Guy Browning: How to ... spin

Human entertainment often seems to take the form of spinning. May poles, carousels and most dances spin. That's because spinning puts us back in touch with our inner electron. Spinning is exciting because it's a way of getting the maximum possible movement in the smallest possible space. If dances didn't involve spinning, dance halls would have to be a lot bigger.

Everything in the universe is spinning, from vast galaxies to sub-atomic particles. The sun spins, too, but because it isn't solid, different parts spin at different speeds, much like an accomplished belly dancer. Dizziness is the feeling that things are spinning too fast. It can be assuaged by focusing on something moving at the same speed. On a carousel, this would be the horse in front; on earth, it would be looking at the moon, which is spinning in perfect time with us.

Spinning seems to be vital to our civilisation. Clothing comes from spinning, fire can be spun and most power is generated by something spinning, from water mills to electro-magnets. We then use the power to make other things spin, from bus wheels to hedge strimmers. At a cosmic level, the great wheel of life is always spinning gently, slow enough for us not to notice, but just too fast to get off.

Politicians have developed a taste for spinning. If they don't think something will appeal to the electorate, they'll spin it until a more acceptable face is presented. What they forget is that when you start something spinning, it carries on until you can see its bare behind.

When something spins really fast, it appears to be very still. This is an illusion, as you will soon find out if you try to empty a spin dryer mid-cycle. The whirling dervishes of Turkey use spinning as way of ritual purification. Candyfloss is manufactured in the same way, except that the bad spin-offs are put on a stick and eaten.

There aren't many organic things that spin because the engineering's quite complex. Just think how useful it would be if your hand spun, and how many expensive kitchen utensils you could dispense with. Spiders spin webs at incredible speed, which is one reason they have to sit very still in their web afterwards to get over the sick feeling.

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.