Like Life Skills, It’s All A Matter Of Balance
About twenty years ago, on one of our visits to Hong Kong, I was fascinated by the pavement vendors and the wide range of objects for sale. One of the toys that caught my eye was a simple plastic bird that balanced at impossibly precarious angles.
Of course, my scientific background was useful when I checked out one of the birds for the first time. I was struck by how unexpectedly heavy it was and I realised that it was a simple matter of allocating mass unevenly but towards a particular point. In this case, the bird’s head was by far the heaviest part, while the tail was extremely light.
Because of its clever design, the bird was able to balance on a pencil – and as you can see in these images, it does so in a strikingly unique attitude. The point of the bird’s beak acts as a perfectly stabilised fulcrum and it actually looks as though it is diving towards its prey.
It’s one bird that cannot shake its tail feather.
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