Gyroscope: Definition

A gyroscope in operation with freedom in all three axes. The rotor will maintain its spin axis direction regardless of the orientation of the outer frame.

A gyroscope in operation with freedom in all three axes. The rotor will maintain its spin axis direction regardless of the orientation of the outer frame.

gy–ro–scope |ˈjÄ«rəˌskōp|noun | a device consisting of a wheel or disk mounted so that it can spin rapidly about an axis that is itself free to alter in direction. The orientation of the axis is not affected by tilting of the mounting; so gyroscopes can be used to provide stability or maintain a reference direction in navigation systems, automatic pilots, and stabilizers.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French, from Greek guros ‘a ring’ + modern Latin scopium (see -scope ).
DERIVATIVES gy–ro–scop–ic |ËŒjÄ«rəˈskäpik| adjective »« gy–ro–scop–i–cal–ly |ËŒjÄ«rəˈskäpik(É™)lÄ“| adverb
[New Oxford American Dictionary]

100 Words: Gyroscope

14 Pieces of Music, 14 Lines of Text

1. Dockwood underfoot, skin bearing jeweled splinters under ocean spray
2. Walking in metallic coiled space under life’s dictate.
3. Simply, I stand awash in life’s bittersweet brightness
4. Borne under aged framing, stretching to show yourself through gauzed nylon.
5. Attempt to reconcile, the old and new; the familiar and the strange; the absurd and the appropriate, that is living in the world.
6. Nature’s lively bouncing, flitting over a veneer of brutal evolution.
7. Awestricken, gazing upon the world as if on its first day, though the history of a people is far from free.
8. When the beating of wheels against track under mourning dissonant time.
9. Ear to thorax, hearing the sounds from a world to which we are outside, I glimpse the essence of life and its living. (img by Troyek)
10. Repeat the slightly similar repeat again straining against forms immemorial and straight culturality to express
11. Floating metal breaths over rolling hills.
12. Celebrate life’s beauty without forgetting its melanchollies
13. Unabashedly, we look into the furnaces that forged this people from the ore of time in the bowels of the earth, in all our glorious good and hideous evil.
14. Emerging, disassociating, yet warmly familiar and recalcitrant, relaxed under one’s own weight.

10 Sentences I Wish I’d Written

  1. Do thy worst old Time;
    despite thy wrong, my love shall in my verse ever live young

    (from Sonnet 19 by William Shakespeare)

  2. Listen: imagination is all we have as defense against capture and its inevitable changes.

    (Alexie, ‘Captivity’, D’Agata p297).

  3. In the mind, words are heard bone-dry without the benefit of breath.

    (Field, Thalia. “A [therefore] I”, D’Agata 420)

  4. Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

    (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams)

  5. The Dean at left, a lean yellowish man whose fixed smile nevertheless has the impermanent quality of something stamped into uncooperative material, is a personality-type I’ve come lately to appreciate, the type who delays need of any response from me by relating my side of the story for me, to me.

    (from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace)

  6. “And that,” put in the Director sententiously, “that is the secret of happiness and virtue— liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their unescapable social destiny.”

    (from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley)

  7. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’

    (from 1984 by George Orwell, p32)

  8. I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.

    (Addie Bundren from As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner)

  9. Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.

    (from Light in August by William Faulkner)

  10. ”. . . and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forgot the words . . .“

    (William Faulkner)

Some Stranger Stranger Studies

She is a shy looking girl sitting with an athletic shy-looking boy. Both are blondes and aren’t speaking. Now he raises his eyes from his Italian dictionary and talks to her. Her face animates and she returns the passing-the-time-reading events calendar to the tabletop. Is it awkward? He is listening to music. Or seems to be to anyone watching, who will see the black wires hanging from his ears. He wears a while, flat rimmed baseball hat that represents no team.

A less-shy looking girl joins the table. She is also blonde, and looks tired.

He wears blue sweatpants and a T-shirt decorated with a snowflake that tells us he is one of The Coolest Guys Around. Draped over his chair is a gray North Face fleece, like the one I left at home for its resemblance to ones like this. He may be a skater. Or at least likes their shoes.


