Bucky Ball Bowling gif
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Science!
Is this how a rail gun works??
Actually, Reddit has an explanation of what we're seeing.
Those aren't Buckyballs, they're ball bearings and rare-earth magnets:
(_) == ball, [_] == magnet (_)(_)(_)[_] <-(_) (_)<-- (_)(_)[_](_)
The reason why this accelerates the ball bearings is because:
1. The incoming ball is accelerated by the magnet.
2. The first ball strikes the magnet transferring its kinetic energy through the magnet and two of the ball bearings.
3. The fourth ball bearing, having no 'neighbour' ball to transfer energy into, and being further away from the magnet than the first, thus experiencing much less magnetic attraction, fires off down the line at a higher speed.
4. Lather, rinse, repeat.