Go Ask Your Father: Trains, Clouds, Supper, and Stars

How do steam trains work?
Like most little boys, and even some big boys, trains are amazing pieces of machinery. Bang came to me to the other day wanting me to look up videos of coal furnaces on steam trains. He wanted to see the coal burning. There were more than enough of such videos on YouTube to satisfy a five year old. Naturally, while watching the coal burn he wondered how it made the steam train chug.

That’s a busy gify. Upon closer inspection you can follow the chain reaction. We’ll start with that bright orange space in the back. The fire. That’s what Bang was originally fascinated by. The heat from the fire is carried through the boiler – the long, horizontal, yellow section. The heated pipes boil the water which rises into the dome at the top. As more and more steam rises it also rises in pressure. The pressurised steam then travels down to the piston. The piston opens alternating sides of a chamber. This alternation moves a larger piston which is connected to a shaft that turns the wheels. It’s this step that give the steam train its signature chugga chugga chugga. The steam is then released from the chimney.

Why are clouds white?
I didn’t really have an answer for this one, right away. I was stumped and had to admit that I didn’t exactly know. I know fog is white, too. But if water is clear, air is clear, why are clouds white? It turns out it’s because of the size of the droplets of water clouds are made of and how sunlight reacts when it goes through said large drops. Do you know what a micron is? It’s 1,000th of millimeter. A droplet of water in a cloud measure about 10 microns. This is HUGE compared to the rays of light passing through it. Like a hotdog down a hallway huge. The light gets scattered, but because the drop are so huge all the light gets scattered equally. When you mix all the colors you get white. So clouds are white because light is white.

What’s for supper?
Seriously? I don’t know. Unless I’m in the mood to make spaghetti/lasagna sauce, I sometimes don’t know what’s for supper until about hangry o’clock. This morning I ask Crash what he wanted for supper and he said McDonalds. I said, “Nope, I’m cooking.” So he suggested shepherds pie. Unfortunately, we just had something similar last night so I made him pick again. He offered pork roast but I had to shoot that down because we’re cooking for DW’s mom’s birthday on Sunday and we might be having that then. The fourth try was tacos. We had taco Tuesday on Friday. Picky eater Bang doesn’t eat tacos. He requested scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. I put on my short order cook hat and we all got what we wanted. Yummm…

Where are stars?
In DW’s eyes. There’s some on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, too. There are also billions of them in the sky and this is what Bang was referring to as he gazed out of his bedroom window at bedtime this evening. All of the stars you see are in our very own galaxy, The Milky Way. Looking at the night sky, distant galaxies will be confused for a single star. There’s only one star in our solar system – the sun. The nearest star to our sun is called Alpha Centuri. This is actually a 3 star system even though it looks like a single star in the sky. It takes light travelling at 186,000 miles per second four and half years to get here. If it were to suddenly explode we wouldn’t know it until 2021. For the stars even farther away, we see even older light. To compare, the galaxies photographed in Hubble’s Deep Field photo are roughly 13 billion years old (which is also the shelf life of Twinkies). Earth is only 4.5 billion years old so those distant galaxies are 3 times older than our planet! Incredible!

Go Ask Your Father: Life, Babies, Charities, Adult Shows

In case you missed yesterday’s awesome post, check it out here. Normally on Thursdays I ask my kids questions and they give us answers we can laugh at. Yesterday, I didn’t do that. Instead I asked my parents the questions. They were eager to participate and they didn’t let me down. Perhaps they’ll become a regular feature, too?

But today, my kids asked me some questions. Damn, they’re good at that. It’s like it’s their job or something!

1. Where did life come from?

When Bang first asked, I thought he meant babies. Then he clarified by saying, “No. Before people and animals and stuff.” Geez. From a 5 year old! I had to start off by telling him no one really knows. Once upon a time Earth was just a rocky, volcanic, hot mess. Perhaps it was waking with wicked hangover. I used to think that the water came from comets. But have just learned that scientists found glass crystals in the Earth’s mantle (the layer below its crust) that have trapped small droplets of water that are the same composition as the water on Earth now. Those water drops would not have been delivered by comets because comet water is “heavier”. Don’t worry, I thought water was water, too.

