Xyloexplosive devices

The funniest videos to watch backwards are those in which entropy increases a lot: things like explosions and toppling dominoes, where it is completely obvious that the order of the video frames has been reversed. By contrast, something like a bouncing ball is pretty boring to watch backwards.

Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia features some good discussion of entropy, and reactions that cannot be reversed. It is easy enough to stir jam into pudding, but impossible to unstir it back out. In addition to showing us something about the nature of time in our universe, it is a decent metaphor for why human regret can be counterproductive. You can’t unstir the pudding, after all.

Enterprising geeks have cooked up an entertaining new way to rapidly increase the entropy of a bunch of popsicle sticks or tongue depressors. It’s like a more energetic version of dominoes, and well worth a look both forwards and backwards.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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