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BOTD 2/27/15 "The Very Successful Science Experiment" A Stevie Production and All

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David M. Katz


Marshall
THE VERY SUCCESSFUL SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
A Stevie Production


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Stevie gets his Chemistry Set on Christmas Day


It is the year 1967 and you have an eleven year old son named Stephen who has a scientific bent of mind. He is a generally good boy who doesn't get into a lot of trouble, but does not get very good marks in school except in subjects that he is interested in. He is certainly not very interested in math, and his last report card was bad enough that he is actually in danger of failing his year if he doesn't improve his grades.

This Saturday, he and his best friend are messing around outside the house when you hear a loud whooshing sound from outside the house. You jump up from the couch and rush to the window, where you see a fifteen foot flame erupting from the driveway, giving off huge clouds of sparks and billows of dense gray smoke. You see your son standing beside the conflagration, covered in soot and with scorch marks on various parts of his anatomy, watching the progress of his experiment with awe on his face. He has made half a pound of gunpowder with the contents of his chemistry set... he and his friend have been experimenting with the formula for some days now. His friend, Larry, has been smart enough to stay far enough away that he has not been burnt at all and his clothes are still reasonably unharmed.

To top it all off, the fire brigade shortly arrives at the house, having been summoned by one of the neighbours who thought your garage had caught fire, and they are definitely not amused by the situation; the chief lays into you with abandon after he realises what has happened.

Not to mention that the huge gout of flame has burned a huge and very unsightly hole in your driveway that is over a foot in diameter and nearly eight inches deep...

You do need to take your son to the Emergency Room to be checked out - but what do you with him when you return home?

This is a true to life scenario, if you have not guessed and all...



Last edited by David M. Katz on Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:09 pm; edited 1 time in total


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David M. Katz


Marshall
Stephen can repair the driveway. He can buy the supplies from his own money and do the labor himself. Future "experiments" will require my approval.

And, congrats on a successful experiment.


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Kat


Editor Extraordinaire
I'll take him to the ER and make a note that in future, he needs more supervision with the chemistry set. As I gave it to him and apparently didn't set any limits, I'll chalk this up to parenting experiencing.

If I'm Icono, I congratulate him and give him my manual on advanced bomb making. Razz

Kat



Last edited by Kat on Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:56 pm; edited 1 time in total

Jack


Admin
I'm sure Kat has the second part right.

As to what I'd do with him - we're going to sit down and have a long talk about why his other subjects are important - how are you going to publish your chemistry papers if you can't write well? And any science requires at least basic algebra.


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David M. Katz


Marshall
Also:

Remember, remember the fifth of November . . . Shocked


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AFinch


Sherrif
I think it depends on the results of the emergency room visit to some extent. If he was badly enough burned to have to go, however, he's probably already learned his lesson and I'll take Jack's course of action.

One of my best friends in college did something similar, with less damage. He soaked a string in gasoline, taped it to each corner of his bedroom indoors, and lit it. There was a momentary "whoosh", and it went out. No one, and no thing, was hurt--until his dad walked in and said: "go get the belt, come back, and pull down your pants."

Stevie definitely requires more supervision. And I'm pretty sure "modern" chemistry sets no longer include chemicals that could be mixed to make gunpowder.

Iconoclast


Trailboss
I am not sure Stephen needs to go to the Emergency room but in any case I will immediately order the following book for him!  I am sure he will love it!!

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Today you can download the book for free at:  https://archive.org/download/ChemistryOfPowderAndExplosives/TheChemistryOfPowderAndExplosives.pdf  ,

And yes I have a copy!

Iconoclast



Last edited by Iconoclast on Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Changed immage as I thought other was too big)

Stone Man


Marshall
Oh Stevie, Stevie, Stevie... Chemistry sets sure were fun back in the day. I never blew anything up ore burned anything down, but it wasn't from lack of trying.

I got spanked and lost my set. I thing I'll do the same thing with Stevie.

Fenz


Cowboy
Today, little Stevie would probably be considered a budding terrorist or a future Walter White.

Depending on our relationship, I'd either gift him another Chemistry set and hope he blows himself up, or lock him in the dungeons til he turns 21, hopefully some sense of self-preservation would have kicked in by then.

MemoryMan


Sherrif
I'll buy him an alchemy book ............ and hope we get rich Rolling Eyes

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ivor


Marshall
Back in those days he probably would have ended up with a burning butt once we got back from the ER, although locking him in the root cellar does seem a possible alternative.

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Pi Beta


Deputy
Much will depend upon his attitude at and after we return from the hospital. If he genuinely appears shocked and scared at what he's done, I'll not be punishing him as such, though he's going to have to help with the necessary repairs to the driveway - and possibly some repainting of any woodwork that faced the explosion.

If he's exultant about how his experiment went and seems in danger of trying bigger, noisier and spectacular experiments in future, then I think he may need to feel a series of explosions of another kind lighting up his backside and considerable future supervision of his enterprises.

Oh, and in that era, I might have looked to see whether I could afford and he could gain admission to Kimbolton School whose Chaplain was a pyrotechnics expert and founded Kimbolton Fireworks. He could then learn under an enthusiast how to do things properly.

squarecutter


Sherrif
I am surprised he is good at science and not at maths. I think we will put this explosion down to experience. Guess thats what experiments are for. I just hope my lad was taking notes for next time ('what do you mean , next time?!'). He can certainly help with the repairs and also the laundry! He will now be running any more experiments involving chemical reactions past me before enacting them. Has he tried the stink bomb one yet. Itching powder is also banned

Jack


Admin
Pi Beta wrote:Much will depend upon his attitude at and after we return from the hospital. If he genuinely appears shocked and scared at what he's done...

I'm reminded of something I've seen in a number of places now. A boy was texting to his friends ---

I had some kind of weird rash coming up on my face. Mom wanted to rush me to the ER, and Dad said, "Let's not make any rash decisions." Dad and I high-fived. Now Mom's not speaking to either one of us.

My reaction to this would probably have been, "Damn, boy! Start with smaller quantities next time, and let's find a better place to do it, instead of putting more potholes in the driveway."

"Okay, Dad. It sure was impressive though, wasn't it?"

"Sure was! Do you have any left?"


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