What would happen if you put a slinky on an escalator? This question was asked in the catbox one fine day and upon reflection it suddenly hit me:

Perpetual motion machine!

How would it work? Well, once started by hand, the escalator ascends causing the slinky to descend with increasing velocity. The excess energy of the slinky's acceleration is then captured and channeled into the escalator thus equalising the speed of both escalator and slinky and settling the machine in a state of perpetual motion.

However the full potential of the pertetuum slinkobile can only be acheived by building the slinky out of a strongly magnetic material which emits powerful gamma radiation. The strong radiation will ionise the air surrounding it and the magnetised coils of the slinky will propel the resulting ions into special receptacles in the escalator where it is converted into hydrogen and burned for energy. The escalator accelerates, forcing the slinky to ever greater speeds which feeds the escalator with increased energy and thus the whole device accelerates constantly into infinity.

However by keeping the perpetuum slinkobile moving at a constant rate the excess energy can be tapped and an infinite energy source is created. Eventually the energy given off will be too great to harness and will probably destroy the earth at some point.

For anyone considering Slinky/escalator interactions, I offer the advice that you should make sure the size of the Slinky and the steps are compatible. My friend Marie and I tried to send a slinky down the up escalator of Burdines in Tyrone Mall, St. Petersburg, Florida around 1990. However, the idea came to us when we were were already at the mall, and her large-size plastic Slinky was at her house. Being poor high school students, we bought the small-size metal Slinky because it was cheaper, and found that it was too small to go down the steps of the escalator properly -- it sort of tumbled off the edge of a step and lay there. Most annoying to us, but the people who politely waited at the bottom of the escalator probably preferred it that way.

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