Doo-dads and what-nots help give depth and dimension to everyday life. During those small moments of idle time, we gravitate to these items as if drawn by...well, gravity. We know a watched pot never boils and that half-baked ideas sacrifice quality for time, but what are we supposed to do while we are waiting for boiling water or fully-baked cakes to form? The answer, it turns out, is physics.
The ThinkGeek Newton's Cradle Fridge Magnet ($15) is one of those little gadgets that come in handy for no particular reason. There is no ground-breaking science involved, and no apple will be falling on anybody's head ready to transfer a payload of inspiration; instead, this is a kitchen gadget that is designed to occupy the mind -- while occupying prime real estate on the refrigerator door. Move over, children's artwork: science has come to town.
The familiar executive desk toy is reproduced in all its glory, now in a fridge-friendly design. It measures 8 inches tall, 6.25 inches across and about 5 inches deep. Pull back one of the weighted balls, let it go and watch as its potential energy gets converted into kinetic energy and transfers that kinetic energy all the way down the line. You know how it works: the ball on the end receives the energy and returns the favor and so on and so forth until all the kinetic energy is lost to friction -- or somebody opens the fridge door.