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On The Light Side

May 9, 1988

BOURG, La. (AP) _ Build a better cage for an egg to crash in and the world may not beat a path to your door, but it won’t scramble your eggs, either.

And it could help your physics grade at South Terrebonne High School, says physics teacher Paul Johnson, whose 75 students at Friday’s Egg Drop Competition used principles of mass, inertia, acceleration - and toothpicks.

The idea: build toothpick frames to cradle an egg during a 20-foot free fall, distribute the shock of a crash-landing and keep the egg from breaking.

More than six dozen eggs didn’t make the grade, including Johnson’s, which splattered when its shapeless case hit the ground and smashed into, ah, toothpicks.

″I got the design from my friend in New York,″ Johnson said. ″It worked for him. But I changed it up a little. I guess I should have stuck with the original design.″

Sixteen-year-old junior Casey Portier’s egg made it through its first drop into the center of a spherical array of interconnected triangles.

″Everyone was dropping theirs and it was flipping over and breaking,″ he said. ″I used symmetry so the weight was distributed evenly.″

Laurie Ledet, 17, a senior, was less systematic. Her project looked like a bent soda can with a crown on top. Nonetheless, it worked.

On Casey’s second drop, the ball began to roll. It bounced off the pavement and the egg began to ooze. Laurie’s egg survived a second drop with a cracked shell, but the egg stayed inside.

″Well,″ said Johnson, ″it looks like it’s going to be easy to distribute the awards.″


HAMBURG, Mich. (AP) - Godzilla has been found.

The 30-foot balloon dinosaur disappeared Saturday from the roof of hardware store in this southwestern Michigan community shortly after it was inflated.

No rampages were reported in the surrounding countryside, and the thieves returned the creature early Sunday to the home of the store’s owner, said Mike Cammarata, owner of the rental company that provided the beast.

″I’m real pleased about it,″ he said. ″That thing’s worth $7,800.″

Cammarata suspected pranksters from nearby Pinckney High School, but the suspects remain unknown. While it was gone, the creature ″made a mess of San Francisco, but that’s about it,″ he said.


COLVILLE, Wash. (AP) - A 48-year-old athletic trainer says he’s giving up his goal of outrunning a horse even though he has lost by only a few minutes in two 50-mile races against an Arabian stallion.

Bill Misner of Spokane reached the finish, designated as the first stoplight in Colville, just four minutes behind Zeke, ridden by Becky Farrington.

″I wanted him so bad, you can’t believe it,″ Misner said.

Misner completed the grueling course in six hours, 44 minutes and 47 seconds after leaving the start in Deer Park.

Last year, Misner lost to Zeke by six minutes.

He said he decided to try to outrun a horse after watching an NBC-TV program called ″Sports Fantasies.″

″I thought, ’Well golly, that would be interesting to race against a horse because Jesse Owens did that,‴ he said.

After the two attempts, he said, he’s decided to give up the challenge. Parts of his race against Zeke will be shown May 22 on ″Sports Fantasies.″

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