GeekDad Puzzle of the Week: FlexiTotter

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Image courtesy of Flickr user rptnorris, CC license

This week’s puzzle is more a question, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in an enigma — like my daughter, due to this year’s first snowstorm, wrapped in layers, which hold her immobile and preserved as surely as carbonite.

The question is this: does it matter if a teeter-totter bends? I ask because last night I was thinking about Halloween which made me think about Cirque du Soleil, which made me think about acrobats jumping from a three-person tower onto one end of a teeter-totter, thus launching a brave and intrepid tumbler (whom they all presumably hate) from the other end. It’s like counting sheep, only more like counting small, buff men in leotards.

If the teeter-totter board flexes and then recovers (springs) does it necessarily launch the projectile acrobat higher, does it make no difference, or does flexing remove energy from the system thus launching the PA lower? Why?

The correct answer will be correct and will include an argument that is at least 57% cogent, as determined by the crack scientific staff here at GeekDad (i.e. me and Dave). Bonus points will be awarded for anything resembling physics.

Send your answer to GeekDad Puzzle Central by Friday for your chance at this week’s $50 ThinkGeek gift certificate.

Peace out.

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