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(Some Guy)   Top 10 coolest home science experiments   (listverse.com ) divider line
    More: Cool  
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8878 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Dec 2007 at 10:58 AM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



27 Comments   (+0 »)
   

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2007-12-03 11:07:57 AM  
What, no "make plutonium out of everyday household items" trick?
 
2007-12-03 11:12:28 AM  
These are the best they can come up with?!

We need you now more than ever, Mr. Wizard.
 
2007-12-03 11:14:19 AM  
Rock candy...yup, that's what it is.

lang.presstelegram.com
 
2007-12-03 11:31:54 AM  
Amaze your friends with the Crystal Meth experiment (got a dollar?)
 
2007-12-03 11:39:21 AM  
How can they be experiments if they've already been tried and proven?
 
2007-12-03 11:42:52 AM  
The big yellow one's the sun.
 
2007-12-03 11:50:28 AM  
The mentos geyser video was pretty darn funny.
 
2007-12-03 12:05:02 PM  
Top 10 coolest most boring home science experiments
FTFY, subby.
My 12 year old and I have built a potato cannon, which I used to teach him trigonometry, ballistics, and Boyle's Law, and smoke bombs to teach him chemistry. Up next: thermite.
 
2007-12-03 12:13:50 PM  
h0tsauce: Top 10 coolest most boring home science experiments
FTFY, subby.
My 12 year old and I have built a potato cannon, which I used to teach him trigonometry, ballistics, and Boyle's Law, and smoke bombs to teach him chemistry. Up next: thermite.


Some hilljack accidently shot me in the farkin back with a potato gun while I was pissing in the woods at a kegger a few years ago. Dropped me weiner in hand face first like I'd been hit with an AK. bruise didn't go away for weeks. If you like potato guns, go to West Virginia. it's like the state toy.
 
2007-12-03 12:16:01 PM  
Millions_Knives
I'm sure in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drug store, but in 1955 it's a little hard to come by!
 
2007-12-03 12:18:37 PM  
braedan: Millions_Knives
I'm sure in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drug store, but in 1955 it's a little hard to come by!


Wrong movie. UHF not Back to the Future.
 
2007-12-03 12:20:34 PM  
blog.modernmechanix.com

Gee. Tell us more Mr. Wizard.
 
2007-12-03 12:25:50 PM  
The top 10 coolest home science experiments aren't available in any book or article published later than the 1950s. It's just as well, though, because you can no longer run down to the hardware store to get a big can of carbon tetrachloride, then off to the drugstore to pick up your carbon disulfide, white phosphorus, iodine, concentrated ammonia, mercury...

/still remember poking into every drugstore I passed to see if any of them still had any of the good stuff, circa 1975
//ESPECIALLY still remember the one that had a big bottle of potassium chlorate
///swapped drugstores and nervous parents for Sklighter and DHS
 
2007-12-03 12:37:14 PM  
Raug the Dwarf: braedan: Millions_Knives
I'm sure in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drug store, but in 1955 it's a little hard to come by!

Wrong movie. UHF not Back to the Future.


you winz this internets
 
2007-12-03 12:39:57 PM  
blogs.kansascity.com

Not impressed

/Obvious
 
2007-12-03 12:49:30 PM  
Jedoc: The big yellow one's the sun.

Approves:

gothamist.com
 
2007-12-03 01:08:56 PM  
h0tsauce: Top 10 coolest most boring home science experiments
FTFY, subby.
My 12 year old and I have built a potato cannon, which I used to teach him trigonometry, ballistics, and Boyle's Law, and smoke bombs to teach him chemistry. Up next: thermite.


my brother-in-law learned the hard way the importance of properly sealing the back of the potato gun. we all made one, but the back of his was only fit together, he forgot to actually glue them together. when his gun fired instead of the potato shooting out, the back end exploded out in a jet of fire that burned all the hair off his arm.

it was hilarious.
 
2007-12-03 01:14:24 PM  
Who doesn't love sucking on a nice piece of hard candy?
 
2007-12-03 01:20:00 PM  
3. Potato clock : You make it out of a potato and a clock. WTF - this should be called shiatty potato battery or something.
 
2007-12-03 01:21:40 PM  
15cm piece of string

What the heck of this? The metric system has no place in science!

1/3 cubit piece of string
 
2007-12-03 01:33:50 PM  
Raug the Dwarf
My mistake, but I stand by my comment. It is still relevant.
A Doc Brown quote is always relevant.
 
