Science

On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin conducted his experiment with electricity and the kite. He invented the lightening rod.

I never could understand why my cousin Carol and and her husband had all theses lightening rods on the roof of their very old farm house in Pipestone County.  Why would you want to attract lightening?

I avoided hard science classes in High School and college at all costs. Now, I regret it. I wish I knew more of Physics. I think Physics is a way to understand God. What a coward I was!

What are you experiences in science classes?  What about kites?

42 thoughts on “Science”

  1. i have a friend who is a genius i liked to study chemistry with in high school
    every monday there was a test on the next chapter. the test was 25 questions with 4 extra credit questions at the end that you could answer for potential 20 bonus points.
    we studied at embers restaurant every sunday night until we could answer all the questions at the end of the chapter in the text book. it took a couple hours every week and first thing monday morning we would take the test. i did well and about 3 weeks before the school year ended the chemestry teacher asked me why i was still coming to class seeing as i couldn’t pass the class. i asked what he meant and pointed out that my test scores had me leading the school with a 116 point average and he stated that i had not documented my lab time correctly and because of this he would not give me the a i deserved.
    i realized at this point the science world was not for me. a little to between the lines. i enjoyed the order to the structure of science and with the proper guidance and a little creative flexibility in using the structure maybe me and einstein could have shared more than a hairdo

    Liked by 4 people

  2. kite runner by khaled hosseini is marvelous read
    a wordsmith

    i tried flying a kite with my daughters in the road in front of our house 3 or 4 weeks ago. fun but no such luck. we needed to walk 3 blocks to the open area where the wind could be fully embraced instead of glimpsed in the front yard.

    i love the feeling of getting a kite in the air. it’s such a spiritual lift. maybe today is the day

    it’s wednesday and that is the day i get to have a grandpa day with ari

    i predict a wet kite flying day

    thanks for planting the seed renee

    how do you attach the keys?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I was on the wrong side of the gender divide for science in my early years. I was a very good student of Biology especially, getting all A’s early on. Earth Science, the 8th grade intro into geology, I also found very interesting, doing well in that subject. Then things went haywire.

    The 10th grade biology teacher would stand behind the girls and rub their backs and play with the bra lines, especially if a girl was large-breasted. He left me alone, probably because he was afraid of my mother, a notorious teacher in the same school system, and my uncle who taught history in the school, but he was not a good teacher, failing to engage me, so I got Bs and Cs in that class. The chemistry teacher was probably autistic, He also failed to engage me in chemistry at all, so my dismal slide into the humanities continued, where I shone.

    Then came the ACT tests in October, 1970. No one emphasizes these tests much unless you were a smart boy headed for a prestigious college. (I may have told this story here before. Sorry). Everyone in town knew I was headed for the local college (where I did not want to go, but my assistance with dad was needed at home). I did very well on the ACTs, scoring highly in math and science—I had not studied or prepared. I did not know what the numbers meant. Because I was a girl, little was expected of me in these areas. The school guidance counselor called me into his office where he demanded to know how I got these scores—they were higher than anyone elses’ scores in my class, Including The Boys! He accused me of cheating. I just answered the questions. I had not cheated.

    Several years ago I found the results. Math and Science: 33. English and Social Studies: 26 for a composite of 29. I took the test cold. I could have gone anywhere to college or done anything. But instead I was accused of cheating.

    My relationship with science has been poor after these experiences.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sorry to hear of your school experience, Jacque. Yet another reason why we’re long overdue to put women in charge of this country. So much talent and potential has been wasted over the centuries.

      Chris

      Liked by 5 people

  4. The traditional kite is often called a diamond kite, although to some persnickety types it is an eccentric quadrilateral. It is hands-down the trickiest type of kite to fly. Diamond kites don’t perform well in light wind, and they are unstable until you get the tail just right. If you think flying kites is hard, you probably have only known this type of kite.

    The easiest kite to fly is the delta kite. Deltas soar in light breezes, and all are easy to fly. A good supplier is Into the Wind Kites. intothewind.com/ Deltas start at less than $5. If your view of kite flying is the frustration depicted in Peanuts cartoons, do yourself a favor by getting a delta.

