Some things that we think of as mundane are in actuality quite amazing -- it's just that they happen too fast for our stupid, non-superpowered eyes to truly appreciate. But that's where science steps in with its patented Slomo Machine to show us just how fascinating the random shit going on around you really is. For example, a high-speed camera reveals ...
#6. A Dropped Slinky Basically Levitates in Mid-Air
Do you still have a Slinky in the house somewhere? Go dig it up, because you're immediately going to want to try this. Hold it out with it dangling to its full length, then drop it. Now watch the bottom defy gravity for a few magical seconds:
The Wile E. Coyote principle in action.
That either looks like the bottom of the slinking is resting on a glass table, or it's being levitated by wizard magic. But once the whole spring has contracted, you see it fall the rest of the way to the ground, just as it should.
How in the hell is this possible? Well, before letting it go, the Slinky is all stretched out because its weight is dispersed along its length. The top has the whole mass of the Slinky underneath it, and so the strain pulling down equals the weight, whereas the bottom has no mass underneath it, and so has no force acting on it. So the Slinky's spring tension winds up pulling up on the bottom at the exact rate it should be falling. When the top part of the Slinky catches up with the stationary lower part, though, gravity finally wakes up and slaps its stair-walking ass back down to Earth where it belongs.
Here's a giant slinky dropped from the top of a building, just to make it look freakier:
No one betrays the slink-mafia. No one.
This crazy floating act actually happens with any object you drop, because all solid objects have some degree of elasticity. It's just that the effect is much more noticeable with a Slinky because, you know, it's Slinky. For fun it's a wonderful toy.
#5. A Butane Lighter is a Tiny Fireworks Display
Everyone reading this probably has a cigarette lighter in their house, if not in their pocket. And we bet you've never stopped to appreciate how beautiful it is:
Your parents told you not to play with these so they could hoard the fun for themselves.
Look at that! It's like a tiny little fireworks display, at your fingertips. See those sparks at the beginning? Those are tiny, molten globules of steel that actually jump up and explode in mid-air.
While the steel is melting and bursting all over the place, the button under the strike wheel opens a valve and, since its boiling point is relatively high, the liquid butane in the lighter evaporates and rushes out to join the party. Then the flying globs of molten steel heat the gas enough for it to break down and rebond with oxygen, and voila! You've just birthed an itty-bitty phoenix. That you used to light a bong.
YouTube is full of videos like this, proving that the internet is a wonderful tool for appreciating the simple things in life:
If you are using a bong right now, welcome to your next half-hour of staring.
Here's one slowed down even more, really showing off how the individual balls of metal pop and burst in mid-air like the Fourth of July:
Almost makes us want to take up smoking.
#4. A Popping Balloon Looks Like Pac-Man
There is a brief moment, just a tiny fraction of a second, when a popping balloon looks like Pac-Man:
... or, depending on how you pop it, the skeleton of some kind of dead animal:
It's just that you have to record it at 2,700 frames per second to find out.
What's happening there is that the balloon gets all big and ... balloony because the air particles inside it act like a bunch of drunk dudes trying to find their way out of a nightclub -- all bumping into each other and stumbling against the walls and hitting on your girlfriend even though she's clearly sitting right next to you. The walls expand and eventually burst, but in completely different ways depending on how they fail. For instance, you give the balloon one place to pop, with a pin (or in this case, some kind of dissolving spray), you get the Pac-Man effect:
But if you just keep blowing on it so that the force is pushing out in every direction equally, you get the split-second balloon skeleton:
Dude didn't even flinch. See, we told you scientists are badasses.
Again, if you see it in real time, you just see a balloon vanishing as if by magic (watch how the guy doesn't even have time to even react to the sound before the whole process has completed itself:
Incidentally, the reason balloons make that "popping" noise is for the exact same reason as a stick of dynamite or a gunshot -- the ball of expanding gases creates a pressure wave that smacks into your eardrums. Only a balloon doesn't produce a huge ball of fire ... unless you fill it with Hydrogen, that is:
Somewhere, off in the distance, Michael Bay has achieved an erection.
Okay, we totally want to try that now. Here's what happens when they do it with a giant one: