Tag Archives: Ipod

He Blinded Me With Science

I don’t know where I went right.

For some reason, our youngest dude, Hyper Lad, is an experimental fiend. And that’s a good thing.

He loves to do scientific experiments on his own. Well, I say on his own, but I mean he comes up with the idea and we work together to find the ingredients and I’m there as the nominally adult supervision most scientific experiments require.

Together, we’ve learned to solder and then put together a digital watch that actually works. We’ve also created “ninja sticks” that required wood staining, drilling, leather work and wood burning tools.

Working on his own, Hyper Lad has destroyed an abandoned microwave and taken apart a non-functioning iPod. Yes, those last two are destructive, but they were controlled destruction to see what was inside, rather than merely destroying to destroy because he could.

This one, though, surprised me.

He came downstairs, asked if we had milk, food coloring and some dishwashing soap. And, yes, we did. Then he went about this that follows.

Isn’t that cool? It took me a while, but I finally went and figured out why it does what it does.

To do that, I went to Steve Spangler Science, which has a whole bunch of cool experiments for kids to perform. And me, so I guess adults are included as well, which is a good thing.

Anyway, here’s what it says there:

The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and itshydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.

The molecules of fat bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with the fat molecules. During all of this fat molecule gymnastics, the food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, the action slows down and eventually stops.

And so my verbal fumbling during the video was partially correct. It did have something to do with the chemical properties of the soap. I just couldn’t articulate why. Of course, that’s like saying, “It’s going to hurt.” when a rock’s going to hit your head, but not understanding that it would miss if you stepped out of the way.

Now that we’ve discovered this experiment website, I have a feeling Hyper Lad and I will be having a lot more science fun in the future.

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Bumbling Dads? Really? That’s Your Worst Problem? Dude, I Want Your Life

by Richard

There’s first-world problems, like complaining that the airport in which you’re about to catch a cheap flight to the islands doesn’t have enough plugs to charge your iPod for the flight. And then there’s these dudes.

There’s a movement under way among dads in America that’s changing what you see on TV.

Across the country, more and more are fed up — and rising up against the stereotype of the inept, clueless father.

“We’re not the Peter Griffin or the Homer Simpson that we’re often portrayed as,” said Kevin Metzger, who runs the Dadvocate blog.

In an article on CNN.com, Josh Levs talks about how seeing dumb dads on television or in ads or whatever kind of media is often the chief complaint most dads have. Really? The chief complaint? Nothing about lack of support for paternal rights in custody cases? Nothing about horrendous health care support by the government? Nothing about the appallingly high infant mortality rate in this country?

It’s dumb dads in the media? Wow. Just. . . wow.

David Holland, father of three, rails against “doofus dads” in ads. In his blog Blather. Wince. Repeat., he calls them “Madison Avenue’s go-to guy.”

During every commercial break, he says, he and his wife “try to see who can be the first one to spot the idiot husband or father.”

In a sign of their growing power, dads out to end the stereotype recently scored a knockout blow against a pair of TV ads.

A Huggies ad earlier this year said the company put its diapers “to the toughest test imaginable: dads, alone with their babies, in one house, for five days.”

Another Huggies add shows a bunch of dads with their young dudes watching a ball game. The dads ignore the babies for a long while and let the Huggies sop up all the problems.

These horribly offensive commercials were so horribly offensive that the dads had to protest and eventually got Huggies to take them off the air.

Dudes, really. Get a grip on reality.

This is gentle ribbing. This is not discrimination. What it is, really, is just sad.

I’ll admit, I’m probably the first one to say something snarky when the school administrator talks about how she loves “all you moms for coming out to volunteer.” Of course, I do it because it gets a laugh. Not because I feel offended.

I like that some people have a reduced amount of expectations for what dads can do. It makes the looks on their faces when I show up all the more priceless. These idiots on television? They’ve got nothing to do with me.

Bleating about this sort of thing is a waste of time and energy. There are far more important things we can get worked up about. Like the NBA playoff format and officiating. Now that needs to see some protests.

Grow a thicker skin. Get on with your lives. You’re already living life on the lowest difficulty setting. Take the ribbing and stop making the rest of us look like ungrateful whiners.

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Driving While Distracted Still Is Nothing New

by Richard

Before we were so rudely interrupted by taxes, we were talking about distracted driving, the dangers it presents and the fact that it’s something some dudes can’t do anything about.

To make matters worse, the drivers who are most likely to become distracted are those who are new behind the wheel. Like, for instance, young dudes and dudettes who have just turned 16 and now want to get their drive on.

The Jones compound has three dudes with ADD (we’re going with diagnosed here. If we were to look at symptoms, we’d probably see four dudes and one dudette, but that’s another story.), two of whom are old enough to drive. There’s been a marked difference between the driving I’ve seen by Sarcasmo, the elder, and Zippy the Monkey Boy, the middle.

Sarcasmo has been a clear and present danger since he first got his hands on the steering wheel. Not to you, of course. Well, maybe to you. If you’re parked. Seriously. He’s had three accidents in the three years he’s been driving. Each time he’s hit something that was not moving: a tree, a parked car and a mail box. Each time, he was distracted and not paying attention to the road.

Zippy the Monkey Boy had a more serious accident involving another moving car. He was pulling out of a parking lot, looked left, looked right and then pulled out instead of looking left again. Too bad. He turned into a car that had just turned onto his street. More damage, but thankfully no one was hurt.

 In a recent New York Times story, reporter John O’Neil tells readers that Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy were not alone in their concerns with driving.

Inexperienced drivers usually are distractible drivers. Dr. Simons-Morton cited a study on a closed course in which teenagers proved much more adept than adults at using cellphones while driving — and missed more stop signs.

The situation isn’t helped by how “noisy” cars have become, with cellphones, iPods and Bluetooth devices, said Lissa Robins Kapust, a social worker and coordinator of a driving program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Driving is so busy on the inside and the outside of the car — it’s the most complex thing we do.”

But A.D.H.D. involves more than distractibility. Its other major trait is impulsiveness, which is often linked to high levels of risk-taking, said Dr. Barkley.

“It’s a bad combination” for young drivers, he said. “They’re more prone to crashes because of inattention, but the reason their crashes are so much worse is because they’re so often speeding.” Many drivers with A.D.H.D. overestimate their skills behind the wheel, Dr. Barkley noted.

Hah! That’s hard to believe, huh? That a young teen dude would think he’s better at driving than he really is. Wow, I’ve never heard of anyone doing something like that.

As a parent, I looked forward to my dudes getting their driver licenses so they could help with the ferrying around town. This, however, along with the accidents, definitely made me second guess that impulse. I think I’m going to have to keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last little bit.

I instituted a ride-along policy in which I ride with the young dudes while they drive. I try to keep it calm and respectful. When I’m not screaming for my mommy in a high voice while scratching futilely at the window to get out to safety. I think having a parent along for the ride helps them stay a bit more focused on following the rules of the road, which is always a good thing.


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