    I’ll return later with a comment on science.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I had all the requirements for a biology major in college, but I was too afraid of taking the Chemistry 101 class necessary for the major. But for my fear, I would have had a triple major in Psychology, Social Work, and Biology. Instead, Biology was a minor.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Some forms of science are abstract and mathematical, especially chemistry and physics. Because I have always been inept at math and abstract thought, I spent fifty years thinking I hated science. That was totally wrong, I now know.

    Ironically, the best selling book I ever wrote was scientific. The book I wrote about wolf restoration has been used as a text in science classes. Now I’m in the odd position now of embracing science because it is opposed by ideological people who have contempt for research and fact-based science.

    Science, ultimately, comes down to asking questions and letting evidence supply the answers. To do science well, one needs to ask questions and answer them in a disciplined way that allows facts to emerge. What it took for me to respect science was asking questions about human and animal behavior. That was always fascinating for me, but I didn’t appreciate the fact it was science.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It has been my opinion for some time that often the “Scientific Method,” which is the primary focus in teaching science, takes all the joy out of science and discouraged too many students from pursuing it.

      Like

      1. I’m not sure what you think my views are of “survival of the fittest.” That phrase was badly misconstrued late in the 19th century and used to excuse rapacious capitalism (which is something I emphatically don’t endorse). People once thought the phrase meant the biggest, strongest, meanest critters should prevail. Actually, it means nature favors those who are most perfectly fit to do well in their environment. They are “fit” because they fit in. I like that.

        Like

  7. Our high school chemistry teacher would brave blizzards to check on his store of chemicals to make sure volatile stuff like sodium didn’t freeze in the water it was stored in, the frozen water breaking the jar, and exposing it to oxygen in the air and start the school on fire.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A friend of some friends of mine had a lightning strike on his house last summer. It started a fire on the second floor and knocked out his phones. He happens to live a half a block from a fire station, so he ran to the station to get help.

    Fortunately he had good homeowner’s insurance – they paid for a rental house for him to live in while his was being rehabbed, and they paid for his possessions to be cleaned and restored from the smoke and water damage.

    A lightning rod wouldn’t be a bad idea. I wonder why you don’t see them in the city?

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I did well in science (DId well in all classes, actually–I was a brainy nerd, I guess.) LOVED Chemistry. Biology? Meh. I just remember the smell of formaldehyde in the classroom. Physics was the toughest HS class I had. Worked my butt off to get a B.

    Flying kites? I always had the cheap diamond kites as a kid, and as Steve mentioned, they’re nearly impossible to fly unless the tail’s right, and my tails were never right. Didn’t fly too many in my youth.

    I’m always puzzled why so many people that science and math have to practical uses in adult life. Are you kidding me?? I think it was more like lousy teachers and inept teaching methods that turned kids off to STEM subjects. Math is needed every day in our lives and gets increasingly more complex. But I don’t wonder why so many people live paycheck to paycheck if they can’t be bothered to balance a checkbook, add up their monthly expenses to find out where their money’s going, comparison shop to get the best quality at the lowest price, figure out how much interest they can save on refinancing a mortgage, etc.

    And if you play sports of any kind, it’s all physics and geometry. Golf is an incredible discipline for those two, as well as sidetracks into mental health, psychology, and economics (how much money can I possibly lose on a $2 Nassau if my handicap is X, my partners is Y, and our opponents’ handicaps are J and V (I like to use the rare variables.)

    Force equals Mass times Acceleration. Add in higher launch angles and you get more carry. Tee it high, let it fly, balls goes farther, score goes lower. Putting! Where’s the fall line (the line on which the ball will roll straight downhill) on the green? Can I visualize the parabolic curve the ball will trace if I hit it with F amount of force and start it on a certain path? How thick is the rough? How much will it cause the clubhead to decelerate. Should swing faster or use a club for more distance and swing normal? Endless number of possibilities that keep your brain working nonstop.

    Life without science and math? Impossible to live well.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  10. One reason our society is so poor at science is that science is so badly taught. This is an old story. For one thing, anyone who enjoys science can make far more money using that talent in industry rather than by teaching science.

