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Test Tubes and Erlenmeyer Flasks, Oh My!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nettdata, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    Google is holding a Global Science Fair for kids between the ages of 12 and 18.



    The Grand Prize is:

    That fucking rocks.


    FOCUS: Pretend you're a nerdy little kid, and tell us what your entry to the fair would be.

    ALT-FOCUS: Maybe you don't have to pretend. Tell us about the interactions with science you had when you were a kid; science fairs, high school chemistry classes, stink bombs, whatever.
     
    #1 Nettdata, Jan 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  2. Nettdata

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    And is it wrong that I get the most excited over the thoughts of winning a personalized LEGO prize?

    Mindstorm for the win, bitches.
     
  3. Rob4Broncos

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    All I have to say is: the middle-schooler in me is insanely jealous. Free LEGOs? Chilling with huge turtles? A tour of Google?

    Fucking kids are spoiled nowadays.

    More on topic, my entry (or attempt at one) would probably be some variation of a home-built helicopter. This was a project I actually tried to pursue when I was about 14. Initially, I wanted to make a miniature AV-8B Harrier, but I realized rotating blades would be simpler to construct than a vertical propulsion system. I had an endless fascination with aerodynamics, and already had aspirations to study it in college. I'd grab every book at my local library that I could find pertaining to the subject, even the ones that were way the Christ over my head. My neighbor was very mechanically and mathematically inclined, and would help steer me in the right direction. He even assigned me a couple papers to write to test my knowledge and commitment to the stuff (I was really into this shit). Learning about airfoil dynamics and Bernoulli's Principle is a trip to Candy Mountain for any nerdy high-school shut-in.

    Unfortunately, it never went beyond the drawing board. Somewhere along the way, I guess I just moved on to other interests. I still wonder 'what if' I had kept at it, and sometimes I consider going back to studying engineering, but the thought of it doesn't excite me like it used to.

    God, now I want to build a fucking Harrier...
     
  4. kuhjäger

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    Hmm, teenage me, what would you do?

    Well adult me, how about a study on the effects wine coolers have on a teenage girl's willingness to let me put my penis in her?

    We will conduct the test at cooler 1,2,3,4 and then halt testing after each wine cooler until we hit about 10.

    Then we will also conduct a flavor test. Is a Pina Colada flavored drink going to speed up the process, or will Passionfruit lead to more passion?

    The desire for my penis will be graded on this scale of the girl's reaction to me:
    Level 1
    "What are you doing near me?"
    Level 2
    "Why do you keep following me around with that clipboard?"
    Level 3
    "Seriously you creep, who brings a clipboard to a party?"
    Level 4
    "I am dating a football player. He will kick your ass. Hey, what are you writing about me? STOP IT!"
    Level 5
    "I'm so wasted off these delicious wine coolers I now have a strong desire for your penis"
     
  5. lhprop1

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    Don't get too excited. Even if you were young enough to enter, some Indian kid that doesn't even like playing with LEGOs would come up with a cure for cancer or some shit and ruin all the fun.

    Fucking smartass Indian kids.
     
  6. Nettdata

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    But he'd sure as hell know how to spell the fuck out of "blow me".
     
  7. Frebis

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    Kind of off topic- In sixth grade I took seventh place in the school wide spelling bee. My class only had 200 kids in it, so that wasn't really that impressive. But my parents still took me out to dinner to celebrate. Why? I had beaten both Asians in the contest.
     
  8. kuhjäger

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    I got lucky, I went to a High School, in California no less without a single Asian kid. You would think this would make it easy for our science fairs, but alas, it was a rich school, so kids could afford to rent out time at a particle accelerator and crap like that.
     
  9. effinshenanigans

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    Did you go out for Chinese?

    Alt. Focus:
    As far as my science fair projects were concerned, I recycled the same project about three times, and I think my sister used it twice. It was on density, and the centerpiece consisted of one large glass dish filled with different liquids (honey, vegetable oil, water, and a couple others). After they separated, I dropped random objects into the jar to see what level they dropped down to, making observations based on no scientific method whatsoever, to determine what was happening (essentially, "the washer sunk through all of them," or, "the lego stopped after vegetable oil"). I made a rudimentary graph to chart my results. I also had three large glasses filled with fresh water, saltwater, and a fresh water/saltwater mix. I then dropped an egg into each, revealing that it sank in the fresh, floated at the top in the salt, and floated in the middle with the mixture.

    It was, by far, the dumbest science project ever, but it always got me a good grade somehow. Perhaps it was out of pity, or maybe because it was clear that no parent had anything to do with that monstrosity.
     
  10. 8Track

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    I have always wanted to build this with LEGO

    [​IMG]

    You have every right to be excited over the LEGO prize.
     
  11. StayFrosty

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    In middle school my young mind came up with an incredibly lazy project: testing three different brands of battery in a flashlight to see which lasted longest. Seriously, I can't believe my parents and teachers didn't laugh in my face and tell me to come up with a real project. I loaded batteries in a flashlight, stood it beam-up on a desk, and watched to see how long it lasted. That was it.

    The best part? I got dragged into the office and reamed for over an hour about plagiarism. On my rough draft. See, I had committed the cardinal sin of leaving out the closing quotation marks on a quote for my paper. Since this was a 50-student private Christian school in a hick farming town of 10,000 people, I got to listen to a lecture on how God knew my sin and if I ever did this on a college paper, I would instantly be expelled with no refund. Never mind that I had the opening quotation mark, I suppose that was just camouflage for my trickery.

