Lydster: Hammering aluminum foil balls shiny?

It explains the how of the phenomenon, if not the why.

This spring, the Daughter was in the kitchen, took some aluminum foil, crumpled it up into a ball, and started hammering it until it became shiny.

For some of you “with it” folks, you would have understood what she was doing. My wife and I, on the other hand, were totally puzzled. Now the Daughter EXPECTED her mother NOT to know about what trendy things that going on in the world.

She was surprised and disappointed, though, that her father had no idea why she was pounding a foil ball. Because I was busy/tired, I didn’t even try to find out for well over a month.

One day while I was watching one of those four-minute vlogbrothers videos, there was, on the sidebar, a 2015 TEDx Indianapolis video Paper towns and why learning is awesome by vlogbrother/author John Green.

“Some of us learn best in the classroom and some of us … well, we don’t. But we still love to learn, to find out new things about the world and challenge our minds. We just need to find the right place to do it, and the right community to learn with.”

Somehow, it finally occurred to me that I could – [shock] – search “aluminum ball polishing” on YouTube. There are 17,300 videos, some with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of hits.

Mirror-Polished Japanese Foil Ball Challenge Crushed in a Hydraulic Press-What’s Inside? has over 18 million views. The article People in Japan Are Polishing Ordinary Aluminum Foil Balls Into Shiny Orbs explains the how of the phenomenon, if not the why. Still, I have learned something else new from my daughter. I’m not sure of its applicability.

Except that there’s something to be said for web searching. I don’t do it much without a specific purpose. Also, now that I DO know why the Daughter was hammering aluminum, I’m tentatively back in her good graces on the “cool dad” meter. It could change tomorrow, though, and it probably will.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Lydster: Hammering aluminum foil balls shiny?”

  1. I had vaguely heard of the aluminum foil thing, but didn’t believe you could get that degree of smoothness; I figured it was a trick.

    I have much love for the hydraulic press channel (they do use ample four-letter words on some episodes, if that’s an issue). I dunno; there’s still that curious kid in me who wants to find out ‘what’s inside this thing’ or ‘what will it take to break this thing?’

    also, some of the stuff they crush, it’s just funny to see it crush.

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