    In high school, my daughter had a science teacher who knew nothing about science and basically found it terrifying. She struggled through classes with the help of prepackaged kits meant to illustrate different scientific principles. This poor woman would open a kit at the start of the class, trembling with fear, and then try to follow the instructions. She had some spectacular failures, which should not have surprised anyone. She was a social science grad who was pressured into teaching a class no other teacher wanted to do. She was a science teacher because she had no seniority and could not avoid this assignment.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m commenting too often, but your reference to an “insect collection” brought back a vivid memory. In about 4th grade we were assigned to prepare insect collections. Most of us mounted our insects on pins thrust into cigar boxes. On the day we displayed our collections, one girl created a riot when she opened her cigar box. Just about every insect in her collection was still alive, although with a pin through it. Butterflies wobbled their wings, crickets thrashed legs and grasshoppers bounced out of the box to go thrashing on the floor. She hadn’t paid attention to the instructions for humanely killing her bugs. That was the wildest class I experienced in grade school, with boys running after pinned victims and girls standing on their chairs to scream.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Science was taught in our junior high by the basketball coach who, because of his contract, was forced to teach an academic class. I don’t know how good he was at coaching, but as a science teacher he sucked. I remember a class he taught (using a disgusting film to demonstrate his points) about the evils of alcohol. Think “Reefer Madness” but about booze. He said wine was made by Italians tromping on grapes with bare feet, having all kinds of insidious mung under their toenails.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Not sure that I agree with that assessment. For one thing, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that “our society is so poor at science.” This country has produced some incredible scientists, and accomplished some awe inspiring feats thanks to scientific acumen.

      Also, just because you’re a brilliant scientist doesn’t make you a good teacher. And I think a good teacher can teach you almost anything. Of course, I recognize that just because you’re a teacher doesn’t mean you’re good at it. I’m pretty sure most of us have had both lousy and great teachers. I know I have.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In particular I want to mention here a physical education teacher I had all through high school. She was physically handicapped and unable to do most of the exercises we were expected to do. But she clearly understood that physical prowess wasn’t the main ingredient in that process.

        I happened to be a gifted athlete, and I got lots of encouragement from her, but I think she may have been an even greater inspiration to those were not physically gifted in that way. She was a prime example of you do what you can with what you have. Her grades were not based on how fast you could run, how high or long you could jump, or any other physical prowess. If you didn’t put forth your best effort, it didn’t matter to her how great your results were. I don’t know how she did it, but she never lost sight of the fact that with work and determination, most of us can do better and inspired all of us, gifted or not, to do better.

        Liked by 4 people

  11. Will have to read the rest later.
    I just finished a good book called “Virgil Wander”, by Lief Enger (Minnesota author of Peace Like a River) that has a lot of kite flying in it, esp. what tim was talking about, the feeling of the kite in the air…

    I took “advanced” science in 9th grade instead of home-ec – was a semester each of physics and chemistry. I still remember learning about the 6 simple machines.
    So I never took an entire physics course, except for astronomy at Iowa State. I too wish I’d done more of that, but I was intimidated by advance math and science.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. HI-
    2.3″ of Caribbean rain for us. More coming from the Dakota’s.

    I always liked science and was interested and a pretty good ‘general’ student. But I always fell short when the math started and that’s what got me in trouble.
    But I got a few stories.

    Back in Jr High, I’m not sure which grade, Mr Hess taught science. He was maybe 50’s. Big voice; one of those teachers that was really pretty cool and engaged, but you didn’t want to be sluffing off in his class or, the story was, he’d shoot you with a squirt bottle of water. Rumor had it he could hit you in the back of the class with that thing! I never witnessed it but I think he demonstrated it on the first day. He had a cane and he talked about being a paratrooper in WWII and hurt his leg pretty bad and woke up in surgery and they were about to cut his leg off and he told them if they did he would beat them with it. So he limps. Don’t remember anything about class, but I remember him! He didn’t return second semester and we got a new guy; brand new teacher. Never stood a chance against a bunch of Jr High kids. We were terrible to him. Paper airplanes out the windows, messed up projects, all the terrible things we could do. I’m sorry for all that. I wonder if he even kept teaching?

