez
(and friends)

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 spinning.

?????????? 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 Tilty's parents?

??????????As we 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!


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