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2012-03-27 09:01:28

Motivated by the desire to determine the simplest 3-D structure that could take advantage of mechanical instability to collapse reversibly, a group of engineers at MIT and Harvard University were stymied – until one of them happened across a collapsible, spherical toy that resembled the structures they'd been exploring, but with a complex layout of 26 solid moving elements and 48 rotating hinges. The toy inspired the engineers to create the "buckliball," a hollow, spherical object...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'