2. Are babies inside where the blood is? How do they get out?

sebastiankaulitzkiThis came as a two part question. Are babies inside where the blood is? We just had 2 very pregnant neighbors deliver their babies a couple weeks apart. So naturally Bang was curious to know this answer. The simple answer, yes. More specifically, they grow inside a uterus. While it’s in there with all the blood and stuff, it has a placenta to keep it alive. Oxygen, nutrients and hormones are delivered to the baby though it. So now that he knows they’re inside he wants to know how they get out. I wanted to tell him like the Chestburster from Aliens (Google it if you dare) but it was bedtime and I didn’t want to give cause for him needing serious therapy. So I just told him that sometimes a doctor will cut open a mommy’s belly to get the baby called a “c-section” or sometimes they come out of their pee pee. (This dad chickened out on the word vagina)

His response? “Oh. Well, I’m never having a baby.”

3. What’s a charity?

It could be a girl’s name. I’ve known a couple Charitys.

Or it could be an organization that collect money and/or items for those in need. There are thousands of different charities ranging from cancer to homeless, to animals, to environment, to pretty much everything. According to one article, the number of world wide charities and foundations surpassed 1.5 million.

4. Is that an adult show?

No. He’s not referring to how babies got in mommy’s bellies.

He’s talking about Blindspot. He heard DW and I talking about what shows we had recorded to watch. This is an FBI thriller kind of series. A woman is found in a duffle bag (alive and naked) covered in tattoos and with any memory of who she is. The tattoos are all clues leading to various crimes and crime syndicates. This is it’s second season and we’ve been enjoying it even if it does have a few “gee, that was convenient” moments. We also watch Grey’s Anatomy (what in Sam Hell is Karev getting himself into?) . We’ve been watching that one since season 1. It’s now in season 13! We also watch The Voice. While I don’t agree with allowing some of the contestants they do (ones already in the music business or ones who already have connections) it’s a good show. That one is not an adult show. It just comes on during adult time.

What shows do you enjoy watching sans kids?

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Go Ask Your Father: Earth, LED Bulbs, Antibiotics, and Graffiti

Fall’s first day has come and gone. The leaves haven’t started changing quite yet. They are, however, starting to fall off. On the road, piled against the curb are all the leaves that make autumn lovable. Light and crispy on top, moist underneath. Just like I like my brownies.

Speaking about brownies, I found this recipe for some that look and sound amazing. They’re called Peanut Butter Cup Crack Brownies. You can find the recipe at CookiesAndCups.com. I checked the recipe. Crack isn’t an ingredient. With all that yumminess crack isn’t necessary.

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photo courtesy: Cookies and Cups

Now that you’re done drooling all over your keyboard, lets answer some questions.

How does the earth move?

In simple terms, gravity. Gravity makes everything fall, though it’s not responsible for people falling in love (thanks, Einstein). The sun is huge, mammoth, massive, gargantuan. The easiest way to imagine it is that it creates a bowl in space fabric around it. The planets then roll around the rim in their orbits.

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I once read a book on antigravity. I couldn’t put it down!

You have to remember that while the Earth is orbiting around the sun, the sun is also moving through space as our galaxy travels. So we’re not going in circles so much as a downward spiral. It’ll be more a plummet than spiral should Trump get elected.

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How does an LED light work?

We just replaced our poisonous, mercury ridden, twisty light bulbs with LED light bulbs. I explained TIE fighters and ion engines the other day. In my “research” (does Googling it count as research?) on how LEDs work I discovered that it’s over my head. Way over. Like, it’s up there where the overseas jumbo sail in the jet stream. Here’s how I have come to understand it. LEDs are completely different from incandescent bulbs in that they use a different technology. An LED uses a semiconductor (a solid material that conducuts electricity like rush hour on a Friday – slowly). It’s usually made with aluminum-gallium-arsenide (aka metals, I just wanted to say arsenide). This semiconductor has a positive side and a negative side. The positive side has “holes” while the negative side has electrons. When electricity passes through, the electrons on the negative side rush over and fill in the “holes” on the positive side (like that idiot on the motorcycle squeezing in between you and that truck your tailing). When the “hole” gets filled energy is released (road rage, probably) as photons. Photons = light. There’s more to than that, but that’s as much as I can understand it. My monkey brain can’t comprehend it beyond that.

