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Westword attacked by museum trebuchet

Here at Westword, we have a deep appreciation for history, culture and, frankly, weaponry.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science knows this, which is why, a couple of weeks ago, institution spokeswoman Heather Hope dropped off a working scale model of a trebuchet for us to play with -- and play we did.

A trebuchet, we learned, was an enormous siege weapon used by Mongol Empire badass Genghis Khan during his conquests in the 13th Century.

Khan, who is being featured in an exhibit opening today at the museum, used it to launch huge stones, sharp wooden poles, stuff that was on fire and even dead bodies at his enemies.

Since we don't have at least two of those items in the office, we came up with eight other objects -- a white ball, a brown ball, an almond, a pretzel, a rock, a quarter, a nickel and a Fainting Goat happy-hour token -- to shoot at staffers. Then we measured which ones went the farthest. Just call us cultural anthropologists.

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Here is what we learned: A giant almond would have been an excellent weapon for Khan, as our small one flew about ten-and-a-half shoe lengths across the floor. It was followed by the Fainting Goat token and the white and brown balls that came with the trebuchet. Less successful were the nickel, the quarter and the rock, which barely got out of the sling.

Lastly, the pretzel, which would have made a terrible weapon for Mongolian warriors.

The exhibit, which will run through February, includes, large scale models of a trebuchet and a crossbow, musical instruments, live Mongolian performances and more than two hundred Mongolian artifacts that have never before been seen out of that country.

We'll see you there.

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