The words (or rather terms) to watch for in the next coming years are:
- Gravitational Lensing: I’ve mentioned this topic before, and trust me, it’s the most discussed topic in my neighbourhood. Better yet, every morning, I wake up to the tune of the Gravitational Lensing-nettes. On the serious side, gravity appears to be one of the most successful methods to detect exoplanets: Just recently, astronomers found the first ever mirror solar system using this technique.
- Synchrotron: The first time I read about this machine was on April the first and that, sir, is no joke (Slashdot thread). Actually, I’ve been planning to build one of those things in my backyard (what backyard, muhahaha), but like all things “cirque scientifique”1, these things just take time to build. That being said: A synchrotron is literally a particle accelerator that (in the end) produces high-intensity X-rays. I mention this word here, because, just today, thanks to the synchrotron, we’ve finally found the very first snake with legs.
In any case, if you were thinking about starting a barbershop quartet or something, I hear that the name “The Synchrotronnettes” is still available. That is, if you can actually pronounce it flawlessly.
Via Alfons, I found out that one of my nephews is breakdancing. Better yet, according to sources, breakdancing is actually still pretty popular over in Europe.
I find this hilarious, because over 20 years ago, both yours truly and his bro were pretty good breakdancers (previously on xsamplex). Hey, we didn’t dance on ‘Hey You’ (audio fragment [600K+] ), but we did on ‘Uprock’. I was one of those fearless headspinners. In my top days, I could do a clockwise headspin, stop in the middle, and then go counter-clockwise without a helmet: a feat that appeared to be so shocking to other breakdancers and onlookers. As a kid, naturally, I didn’t care. We did dance on a schoolnight too (we were invited): the stage event was played as a ‘cool guys’ vs. ‘uh-nerd guys’, and I fondly remember how after a couple of Alfons’ backspins and my headspins, the crowd started to pull out their hands for us. I can’t remember being nervous either, I just remember it was a long song we were dancing on.
The good part, is that we lost interest and returned to focus on our homework, school and more important matters, like reading books. Maybe we just tried to prove that there was after all a scientific point to breakdancing. It’s all about balancing, motion and gravity.
Anyways, if you really want to headspin, the first thing you need to learn is to balance on your head. The best way to do this, is with the help of a wall (so you won’t fall): I thought this was the hardest part of mastering the headspin. Having somebody trying to hold your legs is probably a good idea too: if you break your neck, at least someone can call the ambulance. Doing the spin is actually the easiest part: if you move your legs from spreaded to closed position and back (the ‘scissors move’), you’ll notice your body wants to move automatically. The trick is to gain speed by swinging your legs back and forward: while one leg tips, the other leg should move backward to maintain that precious balance. Oooh. Headspin!
After nearly two decades, the Pope has given his blessings to a group of Polish breakdancers. Finally people like the Rock Steady Crew, The Dynamic Rockers, or even better, yours truly (who happened to be a talented headspinner) and his bro (a talented backspinner), can enjoy a bit of recognition. Yo, we rocked: but I’ll never forget those mid-Eighties when religious freaks dared to call Breakdancing, ‘The Dance of Satan’. Breakdancers? Why, of course: They were tools of Satan.
Luckily we knew better: If I think back to those ‘dark days’ of performing breaks, encouraged by music, cheering people (‘Yo, HEADSPIN’), I keep thinking about those uptight religious critics and zealots. And reading back that the Pope John Paul II, the symbol of the Eighties, enjoyed the performance of Polish breakers, proves that we, little teeny and fragile 13 year old breakers, were morally right: after all it was all about having (innocently) plain fun.