observation

Dancing Raisins

This experiment is another old classic which is still a lot of fun. Now that I think of it, it seems that most of the science tricks I did as a kid have become OLD classics, but this was already an old classic even way back then.

Creeping Carpets

This experiment is one that has been "cooking" in my mind for a while now. Today I had carpets on my mind, since I was cleaning them with our new carpet cleaner. We live at the beach, and our carpets tend to get dirty and sandy, so we place small rugs along the pathway that gets the most use. One problem is that the rugs don't stay there. They slowly migrate across the room. How can this happen? Is the cat doing it to drive us crazy? (She would if she thought it would work!) No, the cat is not involved. The movement is due to the interaction between the carpet and the rugs.

Coffee Rings

I have been doing some house cleaning. In cleaning the counters, I noticed a coffee spill that had dried. It had formed a dark ring, with almost no coffee stain in the center. This reminded me of an article that I have read on the science behind coffee rings, giving me the idea for this experiment.

Cat Lapping

This experiment comes from a recent event in the science news. Researches have discovered that cats drink in a very different way from dogs and other mammals. Now you might think that things like this had been completely explored decades or even centuries ago, but high speed photography has shown us things that we did not suspect before.

Can Water Float?

There are many things that will float on water: pieces of wood, wax, Styrofoam, and many other things. They float because they are less dense than the water. Now for the question. Can water float on water? Is there a way to make water less dense?

The Science of Campfires

This experiment comes from my neighbors at the Malibu Creek State Park campground. While taking my morning walk, I heard a lady bragging to her husband that she started the campfire with only one match. That made me think of the fellow that I watched the night before as he poured two bottles of charcoal lighter fluid onto a pile of wood and still failed to get the fire going. He would pour on the liquid and get a huge blaze, which quickly died. How could the heat of one match work better than a gallon of blazing lighter fluid?

Bubble Colors

I came across the idea for this while searching for the website of Tom Noddy. Tom is the original bubble man (and in my opinion, still the best.) He planted the seed for my decision to go into business for myself. I met him while I was working at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum. He was doing a weekend of shows at the museum and got to see me doing an electricity show. He told me that I should take the show on the road. That was back in 1987. It has been a long and wonderful road so far, and hopefully it is far from over.

Breathing Hot and Cold

One of the most common questions that I get is where do I get the ideas for these experiments. Some are old classics that I try to give a new angle. Others are the result of questions sent to me by subscribers. Some of the ones that I like the best are the ones that just pop up, seemingly out of nowhere. This is one of those. It also comes with its own story, which makes it even better.

The story is one of Aesop's fables. If you have never read any of these, go read some. It is well worth the time.

Brain Freeze

This experiment comes from a question that I got from a subscriber. As I researched the question, it was even more interesting than I expected. It also seemed like a good excuse to eat lots of ice cream.

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