He has a wide-eyed, yet simultaneously tired face that is framed by not-straight brown hair. He wears a bright purple fleece and a tie-dye shirt. He looks frenzied. Under the table are his legs, covered with snowman pajamas, though it is a Monday at 10:30am. Even his shoes scream unconventional, and are mottled with colors. Does he have something to prove? Or a sense of unique style. Meaning he uses style to prove his individuality, See?! Look, I’m different! Would you wear this?.

Or maybe he’s just color blind.


He stretches, and wishes that God bless the girl, not because she’s necessarily special, she just sneezed. He looks into space and mouths words to himself, presumably related to the notebook on the table and the pen in his hand. Or he’s using the notebook and pen to disguise insanity. But if he has to disguise it, then he recognizes it, and is it really insanity?

His movements are sluggish, as if his veins flow with something thicker. His words come out crisp and low, yet thin. He walks stiffly, his upper body is firmly affixed to his hips. He wonders aloud if the girl just left without saying goodbye. His friend (the frenzied one) doesn’t know, I’m oblivious and returns to his newspaper. He reaches for his green sweatshirt, hanging on his chair, and dons it; he takes his plates to the dish rack and leaves. He may or may not say goodbye.


He looks Jewish. I can say that because I’m Jewish. Well, half Jewish. But I look Jewish. It’s the Friedman nose, I think. And he wears headphones that fit his head a bit too well. The shape of his head, and his excited hair conspire to create an unfortunate illusion of squished-headness. The headphones are separate, attached to each ear, but appear to be squeezing his head like in those old Gushers commercials when people’s heads turned into fruits upon biting into the acid-filled fruitsnacks. Can you imagine the lawsuits? Like, if it really happened? What is the restitution for having one’s head turned into a giant cartoon fruit? I’d be pissed.

Whatever music he is listening to appears not to move him, for he is not moving. Maybe he doesn’t care if people think his music is moving him or not, and feels peaceful when he sits still. He is reading the newspaper. He rises to leave, carefully folding the pages and tucking it below his arm. Now standing, he looks slightly less Jewish for no particular reason.

Un-Braided Essay

Why I know no song.

I do not know a single song from beginning to end. I’ve played music since I could read: piano, clarinet then sax then guitar and back to piano… yet I couldn’t play a single song from memory on any of them. Even on guitar, once I was finally playing music I loved, I would learn pieces here and there, or play the whole song from written music. Sure, I remember a few riffs, but most didn’t occupy my attention quite long enough to stick.

Ninja Turtles

I don’t remember much from my first years in the world as a ‘real person’ (to quote the grandpa from Little Miss Sunshine). But there was a kid in my kindergarten class who knew the whole theme to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Which was super awesome. He was known for it, and was expected to do his part by singing it on demand, regularly, so the rest could sing along to the parts we knew.
Heroes in a half shell
Turtle power!

Be Prepared…

Everyone who goes to Mongolia, and plans to venture outside the bubble that is the capital, Ulaanbaatar, must be prepared to sing. Mongolians love to sing, and love to ask their awkward foreign guests to sing, “Amerik duu duulakh uu? Duu! Duu!” (“Sing us an American song! C’mon…”)

We sat in the ger of a family who I assume is somehow related to my host family, since everyone is related to everyone somehow in Mongolia. Or will be soon. Their 5 year-old son lay sleeping, comatose on a cushion in the back of the ger, directly behind a row of three seated adults, none of whom I’d seen before. They handed me a bowl of airag (fermented mare’s milk. imagine a drink with the consistency, carbonation and alcohol content of beer, and the taste of… well, fermented milk. The taste is strong, but not necessarily unpleasant.) Then a small silver bowl carefully filled with Xaraa, the most popular mid-range Mongolian vodka. I thought for a few minutes, then settled on an easy choice. I began to sing Old MacDonald, as the 7 Mongolians sat and watched, delighted. My self-conscious voice came out weak, and restrained with self-consciousness. Mongolians are also very good singers. As in, you hear a song on the radio, and if you in a group of five or ten people, chances are at least one of them can pretty much sing it like the artist. Soaring vibrato and all. And then the rest can all come pretty close. Maybe one or two happen to be tone deaf, but I’m sure even they could out-sing someone from a (comparatively) songless culture. I made it through about two verses before hitting a blank, but by then I had satisfied the crowd. “Cain baina!” (“How good!”) they offered, and I replied with the colloquial Mongolian, “Za…!” which sort-of means what it sounds like (So… And then… Okay… etc…) but is used for many of the more formal Westernisms like the casual “thanks”, “nice to meat you”, and whatever else. This got them laughing again, and I relaxed against the cupboard behind me.