What is an antibiotic?

Our bodies are in constant warfare. Fortunately, they’re equipped with a military that is armed and ready for the battle. Gorilla warfare. Black Ops style. These white blood cells attack bacteria without mercy. But sometimes the bacteria attack in such force that the white blood cells become overwhelmed. That’s when we get sick. Our white blood cells need reinforcements. Antibiotics. Bactericidals, like penicillin, kills the bacteria by interfering with the bacterium’s cell wall formation or its cell contents. Bacteriostatics stop the bacterium’s growth. There is no debate that they cause autism or if they really work. However, there is serious debate about too much antibiotic causing bacterium to become immune to it. Once that happens the antibiotic is no longer effective. Like listening to Let It Go too many times, we don’t even hear it. Also, antibiotics are as useless as screen doors on a submarine against viruses – colds, sore throats, the flu, chicken pox and measles.

What is graffiti?

There’s American Graffiti – George Lucas’s 1973 film about some high school grads cruising town before they leave for college. We’re not talking about that Graffiti, though. We’re talking about the art work. In general, graffiti can be described as writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place. This is what some local graffiti looks like (I left out the foul language and drug references)

However, some graffiti is much more elaborate. Some work on public surfaces like Picasso worked in blues.

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Graffiti artist Odeith “Welcome to Baton Rouge”

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Better Than Star Wars

Sometimes when you write one post it inspires ideas for your next. That’s what happened when I wrote last week’s episode of “Go Ask Your Father“.

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Crash asked what TIE stands for. A T.I.E. fighter is, of course, a Star Wars vehicle. It’s what Vader and his Empire gang fly. T.I.E stands for Twin Ion Engine.

 

While I was researching that answer I discovered how a twin ion engine works, I found a real life NASA story about ion engines. To put it as simply as I can, an ion engine takes a gas, like xenon, smashes them off each other so they lose electrons and then shove it through an electric field. When the ion is shot from the engine the rocket/spaceship/probe/whatever it’s attached to, it’s propelled forward. Thanks to Newton and his third law; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, when the ion goes backwards, the rocket goes forward. If you’ve ever inflated a balloon just to let it go and watch it zoom around the room then you understand Newton’s third law. There’s your physics lesson for the day. There will be a test later.

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A long time ago, the year of 2007, NASA developed and successfully tested an ion engine (NSTAR). While the force generated was equal to the force needed to hold up a sheet of paper it could generate that force for incredibly long periods of time, think years, with incredibly little fuel. The DAWN mission, a mission to send an orbiter to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to study Ceres and Vesta, uses this engine. It reached speeds over 41,000 kmh (25,500 mph).

“If you remember the TIE fighters that Darth Vader and the Evil Empire used to fight the rebel alliance, TIE stood for ‘twin ion engines’,” he said. “Well, Dawn does the Star Wars TIE fighters one better because we use three ion engines.”

However, NASA has improved upon that engine from 9 years ago. The NEXT (NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster) produces up to 3 times the amount of force as its predecessor and was tested continuously for 51,000 hours (6 years). Imagine having to fill up once every 6 years!

It doesn’t stop there, though. There is yet another ion engine being developed that will far exceed the performance capabilities of NEXT. The first engine (NSTAR) would be the equivalent of a ’92 Toyota Carolla. The NEXT would be a Corvette. The NSTAR a Lamborghini. Perhaps one day these engines will power our own vehicles and finally end our dependency on fossil fuels. Gas stations will look extremely different by then!

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Research gathered from:
NASA
New Scientist

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Questions I Asked My Kids

Note: This is now complete.

Crash got a hit last night! Well, he hit the ball anyway. He has been so nervous about getting hit by a pitch, the infamous bean ball. We have been practicing and practicing (and practicing!) in the backyard. He has no trouble swinging. On the way home from a game last week, where he never swung, I asked him if the pitchers throw differently than I do at home (meaning speed). He says “Yes. They’re not as good.” Granted, I spent many years pitching when I was growing up so I am better than most 9 and 10 year olds. So I started pitching left handed to him.

