on a lighter side

By on February 24, 2014 2:02:41 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums


Join Date 11/2003

On a lighter side;

This weekend my son had has his regional Science Olympiad events. He was entered in three events of which his teams took second place in each. While not first, they have advanced to the state events and a second chance to excel.

His events were meteorology, rocks and minerals and (my favorite) bottle rockets. Bottle rockets are plastic soda bottles with fins and such. They are filled part way with water, place in a fixture and then pressurized to 60psi. The time from launch to landing is recorded. He used a floater design where when the rocket reaches the apex and it spins horizontally with the fins creating resistance and slows the rocket in its descent.

We have about 6 weeks to develop a parachute design which while increasing hang time, is the most difficult to deploy.  None of the parachute rockets fired this weekend deployed correctly if at all.

State will be a different story with the best of the best and he has stated that he wants to win. Wish him luck, thanks

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February 24, 2014 2:11:49 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

That sounds like a whole lot of fun !!  I wish him well , sounds like he has that winning spirit.      -- Ace  --

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February 24, 2014 2:19:14 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Sounds like your son and his team have a lot to do to design a good parachute in 6 weeks!!  I certainly wish them the best in any of the competitions they are in!! 

When my son was in cub scouts, they learned about rockets. And his Dad and he would build I think the two stage rockets from a kit, and set them off in the front yard. It was fun to see how high they went. Then looking to retrieve them from the corn field!

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February 26, 2014 6:28:43 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Good luck to your boy and his team in their future endeavours.   My mates and I used to make bottle rockets with varying degrees of success, but we could never get them to fall back to Earth too gently.  Most landed with a thud, which some didn't appreciate, particularly if it landed on their flower beds and wrecked the roses, etc.

The other thing we used to make, which had a scientific background but had nothing to do with science projects, and was infinitely more dangerous, was weedkiller and sugar bombs.  This was England back in the 60's... and there was heaps of shit the Germans had missed to blow up. well that was our thinking at the time.   In one case we made a 10 gallon one and put it in an old air raid shelter we discovered in the woods miles from anywhere - what a funny place to put an air raid shelter... only the see the 12' x 12' x 14 inch thick reinforced concrete roof get thrown 10 feet or more in the air.

It was pretty potent stuff, and now I look back on it, it's amazing any of us survived, given the crazy pranks we pulled with it.  Not that we damaged peoples property, anything that was important or would be missed, but we blew up a lot of shit... like this old house that was condemned shortly after the war but nobody ever got around to it.  After we'd finished with it there was nothing but rubble.  We had some fun and no harm was done... 'cept maybe putting a demolition team out of a day's work... hehe, should've got there sooner ya lazy bastards.

Hmmm, we were pretty pissed when they took out the various ingredients that allowed the weedkiller and sugar to detonate, but it was probably a good thing.  No probably about it!  That move saved our lives and many others, me thinks... cos kids today can't do the crazy shit we did with it.


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February 26, 2014 6:46:16 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Back when I was a Boy Scout we used to take pipes filled with gun powder, capped at one end and crimped in a vise at the other end. We'd take these "rockets" up to the old quarry. We'd place them at the upper edge of the quarry, scrape a four foot shallow trench, put a gun powder trail up to the back edge. light that and run.

They were pretty erratic but it was a big quarry so no damage was done.

We had the police stop by once and instead of hassling us, he was giving us suggestions on how to better fire these things off. Those were the good old days.

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February 26, 2014 10:39:46 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

I'll agree with you about the good ol' days, though the cops weren't so easy on the weedkiller and sugar bombs, for the very fact they were so powerful and thus dangerous to life and limb.  If one was caught with one there was likely a custodial sentence somewhere to reflect just how seriously the establishment to the threat. 

In fact, it was because some boys died and others were seriously maimed, and the fact that little to no preparation was required, just mix in the sugar and add a fuse, that the relevant industry was forced to remove the ingredients that made it at all possible, and a good thing too, given the destruction and potential for harm that I saw it being capable of.

Now I think of it, in some ways they weren't the good old days.  We weren't that clever doing such stupid things, and the outcomes could have been so much different.

Ah, the wisdom of hindsight and so many years under the belt.

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