    Strange that my parents wondered why I wanted to go to public school when we moved out of there. Let me write up a scientific fucking method for you on that one, Mom.

    Oh, and the final grade was still an A.
     
  12. Backroom

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    So the kid wins all this shit and can't take both their parents? Hope they have a favorite.
     
  13. Racer-X

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    My best science fair experiment was building a tesla coil in high school. It took me forever to wrap the secondary coil by hand and I built my own leden jar capacitors and everything. The damn thing would only run for a couple of minutes before blowing up the capacitor bank but in those couple of minutes I got some pretty cool lightning that was probably a couple of feet long arcing into the air.

    Because I could never build a reliable capacitor bank my science fair entry was pretty shitty but I still used the same work for two years.
     
  14. Lasersailor

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    I forget why exactly, but I was caught doing something bad in the 4th grade, and to completely wipe the slate clean I had to do a Science Fair project. Unfortunately someone else had already taken the cop out "How long do the batteries actually last" project. Mine? "Do only Dinosaurs leave fossils?" Short and simple answer was no. 15 minutes of research into the 20 minutes total I put into this project left me stunned. Many other things left fossils.

    The winner from my school was the guy who did the batteries. However the over all winner was a guy who built a powerful laser from scratch. This was back when a little hand held pen laser still cost $50. I would have been mad, but the laser project was across the row from me. And I soon figured out that the laser could light shit on fire.

    Of course the kid didn't seem too bright (equally as amused at lighting stuff on fire as I was), and even I put 2 and 2 together when we found out his father was an electrical engineer.
     
  15. KIMaster

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    Talk about a shitty set of prizes! Is Google always this cheap?

    When I was in high school, the big competitions were the Intel Science Fair and Siemens Science Fair, respectively. For the former, there are two first place prizes of $50,000, and for the latter, it's $100,000 for the individual winner.

    One of the biggest fucking problems was the insane level of nepotism involved. And it's no surprise; the majority of 14-18 year olds, even ones that are currently superstar young professors in their late 20s at Princeton or MIT, aren't capable of any brilliant, cutting edge research at that age. It's hard, folks. And with that kind of first-place money involved, lots of people are fine with compromising their ethics.

    Thus, I always had a laugh when I saw the list of semi-finalists and noticed some girl that did a project requiring 4 solid years of high-level university chemistry education, including 2 years of organic, and on top of that, at least 1,000 hours spent in a high-level lab with rare, expensive chemicals and millions of dollars of equipment, something that even precocious teenagers don't have access to. And yet, she never once made the national chem Olympiad team. But both her parents are chemists that graduated from the most prestigious Soviet chemical university. Hmmm....

    At the same time, a lot of teenage science research is both highly impressive and seems honest. The computer science stuff, for instance. And there are many areas of math that don't require as strong of a background or prior knowledge. In fact, a number of members on this board could probably attempt research there themselves.

    I decided to do my own science project honestly, on a certain applied math problem in graph theory, but alas, I couldn't complete it...not until college, at least!

    The "science fair" projects I had to do in elementary and junior high were fucking stupid and a waste of class time, so the teachers wouldn't have to actually teach. What are the kids going to get out of this? This isn't how real science is done, and instead of teaching them, let's just waste more class time with dumb presentations about which brand of toilet paper is more absorbent (a popular one). I did mine on the period of a pendulum and whether it was affected by mass, amplitude, or length of the string.

    (Of course, I used the simplistic approximation, for which only the length of the string changed anything (T is approximately equal to 2*pi*square root (g/L)), as the actually expression does incorporate amplitude)

    I didn't know any of that back then, though; my father suggest the project, and I kept using it again and again.
     
  16. Subito

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    I made bean bags that had parachutes. And faces.

    I didn't win.
     
  17. Kubla Kahn

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    Ow I don't think so...

    In seventh or eighth grade I picked a science project out of a 1950's school science fair book I had checked out of my schools dank 70's style library. What thought inspiring project did I pick? How different style of apples dehydrated over time when cut in half. I started it over winter break in Florida while on vacation and kept a log of descriptions until it was due before spring break. I don't even know what the original purpose was for watching apples dry but fuck it was LAME. I had a diorama of dried apple halves as my center piece. I brought a bag of store bought semi dehydrated apple snacks to share at the science fair to gain some sympathy votes. A buddy of mine ate them in two handfuls. I think I was actually disqualified for that stunt as well.

    My brother was always the more scientifically inclined.
     
  18. hotwheelz

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    Focus: I'd test the effect of steroids on babies.
     
  19. DrFrylock

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    The A-number-1 advantage in science fairs is 1) parents who are working scientists, 2) friends of parents who are working scientists, and 3) professors your parents know who are working scientists. I remember our High School science fair, which was pretty dinky and lame as science fairs go. Most of the projects were less rigorous than the experiments performed on Mr. Wizard's World. However, there was one girl who had something like "The effect of B-amylase-cytokines on A. Lepidoptera using Mass Spectrometry." Yes, I am sure you came up with that on your own, and your dad who worked as a biologist at GiantChemCo didn't influence your project selection at all, or help you out with the $50,000 mass spectrometer or anything.

    I guarantee this Google science fair will be the same way.
     
  20. Nettdata

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    I don't care.

    As long as this becomes reality, and I get my weaponized pumpkin.



    Oh, and fuck the corporate retards that cancelled that show... it was one of the best on TV.
     
    #20 Nettdata, Jan 14, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015