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.

2 comments:

Dr. McSham said...

Couple of thoughts, dude:

1. The "potty preference" that you bring up is pretty interesting, though it has been a significant topic of discussion in male circles since middle-school with a urinal-centric model. It's a social norms thought experiment about which urinal you use when a. there's nobody else using them or b. there is somebody using the middle one, etc. in any number of iterations. I always found it interesting.

3. I've read that there is some empirical evidence stating that coffee and aspirin are the best cures for a hangover. Caffeine and pain-killers. I'd throw some greasy food in there too, just for kicks. Gotta fill up that belly.

Cheers,
Matt

Maggie said...

That kid has your special haircut from fifth grade right!?
No kidding ! Haha

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