Stories tagged fun

Jul
06
2009

Want to ask an expert a question? We'll have NOVA scienceNOW's experts answer selected submissions. This is a rare opportunity, so come up with questions, make a video, and send it in.

Video questions will be selected and posted on the Cosmic Perspective page on the NOVA scienceNOW website and then be answered by our experts throughout the season of NOVA scienceNOW, via text on our website, with the last question being answered the day after the final broadcast, September 2, 2009.

For more details please go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/cosmic/2009/06/ask-your-science-...

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Jul
06
2009

Want to ask an expert a question? We'll have NOVA scienceNOW's experts answer selected submissions. This is a rare opportunity, so come up with questions, make a video, and send it in.

Video questions will be selected and posted on the Cosmic Perspective page on the NOVA scienceNOW website and then be answered by our experts throughout the season of NOVA scienceNOW, via text on our website, with the last question being answered the day after the final broadcast, September 2, 2009.

For more details please go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/cosmic/2009/06/ask-your-science-...

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Wanna rake in the big bucks? Become a scientist, fundamentally change the way we understand the universe, and you, too, could be laughing all the way to the bank.

Feb
19
2009

singing songs of science at the Dana Centre in London
singing songs of science at the Dana Centre in LondonCourtesy Gaetan Lee
It's almost Friday, and if that thought alone doesn't brighten your day, this certainly will:

The British Society for the History of Science (apparently not as stuffy as it sounds) has just announced its annual competition to find the world's most imaginative and poetic songs about science. You can read all of the details about how to enter the competition here - and I really think you should, if only because studies show that making music is good for you!

The basic idea with this contest is to take a familiar tune like 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' or 'Clementine' and rewrite the words, but more original efforts will be welcomed, if not by the BSHS, than by Science Buzz readers! Feel free to post your ideas and inspirations here for a critique! The contest organizers are also encouraging people to submit videos of themselves and their friends performing their songs in a creative manner similar to the Dance Your PhD Thesis contest that happened in Vienna last year. Who knew?

To get you all started on your award winning compositions, I suggest listening to these 1950's tunes sung by Tom Glazer and Dottie Evens, then do the Constellation Jig!

Oh, I wish I'd seen this earlier!

The University of Minnesota's Physics Force is presenting its annual Physics Circus tonight, at 7pm, at Northrop Auditorium. The show--a mix of physics demonstrations and humor intended for adults and children--is free and open to the public.

Demonstrations include dropping a team member from a 20-foot tower while shooting a ball at him to demonstrate the effect of gravity on projectiles and collapsing a 55-gallon drum to show the force of air pressure. A team member will propel himself across the stage on a cart by emptying a fire extinguisher to demonstrate how forces come in pairs.

If you can make it, you should check it out.

It’s that time of year – prom season – and all geeks or geek wannabes are invited to Saturday’s Geek Prom. It will again be held at the Science Museum of Minnesota on May 12 from 9 p.m. to midnight.

It’s an event open to those ages 18 and over and includes such geek-tasitc activities like:

* Music by E.L.nO., the Twin Cities' best E.L.O. cover band
* Spaz Dance Contest
* Prom King and Queen Coronation
* Talent Contest
* Handwriting analysis
* Video Gaming on the big screen

Tickets are $15, $10 with a student ID and are available by calling 651-221-9444. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Jun
30
2006

It's all over the Internet. It's on David Letterman and the Today Show. It's on NPR, for Pete's sake. Across the country, people are caught up in a frenzy of extreme Diet Coke and Mentos experiments.

Want to try it at home?

Get permission, go outside, and have a hose handy. Things are gonna get messy...

  1. The simplest thing is to just drop a Mentos or two into a small bottle of Diet Coke.
  2. Not so satisfying? OK, now it's time to get serious.
  3. Make a "cartridge" of Mentos. Hold each candy with a pair of pliers, and carefully drill a small hole through the center. Then string five or six Mentos onto a straightened paper clip or a piece of fishing line.
  4. Hold the bottle cap with a pair of pliers and drill a hole through the top. (Start with a hole 1/4" in diameter.) Thread the paper clip or fishing line with the Mentos cartridge through the bottle cap so that the candy will hang down inside the bottle when you screw on the cap. Different sized holes in the cap will yield different effects.
  5. You can also carefully drill holes in the bottle, above the level of the soda. If you drill a ring of holes, you get a pretty neat effect. And you'll also make a super big mess.

Of course, you don't have to use Mentos and Diet Coke. The good folks at EepyBird.com have done many, many experiments, and it turns out that dropping just about anything into any kind of soda creates at least a little fizz. But Mentos and Diet Coke is an especially satisfying combination.

So how does it work?
The explosive effect is caused when the carbon dioxide that's been compressed in the soda escapes so quickly that the pressure pushes the soda out of the bottle. That's the easy part. But why do Mentos, in particular, cause such a good effect?

Part of the answer has to do with nucleation sites. "Huh?" you ask. Yeah, me, too. Soda is a liquid supersaturated with carbon dioxide gas, and nucleation sites are places where the carbon dioxide can make bubbles. A nucleation site can be a scratch on a surface, a speck of dust, or any place where you have a high surface area relative to volume.

Bubbles in soda: (Photo courtesy Spiff, Wikipedia Commons)
Bubbles in soda: (Photo courtesy Spiff, Wikipedia Commons)Courtesy Spiff

And Mentos have a lot of nucleation sites. There are lots of imperfections in their surfaces, and that allows lots and lots of bubbles to form. Plus, Mentos are heavy enough to sink when you drop them in, so they react to with the soda all the way to the bottom of the container. The sticky result is a fun, foaming mess.

But what happens if you drink Diet Coke and eat Mentos at the same time?
The EepyBird website has the answer, if you really must know...