I think I just became a professional scientist. A dangerously unqualified one.

Yesterday I got an email from Scientific American magazine asking if I would be interested in submitting some ideas for science experiments for children.  And I was all, OF COURSE I WOULD.  After all, this is the same prestigious magazine that Einstein once contributed to.

My actual response:

Have you considered experiments regarding the proper combination of liquids?  Specifically, teaching children how to mix mojitos properly.

Technically, it’s basic chemistry (with a touch of biology if you grow the mint yourself) which ends in awesomeness. Plus, the parents would have to test the final product, so you have automatic parental involvement.  Personally, I would be very interested in becoming involved in that experiment.  Or anything involving Zombie Apocalypse preparations.  Maybe something with battle-axes.

Also, have you heard about these nuclear wolves?  Because they sound scary as shit.  Personally, I think we need to be concerned.  We may have over-planned for zombies, and under-planned for nuclear wolves.



PS.  My spellcheck says “mojito” isn’t even a real word. I think this points out exactly why this sort of education is critical in America.


To be honest, I wasn’t actually expecting a response, but I got one:

If you really want to create an experiment on the proper combination of liquids (mojitos or otherwise), can you provide some more details like the objective of the experiment, the controls and variables that you think should be present, etc.? If our edit team features it as part of the next round of BSH experiments, we’ll credit you and link to your Twitter/blog. Suggestions from your blog readers and social followers are also welcomed.

And I completely agree about making serious moves to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. I don’t want to scare you, but zombie fungus ants might be the real thing we need to be worried about… At least for now.

Thanks again for the response. We look forward to discussing this and other end of the world conspiracies with you further.

Which?  Kind of a bad-ass response from a magazine that’s been around since the the 1850’s. Unfortunately, all I know about science is that if you flush a lit M-80 down the toilet it will fuck. up. your plumbing.  Really, I can’t stress that enough.  Also, you should not use roman candles to “burn away” the evidence.  It totally does not work at all and just makes things worse.  Plus, did you know that shower curtains are highly flammable?  Because I didn’t.

PS.  I have no clue how to write a proper scientific proposal and most of you are way smarter than me, so if any of you have any suggestions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll have the Scientific American team come and check them out.  And then we all get knighted as Professional Scientists and then we can wear white lab coats with impunity and pretend to be very important doctors who can’t be bothered to pay their bar tabs because I HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY TO ATTEND TO AND THIS COAT HAS NO POCKETS FOR MY WALLET.  I’m pretty sure that’s how science works.

165 thoughts on “I think I just became a professional scientist. A dangerously unqualified one.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I have a tequila experiment in mind that would complement your mojito experiment quite nicely. My kids already have a very high tolerance, which I think is a good thing for them to develop at an early age, as it lessens the risk of alcohol-related tragedies during their teen years.

    I smell grant money headed our way. And lab coats.

  2. If a person isn’t Jewish, I think being able to mix drinks should be their “bar mitzvah” of sorts… at least for the Irish.

  3. –>I already have a lab coat that says, “Dr. Debra G. String.”

    That’s half the battle, coming up with something cool on your lab coat. This is why I’m not a scientist. Or doctor.

  4. I read this “If our edit team features it as part of the next round of BSH experiments, we’ll credit you and link to your Twitter/blog.” But all I really read was “B.S.experiments” which I thought was totally appropriate.
    And yes, Scientific American and the CDC are definitely playing with the cool kids lately. Wtf?

  5. I’ve recently started seeing more liquor bottled in plastic as opposed to glass which I think is a VERY IMPORTANT lab issue. You know, safety first.

  6. I must be very hormonal becasue the “Einstein” made me cry.

    Wow, they are very cool (read as: high as kites) over at Scientific American. I suggest before submitting any proposals, that you experiment with that Mojito recipe again and again and again…..

  7. I’m not much into mojitos, but I would be happy to provide the margarita comparison.

    Thanks for the tip on the M-80. I have two boys, and no doubt that knowledge will come in handy as they head toward their teen years.

    And zombie fungus ants? Puhleez. So not scary compared to my (now deceased) mother-in-law, who nearly did me in.

  8. Children should experiment with the effects of alcohol. They could learn how many mojitos it takes before their parents agree to buy them a pony. The control is mint and simple syrup. The variable is how much rum the drinks contain. The outcome? Ponies for everybody! Except the poor kid with the parents who only drank a lot of sugar water.

  9. I think I need to be the one to point out the elephant in the post. Zombie. Mother. Fucking. Fungus. Ants.

    This is so not okay. The zombie apocalypse is starting and I have a severe shortage of guns and canned goods. I know what I am doing this weekend.

  10. Perhaps you could bring about the apocalypse with drunken fungus ants? Just combine the science of cocktails with zombie entomology. Bam. Harold Camping can suck it.

  11. I am absolutely no help, but this post made my awful, my babies have graduated from elementary school today mood much better. Thank you, Jenny…. And WTF are nuclear wolves?! When did I miss that conversation?!?!?

  12. good heavens, miss yakamoto (aka the Bloggess) – you’re beautiful! even if you are not tall. or Asian. or have cello strings on your stomach.

  13. I propose an experiment where you vary the ratios of the booze until you achieve maximum deliciousness. I volunteer to be on the deciding board.

  14. Had I known science = free booze I would’ve changed majors a long fucking time ago. Only thing this major in communications has done for me so far is make me regret majoring in communications.

  15. The mixing of mojitos!

    Purpose: to learn how to measure out various ingredients including delicious alcohol in the proper amounts. Learning fractions (one part booze, another part booze, one part something else in a mojito, more booze) in a fun, relaxed learning environment!

    Control: water. Or vodka. They look the same so that means they’re the same. That’s just science.

    1. Mix the mojito according to the data table provided [ editor: please include a recipe for mojitos. ]
    2. Have your parent test it out! Make sure you’ve made enough for everyone.
    3. I dunno, karaoke? Graph a data of incoherence of lyrics over time spent drinking your science experiment.

    Follow-up Questions:
    1. Are mojitos crazy-delicious? (Trick question! You’re far too young. Give that here.)
    2. What do we tell child protective services when they come for mommy and daddy? (Dear god they’re coming hide hide hide!)
    3. Write a short conclusion on the effects of alcohol on the body and family relationships, because mommy you’re hurting yourself and those you love.

    Source: I wrote this right before having to go teach biology.

  16. Wait…zombie fungus ants?
    I’m going to need something a little stronger than mojitos.

  17. Love the mojito experiment idea! I have zero friggin clue how to write out a scientific proposal, athough, I do know what a hypothesis is, so I’m pretty much a scientist for real.
    An experiment I’d like to see done is you know how when you’re away from home you can never go #2 in a strange bathroom but the second you get within a certain radius of home your bowels totally sense it and wake up and you have to go NOW or else?
    a. why is that? I mean, they’re intestines, not GPS.
    b. what percentage of the population does this happen to? or is it just me and my hubby?
    c. what is the exact distance from home that triggers the bowels? 30 miles?

