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What is the Top?

A spinning top, or simply a top, is a toy with a squat body and a sharp point at the bottom, designed to be spun on its vertical axis, balancing on the tip due to the gyroscopic effect. Once set in motion, a top will usually wobble for a few seconds, spin upright for a while, then start to wobble again with increasing amplitude as it loses energy (angular momentum), and finally tip over and roll on its side. Tops exist in many variations and materials, chiefly wood, metal, and plastic, often with a metal tip. They may be set in motion by twirling a handle with the fingers, by pulling a rope coiled around the body, or by means of a built-in auger (spiral plunger). Such toys have been used since antiquity in solitary or competitive children games, where each player tries to keep one's top spinning for as long as possible, or achieve some other goal. Some tops have faceted bodies with symbols or inscriptions, and are used like dice to inject randomness into games, or for divination and ritual purposes. The ubiquity of spinning tops lends to the fact that the toy is used to name many living things such as Cyclosa turbinata, whose name comes from the Latin roots for spinning top...


I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. (Jimmy Dean)