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The SSC’s Official Science Newspaper

e rrent October 2013

Volume 4 Issue 3


Never eat again — it’s good for you


The million-dollar idea that could change how we survive Jacek Orzylowski Contributor

1. 2. 3. 4-5.

Countless university students are familiar with dietary compromise. For many, this compromise takes the form of the classic and cheap bowl of ramen noodles. Finding the time, motivation, money and skill to cook proper meals eludes most students as they flit between classes, workouts and an altogether different biochemical reaction downtown. Is there a way for students to consume a well-rounded, nutritious meal on a small budget of time and money? The answer is yes, but only for the adventurous. Rob Rhinehart, a 25 year-old electrical engineer living in San Francisco with nary a dime to his name, has not eaten a solid meal since mid-January, yet reports that his new diet has bestowed him with heightened energy, clearer skin and a general improvement in his health. His new diet consists of a single chemical cocktail which fulfills every biochemical need of the human body. Dubbed Soylent by Rhinehart, this cocktail is the epitome of eating to live. Rhinehart orders his ingredients directly from laboratory suppliers and regularly sits down to a meal of maltodextrin for carbohydrates, whey isolate for protein and even copper for collagen formation. These chemicals, in addition to several more, are blended into the drink, which takes a minute to prepare, consume and clean. As for the cost, while Rhinehart estimates that he spent upwards of $500 a month on groceries, his chemical shopping list costs no more than $154.82 a month while netting him a healthy daily intake of 2,692 calories. Rhinehart’s formula is a result of self-taught biochemistry and extensive

self-experimentation (which did land him in the hospital with heart palpitations due to potassium poisoning). His experiments — which consist of his breakfast, lunch and dinner — are ongoing, and Rhinehart frequently updates his formula and tracks his health on his blog, Mostly Harmless. Naturally, skeptics abound.

being happier and healthier, mimicking Rhinehart’s own case study. A recent crowdfunding campaign raised over $600,000 US for the large-scale manufacture of Soylent, which might be used in the military or to fight famine. However, the original vision of Rhinehart — not starving and not going bankrupt — is a

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Rob Rhinehart, 25, is the electrical engineer that invented the revolutionary liquid Soylent diet. Joy Dubost, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Diatetics, takes issue with Rhinehart’s “one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition”, while also adding that Soylent “tastes terrible”. Putting taste aside (since it will certainly go down better than your fifth straight night of Hot Pockets), a National Institutes of Health study of an all liquid diet for Californian inmates over 19 weeks in 1965 resulted in the prisoners

beautiful ideal to aspire to for the average university student not lucky enough to still have mom’s cooking. So, if you need to provide for yourself and still make money and are not afraid to ‘cook’ with chemicals, it might be better to forego the example of Walter White and follow the lead of Rob Rhinehart, instead.


Earliest galaxies discovered by Hubble Blank space in the sky not so blank


Connor Prince Contributor


The idea of space is overwhelming to consider. If you thought the bus ride home after class was long, consider this; for a photon to travel from a distant galaxy to Earth, it takes 13 billion years. Also ponder that these photons can move a little bit faster than our LTC buses, at least 13.5 million times faster!

In 1996, we had no idea of what was outside our galaxy. A little faith and a lot of technology changed that. The Hubble telescope was pointed out toward an inky field thought to be full of empty black space.

Although it took 10 days, light photons reached the telescope, each one representing another galaxy. This discovery lead to a repeat experiment in 2004, revealing what is known as the deep field, and that our Milky Way is a small part of a

huge system, likely comprised of 100 billion galaxies. The photons left the galaxy in which they originated when the universe was still 500 million years young; and 13 billion years later they showed up on the Hubble. Recently, astronomers have put together a 3D representation of the deep field based on this discovery in 2004, allowing for a better perspective of exactly how expansive the universe is. So, if you thought being a single student in NS-145 was overwhelming, consider now that you are one student, at one university, in one province, in one country, on one continent, on one planet, in one of the 100 billion galaxies.

The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. Its contents do not reflect the opinion of the University Students’ Council of the University of Western Ontario (“USC”). The USC assumes no responsibility or liability for any error, inaccuracy, omission or comment contained in this publication or for any use that may be made of such information by the reader.

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The Current — October 2013

LIFE NOT AS WE KNOW IT Our planet is home to many awe-inspiring organisms. If you’re fascinated with life on Earth, but don’t want to get out of your chair to explore the world, here is a glimpse of a few bizarre, exotic, or unconventional creatures your lazy eyes might have otherwise never seen.