    High school science class. The table has outlets built into them; that little pillar in the middle of the table with the outlet. And one day a big blue flash and “POP” comes from the back of the room. Seems a kid had stuck pieces of foil into each slot, then used a pencil to touch them together. POW! I remember him shooting backward in his chair. Probably not from the force but just surprise. I recall him saying he knew it would spark, just not that big of a flash.
    That was the same teacher that taught me cheating. I had written a cheat sheet on a scrap of paper and was trying to hide it in my palm when the teacher walked up behind me and stood there. Took me a minute to realize she was there as I was busy hiding my note. She simply said “I’m very disappointed.”
    I. Was. Crushed. Good Lutheran boy had disappointed the teacher. I don’t think there’s anything worse than that.

    Kites. I didn’t realize the Diamond ones are hardest to fly. Good to know. Had a few over the years. Problem we always had was we’re down in the valley and there’s too many trees. Had to go off in a field to find a good open area.
    We got an oval kinda kite once; was supposed to be great. It’s supposed to fold up into a bag but we could never get it to fold right. Unfolded it was huge. And since we couldn’t fold it properly it just became a big pain in the arse.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. went kite flying for an hour and ari loved it but the attention span of a 2 year old is not for kite watching
    i had a butterfly with 3 long streamer tail feathers zigged and zagged soared and crashed but there as enough wind i could just throw it up in the air an the wind would take it
    the one time he tried to get involved it had sparred left then right then crashed but all the string was out so as i was walking up rolling the string onto the spool , ari would take the kite and throw it straight up like i had been doing but he didn’t have a hold of the string to let it out a little at a time to get it started. it was pretty funny he tried 10 times with it dripping to the ground each time, i got there threw it up once tugged the string and up up up it went. i am a kite god in his eyes

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I loved all of my science classes in high school, though I’ll readily admit that I have forgotten much of what I once knew. Biology, botany and zoology were my favorites, but physics and chemistry were fun, too.

    In college I took freshman level chemistry and physics, and though I scraped by with a B in both, it would be wrong to conclude that I was good at either. It helped that I had good teachers and that I was motivated to study by the requirement to maintain at least a B average in order to keep my scholarship. Regrettably, that requirement caused me to avoid some classes that had a reputation for being difficult. I have since discovered that it doesn’t really matter how difficult a subject is, if I’m sufficiently interested in it, I can learn it. Conversely, if I’m not interested in a subject, it’s almost impossible for me to retain it. I suspect that this is true for a lot of people.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. As a kid we made our own kites, first under dad’s supervision, and later on our own. There was a big open field a few blocks from our house, and that was the safest place to fly them. Trees and power lines don’t make for good kite flying.

    Many years ago, husband inherited a fancy home-made kite from one of his dad’s friends who was a master kite builder. It was delivered to us here in St. Paul by the man’s son who had stipulated the in-person delivery as he and his wife wanted to visit the US.

    When Jørgen and Eli arrived we took them on a two-week road trip, all over Minnesota, South Dakota, and parts of Wyoming. Jørgen and husband launched the kite on it’s maiden US voyage on the bluff overlooking the Missourit River near Chamberlain, South Dakota. What a magnificent place to fly a kite.

    Liked by 6 people

  16. I have always been a reader and in school, science classes just seemed like a way to keep me from the books I wanted to be reading. In fact I took biology in summer school because I knew it would only take six weeks of summer school unlike taking it during the school year which would’ve been the whole year.

    I credit my father as being the one to get me on the science track. He subscribed to Scientific American magazine and would always send them to me after he was finished with them. That’s when I discovered that reading about science is fun too. I follow several science vlogs now and I still get the Scientific American, which I still enjoy immensely.

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Daughter is very interested in science books. Space mostly.
    Every afternoon she spends a few hours copying information from the books into her notebooks.
    And she’s paying attention and retaining a lot of it. Comprehension isn’t her strongest suit but she just told me that Mercury is a dead planet.

    Liked by 2 people

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