..... Stumper Index
Stumper #7.
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How Good Is Your Science KQ?

[i.e. your Knowledge Quotient]

- What toy is this? -

The History Of It:
It probably dates as far back as 2000 BC. Some of the great philosophers of ancient times, like Aristophanes, Plato and Virgil, refer to it in their writings. In the Iliad, Homer alludes to its sometimes erratic performance. The earliest actual examples to be found by toy collectors are made of wood and date from the 1800s. In the early 1900s some were made of tin but nowadays most are made of wood or plastic and have many shapes and colors.

The Science Of it:
It performs until the energy that you put into it is used up from having to overcome friction. Its performance is affected by the amount of energy you provide and its center of mass - as well as gravity, torque and friction. As it performs it will rotate, precess, wobble (nutate) and then collapse. If it is hollow it might whistle or hum as it performs; if it is colored or patterned it might demonstrate interesting visual effects. When made in a particular way this toy can even use the energy you put into it to turn itself upside down!

The Question - So, what is this toy?


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