At the start of last month's Mille Miglia North America Tribute, Alain de Cadenet taught an impromptu physics lesson to the assembled crowd using a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT, a loose starting-platform cover, and some unsuspecting platform announcers.

Per Newton: An object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon. An object at rest likewise stays at rest. Alain de Cadenet's Ferrari is exuberantly in motion. The announcers — and the poorly-affixed checkered-flag/checkerboard surface on the starting platform — are at rest. As de Cadenet rolls up a bit too fast and spikes his brakes, the Ferrari's kinetic energy is effectively transferred to the platform surface. It is not effectively transferred to the announcers (high center of mass, rotational moment, etc.). The announcers are subsequently no longer at rest because of gravity acting upon them; note also that the heaviest of the group topples over at the same rate as the lightest.

This is why your grandmother never let you do the tablecloth trick at Thanksgiving. She just knew these things.

(Hat tip to Mikeado [7 days]!)