Last month these guys spent a day doing what most of us do in summer: Repeatedly throwing a basketball off of a 400-foot dam in Tasmania. They were there to break a world record for tallest basketball shot, but ended up making an interesting discovery, or rather illustrating an interesting discovery. Watch what happens when they drop the basketball the second time:
Ridiculous, no? I knew it would have some effect on the ball's path (remember our article on golf balls?) but had no idea it would propel it so dramatically.
After seeing the video, the Veritasium science channel made a video explaining why spin makes such a difference. They also show you footage of ships with crazy-looking cylindrical "sails," as well as an airplane that uses rotating circles instead of wings: