My friend changed the status message on his gmail chat to a link to one Travis Pastrana jumping out of a plane without a parachute.  That lead me to wikipedia’s article on Travis Pastrana.  (I didn’t know who he was.)  In that article it mentions that he once “ragdolled” in a motorcycle crash.  Never having seen that word used as a verb and imagining that it referred to some particular type of injury, I followed that link.  It lead to a description of ragdoll physics with no reference to a specific injury called “ragdolling.”

The ragdoll physics article contains a link at the bottom to what is essentially a demonstration of ragdoll physics: Falling Woman.  It is an animation of a female figure in a bikini falling through a space that is occupied by random floating bubbles or spheres.  The figure bumps against, bounces off and slides over these bubbles in ragdoll fashion.  It’s very simple, but I found it mesmerizing.  I can’t really explain why.  There’s just something fascinating about watching the figure contort and bend and slide through the spaces between bubbles.  This surely could be some form of hell if it were real, but I feel no empathy for the oddly jointed figure.  After being transfixed by it playing out by itself, I realized that one can control the motion of the figure by clicking and dragging which is useful when the figure gets stuck.
There’s a version with Hillary Clinton and George Bush as the falling figures.  They are worth maybe one second of novelty fun.  The GWB figure is oddly proportioned, although perhaps this is some sort of abstruse joke on his simian qualities.  I guess the viewer is supposed to imagine this as a painful or humiliating experience for the falling “person.”  It didn’t touch that nerve for me.  I was just trying to imagine what sort of material those bubbles could be made of in real life.

Advertisements