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July 2, 2007 6:42 AM   Subscribe

Can you cut a hole in a 3x5 card that's large enough to crawl through? Topological trickery and some other classic science experiments.
posted by Wolfdog (40 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
WOW! That is awesome.
posted by oddman at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2007


I can. Mr. Wizard showed me how.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:49 AM on July 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


I can cut holes in small sections time/space to crawl through.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:52 AM on July 2, 2007


This counts as an "experiment" these days? 50 years ago they were teaching kids how to make Nitrous Oxide. Kids today are pussies.
posted by delmoi at 6:56 AM on July 2, 2007 [6 favorites]


ha! I was going to mention Mr. Wizard too...... R.I.P., Don Herbert.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 6:56 AM on July 2, 2007


That is nothing.

You should see how many angels I can fit on the head of a pin.
posted by flarbuse at 6:59 AM on July 2, 2007


I love stuff like this, thanks!
posted by amyms at 6:59 AM on July 2, 2007


As a kid I loved these type of things. I'm too young for classic Mr Wizard, but I grew up watching a host of tv shows inspired by him.

This was one of my favorite tricks growing up until I discovered the world of bar tricks and puzzles.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:02 AM on July 2, 2007


Wonderful as that was, at the end of the video some sick part of me was really hoping he would just not fit through the hole.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:14 AM on July 2, 2007


I totally remember that from Mr Wizard.
posted by empath at 7:24 AM on July 2, 2007


I just use a 3' by 5' card.
posted by brain_drain at 7:25 AM on July 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


I just had one of those experiences where I was watching the whole series of videos and said to myself "Turtles! That's really cool. You should post that on MetaFilter."

Very cool post, thanks Wolfdog! Last week I was explaining the cooling system of an automobile to my daughter, and just this morning I was explaining the concept of potential energy to her after she asked why the little 5-popsicle stick fanlike construction I made exploded when it hit the ground. She was very impressed when she saw Prof. Krampf explain the same things with the water balloon/candle and wet paper towel demos.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:31 AM on July 2, 2007


I like his sign-off line, "Have a wonder-filled week."
posted by peeedro at 7:34 AM on July 2, 2007


My ten-year-old niece is staying with us at the moment. I'm gonna get her to do this and BLOW HER MIND! Thanks, Wolfdog.
posted by cgc373 at 7:34 AM on July 2, 2007


This one, and the "how to take off a vest without taking off your jacket" were my childhood favorites.

Our public library had a book called "Fun With Electrons" that showed how to make an X-ray fluoroscope so you could watch the bones in your toes wiggle.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:37 AM on July 2, 2007


Turtles?
posted by yeti at 7:41 AM on July 2, 2007


Opps sorry, that was in response to "Turtles! That's really cool."
posted by yeti at 7:42 AM on July 2, 2007


Mr Wizard: Yes
Science tricks: Yes
The put yourself through a sheet of paper trick: So very, very, very old. Seriously, I don't think my attention-starved 6 year old would stay awake for this one.
posted by DU at 7:43 AM on July 2, 2007


so THAT'S how the virgin birth worked.
posted by lastobelus at 8:01 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


StickyCarpet - I was going to mention "how to take off a vest without taking off your jacket" in my post above as another childhood fave, but opted not to! I guess we read the same book in the library. I loved that trick, even though I NEVER wore a vest, so I was never able to actually use it. But the book I saw it in had a great set of drawings of an early 70's hipster doing the trick.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:04 AM on July 2, 2007


I guessed how to do it before I clicked the link. Does that confirm that I'm a genius? Or merely suggest the possibility?
posted by humblepigeon at 8:04 AM on July 2, 2007


Kids today are pussies.

