Dane County Fair: Flippin’

1.  I realized today that the Dane County Fair might be the only place my kids ever go which is reasonably representative of the socioeconomic and demographic mix of Madison.

2.  The usual:  funnel cake, Ferris wheel, etc.  But something special this year was Flippin’, a steampunk-themed acrobatics show.  Boy does that sound unpromising.  But it was actually kind of amazing.  Especially the Wheel of Death.

I didn’t think the Wallendas, who we saw at the fair a couple of years ago, could be beat.  But these guys might have done it.  There’s a bizarre optical illusion when one of the wheelers leaps as the wheel reaches its crest; his motion is almost in sync with that of the wheel, so it feels to the eye like you’re watching something happening in slow motion.  I was floored.

Three of the four members of Flippin’ are Españas, members of a family that’s been in the circus for five generations.  The dad, Ivan, is in the video above with his brother.  His two kids were in the show we just saw.  The mom, in 2004, fell 30 feet doing a routine and was killed.  I think that’s kind of how it is in these families.



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4 thoughts on “Dane County Fair: Flippin’

  1. JSE says:

    Dr. Mrs. Q points out that CJ’s school is actually pretty demographically representative of Madison. I didn’t believe her, so I checked, and it’s true! I’m still gonna guess the median household income at his school is well above the city figure. But maybe I’m wrong about that, too.

  2. Kevin says:

    Perhaps Dane County Fair is the only place you go which is reasonably representative?

  3. JSE says:

    That’s quite possible! I phrased it the way I did because I was thinking about my kids and what view of the world they have.

  4. Nadia says:

    If it is the case, then it might be keeping in mind when doing outward facing math. You and your colleagues who do outreach describe encountering negative attitudes about math pretty frequently. Cathy O’Neil talked about how whenever she tells people she’s a mathematician, they tell her they hate math. Ed Frenkel says he dreams of a world where people don’t run away from math. But, surveys indicate that a plurality of teenagers like math better than other subjects. One survey of adults found that they deemed math the most valuable subject. However, the affinity for math varied with education. Less educated people tended to value math more, whereas people with BAs were tied between math and English, and folks with graduate degrees liked English best.


    When you all meet people who say they don’t like math or declare they are not good at it, it a lot of it presumably happens who have completed college or graduate school.

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