Why this simple finger trick forces your foot to change direction

This foot and finger trick is mind-blowing.

Our bodies are so amazing and weird. The fact that human beings have gone from banging rocks together to creating the most intricately detailed works of art is a testament to what our bodies can do. Just think about the kinds of physical feats we (well, some of us, anyway) have mastered, from brain surgery to playing musical instruments to Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics.

Humans are marvels. Through coordination and balance and muscle training and practice, there are so many incredible things our bodies can do.

But honest to goodness, I cannot make my foot not change direction while doing this stupid physical trick.

It goes like this:

Sitting in a chair, lift your right foot off the ground a few inches and rotate your foot to the right (clockwise), making a circle in the air. While making that circle, use your right finger and draw the number "6" in the air.


I tried this a dozen times. A full 12 in a row. And every single time, no matter how hard I would concentrate, my foot would change direction as soon as I started to draw the "6." I tried it fast. I tried it slow. I tried concentrating only on my foot or only on the "6." It didn't matter. My finger influenced what my foot was doing no matter what.

It's not a new trick, but it was new to me and to the people who responded to a tweet sharing the trick with various iterations of "What is this sorcery?!?"

If you are one of those people who were able to do it without any problem, congrats. You have some kind of superhuman coordination.

That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. My teen and young adult children were somehow able to keep their foot going clockwise. One of them is a musician and one is left-handed, so maybe that's why? Drummers and ballet dancers in the comments said they didn't have any problem with it.

As it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for why it's pretty much impossible for most of us.

The Curious Crew folks at Michigan State University explain why it works:

"The cerebellum part of the brain manages body movements, like the circling of the foot or the drawing of the number 6. However, the nerve fibers from the right side of the body cross the brain stem and connect with the left side of the brain, just as the fibers on the left side of the body connect with the right side of the brain. When you try to draw the number 6 with your right hand, those signals are coming from the left side of the brain. Even though circling your foot is easy to do in either direction, you cannot rotate your foot in the opposite motion of the drawn six at the same moment. The left side of the brain cannot manage two opposite movements in the same moment, so the brain combines the movement to a similar motion. When you switch to the left foot, there is no problem because the right side of the brain controls your foot movement, while the left side can focus on drawing the number 6."

So there you have it. The old brain controlling the two sides of your body thing. Clearly, there must be a way to train yourself to not have your foot wig out when making the "6" in the air, so pardon me while I spend the next six hours trying to make my body do my bidding.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less

Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

Keep Reading Show less