21 Mar '12, 5pm

Actual experiment: Garden gnomes confirm Earth is "slightly smushed." by @j_zimms

Actual experiment: Garden gnomes confirm Earth is "slightly smushed." by @j_zimms

A company that makes scales for scientific use has demonstrated slight variations in Earth’s gravitational pull at the surface, in what may the first science experiment to use garden gnomes as instrumentation. Kern, a German company that makes precision scales, sent this little dude on a lab-hopping trip to research stations around the globe. At each stop, scientists weigh Kern the gnome (yes, the gnome is also named Kern) on his travel partner, a highly sensitive scale. Of course, first they make sure Kern is free of dust, which would weight him down enough to skew the results. It’s a HIGHLY sensitive scale. The results so far confirm what any egghead with a pencil can prove much quicker but less adorably: Kern’s weight varies slightly depending on where he is on Earth. That’s because the planet is slightly smushed, not a perfect sphere, so its radius varies depending on ...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/a-science-experiment-run-by-gnomes/

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