A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Mad Science Fair!

    Halloween this year, my friends and I want to do something very special. Every year we team up and do something silly for the trick or treaters. Previous years have included supplying nerf weapons and dressing up as monsters and letting the kids shoot at us, last year involved a science experiment gone right (some pyrotechnics, lots of safety equipment), and a science experiment gone wrong (monster, guts hanging out, kids had to reach in to get their candy, nothing gross or slimey).

    Well this year, we want a Mad Science Fair.
    See, regular science fairs have lemon clocks and potato clocks and baking soda + vinegar volcanoes, maybe someone brings an RC helicopter. Booooooooring.

    We want MAD Science.
    We got Fire Tornadoes.
    We got Cloud in a Bottle. Seriously
    We got Slimey Cotton Candy (seriously, it's just green cotton candy, green apple flavored).
    We have a small tesla coil.

    So, Mad Scientists in the Playground. I ask you. If you were going to attend, what crazy Mad Science Experiment would you submit to terrorize the tots and amuse the masses? What else should we feature? Should we have monsters? Should we have an alien autotopsy?

    Remember, this is a show for all ages, but we do try to swing a bit more towards the adults because no one else really does.
    We are aiming to be semi-educational, but only to a point.

    Also, we have trained professionals involved, so don't hesitate to suggest something, but budget is a bit of a concern.
    ~~Courage is not the lack of fear~~
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    What mad science fair would be complete without a careful study of zombies? Preferably with some live exhibits. Maybe a firing range for the experiments as well.

    Extremely dangerous methods of transportation should also exist -- at least in diagrams, if you can't actually have them present.

    An overview of the Death Star, and other methods of Geocide .

    As a general rule, Mad Science must be awesome and it must be someone no one with a grain of common sense, sense of dignity, or regard for self-preservation would ever, ever do.




    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2014-04-04 at 04:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    No science fair, especially of mad science, is complete without mentioning Project Orion.
    Basically, imagine going into space, riding on repeated nuclear explosions. Not just any explosions, nuclear shaped charges, hitting the back of a giant piston, a pusher plate. At a time when NASA was doing their darndest to put a tiny one man capsule into orbit, more worn than flown, it could put over a thousand tons on the moon, or more with bigger designs.
    To quote an eyewitness to a test flight of a chemically propelled proof of concept vehicle,
    "Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!"
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
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    Thumbs up Re: Mad Science Fair!

    If you want zombies, a dancing dead frog wired up to electrodes could work.

    If you want a classic low power high voltage machine that would not look out of place in frankenstiens lab then a Wimshurst machine is easy to make with lego, aluminium foil and a couple of CDs. Safe enough unless you rig up a large capacitor bank, and can produce a decent spark.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimshurst_machine

    If you want an ambitious project, a levitating model ghost train could be made with a magnetic river.

    Pouring carbon dioxide from a jar to put out candles is fun.

    Hydrogen bubbles are also very cool, as they float up and can be set fire to. Pick your method of producing them.

    I'm sure there are flammable liquids with low boiling points that you can set fire to on your hand without burning yourself.

    Freeze dried themed foodstuffs could be fun to make, and is reasonably easy.

    Can I come, that sounds great!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    No science fair, especially of mad science, is complete without mentioning Project Orion.
    Basically, imagine going into space, riding on repeated nuclear explosions. Not just any explosions, nuclear shaped charges, hitting the back of a giant piston, a pusher plate. At a time when NASA was doing their darndest to put a tiny one man capsule into orbit, more worn than flown, it could put over a thousand tons on the moon, or more with bigger designs.
    To quote an eyewitness to a test flight of a chemically propelled proof of concept vehicle,
    "Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!"
    That sounds awfully expensive...The local authorities might take issue with it as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by ace rooster View Post
    Hydrogen bubbles are also very cool, as they float up and can be set fire to. Pick your method of producing them.
    I recall an episode of Mythbusters where they pumped hydrogen into a bucket of sudsy water, producing a column of bubbles thirty feet high. That might be an effective crowd-pleaser?

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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    That sounds awfully expensive...The local authorities might take issue with it as well.
    I don't mean a demonstration. Well, maybe a small scale 'hot rod' like in the video could be feasible, depending on local fireworks ordinances.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Orion would be a static display , not a working model, obviously.

    Along the same lines , I found a neat bit of mad science in the context of resuscitation science

    "As the science of resuscitating people advances, it also means that surgeries can be attempted on some conditions that would otherwise be untreatable -- first by killing the patient; then by bringing the patient back. That was what was necessary to operate on a painful and potentially fatal aneurysm in the brain of Atlanta musician Pam Reynolds.
    "It was difficult to eat, it was difficult to sleep," said Reynolds. "And it's the kind of pain that no medication helps."

    Reynolds went to Phoenix neurosurgeon Robert Spetzler.