Yeah, but have you seen the paper cuts those index cards can leave?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:11 AM on July 2, 2007


I like how he had extra cards on the table. A good scientist is always prepared for failure.
posted by mediareport at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


But the real question is, "can you cut a hole in an index card that I could fit through?" That dude is a small guy. Put me through an index card and I will be impressed.
posted by jlowen at 8:36 AM on July 2, 2007


i didn't see him crawl, did you?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:57 AM on July 2, 2007


I could not keep my eyes off the collection of various dead stuff in the background. Just like in science classes all that dead stuff. what is with those types?
posted by orgvol at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2007


You actually need to make two cuts to make this accordion-like thingy, neither of which is a "hole" until the card is expanded / unfolded, so I call foul.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2007


I hate to be the one to say this, but, topologically speaking, any hole in a piece of paper is big enough to crawl through. Cutting a large hole in a small piece of paper is only interesting if you don't change the surface area of the paper, but surface area isn't a topological notion. It's a geometric one.
posted by samw at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2007


That's a neat trick, but it's still not going to get him into heaven.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:26 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


But the real question is, "can you cut a hole in an index card that I could fit through?" That dude is a small guy. Put me through an index card and I will be impressed.

As you place the cuts closer and closer together the circumference of the resulting ring grows arbitrarily large . So long as you don't extend infinitely in too many directions we can make this thing work.

That's a neat trick, but it's still not going to get him into heaven.

Dude knows mathematics. It's not a question of doing something that gets him into heaven, it's a question of defining heaven in such a way that he's already there.
posted by agent at 9:43 AM on July 2, 2007 [4 favorites]


Nice. Now let's see him do the same thing with a carrot.
posted by Termite at 10:44 AM on July 2, 2007


Nah. You slice up the carrot, and after you eat it, it crawls through you.
posted by Dave Faris at 10:48 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dude knows mathematics. It's not a question of doing something that gets him into heaven, it's a question of defining heaven in such a way that he's already there.

HA HA HA HA HA! Way to make the theologians spit their coffee. I can just imagine the pulpit bombshells next Sunday: 'Well, we've rechecked the Bible, and it turns out the Kingdom of God is just some old guy cutting holes in card.' [UNCOMFORTABLE SHUFFLING] 'But the good news is, Hell is only that experiment with a match, a boiled egg and a wine bottle that never works. I guess what you lose on the swings you make up on the roundabouts.'
posted by RokkitNite at 10:56 AM on July 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


But could God cut a hole in the universe so big that even Jesus could fit through it?
posted by furtive at 10:58 AM on July 2, 2007


I have been showing this stuff to my coworkers all day. The Mobius strip trick blew their minds.

It is a slow day at work.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 11:05 AM on July 2, 2007


OK, those of you who read this book as youths, how do you take off a vest without taking off your jacket? Google does not seem to know.
posted by fidelity at 11:12 AM on July 2, 2007


I don't know if there's a fancier way, but I've often taken off long underwear without removing my shirt:

1) Pull your right arm out of the sleeves of both the shirt and underwear

2) Snake your hand down along your body and back up again between the shirt and underwear

3) Put your hand through the sleeve of the shirt

4) Repeat on the left side

5) Reach through the neckhole of the shirt and pull the underwear out

6) Profit!!~!
posted by eamondaly at 11:46 AM on July 2, 2007


I knew how to do it as soon as I read the question.

Thank you Mr. Wizard! I knew that getting up at 6AM for all those years to watch you would pay off some day. Little did I know all it would get me was this post on Metafilter. Oh well, you win some and lose some.
posted by wierdo at 12:28 PM on July 2, 2007


eamondaly: that's cheating of course, to take your arm out of the sleeve.

To take the vest off from under the jacket, first of all the vest has to have really big arm holes, we used to use a zip-out coat liner as the vest. Take your left hand, reach inside the jacket, and put that hand through the arm hole of the vest. With some wiggling you will end up with the left arm hole of the vest having the back of the jacket bunched up and going through it. The left side of the vest is worked around to the being on the out side on the right. Then something something the right hand goes through that left hole of the vest, anyway the vest ends up on the inside with both sides on the right arm. Then you slide it down and out the sleeve.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:15 PM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


It isn't an experiment - it's a demonstration.

I failed on my one and only science fair project when I was 11 because shows like this got me confused about the difference between an experiment and a demonstration.
posted by jb at 3:44 PM on July 3, 2007


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