Stopping the merry-go-round is a difficult task, and it can be hard to know when it has stopped completely. Once the momentum of the merry-go-round has been dissipated, it can feel like there is nothing to do but get off.

However, this is the wrong approach. In fact, if you get off at the wrong time, you could be risking your life.

When Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in 2016, many people felt like the world had turned upside down. The results of the election seemed to herald a new era that would radically change how people lived their lives.

## A paradox in motion

Paradoxes are a weird kind of logic hole that can occur in reality, or in theory. They are situations that seem to imply two opposite truths at the same time.

Paradoxes can be semantic, where words no longer mean what they usually mean, or structural, where a situation appears to imply two contradictory conclusions.

Semantic paradoxes arise from differences in meaning; structural paradoxes arise from differences in structure.

Paradoxes can be invented deliberately as a thought experiment, or discovered accidentally. Many paradoxes are discovered as a result of being overly precise in one’s thinking or speaking.

Paradoxes can lead to new insights and ways of thinking, but they can also lead to blind alleys and errors. This is why professors often warn students against over-precision and over-use of semantic precision instruments like “probably” and “possibly”.

## The answer depends on how fast the merry-go-round is going when it stops

If the merry-go-round stops when it’s going at a constant speed, then everyone on the merry-go-round will feel a push—a force that moves someone or something towards or away from another person or thing.

This push depends on how fast the merry-go-round is going when it stops. If it’s going very slowly, then the push will be light. If it’s going fairly quickly, then the push will be strong.

If the merry-go-round stops suddenly, then everyone on the merry-go-round will feel a pull—a force that moves someone or something towards another force (usually gravity). The pull depends on how far away people are from each other when the merry-go-round stops. If people are close to each other, then the pull will be light. If people are far away from each other, then the pull will be strong.

## Think about what happens when you stop the merry-go-round

When you stop the merry-go-round, it takes a few revolutions for it to come to a complete stop.

This happens because of the momentum the merry-go-round has. Momentum is how fast something is moving and how strongly it is moving in a particular direction.

The more momentum a merry-go-round has, the harder it is to stop it. The faster it is spinning, the more effort it takes to make it stop spinning.

When you jump off the merry-go-round, you have to be careful. If you jump off too soon, you might get hit by someone else jumping off at the same time. Or, if the merry-go-round has stopped turning but you are still jumping around, you might fall over or get hit by someone else.

You have to make sure that everyone has stopped jumping before you do.

## Does the child at the top stay at the top?

No, the child who was on the top of the merry-go-round as it stopped did not stay there. They fell off along with all the other children as it stopped.

There are a few theories as to why this happens. One theory is that by the time the child on top feels the slowing down of the merry-go-round, it is too late to jump off.

By that point, the rest of the children have already jumped off and they are now standing on what used to be the platform. When you stand still on something that is moving, you stay at the top!

Another theory is that by staying at the top, they make it harder to get back up. Since they are standing still, they can’t get back onto the platform until someone helps them.

## What about another child further down?

This question also applies to other children on the playground. How far does the merry-go-round move before it stops?

If there are several children on the merry-go-round, how far does each child move before it stops? Does each child move the same distance?

As you can imagine, this question gets even more complicated when there are several children of different sizes and weights on the merry-go-round.

How do we determine how far each child moves before the merry-go-round stops? How can we find an average distance for each child? Can we even do that? These questions will be answered in this article.

To understand how many revolutions a child makes as they stop, we need to first understand some math called geometry. Geometry is the study of shapes and properties of those shapes.

## What about a heavier child?

Imagine that instead of standing next to the merry-go-round, the heavier child is standing on the merry-go-round. As the merry-go-round starts moving, the heavier child pushes down on the floor and pulls down on the merry-go-round, making it move faster.

Just as before, this extra force (this time exerted by the heavier child) makes the merry-go-round go around more times before it stops. How many revolutions does it make?

The answer is still two! The reason is that no matter how heavy someone is, they can only push down on the floor with one foot. There are only two points of contact between them and the ground, so there are only two places where they can exert a force that pushes back against the ground.

The same is true for when they are standing on top of something—there are only two points of contact between them and what they are standing on, so only two forces are exerted that push back against something else.

## What about a lighter child?

A lighter child will make the merry-go-round go faster. This is because less weight leaves the ground faster, making the merry-go-round go faster.

Similarly, a heavier child on the merry-go-round will make it go slower. A heavier child on the merry-go-round pulls it down harder, making it take longer to go around once.

The perfect weight for a child on the merry-go-round is one that is just as heavy as the wooden structure can hold. Then it will go at a constant speed!

Let’s try an example: If the merry-go-round can hold a child who weighs 50 lbs., then only children who weigh 50 lbs. or less will make the merry-go-round stop turning.

## How far did they go when they stopped?

Stopping is a matter of how far you’ve gone, as well as how far you plan to go.

If you’ve gone too far, there’s no going back. If you’ve gone far enough, you can stop, but if you stop too soon, you have to start all over again.

When the revolution stops, it’s because the leaders have gotten what they wanted — or at least what they thought they wanted. When that happens, it’s time to go back and fix what needs fixing.

In our world today, we have seen many revolutions in many countries that have stopped short of their goals. Some have even gone backwards and made things worse than before. Why is this?

It could be because they didn’t go far enough or couldn’t stay the course. It could be because they didn’t understand what they were really after.