Undeniable Friday: The Balancing Spoon Trick

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's Undeniable Friday! Every Friday, in addition to an odd little factoid, UndeniableFacts.com gives you a fun puzzle, illusion, or activity to enjoy and share.

Today: "The Balancing Spoon Trick"

Update: the same trick done with a spork.

Here's another great one for parties!

The effect:
A seemingly ordinary spoon is set down on end. Rather than immediately falling over, the spoon balances and wobbles around.

The setup:
This one takes a little preparation, so make sure and plan at least two weeks ahead. First remove the hubcap on one of your car's tires (kids: get your parents' permission first). Next you need to affix the spoon to the exact center of the wheel. Hot-glue can work, but I prefer duct tape. Replace the hubcap over the spoon, and drive for approximately 500 miles. This doesn't have to be all at once, but make sure that you drive at least 500 total miles before removing the spoon. Caution: avoid backing up as much as possible. For every foot that you back up, you must drive an additional 30 miles forward. Excessively sharp turns may also interfere with the process. If you're planning a road trip through say, Nevada or Kansas, you have an excellent opportunity to set this trick up.

When you perform the trick, simply set the spoon on the end of its handle and bask in the amazement of your audience.

The explanation:
To explain this effect, it is important to first cover the topic of gravitational domains. Every subatomic particle has a specific number of quanta called gravitons which orbit it. The number of gravitons is proportional to its mass. Electrons have exactly 3 gravitons, while protons and neutrons each have approximately 5,500. These quanta are responsible for many of the effects which in classical physics are attributed to "mass". Gravitational force, for example, is not an attractive force between objects based on their mass, but a force between the gravitons which massive objects possess. Therefore, if we can change the positions of the gravitons in an object, we can change the way gravity affects that object.

When you attach an object to the center of a spinning axis which is attached to a heavy load (i.e. your car), a considerable centrifugal force acts on the object. Centrifugal force is, like gravity, dependent on mass. Unlike gravity, however, centrifugal force does not act on gravitons, but on the real mass of the object. By placing the spoon at the center of the axis, the spoon's mass is constantly pulled away from the center. Its gravitons, however, are negligibly affected by the centrifugal force, and tend to stay in the same place, relative to the particles they orbit. As a result, the gravitons realign within the individual atoms, reorienting the gravitational momenta of those atoms based on their distance from the center. This causes the formation of "Gauss domains" - areas in the structure of the spoon which have uniformly oriented gravitational momenta - because the atoms of the spoon which are near each other are, by definition, a similar distance from the axis of rotation, and thus are similarly oriented.

The end result of all of this is that the spoon's distribution of gravitational mass is no longer consistent with its distribution of "real" mass. Therefore, the spoon can be balanced on either end, where the gravitational domains are largest.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried this and it did not work. I even drove for 700 miles. This is clearly another lie.

2:30 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

DoseofLos, you must be making these comments as a joke.
But doesn't the joke/sarcasm get boring after you've posted it to every entry ?

3:27 AM  
Blogger tangentboy said...

If sorry adrian, but doseflos is right

This is Bunk.

Absolute bunk and utter nonsense.

Quote:"Therefore, if we can change the positions of the gravitons in an object, we can change the way gravity affects that object."

Oh yes, that'd be just about as easy as placing a juggernaut end up on the head of a needle without it snapping. But wait - thats not a good example - as it could be remotely possible in certain circumstances.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to move gravitons or even distantly effect them unless they are subject to being inside a vacuum (such as in space - where gravitons do not exist. This is temporary, as it only lasts as long as the object remains inside the vacuum. Ever see any astronauts float around after they re-enter our atmosphere. No.)

Or if an object is put in a jet, it climbs to a huge acsent and when it reaches its apogee, it decends in a parabolic type curve and goes straight downwards at huge speed. BUT this is only due to g-forces and NOT any "re-alignment" of gravitons, and again is a temporary effect.

This video is possible becuase of electro magnets. Look carefully at the start and end of the video, and you can see the material the spoon "balances" on moves up and attempts to retain the spoon respectively.

The reason the other end is not subject to the forces is due to it being its polar axis - or simply put it has been negatively charged so that the top end repulses. Ever wonder why this video doesn't show you the spoon balancing on its other end? Thats why.

Sorry to spoil it all for you, but I thought you deserved to know.

The only way this person has made this even remotely believable is because the uneducated will believe ANYTHING which sounds remotley scientific - which this does very well - but unfortunatley the information provided is total and complete rubbish.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Where did I say that this was true ? ;)

Hint (Click on the "Information for Teachers" link)

6:08 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

And the reason I think DoseOfLos' replies must be a joke/sarcastic/etc. is because I think it's impossible to spend more than 1 minute on this site, and not realise that this is a joke.
Even if you click on one link (Assuming you'd want to investigate this site) you'd see that it's a joke. A joke with a nice purpose.

