Saturday, January 26, 2013

Let's Make One Thing Clear

Just in case some of you are planning to complete a science project for my upcoming mandatory assignment, allow me to steer you in the proper direction before you go careening down a one-way street with no outlet. The following topics of investigation are not appropriate. Don't bother to research them and ask for approval. Denied!

* shooting guns of any kind at any target

* building any type of incendiary device

* lighting different flammable fluids on fire to see which burn the hottest

* feeding mice a diet of only Cheetos to see what effect it has on their health

* giving mice any type of supplement such as an energy drink to see what effect it has on their health

* making your own cough medicine to compare it with store-bought cough medicine in the effectiveness of relieving a cough in your little sister

* testing your pets for a reaction to stimuli

Yes, I have learned from experience. Unless I specify, the assignment can spiral out of control. The cough medicine lass could not understand why it was not ethical to mix various elixirs and herbs and offer them to her sibling.

The pet-stimuli investigation was actually listed on a website that we use to get project ideas. If I remember correctly, it involved touching various domesticated animals with a feather, or blowing a burst of air through a straw. I recall nothing about jabbing them with a Bic pen. Which was also not listed in the procedure that I approved before the actual experiment. Imagine my shock during the presentation when the young scientist reported that: "I poked my cat with the ink pen, and she scratched me and ran off. I poked my dog with the ink pen, and he bit me." Ahem. I most certainly did not approve that procedure. Luckily, the cap was left on the Bic.

I think, perhaps, the young experimenter learned a lesson about stimulus/response. I know that I did.


  1. Good idea to stay clear of those topics.

  2. Oh, you curtailer of curiosity, you. For shame! You should feel ashamed of yourself.

    Those little cherubs are just eager for knowledge. They are mere vessels, ready to be filled, and you are turning the faucet off, with a hard twist as you say, "No! No, you may not learn about that!"

    Children do not learn if they have needless, rigid boundaries which prevent them from exploring the world. Who are YOU to deem what things should be learned and what things should not? What makes YOU the sole dispenser of information, giving you the right to slow the precious elixir of knowledge to just a trickle?

    Drip. Drip.

    I imagine a petition will be crafted to put an end to this travesty.

  3. The problem with a list like that is it gives them even better ideas than they might have thought of on their own. I don't need to tell you how good an adolescent mind is at coming up with twisted-off the wall ways to have a good time.

    Nobody told me I couldn't paint the baby, or shave the cat.

  4. I think the same can be said of scientists as of children: those little scamps!

  5. Charlotte,
    Yes, some things are better left for young 'uns to discover on their own time, under the watchful eye of their parents, who are not so likely to lose their job over an experiment gone wrong.

    You, your own self, Madam, once denied your charges the steady drip drip drip of the faculty restroom faucet, clogging it, in your manner, with your gigantic noggin, leaving the thirsting vessels as parched as Bear Grylls all peed out on a desert island. We'll see who drafts the first petition...

    My list may give them unofficial ideas. But my butt is covered. Should they get wind of your painted baby/shaved cat scenario, they would likely shave the baby and paint the cat. To be unique.

    I wonder if Robert J. Van de Graaff took the first grab on his generator, of if he designated that task to a lab assistant.