Ministry of Silly Walks

Posted on October 16, 2005  Comments (6)

silly walk photo

The Mechanics of Foot Travel

The engineers’ computer simulations conclude that walking is simply most energy efficient for travel at low speeds, and running is best at higher speeds. And, they report, a third walk-run gait is optimal for intermediate speeds, even though humans do not appear to take advantage of it.

The findings help to explain why the possible–but preposterous–gaits in the Monty Python sketch, “Ministry of the Silly Walks (sadly the link was broken – so removed),” have never caught on in human locomotion. The researchers add that extensions of this work might improve the design of prosthetic devices and energy-efficient bipedal robots.

You have to like a government news release that references a Monty Python sketch, don’t you? Especially if they realize Monty Python was poking fun at ludicrous government departments (using physical humor). I am glad they choose to add some spice to the scientific news. Learn more about the Ministry of Silly Walks (sadly the link was broken – so removed).

New link (since other links died): Monty Pythons Flying Circus (The Ministry of Silly Walks & the Spanish Inquisition ) (2000)

6 Responses to “Ministry of Silly Walks”

  1. CuriousCat: And Now for Something Completely Different
    April 10th, 2007 @ 8:46 am

    “The cat was nicknamed Macavity after the mystery cat in T.S Elliot”™s poem. He gets on the bus in front of a row of 1950s semi-deta…”

  2. CuriousCat: Walking Without Shoes
    April 24th, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

    Last year, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled “Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?”

  3. CuriousCat: Now for Something Completely Different
    July 14th, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

    I think we might have another young engineering on our hands, with the right training 🙂 She knows what she wants and isn”™t stymied by constraints that would probably blind most of us to the possibilities…

  4. Popular Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog Posts » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    January 3rd, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    […] Ministry of Silly Walks (2005) – I didn’t just include a list of the posts with the most views, I applied some editorial judgement to include some more interesting posts and fun ones (like this one) that are surprisingly popular (even if they are not quite at the top of the list). […]

  5. Make Crosswalks More Visible » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    December 25th, 2012 @ 11:28 am

    Crosswalk lights up when in use giving drivers a more visible clue to stop…

  6. How to Walk on Ice » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    February 12th, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

    Falling on ice leads to many injuries and even 60 deaths a year in the USA (about the number that will die due to tornados)…

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