  18. What kind of amateur kid doesn’t know how to make a mojito (suck it, spell check!)?! Seriously. Is this, like, science for Kindergarteners or something?! Pshhhh. I’m indignant about the plummeting level of education in the U.S. Indignant! You hear me?

  19. Until now Scientific America has been nothing more than that kinda boring magazine that my dad always reads and used to force me to look at as a child.

    Now Scientific America is basically awesome. I will report immediately if I come up with any science experiment ideas.

  20. I have a new found respect for the scientific community. I mean the *real* scientific community, not just the guys on “The Big Bang Theory”.

  21. I always like the shoot-the-monkey demonstration but that may be a bit complicated for a child since it involves a tennis ball air cannon, an electromagnet, a switching device, and a can that is attracted to a magnet, that is not aluminum. Batteries not included.

    The idea is that pointing the gun(cannon) straight at the monkey(can), that the can drops as soon as the cannon fires. No matter what the speed, unless too slow to get there, the ball will ALWAYS hit the can. You could use your Dad’s cannon!

    Email me for more ideas, like using fungus to ferment simple sugars into alcohol! Win-Win

    Making ice cream with liquid nitrogen is always fun!

    I also

  22. As a genuine accredited Doktor of False Science, I think you should do an expose on the evolution of the Toilet Shark. This is a scientific theory I’ve been unofficially studying for some time, on the existence of a little known biological entity that will jump out of the toilet and bite your ass off if you stagger in there in the middle of the night to whiz.

    You could interview noted biologists, all of whom will be like, “No, there is no such thing, DRUNKARD,” but you and I will know better, and more importantly, children will become afraid of the toilet.

    I look forward to your contributions to Actual Fraudulent Science.

  23. Zombie Ants are just the perfect excuse that I needed to fulfill my dream of becoming an extreme couponer. Oh, and did you say something about science?

  24. Zombie Ants are soooo March 13th. It’s like they don’t even read this blog.

  25. I’m very impressed with their response. And they’re right…big zombies are easy to get rid of. Shotgun: bang! Zombie ant hordes? GOOD LUCK. Raid does nothing. NOTHING!!!

  26. That TOTALLY makes me want to buy a subscription to Scientific American.

  27. K??? (commenter 19) I might just be your soul mate. That is the most beautiful scientific experiment I have ever seen.

    Also, read the part about social followers as social workers in my head and I thought, it’s a really good thing I have no influence over tiny children people.

    I think I’m going to have my step-daughter join my in a little sneaky, undercover experiment of our own. I’ll teach her how to mix mojitos. She’ll serve me virgin ones and my hubs the real deal. I’ll have her note the affect each one has on him until he reaches the inebriated state of trying to be all philosophical and we have no clue what the hell he is saying…AND we’ll video tape it. He always complains he can never remember anything he says when he’s drunk. Not only will this be education for our daughter it will be fun blackmail to have in my back pocket!!


  29. Dude, the zombie ants are just the beginning. I was down in Phoenix last winter and they have something called “VALLEY FEVER” which is a MOLD that GETS INTO YOUR LUNGS and can travel to your NERVOUS SYSTEM. Ahem. Granny’s not senile, kiddo. She’s a zombie.

  30. Useful science experiments for children might also include:
    *Winemaking at home (yeast and its effects on anything is always good science)
    *How to get the puppy to STOP eating his poop (perhaps have the children feed the dog a number of different things and then taste the different poops to experience the results)
    *How to leave perfect diagonal lines in the living room with the vacuum cleaner (would require measuring and ugh, math)

    Just saying

  31. Many times when I read your posts, I think: Did that REALLY happen? And then I check it out (when there’s some proof like a link) and it DID happen. So, this time I have to believe that Scientific American actually sent you that response. Wow.

  32. This, more than anything else in the last 30 years, makes me want to write and immediately subscribe to Scientific America. Bad-ass indeed.

  33. I KNEW those Zombie fungas ants were trouble the minute I saw them. I KNEW IT! It is not as cool as you think to be confirmed by Scientific American.

    My suggestion is still cocktail-based and I think it has a really valid thesis question:

    Why don’t Long Island Iced Teas taste like alcohol? Seriously, they are like 12 kinds of alcohol with a splash of something just for color but they don’t TASTE like alcohol. That is why they are deadly.
    Is the booze canceling each other out?
    Is something killing our taste buds right when we drink it?

    This would totally win a student a science fair because part of the experiment would be to have the judges taste each kind of liquor to confirm it tastes boozy, then they have to taste the final product. I guess there would be some tasting at each stage just to see when it starts tasting delightful instead of boozy. The judges will have a buzz by they time the kid reaches their conclusion.

    I really need to know this.

  34. Yep. I’m going to subscribe to Scientific American because that reply was GENIUS.

    Also, I could whip up a complete science experiment about mixing liquids (mojitos or otherwise) pretty quickly. All you’d have to do is ask. And I’m a Biology teacher, so I’ve had experience a) writing shit like that and b) consuming mojitos (lots of them–like, last night).

  35. This blog is populated by genius. The Bloggess. K. The Original Lisa.

    It’s enough to give me a complex. Which would probably call for mojitos.

    Also, Scientific American has become the cool geek magazine. It gives me hope.

    But zombie fungus ants make me realize that OMG the zombie apocalypse is actually possible.

  36. I live with an engineer. And I’m telling you this because I’m sure he could figure out a way to have the M-80 flush without blowing up your bathroom. In fact, it would probably end up on Mars. That’s just how engineers work: how can I not only make this experiment WORK but also blow the controls right to mother fucking mars?

  37. I work with a bunch of scientists who are working on “stuff” like curing cancer and I’d rather read about mixing mojitos. Does that make me an asshole?

  38. I am going to buy the next issue of Scientific American and then practice making – and drinking – mojitos until I figure out how to cure cancer. 2 scientific endeavors at 1x!

  39. I think this should be a set of thematic lessons– how to mix a mojito and then how to use those handy little GHB testing strips, then it’s science AND safety. You’d be effing mother of the year.

  40. This is so funny… it reminds me of a time when my dear husband emailed Stoneyfield yogurt to tell them that there were no berries in his “Berries ‘n More” fruit yogurt. He received an apologetic response that the people of Stoneyfield who were “horrified to learn of his lack of berries crises” and offered to help resolve it… it’s the unexpected sarcasm that is the most appreciated.
    Yum, mojitos.