In last night’s game I took over one of the coaching spots because one of his regular coaches was unable to attend. I was over being first base coach doing my coaching thing. I Reminded him get into his batting stance and to plant his back foot so it don’t move and to get his elbow up. He watched pitch after pitch go by. He struck out. Twice. His third time up I reminded him that I didn’t care if he swung and missed, I just wanted him to swing. He did! It went foul. Then he swung at the next pitch and the ringing that sounded from ball meeting bat was like . He ran like the wind hooked to a train. The second baseman fielded the grounder and threw him out at first. But he swung and he hit the ball!

It all begins with a swing. Or a question. Or a post. Or a hello.

1. Did you have any dreams last night?

Crash: I probably did but I don’t remember them.
Bang: I was in jail. I didn’t do anything but the police just came in picked me up! (he woke up crying from this one)

2. Why do balloons get bigger when you blow into them?

Crash: Because you’re putting air into and when you put air into it blows up. Or you could use a pump.
Bang: Because air stays in them and air makes them bigger.

3. Why do yellow bananas turn brown?

Crash: Bananas are one the fruits that goes rotten. When they turn brown they’re telling you to put them into a bag and put them in the freezer so you can banana bread.
Bang: They get left in a bowl and the fruit flies make them rotten.

4. How does the refrigerator stay cold?

Crash: It uses electricity to keep cold. Our fridge has a control to control how cold it is.
Bang: If you leave the fridge open the cold air gets out because the cold air has invisible feet and it walks out of the fridge.

5. Why is cold in the winter and hot in the summer?

Crash: The earth is always rotating while it’s orbiting the sun. This means in the winter it is cold because the Earth is facing into space and in the summer where you live is facing the sun.
Bang: In the summer the sun comes out and the sun is really hot. In the winter air gets into the snow and makes it cold.

6. What causes the wind to blow?

Crash: Neptune. It has massive winds so it blows down to Earth.
Bang: The wind just makes the waves and the waves make the wind.

7. Where does the electricity in our house come from?

Crash: Nova Scotia Power puts into the wires. The wires are connected to our houses so we can have electricity to brush our teeth, play video games and so on.
Bang: From the power lines.

8. Where do the bubbles in pop come from?

Crash: They come the middle of nowhere. I have no idea.
Bang: Because it’s hot.

9. Why is better to eat veggies than junk food?

Crash: Veggies are a lot more healthier. Actually veggies are healthy and junk isn’t.
Bang: Junk doesn’t help your belly. Veggies help your belly.

10. Where do clouds come from?

Crash: They come from vaporization which is when puddle dry up because water vaporates (goes up in the air) to make clouds.
Bang: Clouds come from the power lines because they’re invisible clouds until they get way up in the air.

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Science Questions I Asked My Kids

I’m going to tell this baseball story here. It was already on the radio, but I don’t think y’all listen to the the same radio station that I do.

Crash had a ball game last Monday and his coach sent another Dad and I a message asking if we’d coach in their place because they wouldn’t be able to make it. We’ve both played ball before. We have both coached before. We were confident we could this.

Anyway, the game was going well, albeit very slowly. Our pitcher was having a tough inning in the 3rd (it took an hour and half to get this far). Bad innings happen at any level. We certainly weren’t blaming him. The inning ended and our pitcher was mad, upset, near tears. The other Dad Coach did his coach thing and gave him a pep talk to channel his anger toward the ball during his next at bat.

So he gets up to bat and what does he do? He NAILS it. The ball goes sailing over the center fielder’s head! Did I mention the bases were loaded? He rounds first and Coach sends him to second. He rounds second and we’re all yelling “GO!” He rounds third and I wave him home. GRAND SLAM! However, in Mosquito League baseball there is a five run rule so only one run counted. But still… it was a grand slam! So what if we ended up losing the game by one run.

1. How do the automatic doors at the grocery store know when to open?

Crash: They have sensors above them and when they see you, they open.
Bang: There’s a camera inside the door and when the camera sees them they open.

2. Why do we have to brush our teeth?

Crash: So that we don’t get rotten teeth and cavities and get a needle and wooden teeth like George Washington.
Bang: So we don’t get gunks because the gunks make cavities.

3. Why is there a tornado when the water goes down the bathtub drain?

Crash: Because the water goes around in circles and then goes down.
Bang: It sucks all the things in and makes picture of a tornado.