However, I saw doseoflos' replies several times, commenting on how this is all nonsense. Ofcourse it is, the site itself tells you it is ! There is no need to repeat it with every post.

6:17 AM  
Blogger freedom000 said...

tangentboy is the smartest idiot you'll ever meet

9:14 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

hahahaha, very funny it almost tricked me. But tangentboy is right, if this was possible the military would be using graviton manipulation to make some sort of hovering machine that doesnt need engines to stay up.

Now the real question is "is the spoon being held up by string or some sort of magnitazion?"

12:23 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

are you all stupid, theres a multimeter in the backround thats showing current flowing when the spoon is on the table. It's just an elctro magnet holding the spoon up

2:01 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The window in the background could be a picture, everything else stuck upsidown to the ceiling (including the camera) and then all you need is a strong magnet

2:53 PM  
Blogger dweezil said...

Is this a joke? Gravitons? Hahah... this is clearly just an electromagnet holding up a ferrous spoon.

Come on guys. Wtf is with this blog?

3:20 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Graviton particles are hypothetical, much like Dan Serena's hair.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

What kinda gets me is the use of the word centrifugal force... anyone talking about gravitons should also be aware that centrifugal force doesnt exist. At least not for the last 20 years or so. Centripetal acceleration maybe, but thats not a force. Am i the only one who noticed the meter in the background and thought magnetic field?

6:43 PM  
Blogger frog said...

wow, totally worked for me. My friends still cant believe it, and neither can I! You other guys must have done it wrong? Try it again

8:27 PM  
Blogger DJArashi said...

Oh, tangentboy... You and your crazy science. Don't you know that they've been putting juggernauts end up on the heads of needles since August or so?

And polar axes my foot. How do you think all the penguins in Antarctica get around?

6:03 PM  
Blogger delphinkid said...

After I read all the negative comments, I seriously thought it wouldn't work. But I followed the instructions, and it worked just like in the video! If you can't get yours to work, be sure you followed the rule about not backing up.

7:20 PM  
Blogger DoseOfLos said...

No Adrian Sarcasm doesn't get boring unless you start posting comments like yours which kill the fun. I post what I want because I can. If Dan wants to remove ANY COMMENTS he can. So stop crying and take another antidepression pill you hater.

Ps. You're Dumb AND you're Ugly.

1:30 AM  
Blogger nepawoods said...

The camera is upside down, and the spoon is hanging from a magnet.

7:51 PM  
Blogger whatever said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Goriand said...

I wish to say that I was totally prepared to go drive with a spoon, then after I paged through the site and saw the part on a squirrel monkey and even sent a mail to Dan abt the nonsense in it I read the spoon thing again. I wanted to stick the spoon to a fan, to bridge the reverse problem but then read abt the cars mass that should play with. Now that sorta bowled even my basic understanding of physics, so I read even further and got to the teachers bit.

Ty for making me just a bit more aware again. Amazing site good humor


7:58 AM  
Blogger JuanMa said...


1:39 AM  
Blogger tangentboy said...

Chris said:
"What kinda gets me is the use of the word centrifugal force... anyone talking about gravitons should also be aware that centrifugal force doesnt exist. At least not for the last 20 years or so. Centripetal acceleration maybe, but thats not a force. Am i the only one who noticed the meter in the background and thought magnetic field?"

I direct you to this comic - you complete imbecile. http://xkcd.com/c123.html

Centrifugal Forces don't exist?? Then pray explain what a Russian astronaut feels when strapped in a test chamber that spins them circular at over 70mph?

And centripetal acceleration is not a force???!! ANY TYPE OF ACCELLERATION IS A FORCE YOU NITWIT!!!!

Please do your research before posting - it really irks me.

And smart idiot maybe - I just generally couldn't be arsed to wander around a site that has bad science principles...even if it is a joke.

1:35 PM  
Blogger igorpark said...

tangentboy, I'm sorry to say, but it's true, centrifugal force does not exist. It is a common interpretation since the force we feel while spinning seems to be pulling us outwards. However, the only force we feel is centripetal.

To eliminate all such fictitious forces, one needs to be in a non-accelerating reference frame.

Objects rotating around an axis are pulled towards the center by whatever is radially holding them on. The outward "feeling" force is the result of centripetal acceleration towards the center and the velocity vector.

So tangentboy, before you go criticizing people about not doing their research, I suggest you crack open a physics book and see for yourself.

By the way, in response to "ANY TYPE OF ACCELLERATION IS A FORCE YOU NITWIT!!!!" I'd like to say that Force = mass * acceleration. Acceleration is the rate at which velocity changes over time. Acceleration is in no way a force.

8:52 PM  
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4:17 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

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8:02 AM  

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