  41. I must confess that I have never had a mojito, but I’m all in favor of experiments involving alcohol. The human consumption of alcohol, that is. Experiments involving alcohol to power cars might arguably be more useful ultimately, but not as fun. And I don’t care at all about any toilet experimentation unless its aim is to figure out how to stop my husband from dribbling piss down the front of the bowl.

  42. I totally can’t help you at all, but I will agree about M-80s. They can blow out a toilet completely. I don’t recommend flushing afterward either. I did not know about the shower curtain, but that is handy information to have around! Awesome post, even more awesome that they wrote back!

  43. Ideally, you would want to vary all the ingredients individually, which would require more adult tasters. And therefore a party. If you don’t know enough parents willing to act as taste-testers for this sort of awesome experiment (because they’re loser-faces), just call up some local graduate students. I, for one, would be more than happy to help kids learn science by tasting mojitos (or any other alcoholic beverage, really).

    They don’t ever tell you this in school, either, but science requires lots of alcohol – field work, in particular, is fueled almost entirely by beer. This is a great idea to teach kids early – that way they know how awesome science is! (Not that I’m biased, or anything. I’m a scientist, and therefore completely and totally objective.)

  44. Jenny, may I just say that the zombie ant article was the scariest fucking thing I’ve read in a long time? I’m glad you’re a scientist now, so that you can keep us abreast of frightening things like this in the world. Since you’re in their employ, you can write a corresponding article for Scientific American that gives readers suggestions for fighting off plant-based zombies. I mean, what are we supposed to do if we get a craving for salad, but ONLY the veiny parts of the romaine? Frankly, I’m not going to touch a single vegetable until we have a plan. French fries and onion rings not included.

  45. Nuclear wolves are scary…but are they Norwegian Ninja scary? I think not!

  46. Ok, I have no suggestions for the science experiment, but that was the absolute best response you’ve received yet. I’m thinking that now I must subscribe to the magazine because that was awesome!

  47. Zombie ants are reason number 37 that I will never visit the rain forest. Because once that fungus realizes that we are bigger and can move around more than ants they will be in our heads turning us into zombies. And when you blow the zombies head off with your shotgun, you’ll being spreading that zombie fungus everywhere!

  48. I can say that, from my experiences in grad school biology, many many scientists are already mixing up mojitos in their labs. Also, they used the beakers as jello molds and shot glasses. Then some scientists (Not me! I was busy diligently studying the periodic table and the ecology of the naked mole rat.) would practice a little horizontal biology research on the lab couch and in the prof’s office. BTW –the physicists behaved WAY worse the biologists. Trust me on this.

  49. Okay, I think the blow back you will get from suggesting that kids mix alcoholic drinks is kinda silly, but inevitable. “Responsible parents” seem to have a lot of power. Like the mafia.

    That would be my experiment….Who is more powerful Donna Reed or Don Corleone? (The answer is nuclear wolves/zombie fungus ants.)

  50. I have a science undergrad degree. Which makes me credible somehow.

    Hypothesis: teaching life skills to children, such as the proper ratio of liquids in mojitos, can increase a child’s self-esteem and communication skills with adults.
    Method: children will fill out a quantitative form (Likert scale) regarding self-confidence, self-esteem, and comfort in communicating with adults. Then, the children will experiment with proper ratio of liquids in mojitos. The children will then communicate with the adults throughout the drinking process. They will be asked to target certain questions with adults, such as if the adults had ever skipped school as a kid. The children will then re-do the survey.

    Logic: drunk adults –> confident kids.

    Or some shit like that.

  51. This would be a lot more educational if Wil Wheaton would provide a few pictures of him making the mojito’s to include with your experiment?

  52. I like the fact that you got a response.

    How would you prepare for nuclear wolves? I remember seeing something about them before you posted something about it but in my mind I was thinking that it doesn’t apply to me because it was in Chernobyl.. a whole lifetime away. But then I got to thinking that what if they were like the rats that jumped on board the Nina, Pinta (dumb ass spell check seems to think I want to talk pints here which could help with the science experiment) and Santa Maria to come to America? What then? We would all be screwed.. Do we even know how the radiation spreads? I mean do the wolves have to bite someone for them to be contaminated or is it just proximity?

  53. I was at a party looking for a lighter. Everyone was busy and about their own business. And most of them didn’t smoke, I said I had M-80’s and not a single person looked up to offer fire for me. Although it was a lie, fuck my friends.

  54. Sweetpea, I don’t want to alarm you, but THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY CONDUCTING A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT ON YOU WITH THEIR EMAILS! I would confront them. Ask what is THEIR objective in experimenting on you like this? Just what are THEIR controls? Also, make sure to document your dreams from tonight forward. That’s when they do the really deep experimental work.

  55. Maybe home-fermentation type of something would count? You could even do something or other that would compare the levels of alcohol in the home-made rum, bottom-shelf rum, the good rum and…I don’t know…rubbing alcohol? Sugar water? (I can’t think of EVERYTHING here)
    And then make mojitos and do a taste-test comparison. Er, those of us who are legally of age. OF COURSE.

  56. First, obviously, that response makes anyone with half a brain want to subscribe to Scientific America. Granted, they’d probably say the magazine is written for people with a whole brain. But, they probably don’t care which the subscriber has, as long as he/she pays the whole subscription fee.

    Second, the zombie fungus ants are seriously terrifying. Third, I can totally write a scientific proposal. For real. But I don’t have an experiment to propose. So I propose you and I write it together–you be the ideas, and I’ll be the science-words-and-formatting gal–and then we get them to pick us, and then we become famous scientists who get free drinks. It’s a lot of trouble to go to. But a good free mojito is worth some effort.

  57. Okay, who the fuck has been putting mojitos in my water bottle because Mousebert’s response blew my ever-loving mind! And K, I’m in love with you too…but you still come second to Jenny…sorry. 🙂

  58. I suspect I am not your only follow who is a working scientist and could probably knock something together along these lines.

    I was taught how to make a good mixed drink by the age of seven, which cause the people in the camp site next to us to suggest my mother was abusing me. People are weird.

    Also airport bars in Atlanta don’t stock brandy. And they call themselves civilized.

  59. Steps:
    1. You set up a lab to look like the interior of an isolated wooden cabin.
    2. You go over a basic survival strategy with the kids about what to do in case of a zombie attack.
    3. You leave them alone for 20min with creepy sounds playing.
    4. You have adults dressed as zombies break in and go after the child.

    The Twist:
    In half the cases you have the zombies be the child’s parents.

    See if the threat of the animated, undead flesh of a stranger is more or less threatening to a child than that of a loved-one.

    Wait… I confused “experiments *for* children” with “experiments *on* children” again… never mind.

    I guess they could do exploding volcanoes… only the volcanoes are zombie heads filled with vinegar, and you shoot them with shotgun shells filled with baking soda.