ELEPHANT CACTUS If you were asked to imagine a cactus, it’s likely you would immediately picture a green, waxy plant covered in dozens of prickly spines. What you probably wouldn’t imagine is a tree with a typical trunk coated in bark with dozens of cacti growing where one would normally expect to see leaves. Many different species of these giant cactus trees exist including Pachycereus pringlei and Pachycereus weberi. The trees are native to hot climates including the South Caribbean, Turks and Cacaos, Mexico and southern states like Arizona. These unique plants grow to an average range of 5–15m tall and have reported diameters of

up to 1m wide. Pachycereus comes from the ancient Greek “pakhus” meaning “thick” and the Latin “cereus” meaning “torch”. These trees are affectionately known by locals as the “Elephant Cactus.” This name seems very fitting both due to the cacti’s massive size and because of the presence of a trunk, just like an elephant.

—Melanie Chin

CROOKED FOREST In a small corner in north-western Poland, a collection of remarkable pine trees has been discovered. Located near small town of Gryfino is strange forest that contains approximately four hundred pine trees — each with a 90 degree bend at the base of their trunks and all with a curve that points northward. The surrounding forest is composed of completely normal straight growing pine trees which renders this grove of curved trees a complete mystery. By analyzing the uniform separation between adjacent trees and estimating that all trees appear to have been growing since 1930, researchers are driven to believe this

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column editor dz marketing manager Adam Raffoul outreach editor Matt Renaud soph liaison Carly Jackson blog manager Maham Bushra youtube manager Dan Younus media editor Maddie Storvold

—Melanie Chin

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copy editors Ashima Jain, Eugene Leung & Igor Angelovski compilation editors Bethia To, Jameera Mohamed & Rajiv Lakhani creative editors Sophia Wen & Tianyi Yan features editors Rigya Arya & Maryam Golafshani images editors David DeSantis & Mathura Thiyagarajah

“Crooked Forest” is man-made. They suspect the curvature stems from the pines growing for seven to ten years while being held down by some sort of human-made mechanical invention. Speculation for the intended use of the trees ranges from making yokes for farming plows, the ribs for boat hulls or for artistically curved wood-furniture. However, the Second World War likely prevented whoever was growing and tending the grove from harvesting the crooked pines, leaving the fate of the timber completely unknown.


Lucy Zhao — Advice Column Shreyesh Dalmia — Sport Science Column Andrew Poon — Book Review Column Margaret Ho — Theme Column

If you just can’t wait for the next issue of The Current, check out the Blog for writing from these and other talented writers.


Connor Prince Ivan Urosev Jace Orzylowski Meghan Bhatia Melanie Chin Prince Asare-Agbo Sahil Sharma

The Current — October 2013

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Parts of the Earth that want to kill you

Mother Nature wants to smother you, crush you and give you malaria Ivan Urosev Contributor

As science comes to understand the stringent criteria that a planet must meet in order to support life, academics are often left to marvel at our own good-fortune. We have found a home that is neither too hot nor too cold, massive enough to retain a breathable atmosphere, while not so massive as to crush any life larger than the microbial. Indeed, our luck seems to be so profound in this respect that we might do well to try our collective hand at blackjack at the very next opportunity. However, this conclusion stems from only a cursory examination; there are plenty of places on Earth that are both ready and able to kill you as fast, if not faster, than the coldness of space. Below is a list of three of them.

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Top of Everest: Assuming that you are not a professional climber who has spent months acclimating yourself to low oxygen conditions, you could enjoy the view from the top of Everest for a solid 2 – 3 minutes before succumbing to the effects of hypoxia.

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The Current’s

Bottom of the Mariana Trench: Although the average temperature of 2°C that is found at this deepest point in the ocean would not make for a very pleasant swim, it would be the combined weight of the 11km of water above you that would kill you here. Following the collapse of your lungs, death due to lack of oxygen would come to you in approximately 90 seconds.

What you’ll find:

Between 23°N and 23°S Latitude: A majority of the world's population can be found between these latitudinal dividers, so the relative danger of this part of the world may be suspect at first. However, this is the region where you are most likely to be infected by the parasite Plasmodium and subsequently develop malaria. A recent study looked at the effects of malaria on human populations over recorded history concluded that approximately half of all the people who have ever lived likely died due to the disease. So statistically speaking, this large and most populous region of Earth may in fact be the most dangerous.

