This morning, NPR brought on Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, of the depressingly small House Civility Caucus, to offer advice on how to defuse the now-traditional Thanksgiving political spat. As you might suspect, given the Civility Caucus' record of success, this was not the world's most helpful interview.
Probably the best bit of advice Congresswoman Capito had was to offer up a distraction when things get too tense. "It may be the perfect time to bring in dessert, she says, or to announce that someone should take the family dog out for a walk."
I've got a better suggestion. Every year, Richard Wiseman releases a set of easy-to-do and highly impressive science stunts that you can perform using things you probably already have around the house.
My suggestion: Combine Capito's awkward segue with Wiseman's awesome tricks. Not only will you actually get your family focused on a new topic, they might even be delighted enough that they decide to ignore the fact that you just passive-aggressived them out of a heated debate. Happy holidays!
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Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.