  60. I like going the simple route. Vodka + Orange Juice = Screwdriver. And there is NO controllable environment when mixing mojitos.

  61. Can we include the mixtures of Margaritas and cosmopolitains made with Effin Vodka, too?
    the objective of the experiment, would be to witness the mood of the parents as they continue to taste each mixture, also how quickly the parent can throw it back, and how long the parent can remain standing.
    the controls and variables that you think should be present, would need to be the same amounts of each mixed drink. You can’t compare a 20 oz margarita to a 10 oz Mojito. Parents would have to remain at home during the testing for safety and it might be wise to keep a matress handy for any falling foward or back. Variables could be mom v dad, dad v grandpa.. We may have it here, now

  62. I’ve always liked you as well as mojitos. Now I like scientists too. Apparently I have a lot of love to give.

  63. If you could get them to do some sort of nacho or taquito experiment alongside, I think you would be even better off.


  64. Most awesome reply ever from a purportedly geek magazine. Though I’m thinking the earlier comment was right – Scientific American is conducting its own experiment on you. Or perhaps us. To see how many subscriptions it can get by emailing cheeky replies?

  65. I think a good test would be whether Bob Marley music ACTUALLY becomes more tolerable with increased levels of THC in the bloodstream.

    To do this, we give one group oregano to smoke and the other group weed. Then we let them choose between Bob Marley and, say, Alanis Morrisette or Toby Keith.

    Better yet, tell them they have to pick a new song artist/song everytime they inhale. We’d have hyperventilating super-stoned zombies right in front of us!

    Oh wait, shit, we weren’t trying to CREATE zombies, were we? Shit… Pass the shotgun…

  66. Objective: see if the kid learn to make a good drink for once in her goddamn life.

    Control: order small child to make a mojito. If child asks what a mojito is, scream “Just make it already!” until child makes something. Taste results. (Have ipecac syrup close by) In 15-20 years, review findings with child’s therapist.

    Variable: Sit the child down in a quiet, well-lit room. Explain to the child that there once was a mythical land filled with sugarcane and old cars, a land called Cuba, ruled by a mean ogre who smoked too many cigars. The mean ogre put a curse on the child’s mother that will result in the mother’s death in one hour. The only thing that can save the mother is a magical fairy elixir called a “Moe-Hee-Toe.” This elixir is made from rum and some other crap. I mean, you can tell the child what the other ingredients are, but make sure to emphasize that the rum is really, REALLY important. Mommy will die without it! Send child to store to buy ingredients, and, unless the guy working the register at the liquor store is that Pakistani guy with the cleft palate who’d sell Thunderbird to a fetus, steal the rum. When child comes home, say that mommy is near death. For effect, maybe have a little fake blood dripping from your mouth. Urge child to mix the drink as fast as the wind through the canyons (note: only works if you live near canyons). When the child hands you the drink with trembling hands, gulp it down. Smile. The howl, either in disappointment or joy. Take detailed notes of child’s reaction. In 15-20 years, review findings with child’s therapist.

  67. To be honest. The best thing the future scientists of tomorrow can do at home is watch cosmetic adverts. A lot of science is done in the interpretation of results and many people would be better off reading the small print in beauty ads and realising that “30 out of 38 people agree” means bugger all. You also have to look out for basic errors like “82% of 112 people surveyed” which gives you 91.84 people. Honestly these things happen and if you can spot them you’re well on you way to filtering out all the bunkum from the real information.

  68. The human mind is evolutionarily designed as a pattern-recognition tool. These instincts, present from birth, are modified by environmental contributions such that certain aspects of pattern recognition are enhanced and others disregarded as a growing person learns to adapt to modern society. The desire to investigate, too, is an instinctual psychological property tempered over time. Because both of these skills are vital to the scientific process, it is necessary for career scientists to reawaken those instincts; however, in children, these are naturally present and have not yet been adaptively trained. For this reason, children are the ideal scientists. Their native analytical and intuitive skills are highly beneficial in tackling difficult problems requiring new perspectives; for instance, that of the perfect mojito.

    The mojito is a Cuban highball developed from a historically-popular drink known as “El Draque.” Hypothetically, the ideal mojito contains exactly 40 mL white rum, 30 mL fresh lime juice, 10 g sucrose and filled to volume with carbonated ddH2O. Three (3) sprigs mint coated with additional sucrose are subsequently added to enhance flavour. Children, who are naturally incisive and demanding in their requirements of their environment, are proposed to be the best-fitted instruments for the creation of mojitos. Furthermore, children possess an innate inventiveness that may lead to the development of new and exciting mojito variations. It is therefore hypothesized that minimally training children in the techniques of bartending will yield increased levels of mojito quality and, furthermore, will result in greater overall variation in mojito characteristics.

    The following specific aims are proposed to test this hypothesis:

    1. To provide children with various levels of training in bartending.

    This will evaluate the hypothesis that minimal training permits children to adhere to universal mojito quality standards while still allowing enough native inquisitiveness to yield new and unusual variations on the standard formula. It is expected that those children who receive a brief course of training will demonstrate an optimal cost-benefit ratio.

    2. To assemble a team of trained mojito testers for the evaluation of children’s efforts.

    This will provide a standardized method for the enumeration of mojito quality. The expert team will first devise a novel quantitation scheme for ranking mojitos based on adherence to current protocols as well as de novo improvements on the theme. It is expected that The Bloggess will lead this team and that the new mojito evaluation scheme will become standard in the field.

    3. To mass-produce new mojito variations and examine performance in an in vivo setting.

    Once the initial stages of hypothesis testing have been completed, it is necessary to expand to translational research in mojito applications. Therefore, new mojito variations developed by the sample child-bartender group will be ranked on the aforementioned evaluation scheme and those best suited to further development will be prepared on a large scale. A Phase III trial will be initiated with a random volunteer sample chosen from the general public; these subjects will be provided with the evaluation scale, as well as a rubric on which to rank their own reactions to the mojitos and the long-distance outcomes of their experimentation (i.e., “how they feel the next day”). Data from this trial will be used to form long-term projections and develop a model for the future goals of mojito production.

  69. I just learned that Costco sells a family size supply of freeze dried food and it’s enough to feed a family of four for an entire year. For only $999.99! I want! The sad part is there are five people in our family so somebody doesn’t get to eat but I kind of figured that if the zombie apocalypse does happen there is a good chance one of us doesn’t make it so it’s all good.

    Sorry, I’m no scientist so nothing to offer regarding fancy experiments. 😉

  70. Personally I think Mojitos are so last year. Teach them about the creation of new alcoholic drinks with Vodka Wine. Because Vodka, your wine needs more of it. Especially if you live in Utah like I do. Also, I think our beer would benefit greatly from the addition of the vodka…because your beer could drink my beer under the table.