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• Ask The Current • Household Experiments • Advice for Students



Gender differences in sexual impulses

Legless lizard leaves people puzzled

To cheat, or not to cheat Snake or snake imposter? Sahil Sharma Contributor

Many students often consider relationships an integral part of the university experience. First year students often decide to enter long-distance intimacies, while others simply meet a special someone while strolling through campus. However, many of these romances are short term and come to an abrupt end due to various reasons — infidelity typically being the most likely cause.

temptations in their past, and the second picking apart sexual impulses and selfcontrol using a rapid-fire reaction-time task. The study showed that when subjects reflected on their past, men reported having stronger sexual impulses than women as well as a strong will to act on this impulse. However, the study also concluded that men and women did not differ in the extent to which they exerted self-control. “When men and women said they actually did exert self-control in sexual situations, impulse strength didn’t predict how much either sex would actually engage

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There is a long-held belief not just on campus, but also worldwide, that men are more likely to cheat on their partners than women. A recent study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin looked to see whether this belief was true and if there indeed was a psychological reason behind it. The study consisted of two separate experiments: the first determining how sexes would respond to real-life sexual

in ‘off-limits’ sex,” Tidwell, a doctoral student from Texas A&M University, said. The issue of sexual impulses has long been uncharted territory for the research of many psychologists, but studies such as this are now beginning to clarify the behavioral differences between men and women.

Prince Asare-Agbo Contributor

It is human nature to inherently afraid of a lot of things in the world. We have words for the more common fears, like the fear of heights (acrophobia) or the fear of those

Legless lizard... isn’t that what a snake actually is? What’s the difference?

eight-legged creepy crawlies known as spiders (arachnophobia). We even have words for the more-than-slightly-irrational fears of belly buttons (omphalophobia), the colour purple (porphyrophobia), and even a fear of long words (hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – go figure). However, if you travelled to California, and had an encounter with a long, skinny limbless reptile and declared your newfound phobia as ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), you may have been fooled into inaccurately fearing the wrong reptile. Scientists have actually discovered four new species of “legless lizards” in California, in addition to the over 200 species of them worldwide. “Legless lizard… isn’t that what a snake actually is, what’s the difference?” you ask. Well it turns out that these legless lizards have eyelids and external ear openings, which snakes don’t. In a nutshell,

these lizards can slither like a snake, but they can wink at you, before they instill fear in your heart. Scientists theorize that these lizards lost their legs in an act of natural selection long ago to allow them to burrow more quickly into the ground. With the discovery of the four new legless lizard species, it turns out that there are five species total of these lizards out on the West Coast, each with certain morphological differences from the others — like underbelly colour and number of vertebrae. In true scientific fashion, the four new species are being named after four renowned UC Berkeley scientists (scientists have a special kind of vanity in which they name strange new things after themselves). If you’ve taken the time to read this article then you probably don’t have logophobia (fear of words), but even if you’re scared of absolutely nothing, I suggest not getting close to a slithering reptile to figure out whether or not it’s a snake or a lizard. If you do happen to be the adventurous type, however, then

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I wish you the best of luck — you might just discover something you can name after yourself.

S caring

cience of

what is f ear? W

ith all of the witches, ghouls, zombies and vampires coming out to play this Halloween, it might be a good idea to understand what exactly fear is and why we have the urge to hide under our covers and never leave the bed.

Simply put, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the feeling of impending danger. Whether this danger is imagined or real, does not affect the emotional and physical response it causes; how it is initially perceived is what matters most. Scientifically, fear is the way the brain reacts in response to stressful stimuli. Two simultaneous processes occur in response to these stimuli. In the first pathway, the brain causes a very fast reaction through the fight or flight response; heart rate increases, breathing becomes more rapid, and muscles tense up. This is the quick, initial reaction which is important in situations of immediate danger. In the second pathway, the brain analyzes the situation and the hippocampus recovers past memories to compare and help further understand the situation. This pathway takes a little longer which helps explain why people still react fearfully to non-threatening situations.

why do we n eed f ear? A

lthough it may not seem like it when you are doing a presentation in front of a classroom full of people, fear is a very helpful and necessary emotion.

Fear is a basic survival mechanism that has been adapted throughout evolution. It allows humans to recognize and respond to dangerous situations quickly. Fear is an instinctual response common to all people and necessary for our survival. Fear keeps us from needlessly putting our life in danger. Fear is also very important because it helps us make sound decisions and is necessary for self-control. The next time you’re at the grocery store, you might not buy that second packet of cookies for the fear of dying of cardiovascular disease. Fear is healthy!


can we b lame g enetics?


o absolute answer can be given to this question; research on this topic is ongoing. However, it has been concluded that some individuals have a greater tendency to learn a fear. These individuals form stronger associations between stimuli and an aversive feeling or event. They have an enhanced amygdala response. Differences between individuals have also been seen on how easily they can dispel this association. It can be said that differences in brain function affect how fear-resilient individuals are. As a new born, there are very few things that elicit a fear response. Two instinctual things for babies to be afraid of are falling and loud noises. These have been programmed into DNA as things that they should be wary of as they may cause harm. Again, fear is necessary – it helps keep us alive! Most other fears are learned.

can we m anage our f ear? O

ver activation of the flight or fight response can lead to a buildup of stress hormones. This can result in disorders of the autonomic nervous system and immune system. This, along with the anxiety, are reasons why it is important to learn how to manage our fears.