    "When an aneurysm blows, half the patients die," said Spetzler. "And those that survive, half of them never return to being normal. So it's a real, real threat."

    To remove that threat, Reynolds had to be placed in a state of clinical death. Her body was cooled by a heart-lung machine until her heart was at a standstill; then it was stopped completely by an injection of potassium chloride, the same chemical used in death row executions.

    Spetzler and his team repaired the aneurysm. During her clinical death, Reynolds experienced something that is reported by around 20 percent of cardiac arrest victims -- a phenomenon commonly termed a near-death experience. She had the sensation of having watched her surgery from above the table, and what surprised her doctors was that she could recount specific details of the operation, including parts of the operating room conversation."
    So ... killing the patient and bringing her back ? If that ain't mad science, I don't know what is. It does bring new meaning to the joke "The operation was a success but the patient died" :) .

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Zombies are kind of overused.
    Project Orion is cool, hard to set up a safe demonstration without requiring permits. So sayeth the pyro's.
    Any static display that requires people to read, at night, on halloween when kids are doped up on candy and adults just want to get this over with and go home? I don't forsee anyone stopping to read it really.
    Zapping a frog with electricity isn't too bad, something something cruelty to animals something something complaints.
    Hydrogen bubbles was brought up before. The issue is a controllable method for producing the hydrogen safely. Probably just needs more than a cursory google search to be viable. Next question is safety, but we're pretty good at that what with pyrotechnicians on hand. Hydrogen doesn't need a permit depending on quantity used.

    Voice modulator, lab coat, goggles. Let kids do eeeeeevil laughter, let the parents take photos/video. Doable. Maybe add in a wig?

    Cave Johnson motivational posters? Check. Possibly blast some quotes from Cave Johnson over the PA randomly, sound system able and willing of course.
    Aperture Science posters? Check.
    Black Mesa posters? Sure, why not.
    Any others that deserve to be in there as background material for the savvy members of the audience?
    ~~Courage is not the lack of fear~~
    Quote Originally Posted by gooddragon1 View Post
    If the party wizard can't survive a supersonic dragon made of iron at epic levels it's his own fault really.
    "In soviet dungeon, aboleth farms you!"
    "Please consult your DM before administering Steve brand Aboleth Mucus.
    Ask your DM if Aboleth Mucus is right for you.
    Side effects include coughing, sneezing, and other flu like symptoms, cancer, breathing water like a fish, loss of dignity, loss of balance, loss of bowel and bladder control."

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    This may be a bit "mundane" for mad science but you could have people make/add to 'Hot ice sculptures'.

    Have sodium acetate, available from some heating pads, in beakers or an Erlenmeyer flask. If carfully poured onto a plate or pre-crystallized sodium acetate it will instantly solidify and release lots of heat.
    Theoretically could reset easily by putting crystals back in beaker and into a hot water bath
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by MPG View Post
    This may be a bit "mundane" for mad science but you could have people make/add to 'Hot ice sculptures'.

    Have sodium acetate, available from some heating pads, in beakers or an Erlenmeyer flask. If carfully poured onto a plate or pre-crystallized sodium acetate it will instantly solidify and release lots of heat.
    Theoretically could reset easily by putting crystals back in beaker and into a hot water bath
    Reversible/recycleable. Nice.
    ~~Courage is not the lack of fear~~
    Quote Originally Posted by gooddragon1 View Post
    If the party wizard can't survive a supersonic dragon made of iron at epic levels it's his own fault really.
    "In soviet dungeon, aboleth farms you!"
    "Please consult your DM before administering Steve brand Aboleth Mucus.
    Ask your DM if Aboleth Mucus is right for you.
    Side effects include coughing, sneezing, and other flu like symptoms, cancer, breathing water like a fish, loss of dignity, loss of balance, loss of bowel and bladder control."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Well, there's some pretty cool stuff you can do, but I don't know how much you have in terms of resources. Levitating superconductors are pretty cool, but you'd need a decent amount of liquid nitrogen, some high-temperature superconductor, and (probably most expensively) a lot of powerful magnets to make the track out of. There's the oil/water fireball, but that's large and incredibly dangerous. Seriously, don't try something like that unless you've got safety experts there, make sure you're outdoors with nothing flammable around, and for the love of sanity, don't drop the water into the oil yourself. Use a rig. Faraday cages are fun; you could do it on a small scale with a relatively small generator, but although doing it with people is the most interesting, that's probably out of your range.

    Also, you have to set large Jacob's ladders everywhere

    Everywhere.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    Zapping a frog with electricity isn't too bad, something something cruelty to animals something something complaints.
    The frog's already dead, it doesn't mind.

    I would draw the line at killing a frog solely for the fair though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    Any others that deserve to be in there as background material for the savvy members of the audience?
    Girl Genius springs to mind - the Heterodyne winged trilobite would be a good joke for those in the know.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    The frog's already dead, it doesn't mind.