4. Why are some eggs brown and some eggs white?

Crash: It’s the type of chicken.
Bang: The white ones are fresh and the brown ones are rotten, poopy eggs.

5. Where does the sun go at night?

Crash: Behind us, like behind the other side of the Earth. So when it’s night for our side it’s day for the other side.
Bang: Over far far far away to Canada.

6. How far away are stars?

Crash: Very. 56.7 million miles away.
Bang: thirteen thousand one thousand eighteen thousand miles away.

7. Why do we have to go to sleep?

Crash: So we don’t konk out in the middle of the day.
Bang: We’re hamsters and we have to sleep in the morning

8. Why are worms good for the garden?

Crash: They eat the soil and then poop and their poop is good for the plants.
Bang: They turn the compost into dirt.

9. Why do cows moo?

Crash: That’s how they communicate.
Bang: When they milk they moo.

10. Where do puddles go after it rains?

Crash: They dry up. They go underground. And if rains on plants it goes away almost instantly because the roots drink it up.
Bang: They get sucked into the sun and it makes night time.

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Science Questions I Asked My Kids

It’s a lazy Thursday. One kid is playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii. He’s still in his pajamas at 10 am. His little brother is playing with his garbage/recycling truck. He’s naked. We could have saved ourselves hundreds of dollars by not buying him all those clothes.

Did I mention that it’s raining? It’s been raining for two days now. Hence, it’s a lazy Thursday. I can’t mow. The boys can’t play outside. Though I’m sure they’ll be out puddle jumping later. Perhaps I’ll join them, lest I go shack wacky. Ah, to be a kid again. Sometimes you just need to let your inner kid out to play.

Last week’s science questions were a fairly big hit so I thought I’d try it again. Same as last week, if you aren’t enlightened hopefully you’ll be enlaughened.

1. Why do yellow dandelions turn into yellow puff balls?

Crash: Because the sun heats them up and makes them into puff balls.
Bang: Because the grass goblins eat it and make it white and use them for parachutes. And we wreck their parachutes.

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2. How do light bulbs work? (Thanks Nancy!)

Crash: They use electricity from the house and they light up
Bang: The electricity connects up to the house and makes electricity

3. Why are there no more dinosaurs? (Thanks Holly!)

Crash: Because a meteor hit the Earth and now they`re extinct.
Bang: Everyone shot them with a gun. even me!

4. How do seeds grow?

Crash: The water make them open up then they start to grow.
Bang: Because you water them and they grow and turn into broccoli and stuff

5. Why are there waves in the ocean?

Crash: Because it has something to do with the moon and also the wind blows the water around.
Bang: Because the seeds make the waves because they`re wave seeds and then the sharks eat the seeds and the waves go bye bye.

6. Why do magnets stick together?

Crash: I don`t know exactly but it`s some sort of electric force. The force pulls them together.
Bang: Because they’re one way. They can’t connect black to black. It can connect black to the back of the magnet because it’s sort of sticky so it sticks to the back.

7. Why do the seasons change?

Crash: If it was just winter we’d stay cold and we’d waste more energy on our heaters. But if the seasons change then that wouldn’t happen.
Bang: What are seasons? (I tell him spring, summer, fall and winter) Because when it comes to fall all the leaves land on the ground and make it change.

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8. Why do we have night and day?

Crash: So we don’t get extremely tired. (So I ask him what makes it night and day) The Earth is moving around the sun and while it’s rotating around the sun the Earth is spinning in circles.
Bang: The sharks eat the day and night seeds. When they eat the day seeds it’s night. When they eat the night seeds it night. And when the night seeds are all gone, then the morning seeds can stay.

9. What is steam?

Crash: Vaporization.
Bang: Steam is sorta like smoke from a train. What makes the steam is the coal. The coal make the steam because you don’t want smoke in your train because that would make you sick.

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10. Why does your belly growl when you’re hungry?

Crash: It’s telling you that it needs food and if you don’t feed it you’ll starve. And if you don’t eat for a long time you’ll die of starvation.
Bang: Because it wants food so it goes, “I WANT FOOD! GIVE ME SOME FOOD! I WANT BREAKFAST TIME! ARGHHHH!!!” It gets so angry. And the other side of my belly goes, “I’m hungry. Can I have some food, si vous plait”? Then when it gets it, it says, “Merci”.