The Wall of Atwater Hall B: Perspectives

The wall.

Lost son in war: The wall stood before me like an insurmountable obelisk, crafted of carelessly hewn colorless stones. The building itself sits in the ground like a mammouth ship, its smokestacks belching sulfur from the furnaces below. The uniformity is morbid. Like rows of pine boxes.

Just fell in love: Each stone fits into the next, lovingly cradling its shape, conforming to its contours. The wall is endless, we see no beginning or end. Only beauty.

Bored: The wall is grey. Like the world. The stones were cut by some poor soul who spent all his living hours slaving over a pile of rocks, probably sitting in an excavator or something. Then some other guy had to stack them up. Yeah. The wall has some windows, but they’re kind of ugly. Who designs a wall like this anyways? Wait, no, who builds a wall like this?!

Frightened: The wall stood before me, blocking my only route of escape. I stared up at the innumerable hewn stones, each fitting impossibly into the next, leaving not even a ledge on which to grasp.

Responding to Kafka

Writing should serve as the axe for the frozen sea within us. –Franz Kaftka

Personally, this quote seems to be getting at a truth that many other writers have also quoted; that is, that writing is not the destination, or the final truth, it is a means of drilling through the layers of bullshit and all that, to get at what we really want to say, but don’t know it. The image of the author, standing on the surface of his own frozen sea, hacking away furiously, at times maniacally, is actually pretty hilarious. Yet strangely appropriate. There certainly are times when writing takes on a similar sense of desperate urgency.

In-Class Exercises: Found Objects and Marco Polo

5 minute short, “Boxes”


  • Navy block letters, lined in white a la found object (a scarf for FC Bayern München)
  • From found writing: Reading the great works, Knows someone from Boston
  • Something related to the game MASH et al.
  • “Marco devoted his prison time to composing his book.”
  • Object: A paper ‘fortune teller’

The title may, or may not, have been printed in navy blue block letters, lined in white. Marco Polo never played MASH in gradeschool, perhaps explaining the unnatural wanderlust that sent him to the East. When he was released, assume he must have committed the work to writing, while the composition was still fresh. The manuscript was delivered to the publisher in wooden boxes, 4 in total.

Closer narrative distance

I once read that, “Marco [Polo] devoted his prison time to composing his book.” I wonder if prison time is what I need to empty the boxes of stories locked in mental purgatory. Sometimes they flit through my mind’s eye, like a striker from F.C. Bayern München. I figure Marco Polo probably read the great works; did they help him relate? What were the hot books in 13th century Europe?

Written on an actual box (white, cardboard) in Purple scented marker (smells like artificial grape)

Inside of box bottom
So. You found it. What were in the boxes that Marco Polo brought on his quest to the East? What does a 13th century traveler need to make a trip comfortable? Did he bring his favorite scarf? The one he got at the FC Bayern München match?
Inside of box top
Perhaps he presented it to the Great Khaan as a gift after he was invited in for milky tea and bortsog. The nomads must’ve laughed with pity at his poor porters, whose backs were breaking under the weight of all his material goods, stuffed into boxes. “You should learn from us!” They’d say, “Why have so many things?”
Outside of box top, orange crayon (glossy surface)
That would be no chance; to self-reflect or reject.
Which did he choose?
Did he have a fortune-teller by his side, reading the wishes of the fates?