    I would draw the line at killing a frog solely for the fair though.


    The other concern is impressionability --might kids be tempted to 'try this at home' without humanely purchasing a dead one from a supply store? Monkey see, monkey do.

    What's the message here, after all? Kids learn from what they see adults doing. If they show them it's acceptable to use animal corpses for entertainment value, what might they possibly do as a result of that lesson?

    Of course, I wager that 95% of kids won't care, as most humans just don't think about that sort of thing. But it's worth considering even so.

    I say this as a lifelong carnivore who devours animals all the time. But, as a wise man once said, there's a distinction between "my wife", "my dog", and "my boots". What's appropriate for a pair of shoes isn't appropriate for a living thing, and what one might do to an animal might not be appropriate to a fellow intelligent lifeform.

    At any rate, the reason I say this was back at elementary school I remember a dead rat -- or maybe it wasn't quite dead yet, ISTR it blinking -- on my schoolyard. The boys picked it up on a stick and chased other boys and girls around with it. I thought that was a terrible thing to do to a living creature, use it for pleasure. And why would children do that if they hadn't seen it modeled somewhere?

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    "Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid."

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  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    We have a small tesla coil.

    Also, we have trained professionals involved, so don't hesitate to suggest something, but budget is a bit of a concern.
    This was the first thing I thought of, and you already have it.

    I say build a trebuchet. You can never go wrong with throwing golf balls/pumpkins (depending on how big this trebuchet is) at faraway objects. Bonus points if you throw something that explodes.
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amidus Drexel View Post
    This was the first thing I thought of, and you already have it.

    I say build a trebuchet. You can never go wrong with throwing golf balls/pumpkins (depending on how big this trebuchet is) at faraway objects. Bonus points if you throw something that explodes.
    That could be doable. Not the exploding part though, that is definitely going to require permits.
    ~~Courage is not the lack of fear~~
    Quote Originally Posted by gooddragon1 View Post
    If the party wizard can't survive a supersonic dragon made of iron at epic levels it's his own fault really.
    "In soviet dungeon, aboleth farms you!"
    "Please consult your DM before administering Steve brand Aboleth Mucus.
    Ask your DM if Aboleth Mucus is right for you.
    Side effects include coughing, sneezing, and other flu like symptoms, cancer, breathing water like a fish, loss of dignity, loss of balance, loss of bowel and bladder control."

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Has anyone suggested microwave ball lightning yet?

    You probably want to get a cheap microwave for this. It's not particularly dangerous, but I wouldn't want to risk damaging your existing microwave. If you leave it on too long it can scorch the roof of the microwave.
    All you do is, you put a lighted match on a little plate and turn on the microwave for like five seconds. Boom. Instant ball lightning. It's not TECHNICALLY ball lightning as the energy from the microwave is sustaining the plasma ball rather than the chemical energy of the ball temporarily sustaining itself.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Has anyone suggested microwave ball lightning yet?

    You probably want to get a cheap microwave for this. It's not particularly dangerous, but I wouldn't want to risk damaging your existing microwave. If you leave it on too long it can scorch the roof of the microwave.
    All you do is, you put a lighted match on a little plate and turn on the microwave for like five seconds. Boom. Instant ball lightning. It's not TECHNICALLY ball lightning as the energy from the microwave is sustaining the plasma ball rather than the chemical energy of the ball temporarily sustaining itself.
    That right there is a great idea. I can easily get Plexiglass/plastic sheets to encase the microwave in for safety, in the event that it explodes. The shielding... that part I will have to look into. Pretty sure the plexiglass will cover it, but we can't be too careful.
    ~~Courage is not the lack of fear~~
    Quote Originally Posted by gooddragon1 View Post
    If the party wizard can't survive a supersonic dragon made of iron at epic levels it's his own fault really.
    "In soviet dungeon, aboleth farms you!"
    "Please consult your DM before administering Steve brand Aboleth Mucus.
    Ask your DM if Aboleth Mucus is right for you.
    Side effects include coughing, sneezing, and other flu like symptoms, cancer, breathing water like a fish, loss of dignity, loss of balance, loss of bowel and bladder control."

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Mad Science Fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by Karoht View Post
    That right there is a great idea. I can easily get Plexiglass/plastic sheets to encase the microwave in for safety, in the event that it explodes. The shielding... that part I will have to look into. Pretty sure the plexiglass will cover it, but we can't be too careful.
    The microwave will not explode. At worst, you get some bad scorching on the roof of the microwave, maybe the fan stops working, maybe melted plastic makes the room smell awful. But there is no danger of it exploding. Well, no more danger of it exploding than any other item exploding...

    Aaaand now I keep thinking about the possibility of various things exploding.
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