Variables and controls

Black and White Smoke

Sorry this week's experiment is late.  I got caught up in answering a question from MSNBC's Countdown program.  It turned out to be interesting enough for me to put the planned experiment for this week back in the file and write a new one.

Bernoulli in the Shower?

This experiment came as an accidental discovery while working on a different experiment idea. I was playing with ideas for showing how inertia helps remove water from your clothes in the spin cycle of the washing machine. In the process, I saw something interesting, and made a wrong guess about the cause. That led to even more interesting discoveries. There are times when it is more fun to be wrong, because it lets you learn new things.

Bad Chocolate?

I mentioned that I had a lot of fun experimenting with carbonated soda (and drinking it) and that I should do an experiment with chocolate. I got quite a few e-mails suggesting experiments with chocolate, but this one was the most common. It has to do with the white discoloration that you sometimes find on old chocolate.

AM/FM Radio Waves

This week's experiment comes from a question that I received about which is better, AM or FM radio. As we shall see, the answer depends on what properties you are basing your answer on. As we will see, each has advantages and disadvantages.

Newton's Third Law of Motion

This experiment comes from my hotel room. I was traveling do some consulting for a science museum, and was sitting at the desk, thinking of ideas for experiments. As I sat, I swiveled back and forth in the chair. As I swung back and forth, I decided that it would make an interesting experiment.

Building a Rain Gauge, part 2

Back to part 1

What Does a Rain Gauge Really Tell Us?

Now that we know the proper shape and location for a rain gauge, lets take a look at what they can tell us, and why they are important.

Lets start by imagining that you put a rain gauge in your yard. After a rain, you find that there is one inch of rain in your rain gauge. We can use that to calculate how much rain fell on your yard.