So, today I saw a show in which a circus was being performed, and saw one of my favorite types of acts, the tightrope walker. Though it's one of my favorite acts, as a kid, I always wondered why they carried around the big, funny looking stick. Wouldn't having more weight make it harder to walk the rope? Actually, it's quite the contrary. The weight of the pole, extended over the distance, makes it easier to balance. Without the rope, they'd have to wiggle around like crazy on the rope in order to stay on. With the pole, by making slight changes to the angle of the pole, the torque on the pole makes major corrections to the walker's balance. As such, it creates the illusion of elegance atop the rope.