Chain reactions

Pythagoras Switch is a science show for small children. Each episode follows the same format. Puppets introduce a video on a such topics as how the shapes of objects are clues to their manufacture or use, or static electricity, or how technology imitates nature. After that, a youngster controls his father or grandfather with a cardboard “father switch.” There is also some very simple animation, and either the “algorithm march” or the “algorithm exercise,” sequences of simple movements performed in canon. Children old enough to read the subtitles are likely to be bored by the very elementary level of most of the show.

What makes Pythagoras Switch worth watching are the Rube Goldberg mechanisms that open and close the show and separate the segments. Here’s a collection of these “Pythagorean devices.”

Here’s the algorithm march, performed by ninjas:

Five episodes that I know of have been subtitled. There’s quite a bit available on YouTube.

Time travel and the post office

I discovered last fall that the U.S. Postal Service can send a package into the future. Apparently, they can send objects into the past as well. Here’s the status report on my most recent order. Just what exactly did happen on the afternoon of December 31, 1969?


(Click on the question mark if the graphic isn’t visible.)