    …Also, it’s things like vodka that make me wish that we could make ice cubes out of alcohol. Seriously, like, once a day I have the brilliant idea that in order to prevent the watering down of our drinks we should just make vodka cubes. Then I remember that normal people don’t have the equipment to freeze vodka, and I cry a little inside, because scientists continually insist on doing things like curing cancer instead of making it possible for me to have my vodka and freeze it too.

    If I supply the liquor for you to document said experimental process with can I be an honorary honorary scientist? Cause it sounds fair to me….

  71. I don’t know about the process and how to make it work but there is one thing I think should definitely be in there…

    Ensure there are variables… lots and lots of variables. There should be like 50 drinks and each one should have a different ratio of alcohol to other liquids. Then they can measure the effectiveness of each drink on how the parent and their copious amount of friends react to each. Say by creating a chart like so.

    *Low reaction*
    – Slightly raised voice
    – Hazy eyes
    – Slurring of speech
    – Sudden need to sing showtunes
    – Delusions of being an awesome kick ass rockstar
    – Shouting in inaudible sounds about how you’re fine to keep on drinking and you haven’t had enough yet
    – Falling over
    – Incessant laughing at the fact that you or someone around you has seriously hurt themselves
    – Throwing up
    – Passing out in your own vomit
    *High reaction*

    This chart is of course just a first draft and can be altered accordingly.

  72. What I find most amusing is their effort to lure you into their little game by offering to “credit” you and provide a link to your blog….. Big. Fucking. Deal. “Awww shucks, you would provide a link so that the 11.6 people who actually read Scientific American would see my little blog? Count me in!”

    The person who wrote that response should totally get a pay raise TODAY. And the magazine should probably give you a free lifetime subscription. Plus a laboratory of your own. And an assistant. Because this is what is going on over there right now:

    Nerdy IT person: “Great Scott! Will you look at these site stats? We must have gotten Eleventy-thousand hits today. What is going on?!”

    Cheeky person who responded to Jenny: “Oh, no big deal, I just got *The Bloggess* to write about us.”

    Nerdy IT person: “What the fuck is “The Bloggess”?”

    Cheeky person who responded to Jenny: “Have you even HEARD of the internet?”

  73. That’s awesome they responded like that instead of just deleting it! I think you’d make a rockin’ scientist and I think a lab coat with The Bloggess stitched beautifully above the pocket would so suit you!

  74. And here I thought the time I’ve been forced to spend slaving away learning stupid research methods was wasted. Little did I know that it was all just to groom me to help with MOJITO EXPERIMENTS!

    I also happen to have a kick ass mojito recipe. One so good, all the manly men drank girly drinks at my wedding. If you could help fund a lifetime of mojitos for me, I could write up your research proposal.

    Even trade.

  75. I’d love to see how many drinks it takes to make that chick that thinks she can sing like Carrie Underwood actually sing like Carrie Underwood at my local bar.
    And I got the BEST bartender to do it with! But she lives here in SoCal.

  76. Will the fun ever stop? To help you along, here’s a shithot guide to writing a scientific paper.

  77. That is the best response letter! I write letters on my boss’s behalf all the time and they always follow the same format. Just once, I would like to break free of the mold and do something like this. Too bad I like my paycheck…

  78. Scientific American, you’ve been upgraded to Awesome. You’re at least acknowledging the Zombie Apocalypse.

  79. Dontcha know? Just answer those ads for how to get free money from the government! Then you will learn how to write a scientific proposal!

    OK, actually, you can take courses in grantsmanship from many a university, or go to meetings sponsored by various government agencies. See, for example, http://www.sbir.gov. (I’m surprised that Obama has not made this sort of thing a “shovel ready project.”)

  80. I think I may currently be involved in a liquid science experiment for children, and by children I, of course, mean my lovely, child-like husband. It involves a wet washcloth, some sort of plant matter from our garden and a cool corner of my bathroom. So far, it’s been 5 days and I haven’t seen any movement or growth BUT, I’m quite certain it’s just a matter of time.

  81. Jenny, I can TOTALLY help you with your science project as my 12 year old just learned about the Scientific Method this year. First, we need a HYPOTHESIS…or was that a HYPODERMIC? HYPOCHONDRIA? Shit, I always confuse these. Maybe if I wasn’t always black-out drunk when I helped my kid with his homework…but what fun would that be? And maybe if my kids could mix a perfect mojito in the first place I wouldn’t have to resort to straight vodka. Stupid kids.

  82. Excellent response from Scientific American!

    As for kids learning how to mix mojitos… Please. In Britain, my high-school Chemistry class was taught how to *distil* alcohol – and encouraged by the teacher to drink it. And I don’t mean tiny little drops, either. We were 15-16 at the time. Ah, good times.

  83. Title: Effects of Ethanol, Menthol, Citric acid, and Sucrose on maternal affection.

    Objective: The cocktail known as the “mojito” produces an anecdotally intense burst of goodwill and enthusiasm in the maternal parent. We here seek to determine which primary ingredient of the mojito: ethanol, menthol extractive, citric acid, or sucrose is responsible for this effect, or whether all four ingredients must be present in a defined molar ratio.
    Assay: A properly mixed mojito (following Mellema et al., 2007) will be served to the maternal parent. Resulting ebullience will be assessed after a 30 minute interval by (1) number of ensuing hugs, (2) number of chores forgiven, and (3) quantity of show tunes spontaneously sung.
    Controls: The effects of the mojito will be compared quantitatively with those of:
    a) ethanol alone (2 ounces rum)
    b) menthol alone (raw mint)
    c) citric acid alone (lime juice, straight up)
    d) sucrose alone (2 TBSP table sugar)
    Each will be applied to the parent forcibly and in quick succession so as not to introduce variables such as time of day, degree of restedness or hunger. The effect of each on maternal esteem will be assayed as above. The experiment will be repeated daily until statistically significant results (p=<0.05) can be compiled.

  84. Oh gosh, I want to read all the comments but there’s too many.

    I have a BSc so should be able to help you with that, but most of my ideas have the risk of accidentally murdering your child, so… I’ll just help with the process of making your mojito thing sound more like an experiment.

    I didn’t do this until high school, but you could teach Hailey about pH (acidity) by making your own flower petal indicator.

    Get a few petals from the same kind and colour of flower, crush them in a mortar and pestle with a little water. There’s your indicator.

    In clear or white containers (to make the colours easy to see) put one with something acidic (e.g. white vinegar), one with water, and one with something basic (e.g. calcium tablet, bi carb soda). Add a little of your indicator to each and you should see a colour change in at least one of them.

    You can use that to get a rough idea of pH in other things, including your garden soil (especially if you use hydrangeas).

    Milk, food colouring and dish-washing liquid to demonstrate surface tension, and a whole bunch of things I’ve learnt from science books (from kids’ to university) and programs like “Backyard Science” (which you probably don’t get).

