Mental Floss

Extreme Yo-Yo-ing

David K. Israel
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Our friends over at Treehugger.com are into Yo-Yos (and no, I don't mean of the cello-playing variety). Check out the interesting variety they've got going on with stories on yo-yos made from sustainable wood, another that powers an ice-cream maker, and my personal favorite (hint, hint, as the holiday's approach): a wireless yo-yo powered MP3 player, which they say takes only a dozen or so tosses to charge the thing up for continuous music play! Yes, yo-yos have come a long way.

Largely considered the second oldest toy in history (the first being a doll, of course), the yo-yo is thought to have originated in China. The first historical mention, however, dates from the year 500 B.C. where Greek children are said to have offered them up to the Gods for good luck.

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These days, a state-of-the-art, forged-magnesium-alloy, ultralong-spinning Duncan yo-yo. can sell for as much as $400! Why the hefty price tag? Well, it's all about getting some "sleep"—that's what the pros call it when a yo-yo spins on the end of it's string. Traditionally, if you could get one to sleep for ten or twenty seconds, that was a big deal. In today's extreme world, technology allows yo-yo champions like Tim Redmond to put their yo-yos to sleep for a staggering 16 minutes and 17.18 seconds, the current world record. Something tells me if the Greeks had our technology, they'd have included a yo-yo competition in the original Olympic games.

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