Saturday, March 11, 2006

More Ethanol and More Flour, plus Mini-Heli and Brownies

Yesterday we had another great BSEC meeting -- our third good one in a row! :) We had gotten stuck in a bit of a rut with endless Egg Drop delays, but the payoff was good, and now we're on a roll. ;)

PRELIMINARIES

This time, we started off by playing around a bit with Peter's mini-helicopter, a simple styrofoam disc with a remote-controlled propeller facing down. Pull the trigger on the remote, it rises. Pull more, it rises more. Let go a bit, it drops. No steering, but very very fun. It also works as a top if it lands upside-down.

Then the camera and ethanol arrived. We went outside and attempted to burn some flour, but had no luck. Too much wind? Maybe. We doused a brownie in ethanol, though, and burned it in the tin popcorn can. At first we didn't think it was burning, but it was -- boiling, bubbling and blackening, in fact. Only, we couldn't see the flame. Hm. Peter soon discovered, though, that if you drip ethanol on the brownie, you can see a brief flash of flame.

SUCCESS

We went back into the Physics room, turned out the lights, closed the doors, and pulled down the shades. We repeated last meetings' successful formula -- Mr. Clippenger hold the flour in his hand, Peter blowing it over ethanol-fueled burning paper. Only, this time, Peter decided to surprise us -- ESPECIALLY Mr. Clip and Vivek, who was filming in the line of fire -- with a much bigger-than-usual bang. We could actually feel the heat; the light was amazing. MUCH better than last meetings' puny poofs. We did it a few more times; we discovered that Peter could blow a bit, then blow a lot through the mini-fireball and get a nice big fireball stretching out toward Vivek. :)

I'd say our boom was at least ten times as big as the one in the last video. What would you say, Vivek? (I know you're out there...) I think it was probably about as big as my dog. Vivek has the video, so we'll just have to see.

WRAP-UP

After that we went back outside for another brownie-burn and more playing with the hovercraft. We were quite satisfied by our triumphs, and managed to fill the Physics room with a lot of smoke... incredibly, without setting off the smoke detector. (Hmmmm..... methinks we may have faulty equipment....)

All in all, much fun. I'll report in when we figure out what we'll do next time, and with luck Vivek will get some video up here some time.

7 comments:

Michael Firer said...

You didn't mention the little kids who kept asking us for marshmallows. :P

Vivek said...

The preschool kids were asking me today whether I had any brownies, marshmallows, soda, and bottled water.

I'm actually surprised they remembered me. Little children = smart. :)

Michael Firer said...

They're still asking me for marshmallows and brownies. I told them many times that I don't have any, and that we set them all on fire. They ask anyway.

So I wouldn't call it smart. Just... good memory.

Vivek said...

smart = having good memory

Toph said...

Nah... they're connected, but not equivalent. Same with knowledge. I think smarts are more about a combination of processing, memory, and body of knowledge -- which, incidentally, depends partly upon memory (retaining knowledge) and partly upon how much knowledge you gain in the first place, which in turn depends largely on enthusiasm and interest.

From Encarta:

smart [smaart]
adj (comparative smart·er, superlative smart·est)
1. clever: showing intelligence and mental alertness
smart students

2. keen: shrewd and calculating in business and other dealings
a smart dealer

3. witty and amusing: amusingly clever and possessing a quick wit
4. insolent: disrespectful or impertinent
Whatever you say to him he has some smart answer.

5. tidy: with a neat and well-cared-for appearance
6. fashionable: fashionable and stylish
smart restaurants

7. lively: vigorous and brisk
a smart pace

8. stinging: causing a sharp stinging sensation
a smart slap

9. military laser- or radio-guided: used to describe a missile or weapon that is guided to its target by laser or radio beams
10. electronic engineering electronic: with a built-in microprocessor
smart traffic signals

vi (past smart·ed, past participle smart·ed, present participle smart·ing, 3rd person present singular smarts)
1. cause or have sharp pain: to feel, cause, or be the site of a sharp stinging pain
My hand smarts.

2. be embarrassed: to feel acute embarrassment or distress
She still smarted when she remembered his criticism.

3. be punished: to be punished severely

adv
smartly: in a smart manner

n (plural smarts)
1. pain: a sharp stinging localized pain
2. embarrassment or mental discomfort: a feeling such as embarrassment, remorse, or shame

npl or smarts
intelligence: practical intelligence or expertise (informal)
She has the smarts to succeed.

[Old English smeortan “to be painful,” ultimately of uncertain origin: perhaps from an Indo-European word meaning “to harm,” which is also the ancestor of English nightmare and perhaps remorse]

-smart·ly, adv
-smart·ness, n

Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Vivek said...

That's all nice, except...

I was setting up a theoretical equation, not saying that they were the same thing.


The better the memory you have, the more capable of being smart you are.

memory = smart

Therefore,

2 x initial memory = 2 x initial smartness -----> (not realistic)

And

0 x memory = 0 x smartness -----> (as if you cannot remember anything, you wont have any actual "intelligence")

Toph said...

Ah, I see. Never mind then.

What's that symbol for proportionate? The little infinity symbol with the rightmost quarter chopped off, right? Like an open twisted loop?