    I’d go for something that involves burning (adult supervision, of course), because real scientists don’t use bunsen burners anywhere near as much as we’d like to. Calories in food (the longer it stays burning, the less you should probably eat it)?

  85. So…that was awesome…no, really, it was a perfectly apropos response to your proposal, and now i have two new things to be concerned about…nuclear wolves!?! And some kind of ZOMBIE FUNGUS ANTS!!! Jesus, people, how do you expect me to sleep an night?! Please send anti-anxiety medication and sleeping pills in mass quantities…and please hurry.

  86. First, you had me at battle axes. Second, I got a pre-med kid who works at an Organic chem lab at Duke and I’m totally putting her to work on this. Unfortunately, she’s running around Greece right now but will eventually sober up and come home. She knows all about zombies, insects, drinking and weapons as she is a Ninja so I’m sure she can write something “smart” up.

    Damn…I never get shit like this via email. RoadRunner sucks…

  87. I just googled “scientific proposal” and here are the steps, including my scientific comments:

    Contents of a proposal:
    A Summary – best written after the following is written. (*duh*)
    An Introduction giving a brief statement of why the area of study is important. (duh again)
    A brief explanation of the work previously done, emphasizing why it is inadequate. (this is the best part)
    An explanation of how the research you propose would advance knowledge beyond the condition in the previous item.
    An explanation of the research you plan to do.
    A statement of the specific hypothesis or hypotheses you will test.
    An explanation of how your research will specifically disprove, or fail to disprove, the hypothesis or hypotheses.
    A budget itemized to explain the need for the funding that you are requesting. (NICE!)
    A justification of the budget to show that all the requests are reasonable. (Don’t even humor them with a justification.)
    A timetable to show how you plan to accomplish the work. ( a timetable should be fun to draw)
    A bibliography of the references cited in the proposal.

  88. Am now obsessed with the thought that the zombie fungus ants might make their way to the nuclear wolves and the fungus that controls the ants might decide to attack the wolves, making zombie nuclear wolves.

    We. Are. So. Fucked.

    Thanks Jenny, now I won’t sleep tonight, or if I do, the dreams I have will wake me up screaming…

  89. Their response has made me so happy. And here I was fretting about my possible job loss as the state government slashes over 50% of my University’s funding. Oh. Now I’ve been reminded of that.

    Thea: think happy thoughts about scientists with mojitos and zombie fungus ants. Happy thoughts. HAPPY THOUGHTS. Or remind oneself that earlier today you tried to cheer yourself up by watching Hunger, a film about a group of prisoners who starve themselves to death in attempt to (amongst other things) gain access to their civilian clothes. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE…or was it?

  90. okay, seriously. between the nuclear wolves and zombie fucking ants, i’m terrified.

    also, i was thinking about making a little vest for jean-louis. i miss him and am demanding new photos. in a nice, politely demanding way.

  91. Did you see the Zombie Ants EYES!?! For crying out loud, I was scared down to my toenails! I’m going to be having nightmares about that tonight!

    If you want to get your name in the mag (which would be wicked cool) you could write a short experiment about Haloclines. Basically it is the blurry layer between Salt and Fresh water. All a kid would need is a fish bowl half filled with salt water and a pitcher full of fresh water. Mix. The fresh water should settle to the top and the salt to the bottom, clearly demonstrating a Halocline (like when a lake or river meets the ocean). It’s pretty neat, especially when you’re a kid. You can rock the fish bowl back and forth and see the fluid swirl with different densities.

  92. “…Because they sound scary as shit.”

    I just spit my child-made mojito all over my computer screen. (Now with 30% more child!)

  93. I’ve tried for years to convince people that we scientists are lots of fun! I love their response back!

    I have a PhD in genetics, so feel free to ask for my help if you want to design any genetics experiments, such as to clone zombie monkeys that will make you mojitos.

    If you enjoy reading about the zombie fungus ants, you might want to check out the Annals of Improbable Research or “AIR” here http://improbable.com/. They report on real research projects that sound bizarre, stupid, and funny. They also hold the “Ig Nobel” awards ceremony annually to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”

  94. Can’t help with the scientific proposal… (in school, my idea of a science project was a Play-Do model of a strip mine).

    But speaking as a former plumber, I hope EVERYONE heeds your warning about keeping explosives away from bathroom fixtures. Aside from jacking up the pipes, flying projectile porcelain is nothing to scoff at, yo.

  95. We need to settle once and for all whether Pepsi, Coke, Pepsi Max, or Coke Zero does the most damage to teeth.

    Stick some caveman teeth in four glasses, each filled with one of the liquids, and take density measurements or something after a while.

    Why caveman teeth? Because I’m pretty sure they don’t need them. And if they do ned them, then that’s because they are ZOMBIE cavemen, and fuck those guys. They can try to gum my brains out.

  96. I’d like someone to scientifically prove the existence of writer’s guilt. I will happily volunteer to be a subject. Though I guess it would defeat the purpose if it really is just in my own head.

  97. “…if you flush a lit M-80 down the toilet it will fuck. up. your plumbing…”

    It also doesn’t do the poor dude sitting on the toilet at the time a whole hell of a lot of good either. And, it is a good way to attract the attention of the authorities – especially when the person on the commode is the son of the Israeli ambassador, and it is, like, a week after the Yom Kippur War…


  98. This is so very cool that you must submit an experiment. How could you not? There’s just really no choice. I wish I was smarter than you and could advise you on the proper way to do this…but everyone already knows I’m not. All I know is…you MUST become a professional scientist immediately.

  99. Scientific American is SMART.

    They just scored a huge free ad for themselves, and all they had to do was fein interest in your idea. So THAT’S how scientists get laid -just like I do at a bar “Of course I want to hear more about your cats. Another shot first?”

  100. Combine it with studies of the effects of mojitos on the brain, and you’ve got some neuroscience in there too. This is sounding like quite the money maker.

  101. Kids should totally learn how to make mojitos. I mean, that’s why we have them, right? To get free labor? I mean, why else would anyone want to have children?

    And, just FYI, those zombie ants are scary as shit.

    All joking aside, I write instructional articles for a living and have some experience writing these kinds of articles. If Scientific American would like to contact me to outline children’s experiments for them, I would love to do so at my normal rates.

  102. Don’t give up hope on this idea, once in elementary school I was supposed to complete a scientific experiment by turning grapes into raisins- OR SO THEY SAID. But those raisins were gross, even the birds did not try to steal them. Accordingly, I think the whole raisin thing was a coverup and am convinced that I was really supposed to turn water into wine. Practically the same thing.

