Jul
12
2007

Science: Not Funny, Not Surprising.

A man toys with evolution: For God's sake, sir, stop before you wear yourself out!
Courtesy CB Photography
A man toys with evolution: For God's sake, sir, stop before you wear yourself out!
Courtesy CB Photography
Sometimes, at least.

A recent study, outlined in this article, has reached the audacious conclusion that people walk the way they do because it’s efficient.

Well.

The “inverted pendulum” motion of the body (the way we walk) is the most metabolically efficient way for us to move at low speeds, and the parabolic arch motion (the way we run) is most the most efficient for higher speeds.

The same article points out that this is why “silly walks” are, in fact, so silly: because they are inefficient.

So it turns out that evolution is practical, but not particularly funny.

I have found, however, that almost all walks are funny, if you can just watch them from an upside-down perspective. This can be tricky, but if you find yourself at the science museum any time soon, I recommend you check out the “eyepod” (our camera obscura) in the Big Back Yard. It projects an image of the prairie maze, upside down, on the wall of the room. When you see people moving through the maze from that unusual perspective, they do look pretty silly.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Thor's picture
Thor says:

And as any die-hard Monty Python fan can tell you, a lot of research and work goes into the creation of a great silly walk, if you want it to be approved by the Ministry of Silly Walks.

posted on Thu, 07/12/2007 - 3:18pm

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