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Unpopular Science

15 Apr

April 15, 2015

A couple of issues back, Popular Science (their motto: we’re not really popular, we just have a big ego) published an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft. For those of you not in the know, DIY means “do it yourself,” which is what I plan to tell my kids someday.

So “Hey,” I thought. “I always wanted to ride around in a hovercraft.” So I read a little further and found that it was an article about how to build a DIY hovercraft out of a pair of paper plates.

Clearly I was not going to do much hovering on that.

But hey, I kept reading and for sure, I learned a few things.

1- I would need to go out and buy three small fans (with particular wiring requirements)
2- I would have to use a drill and attach the fans with certain screws that I would also have to buy somewhere to the paper plates.
3- I repeat- I would be using a power tool to put a tiny hole in a paper plate. Isn’t a safety pin good enough?

I already had the paper plates, but I did not have the fans with the particular wiring requirements, the right size screws, a bracket to hold the batteries, or the technical ability to follow the directions.

Making the “hovercraft,” and I use the term loosely as it is made of paper plates, required following a complex schematic and some precision drilling. And what did the article say I would end up with? I am paraphrasing, but it more or less said that I’d end up with an expensive paper plate that hovered an inch or two off the ground.

I’d get better results with a Frisbee and a dog in the park.

The month before, Popular Science had the directions to build some DIY electronic thing that had more warnings than your average Fukushima reactor. And what did it do? It was an umbrella stand that lit up when it was rainy out. Seriously.

Here is the actual hovercraft diagram from the magazine:

supplies-hovercraft

Helpful, isn’t it?

And here’s an actual step from the directions:

Saw two corners off each fan case, leaving the wired corner and the one opposite attached. Arrange the fans inside the top plate as in step 1, and pass nylon screws, from below, through the eight mounting holes in both the top plate and the fans.

Note that I have to use a saw to lop off part of the fans. For a paper plate toy!

I’m not sure this is worth losing a thumb over.

On their site you can also find an article on, and I swear I am not making this up, how to build a laser-sighted blowgun for only $3. What could possibly go wrong?

Planning Ahead For Summer

14 Apr

April 14, 2015

I’ve been thinking about how to spend my summer vacation. (I need something cool to write for my “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay when I go back to school in September. Man, fifth grade is going to be tough.) I’ve decided that I’m going to make a movie.

I’m not worried about the little details. I’m sure things like dialogue and plot will come to me as I go along. I’m worried about the important issues, like how many guys in gorilla suits I’ll need, and how much gratuitous nudity can I convince the actresses to do? (This brings up a good point- I may need to buy a casting couch.)

Anyway, I don’t know what kind of movie I’m going to make, but I’m sure it will be cool. I’m going to have Kung Fu fighting gorillas, some sort of space monster with a million eyes, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Jennifer Lawrence.

QUESTIONS:

As the filmmaker, do I have to supply the popcorn to the movie theater, or do they have some sort of deal with Jiffy Pop? (And as the movie maker, can I get a kickback? Just a few bucks on every bag of popcorn sold will do.)

Where can I buy those really big reels they put the film on? And where do I get film anyway? Best Buy only sells digital cameras, no film needed. I could shoot it all on my iPhone, but I don’t want to have to pass it around to everyone in the theater when it comes time to show it.

When I go to the Academy Awards, do I have to walk down the red carpet or can I go in the back? I really don’t want the paparazzi asking me embarrassing questions, like how much I spend on my sneakers.

See you at the show!

director

More Snappy Answers To Newser Headlines, Again

13 Apr

April 13, 2015

Hi gang! And I mean that literally. A big “hi and hello” to the Satanic Ugnaughts, a biker gang in Muncie Indiana. Their leader, Big Stan Satan, writes me every week. Unfortunately, I can’t share any of his comments, they may incriminate him. Anyway, here it is, another installment of Snappy Answers To Newser Headlines. As usual, the last time I did this, I was swamped with responses!

“Cease and desist.” -Newser
“Cease and desist.” -Abrams and Smith, attorneys for Newser Inc.

And here are the newest headlines. I can’t wait  to read your raves!

n1

“Russia Hackers Had Access to Obamas Schedule”

The White House has now given more Presidential access to the Russians than it has to the Republicans.

n2

“Dr. Andre Van Der Merwe says patient’s life was ‘just Hell'”

Sure, but imagine the poor Doctor, having to explain to people what he does for a living. “I’m a penis transplant surgeon!” Well, at least he has piles of cash to console himself with.

n3

“Kansas Bill: No Welfare Cash at Movies, Psychics”

What, no more welfare money for psychics? Someone should have seen that one coming.

n4

“Judge: Go Ahead, Serve Divorce Papers on Facebook”

Why not? It’s probably the cause of the divorce anyway

n5

“Rare Black Flamingo Seen In Cyprus.
It’s hard to miss among its peers”

Minutes later it was shot by the police.

Cyprus Black Flamingo

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