4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Why do digital things bounce up and down when you eat something crunchy and other things do not?

Dear Matthew Alice:

Try this: Eat something crunchy (such as corn chips) while staring at a digital clock (such as on a microwave). The numbers bounce up and down! Why is this? And why don't other objects bounce up and down when you eat crunchy food things?

-- Lisa Urmston, Mira Mesa

The elves say that for entertainment value it will never replace Nintendo. But they sat on the kitchen counter and crunched for a while, until Grandma shooed them off. Can we assume you were waiting for the nacho sauce to heat up when you discovered this, Lisa? Anyway, we dialed up Dr. Peepers, our staff eyeball checker, and he filled us in on the reason why. Seems that when we chew, especially something crunchy, vibrations go through our head bones and jiggle our eyes. Light zinging into our eyeballs is trying to hit a moving target, so it registers on our retinas at slightly different locations. Which also explains why you can't jog and study for an exam at the same time. But wait, there's more. A digital display appears to be steady light, but it actually flickers like a fluorescent bulb. So the jumpy light and your vibrating retinas combine to make the numbers appear to hop around. If you're willing to spend hours every day eating Fritos and staring at the microwave, Dr. Peepers says your brain eventually would compensate for slight movement and the numbers would sit still. Then the only question is whether boredom, indigestion, or a big old headache would get to you first.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Chi Chi’s Mexican Cantina: new name in Old Town

A reminder of what a concentrated collision of tastes a taco can be
Next Article

Craft Café is here to improve Balboa Park mornings

Along with the Mingei Museum re-opening comes a pastry-lover's coffee counter

Dear Matthew Alice:

Try this: Eat something crunchy (such as corn chips) while staring at a digital clock (such as on a microwave). The numbers bounce up and down! Why is this? And why don't other objects bounce up and down when you eat crunchy food things?

-- Lisa Urmston, Mira Mesa

The elves say that for entertainment value it will never replace Nintendo. But they sat on the kitchen counter and crunched for a while, until Grandma shooed them off. Can we assume you were waiting for the nacho sauce to heat up when you discovered this, Lisa? Anyway, we dialed up Dr. Peepers, our staff eyeball checker, and he filled us in on the reason why. Seems that when we chew, especially something crunchy, vibrations go through our head bones and jiggle our eyes. Light zinging into our eyeballs is trying to hit a moving target, so it registers on our retinas at slightly different locations. Which also explains why you can't jog and study for an exam at the same time. But wait, there's more. A digital display appears to be steady light, but it actually flickers like a fluorescent bulb. So the jumpy light and your vibrating retinas combine to make the numbers appear to hop around. If you're willing to spend hours every day eating Fritos and staring at the microwave, Dr. Peepers says your brain eventually would compensate for slight movement and the numbers would sit still. Then the only question is whether boredom, indigestion, or a big old headache would get to you first.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Maya Moon gives Normal Heights a chocolate bar

Minimally processed and naturally sweetened food and drinks shine at new coffee shop alternative
Next Article

Comes with a plastic bag of cemetery dirt

The Yucks, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Crush of Souls, Tolan Shaw, JT Moring
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close