Spring Outing With Origami

We had another fantastic spring weekend. The weather has been great but that means we’re having an early allergy season this year. My hay fever has been going on for a couple of weeks and is peaking right about now, so I can expect them to diminish soon. Compared to other years it’s not that bad. I never had pollen allergies until they year 2000, but then last year they were a lot less severe and this year the same. Weird.

Saturday we helped Lizzy with her project for her school’s science fair. She was wondering if heavier things fall faster than light things (like a rock compared to a feather) and designed an experiment to test her hypothesis. She and a classmate filled out several water bottles with different materials: sand, water, cotton balls and empty (air), and dropped them out of a window two at a time, and observed which landed first for numerous trials, basically recapitulating Galileo’s classic experiment. To her surprise, they all pretty much fell at the same speed, except the empty one, which seemed to be slowed down a bit by the air. This got us into a whole discussion of weight vs. air resistance and shape, and turned out to be quite a good experience for her. She’s already thinking of ideas for her next year’s project. I’m trying to convince her to build a Tesla coil.

Sunday was an origami Special Sessions event at the Museum of Natural History in the city, and I volunteered to teach a class. We made the day into a family outing with the kids. Took a walk thru Central Park to Strawberry Fields (Michelle’s request in keeping with her current Beatles obsession) and to the Belvedere weather station. In the museum Lizzy asked to see the hall of minerals, which was a very cool thing to see, and something we usually overlook when we’re there.

The model I taught was my Turkey, which I developed over the winter. I have not diagrammed it yet and it had been a few months since I folded it, so I was a bit concerned if I needed to be more prepared. It took me a couple of minutes to remember the first few folds that set up the geometry for the whole model, but once I got that we were off and running. The folding sequence for the feet is pretty complicated, but I remembered that as I went and it worked out fine. The tail and head were a bit tricky. I never really worked out a single best folding sequence for either; it’s always a bit improvisational. The class turned out to be a success, but I feel like I should drill down on these details and nail down the best way to do the sculpting. This will be necessary when I get around to diagramming it anyway.

Meanwhile the girls took a class to fold flowers out of ribbons. After the class we headed back into the museum and checked out the marine hall under the life sized whale replica.

Today I used my new library card for the first time. The real library (where all the books are) is across the street from the main library. I have a long list of books I want to read, but I soon discovered the card catalog system there is kind of a mess. It’s all computerized and the listing mixes books from the two buildings. So in the end I just walked over to the fiction section and borrowed a bunch of books from authors whose names are in the S – Z range. Mostly 100 year old science fiction: Shelly, Stoker, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, with some Steinbeck and Terry Southern thrown in for good measure. I told Jeannie I borrowed seven books and she said “You’re just like Lizzy. Make sure you remember the due date.” Heh.

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