Monday, May 17, 2010

Tree Cutting and a Physics Lesson

Okay, yesterday my family (and other interested by-standers) was entertained by watching a huge red oak tree near my house being cut down. Normally, this may not seem to be such an educational lesson, but this picture will probably help you see how physics and other physical sciences came into play in this event. I was fascinated by the amount of calculation required to determine where to place the ropes to assure that when a big limb was cut, it would hang harmlessly above the ground. My wife was explaining to our children how pulleys work. One man could lower a limb that weighed over one thousand pounds and place it on the ground without leaving a mark. I encouraged my children and any other kids that were around to watch because they were witnessing a perfect physics experiment in “real life”. Other than the fact that this work is very demanding physically, one has to be sharp intellectually to do well. I am happy to report that there was no major damage to anything as a result of taking the tree down.

On another note, I will attempt to “mobile blog” again over the next two days. I am going to Washington DC to testify before the House Committee on education and Labor. I will be offering a “rural perspective” on turnaround schools and the proposed reform models from the US Department of Education. I am looking forward to the opportunity to have a voice for rural school systems across the nation.

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