  103. Also, I applaud your Scientific American Endeavors because I use Scientific American and anything by the late great Hunter S. Thompson to thwart human interaction when I time travel or take aeroplanes. the minute the smelly fat maroon next to me starts talking about the grand children I delicately place my book and magazine on my tray table and ask if SheHe saw the bats. I am sure we could train kids to do this and turn it into some sort of experiment. you know, as a follow up to the mohito making.

  104. I missed the whole radioactive wolves thing the first go-round. My first thought was, what about radioactive WEREWOLVES!

  105. Props to SA for 1) ultra cool choice of potential respondents for design of scientific studies, 2) ultra cool response to same, and 3) calling attention to the threat of zombie fungus ants. Who knew?

  106. In my old lab, we would get requests all the time to help some kid figure out a science fair project. My favorite thing to make them do is take swab samples from various places and streak them out on nutrient agar plates to see what kind of shit grows. The bottoms of shoes are disgusting. Kids usually like disgusting science fair projects.

  107. An quantitative experiment to measure the degree of pleasure of the imbiber after sampling a number of alcoholic beverages known as mojitos. The controls will be trained bar staff with standard mojito ingredients and the condition will be a bar. The variables will be a variety of different strengths of alcohol of different names. The results will be measured in a simple response form with extra weight given to those drinks that render the drinker incapable of marking their score themselves.

    Sorted, now, back to those funny guy ants.

  108. (1) Don’t forget that Scientific American has a history of “Contests that push the envelope of awesomeness”, such as the “International Paper Airplane Competition” from 1966.

    (2) The practical way to connect alcoholic beverages with science is through solubility experiments. I recently did this experiment with my 5-year-old and 7-year-old:
    (a) Get 5 sugar cubes
    (b) Put each one in a glass
    (c) Get an eyedropper
    (d) Drop 20 drops of different liquids onto each of the sugar cubes, e.g. juice, water, rum, vodka, and isopropyl alcohol. (Don’t mix the liquids.)
    (e) Wait about 5 minutes and then see what happens to the sugar cubes. Which one dissolved? What’s the difference between water and isopropyl alcohol and juice? (Actually the difference between cranberry juice and Chivas Regal is dramatic, according to our experimental results. Would you like to duplicate them?)
    (d) Add some water to the fruit juice glasses. Stir. That’s for the kids. Drink up! Put everything else except for the isopropyl alcohol into your glass. Add other liquids that you like (maple syrup, other kinds of juice, whatever). Drink up! Everyone’s happy. If you like, you can use more glasses and try the same experiments with salt and other kinds of cubic crystals. Not as much fun though.

  109. to help you I decided to brainstorm by drinking mojitos but didn’t have the stuff so just drank whiskey and now I’m drunk.

    Also my cats are meowing a lot and I think they may be discussing what nuclear wolves will do to me some day.

  110. Jenny, this just sums up in one post why I fucking love you. A great response and a great response BACK! Epic! Yay Scientific American!

  111. Who needs to be a doctor to get the white coat gear? I field offers every day to be stretchered off in one. There are some cute ones now that tie your hands under your vagina. When in Rome…

  112. I think we should try to clone James Garfield. Surely there’s some good DNA left in his head somewhere?

    Then maybe cross the re-animated piglets with the zombie fungus ants and voila! ZOMBIE JAMES GARFIELD ARMY set on world domination!! Which would make it a much more fun Zombie Apacolypse because seriously, J.G.’s like a party animal so how dangerous could a zombified clone army of J.G.’s really be?

  113. I was playing Scrabble with the husband and he REFUSED to accept mojito as a word. I refused to accept stuff from him later, if you know what I mean. [I mean the sex, in case you were wondering.]

    Also, I am not a scientist, but I would play one on t.v., so I’ll go ahead and get started on the mojito proposal. My hair is already of Einstein proportions, so I’m up on points already.

  114. all of this mojito and experimentation talk leads me to whole bunches of other childy experiments…

    -how to revive mommy from a simple xanax overdose, in 3 easy steps.
    -what happens when you take the neighborhood golf cart joyriding at midnight – a.k.a. intro to Juvie 101
    -condoms make wonderful water balloons – using condom/lube, size, ribbing and shape variables
    -lighting a cigarette in your middle school math class – lessons in day care for the middle schooler.

    and may I boldly say that I LURVE me some skinny malinki? I sorely needed that laugh today!

  115. If you are mixing mojitos in test tubes, beakers, flasks, petri dishes (really whatever science-y type shit you can acquire), you ARE DOING SCIENCE.

    And I’m a real scientist. Like lab coat, gloves, and everything. “Casey, R&D Immunoassay Scientist” – No shit, that’s my title.

    And you can’t disagree with a scientist…because we do SCIENCE…


  116. Here’s an actual experiment we did as kids in Junior High.

    Smoking Banana Peels

    Purpose: To get high, and save money. There is an added bonus of reusing waste materials, thereby saving the environment. (This might be considered a “green” experiment. Well, except for the smoking part. Ok, so it’s a “partial green” experiment.)

    Control: None needed. You’re getting high. Hopefully.

    1. Eat some bananas, set the peels aside.
    2. Scrap the peels, cut into long, small, strips, and bake them in the oven at about 300 degrees 9oven temperatures and baking times may vary). (I don’t remember for how long, I was probably high at the time.)
    3. Once they’re dried out from the oven, crumble the pieces into smaller pieces easy to roll.
    4. With rolling papers, roll the dried banana peels, and smoke.

    Follow-up Questions:
    1. Did you get high?
    2. How did it feel?
    3. Did you commit any crimes while you were high? Did you want to?
    4. Would you do it again? (The banana peels, not the crimes.)

    Source: American educational system. I learned this in school.

  117. Ah, yes, the zombie fungus. There was an episode of the X-Files that used them for inspiration. Of course, that one affected humans, and one of them handcuffed himself to Scully right before he was about to “release his spores.” That sounds dirty, right? WRONG. That means his neck and cranium were about to explode in a cloud of not-sexy mind-controlling death spores.

    I had a thought about a mojito-inspired experiment, specifically the simple syrup part, you know, how you can dissolve more sugar into hotter liquids than you can into cool liquids? And how you can force them to be sudenly un-dissolve when it cools? Kinda boring, but, hey! Sugar!

    I proudly admit I have a subscription to Scientific American, and even though on a good day I have about 50% to 60% of a brain, it’s a good read, and I always feel like I’m able to nudge up to 75% if I can read through a whole article and get the gist. Also, its optimism is a good ballast to The Economist , which makes me want to just give up, after/if I can get through it.

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  119. you do realize that BSH (experiments) stands for bullshit right?

    PS if I ever get divorce I am asking for the details of the guy who wrote back to you. Gotta love a smart man with a sense of humour

  120. Dear Bloggess,
    As an honest-to-goodness real scientist (Ph.D., lab coat, and all) and longtime subscriber to SciAm, I fully endorse your mojito experiment. In fact, due to poor planning on my part and awesomeness on yours, I would like to assign this project to my summer undergrad, with your blessing, of course. Because grant writing is SOOO much less painful after a mojito. Or four.