2007-12-03 02:04:09 PM  
braedan: Raug the Dwarf
My mistake, but I stand by my comment. It is still relevant.
A Doc Brown quote is always relevant.


Too true.
 
2007-12-03 03:18:06 PM  
duckpoopy: 3. Potato clock : You make it out of a potato and a clock. WTF - this should be called shiatty potato battery or something.

I lol'd.
 
2007-12-03 05:44:15 PM  
Der Poopflinger said:
How can they be experiments if they've already been tried and proven?

This.

Well done, sir.
 
2007-12-03 08:06:44 PM  
Arkcon: Der Poopflinger said:
How can they be experiments if they've already been tried and proven?

This.

Well done, sir.


You seem unclear on the concept of "experiment".

First, "it's been done before" in no way invalidates an "experiment". You can do experiments for reasons other than testing novel hypotheses. (Besides, haven't you ever heard of reproducing results to validate a previous experiment?)

Second, unless every member of your family is already aware that these experiments have been attempted, and what the results were, I'd say that they can fit even your overly-rigorous definition of "experiment". For that matter, I'm sure every chemistry undergrad would have a nice chuckle at your notion that "it isn't an experiment if it's already been 'tried and proven'" -- if you're doing it to learn experimental technique, it certainly ought to be an experiment, oughtn't it?

But, by all means, please feel free to call them "demonstrations" if it makes you feel better.
 
2007-12-05 03:46:49 PM  
But, by all means, please feel free to call them "demonstrations" if it makes you feel better.

That's a good one, I'll be glad to use it. I'm probably reacting to something that's been an insidious trend for years -- people doing these demonstrations for science fair projects, and thinking that's all there is to science. I used to play with mixing random stuff with the chemistry set back in the day, but I now recognize the value of careful note taking, computer modeling and automation, extrapolating from existing data, verifying results statistically, etc.

Unfortunately, I've had co-workers and even supervisors, define hard work simply as "performing experiments" which means endless puttering in the lab.

Whenever I try to posit that junior high school science could be as simple as counting earthworm casts in a square foot of earth gets shot down in favor of a junior high school genius who wants to perform a wet chemistry quantitative analysis of caffeine in coffee, I get shot down vigorously. Because people believe doing something just for the excitement value is sooo valuable to young minds.

Yeah, its exciting, but it doesn't really bring you closer to science.
 
2007-12-06 11:18:39 AM  
Arkcon: But, by all means, please feel free to call them "demonstrations" if it makes you feel better.

That's a good one, I'll be glad to use it. I'm probably reacting to something that's been an insidious trend for years -- people doing these demonstrations for science fair projects, and thinking that's all there is to science. I used to play with mixing random stuff with the chemistry set back in the day, but I now recognize the value of careful note taking, computer modeling and automation, extrapolating from existing data, verifying results statistically, etc.


I can definitely see this problem. I'd love to see high-school science fairs have a lot more actual science. The experiments/demonstrations from TFA, though, seem targeted more at preschool and elementary-school kids -- and, while it's possible for kids that young to do actual research work, I don't think it's a reasonable expectation.

We expect them to run and play, not train and target athletic records. We expect them to draw and paint, not explore artistic genres and submit to criticism in a juried exhibition. We expect them to write with gradually-improving penmanship, spelling, and grammar, not to focus on characterization and pacing. And I expect them to learn about science by observing interesting phenomena, asking about them, and thinking about different things to try.

Unfortunately, I've had co-workers and even supervisors, define hard work simply as "performing experiments" which means endless puttering in the lab.

Whenever I try to posit that junior high school science could be as simple as counting earthworm casts in a square foot of earth gets shot down in favor of a junior high school genius who wants to perform a wet chemistry quantitative analysis of caffeine in coffee, I get shot down vigorously. Because people believe doing something just for the excitement value is sooo valuable to young minds.


Well, it is. Doing something exciting engages those young minds, and can sometimes make them want to learn more. Doing something dull doesn't, and will almost never make them want to learn more.

Yeah, its exciting, but it doesn't really bring you closer to science.

Conversely, counting earthworm casts might bring you closer to science, but I'm at a loss how to make it seem exciting. Actually, I might be willing to give it a good shot, but spending a long time counting -- or recording temps during a distillation, or any other necessary but tedious and repetitive task -- is going to lose an awful lot of students who wouldn't necessarily have to be lost.
 
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