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Jan 11 2009

The mysterious physics of tinsel

This season’s Christmas tree was a bit bigger than previous years’, so I had to break into my precious stash of unopened packages of imported tinsel to supplement the recycled stuff. It was a good call because the boughs absolutely sparkled, but about half-way through the delicate task of taking the icicles off the tree, it became clear that the box I had been using to store them among the Christmas decorations was no longer going to be adequate.

So I replaced it with a plastic tub (which previously held Swedish gingersnaps) that’s at least twice in size, but when I dumped the icicles into it from the much smaller box, the silvery mylar strands expanded to fill the whole friggin’ thing! It was as if it had magically multiplied on its own in the blink of an eye.

Which got me to thinking that if I’d just transferred the tinsel to a larger container before I’d put it in the tree, I probably never would have had to open those extra packages in the first place.

Feed my ego!

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