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*As you can tell from the recurrence of sharks that it is “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel. While he’s been paying attention, I guess he doesn’t quite understand exactly what sharks do.

**If you have a science question you think would be fun to hear their answer to please leave it in the comment section of this post.

***I am considering setting up the video camera and asking these questions so you can hear their responses. Sometimes there’s more to their answers than I can put into words. Would you like to see it?

enlaughened

 

The Last Day

Well folks, it’s finally here. The Last Day. Thanks to Alice Cooper there’s a song for this day, actually. While most  considered last Friday to be The Last Day, today is REALLY The Last Day. Even if they are only there for an hour and half. Long enough to give a teacher a present, say see ya in Grade Four (4th grade) to their friends, then grab their report card and skedaddle for the summer.

We ran into a bit of a snag with his previous teacher (who left in March to begin maternity leave). A lack of communication is what it boiled down to. But that’s in the past and things have improved with her replacement. The report card comes home today. Crash has always done well. He always comes home with A and B’s. Smart like his parents (he does do dumb stuff like the generation of dads before him did when they were his age).

Anyway, this isn’t about the dumb acts of the invincible youth. I’m not even really sure what this is about today. I’m just spewing nonsense.

So I’ll keep it short and ask for you help. Tomorrow is “Questions I Ask My Kids” day. Last week’s science questions were a huge hit that I’d like to try to replicate. Their answers were hilarious! What I need some help with is the questions I should ask. You can read last week’s questions here.

What would be a good science question to ask a kid? 

Just leave your question(s) down in the comments and I’ll even give you a shout out tomorrow!

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Science Questions I Asked My Kids

Ahh… to view the world with child’s eyes. Nothing quite beats the imagination of our youth. The hows and the whys of our world might seem mind boggling. Except when viewed through the vision and mind of a child it’s all really quite simple. How else could one describe such complex intricacies so simply and so accurately.

I thought I’d try something a little different today. Normally, I ask my kids fun questions about life. Today’s questions are all sciencey (except for the dream question Bang was so eager to answer yesterday). This is their take on what happens in the world around them.

1. Did you have any dreams?

Bang: Yes. So like I don’t know where we were. It was sorta like the beach. It had lots and lots of sand but I don’t know where it was. There was a green train. It came toward us super fast. It didn’t need train tracks, it could go anywhere. On top of trees. In the water (the wheels go all gone and it rows). There was mean mom and she said “There goes your garbage”. I was swimming in the water and the train came on the sand. Then I woke up.

Crash: My friend and I were playing outside in the dark. Then someone jumped on my back. My friend was gone because he turned into a zombie Sponge Bob. So I ran away. A thing was hanging from a tree and it had a flashy button on it. I pushed the button and it exploded and I woke up.

2. Why does it rain?

Bang: Because the clouds go for a swim and suck up some water and when they go back in the sky the water comes out of little tiny holes and it rains.

Crash: Because when it gets hot some water from the oceans and stuff float up. It’s called vaporization. Then the clouds soak up the vaporization because they’re like sponges. They turn dark and the water falls out as rain and it all cycles through again and again.

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3. Why do bees make honey?

Bang: To make honey sandwiches, honey bread, honey toast, and honey strawberries (which are orange and taste like honey)

Crash: So we can eat it, obviously.

4. Why is it windy?

Bang: because wind clouds come and they make the wind blow around.

Crash: Because God blows through his mouth and makes it windy.

5. Why is the sun hot?

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Bang
: When you’re cooking something, the wires get hot so space gets hot and then the sun gets hot.

Crash: That’s an unanswerable question. Earth’s atmosphere is like a magnifying glass and the light from Earth heat up the sun.

 

6. How many bones are in your body?skeltw2

Bang: I would say a lot. I would say a really big number. 60 90 100

Crash: 163

7. What is the largest animal on Earth?

Bang: An elephant and rhino are bigger than all the animals.

Crash: The humpback whale. Whales are ginormous! Or is the beluga bigger?

8. Why is the sky blue?

Bang: Because there are blue snowballs that float in space and they make the sky blue.