    Yours truly,
    Dr. Bones
    Orthopedic Tissue Engineer

  121. I totally happen to know a real live biologist AND an actual chemist, that smokes a lot of pot but I think that that would only strengthen their proposal skills in this area. The biologist was willing to help me write a grant proposal to gather funds for an experiment dealing with “Which Liquor Will Turn Heather Into A Raging Thunder Cunt”, but more professional sounding, so I think she’d be on board with this one. If the best shoes come from the tiny, overworked hands of children, I can’t wait to experience Sweat Shop Brand Mojitos. And there goes a new t-shirt idea for you. Proceeds can be paid to me via the “I’m Broke As Shit” Paypal donation button on my page.

  122. I have a liquids experiment I used to do with my sixth graders.

    Materials: 3 large, clear-glass containers. Tall drinking glasses work great; water, dark food coloring, red green or blue.

    Control: one glass should be filled with room temperature water.

    The second glass should be filled with very hot, nearly boiling water, and the third should be filled with cold water and put in the freezer for 40-45 minutes. It won’t freeze over in that amount of time, but will get down to about 40 degrees F.

    Line up the three glasses with different water temperatures, and add two drops of food coloring to each. (It helps if you have a white backdrop, like a piece of paper taped to the wall behind the glasses). Do NOT stir!

    The food coloring makes it possible to see that the more thermal energy present, the faster the water molecules move, and that even molecules with very little thermal energy are STILL moving.

    A great extension is to put a drop of food coloring on the top of an ice cube, and put it back into the freezer overnight. The molecules in the ice cube are still moving, and the food coloring will have moved partway into the ice cube, and will keep moving!

    This is totally NOT in keeping with the funky nature of the rest of the comments, but I am such a geek, I’d love to have my name mentioned in S.A.!

  123. Wow Scientific American totally rocks!
    I actually do wear a lab coat for work and when no one is looking I turn it around so the buttons do up the back. Not all scientists are geeks – honest!
    I have to go now and write a research paper on the probability of nuclear wolves proliferation and control development.

  124. Hey angelica –
    It wasn’t a guy who responded from Scientific American –
    it was my daughter –
    and she is funny and awesome.

  125. “Unfortunately, all I know about science is that if you flush a lit M-80 down the toilet it will fuck. up. your plumbing.”

    This is now one of my new favorite quotes. 🙂

  126. I don’t remember much chemistry, but I do look good in white.
    Can I still be a professional scientist with you?
    Will we get certificates suitable for framing or is it just the coat?

  127. you are a bad ass in a white coat.

    after you’ve worked out the proper mojito business, could you move on and teach my child how to make a perfect gin & tonic?

  128. Just wait until Hailey starts high school and then be sure she takes a food science class. My 16 year old’s class required them to make a 4 course meal from scratch (and do all the dishes afterwards). She asked us what we wanted to drink and I said Mojitos!! So she learned to make virgin Mojitos and Mommy is so proud!

  129. Zombie ants are REAL! I read about it at Sprocket Ink. Okay, not the same thing as a scientific magazine, but I did read about them. You should definitely send in a recipe with instructions for children.

    Also? You should publish a book of the letters you have written and the responses you have received. You are welcome in advance for the brilliant idea.

  130. I am so late to the game, here, but I loved the email messages so much that I couldn’t help but generate a plausible kiddie experiment.

    The Smashability Factor of Delicious Candy

    Experiment: Compare a large variety of small delicious candies on their smashability.

    1. To prepare our kiddies of today to fight in the Zombie Fungus Ant Wars of tomorrow
    2. To smash things
    3. To get sugar highs off candy and call it learning

    Control: Gummy Bears. Definitely not smashable and so they warrant a zero on the smashability scale.

    Variables: Any different types of candies you choose. Candies like Skittles and M&Ms, while delicious, might not rate as highly on the smashability scale as peanut brittle, so peanut brittle would be a must in my book. Milk Duds might be duds.

    Tools: A child-safe hammer (e.g., wooden or plastic) and a hard surface (e.g., counter or tile surface). Keep in mind that, if you use the floor, you won’t get to eat the results while Mom and Dad are watching.

    Procedure: Smash the little candy pieces, one type of candy at a time, with as much force as you can muster. Remember we are preparing for war, here, and you must be vigilant, even with candy.

    Be sure to ask your little brother or sister to hold the candy in place as you smash. They will probably only volunteer to help you once, so make sure your first shot is full of awesome, Thor-like power!

    Give each type of candy a smashability factor value, on a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 being Gummy Bears and 10 possibly being peanut brittle.

    Eat the pieces.

    Once you have scaled at least five varieties of candy, move on to Zombie Fungus Ants. Sadly, you might have to forego having little bubba or sissy hold the ants because if the ants infect a family member, you’ll be forced to do some hammer-time on the most unfortunate sibling, which could get you in trouble with Mom and Dad.

    Give each ant a smashability factor, an oozability factor, and a splatter factor. Each ant has three factors: three for the price of one.

    Eat the pieces. Ooo, wait, no! Don’t eat the pieces!!!

  131. Um… it’s all well and good to fear the zombie fungus ants, but what about the MIND CONTROLLING FUNGUS that infects the ants? I mean, we all know about ants. They basically like to eat your leftover food. Not that different from dogs really. But what do we really know about the aspirations of fungi? They clearly want to take over the world. Using ants. But THEN WHAT? Google it, people.

  132. Um, I am so going to write you a proposal. I hope it’s not too late. It’s gonna take me a bit… but it’s now my next writing project.

    This is awesome.

  133. Mix: 2 toddlers
    1 shot of espresso, left negligently on the counter where my kids could find (and drink) it
    7 frogs, happily eating bugs on our front porch
    1 butterfly net
    1 bucket
    6 rocks

    And you’d think they would make this little home in the bucket for all these frogs, right? Thats nice, if you put the rocks in the bucket FIRST. Otherwise, you get squished frog stew on your front porch, and you have to have that awkward conversation about death, heaven, and rigor mortis with your kids.

  134. Okay, I’m sure this has been said already, BUT as a student in a STEM field, I can tell you that the ONLY requirement to wear a lab coat is to have a lab coat in your possession and to put it on. Really. Plus, even if you don’t personally own one, many labs just sort of keep some spares around.

  135. I am a 4th grade teacher and would LOVE for you to do a science lesson on the perfect mojito. I think that we could also integrate math into the lesson with ratios of rum to mint. I am positive there would be staff involvement.

    Love the blog. Knock knock, motherfucker. I NEED my own personal Beyonce for my desk.

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