Monday, May 16, 2011

Call for Posters

Looking for a science fair project?! Of course you are! Basic science is not dead, comrades, and you don't need a trifold poster board to present data that people will want to see. Follow my lead and conduct some basic science this week. Make observations, formulate a hypothesis, test your predictions, and repeat. Or at least think about it?

I don't even know this kid. Maybe it's messed up to use this picture? He won though, must have biopsied dead vampires?

Here are my ideas for some science projects that are sure to earn a blue - or AT LEAST red - ribbon in the upper left hand corner of your floppy pastey poster.

1. Potty Preference
Everyone has been there, you enter a bathroom with like 4-6 stalls. Which do you choose? I would like to see someone run a randomized statistical study about the probabilities underlying toilet usage. Results could predict the sanitation levels and if they are uniform among the stalls, if they're not, maybe new cleaning protocols should be enforced? My guess is that usage follows a Gaussian distribution. After all, the first bathroom is probably gross cause that's the one people rush to when they really gotta go, and the last one is probably gross cause people figure its on the end and out of the way and more private. So the middle would probably be safest. But that's just one scientist's prediction.
This infographic took a long time to make

2. Don't Just Sit There!
With science fairs, and science in general, it's all about trends. You pick a topic that is trendy at the time, and throw in some buzzwords, and you're sure to see some blue. What's trendy now? The war against sitting. You've read the articles, everyone is talking about how sitting is the nation's newest killer. Whatever, standing can cause orthostatic hypotension, arthritis, and blood clots. Either way, do a project on sitting. Take some vitals on a set of study participants at the start of 30 days. Then write a computer program (where my engineers at?) that prompts the user to stand up and sit back down every 20 minutes. Track weight, blood pressure, cognition, sex drive, whatever over the month and see just how deadly sitting is. Ohh! Parallel study - test the increase in aggressive behaviors in those who are interrupted every 20 minutes versus those who are allowed to work in peace.

3. Hangover Helper
Can someone do this please? I'm dying for some empirical data to surface. Test different hangover remedies and debunk the ones that don't work. This is not trivial, folks. A lot of attention to experimental controls must be given. The level of drunk must be carefully monitored and kept uniform so the hangovers feel the same every time. I seem to have this down to an art, so feel free to include me as a co-author. My mom always refers me to greasy food (sometimes I even have some in my purse from the night before!), doesn't always cut it, though. I've heard that pregaming with Pedialyte is a new fix? I don't know, it's one of those questions that has rattled the very core of science for centuries. Screw the blue prize, this project has NOBEL in its future.

So there's some seeds for you to culminate. Make me proud, fledgeling scientists. I should start a grant program, in my honor.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today's Post is Brought to you by the Letter:

R for "revenge". Revenge has dominated my day today. Not by my actions, no no, I am passively pacifist, meaning no one cares about me enough to start any conflicts.

But, obviously, the news of the week regarding the murder of Osama Bin Laden has had people buzzing with emotion. Personally, I thought he was already dead? From where I stand though, I see two camps forming. The first camp, led by the Count of Monte Cristo is jubilant at the death of the mass-murderer. "Eye for an eye", I can hear them shouting as they storm cities with their torches. I get that, I do, god forbid one of my loved ones had died that day, I presume I would be incredible vengeful. Hard to say.

Then there's the other camp, led by Jesus Christ. Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. on Facebook and spelling retaliation with a "wr" (get it, cause it's wrong?). They've turned the other cheek so many times, you'd think they had 247 cheeks. Ha, funny imagery. But in all seriousness, I understand this point too, I mean demanding justice shouldn't be the only way to grieve.

I don't take a side, and I certainly don't think that we are "safe" now. No sir, I think we may have just poured a giant bucket of wake-up water on the opposition. Hmm... I think we've been pouring water on Al Qaeda for quite awhile...

Anywayyyy so that's the first revenge-related happening of my day. Then when I was walking to school I was listening to a podcast about decapitation. Fun fact: Did you know that AFTER your head is entirely severed from your body, you have the ability to process pain and emotion for 4 SECONDS! This guy can chug a 40 in 4 seconds, think of all the other things that can be taken in in 4 seconds!

I guess that's it, but it is a lot to take in for one - otherwise pleasant - Tuesday. Oh, also, while I was waiting for my shuttle to take me to campus I found a bargain bookstore and bought, "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" by Charles Darwin. I bought it cause after my decapitation podcast, I was thinking about how the face demonstrates emotions and how they can still change after you're head is cut off, and how morbidly horrific that would be to see.


My YouTube Playlist of the Minute