Crash: Because of light. The sky is practically space, but the sun lights it up.

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9. What makes a rainbow?

Bang: There are invisible balls inside the blue sky and it makes a rainbow when it’s ready to make one.

Crash: Rain and sun. Obviously the sun heats up the water and somehow it makes a rainbow in the sky.

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10. How do airplanes stay up in the air?

Bang: They have 2 wings and really big propellers that spin super fast that they can stay up in the air when you count to a thousand.

Crash: Because they have turbines usually. And they have big gliding wings.

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Go Ask Your Father: Calories, Sphincters, Magnificent, and Boats

Welcome to Friday. Friday night, actually. It is here anyway.

Let me start again.

Welcome to Saturday! Saturday morning actually. It is here anyway. We haven’t been here for an entire week. Perhaps we need more Saturdays in the week.

So there I was yesterday, watching Curious George with Bang when it dawned on me. I could watch Curious George all day long. It’s the one show I don’t mind watching over and over and over. I can relate to the Man in the Yellow Hat. I know what it’s like to have monkeys. Especially curious ones.

It seems the questions are coming full blast now. While I’m loving answering their questions, I can’t keep up. I forget their questions before I get a chance to write them down. They ask while I’m driving. They ask while we’re laying in bed at night. They ask while we’re out for a bike ride. The most inopportune times to enter them into Wunderlist on the cell phone.

1. What are calories?

low-calorie1This arose from watching TV. A yogurt  commercial claimed to have just 80 calories. Inshort, a calorie is a unit of energy. Or at least that’s what I told Crash. His response was, “That yogurt has 80 units of energy.” You’ll find calories listed on all your food labels. Scientifically speaking, a food calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Your lifestyle can be a determinate on how many calories you need in a day. More sedentary lifestyles, as those of sloths and couch taters, require fewer calories. Those who lead active lifestyles, like athletes, require more calories. Kids require a million billion bajillion calories because they go and go and go and go and….

2. What’s an anal sphincter?

I don’t believe I had to answer this question. No questions are off limits. And thanks to Sheldon Cooper and The Big Bang Theory, here I am answering this. Here was the scene. Sheldon was trying to relax Leonard so Leonard wouldn’t get mad about not being mentioned in scientific journal article about a project he had worked on. So Sheldon was massaging Leonard’s shoulders and told him to relax all his muscles. Except his anal sphincter, don’t relax that. So if you had a map and a flashlight, where would you find an anal sphincter? You’re poop hole. Fun fact: sphincters are strong enough to restrict the passage of any fecal material but sensitive enough to differentiate between solid, liquid, and gas. Just like dad… strong yet sensitive. Eight year olds just LOVE that word, poop, too. So please don’t relax your sphincter. You’ll have a message of infantile proportions.

Note: I’m including pictures of anal sphincters. You can Google those on your own time.

3.What’s magnificent?

I am, son. Totally. Well, not so much magnificent as awesome or super or any other word that would describe a dad. Though, compared to mom words, these are mediocre descriptions. Thanks to “The Day The Crayons Came Home” the sequel to “The Day The Crayons Quit” we have the word magnificent. Poor Pea Green doesn’t like his name because nobody likes peas or pea green. So he changes it to Esteban the Magnificent. He goes off to explore the world, but since it’s rainy he decides to stay home where it’s nice and dry. Those are two great books to read. Kids love them and they’re not so bad if you have to read them 3 kajillion times.

greencrayon

The real Esteban

 

Esteban 001

Bang’s Esteban

 

4. Why do boats float?

Because their hull pushes A LOT of water out of the way.

Pushing water out of the way is called displacement. Archimedes realized this when he took a bath. The water level in his tub rose after he got in. This was his body displacing water to make room for itself. If an object is lighter than the amount of water it displaces it will float. That’s why a small iron nail sinks while giant iron ship can float. The nail doesn’t have to displace much water to make room for itself while a ship displaces tons of water. In water, there are two forces acting upon the object. Gravity, which pulls downward and buoyancy which pushes upward. The more water an object displaces the more buoyant it is.  I, apparently, don’t displace much water because I can’t float. However, DW has two, built in flotation devices. So, should we ever go overboard, I’ll be clinging to her. Lest I become lobster bait.

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