It has been shown that the best way to manage a fear is to expose yourself to this fear. Of course, this is something that is very difficult to do. However, as soon as the relationship between this stimuli and the fear response breaks down, the anxiety we feel when we see this stimuli will reduce significantly. Another idea is to think about the worst possible outcome. Often, we build up our fears in our heads resulting in our fear to be unreasonable for the situation. For example, if you suffer from arachnophobia and you see a spider in your room the worst possible situation is that you get bitten. (And if you’re lucky, this might be a spider that gives you super powers. In which case, there really is nothing to be afraid of). Finally, realize if your fear is irrational. You might be afraid of crossing a bridge for the fear of it breaking. Be able to recognize that the chances of this happening are very slim. This idea of it being an unlikely event will be reassuring and reduce your anxiety.

“ There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” -

Andre Gide

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The Current — October 2013


A matter of darkness

What is dark energy and why does it matter? Ivan Urosev Contributor

This article is going to be dedicated to shedding light on an idea that has become widely accepted in the scientific community, but is only now beginning to appear in the periphery of the public’s understanding of the Universe. It may be the case that the ideas of dark matter and dark energy are not entirely new ones; the appreciation of the importance of these hypotheses and their implications however, seems to be lacking amongst almost everyone who is not a cosmologist. Dark matter was first postulated by Jan Oort (for whom the Oort cloud is named) as early as 1932, in his attempts to account for the disparity between the orbital velocities of stars and the visible mass which was supposedly generating those velocities. In his proposal, dark matter was hypothesized to be a type of matter entirely different from the “luminous material” - stars, dust, planets and galaxies – that we are used to thinking of as the main components of the cosmos. Observations of the rapid speed of the Universe’s expansion in the 90’s led to the proposal of a related idea – Dark energy – and this mysterious substance is now believed to account for 73% of the massenergy of the Universe.

The major obstacle to the institution of dark matter and dark energy is that at this point no one can really say what either of those things are. The hypothesis postulates some new type of sub-atomic particle that does not interact with known particles or electromagnetic radiation in any way. But the existence of such a particle is difficult to prove, so at this point these hypotheses simply remain mathematically elegant solutions to the problem of the “missing mass” in the Universe.

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Still, it is interesting to think that everything we see may in fact be a sideshow to what the Universe really is (and always has been) all about. As of now, people are working diligently in technically advanced laboratories to try and conclusively determine the validity of this hypothesis. Hopefully, we can expect an answer in the near future.


Rabdo or rabdon’t Crossfit

Rhabdomyolysis from CrossFit: myth or fact? Meghan Bhatia Contributor

While working at the gym a lot of people have asked me about a disease called rhabdomyolysis. Due to a recent burst of shares on Facebook, an article outlining the high occurrence of “rhabdo” in CrossFit has gotten the general public familiarized with this rare disease. However, beware of believing everything you read. Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibres that leads to the release of myoglobin in the bloodstream. The kidneys are easily harmed by myoglobin, often resulting in kidney damage or possibly failure.

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So what does rhabdomyolysis have to do with CrossFit? Well, one of the risks leading to rhabdomyolysis is severe exertion of muscle tissue. Because there have been a couple incidents of rhabdo associated with CrossFit, this may have led to the numerous articles claiming CrossFit causes rhabdo. In fact, rhabdomyolysis is a rare disorder that is usually associated with some genetic factors. It is indeed dangerous to


Heisenberg’s Principle of Halloween Explore your position and behaviour through costume dz

Column Editor The thing that attracts me most to Halloween isn’t the decorations, candy, or poop-yourpants scariness — it’s something more. Of course, that’s not to say that our days of running up to houses with our jack-o-lantern candy-baskets and UNICEF boxes wasn’t fun; rather there is something behind the masks and costumes that manifest our unconscious intrinsic natures. In modern physics, the Uncertainty Principle, proposed by a famous physicist named Werner Heisenberg (#goodbyebreakingbad), states that you can never simultaneously completely determine the position and behavior (momentum) of a particle; you can only know one or the other. The implication of this theory indicates that the very act of observing a particle will alter its own position and behavior. Conditionally, if you just close your eyes, the particle will behave as a non-localized wave, smeared up across the space-time fabric of ambiguity. It is only when an observer who possesses consciousness actively observes the particle that it collapses into existence.

Although no meth is being cooked, what’s interesting about Heisenberg’s Principle is when you zoom-out to a macroscopic view, we, humans, are analogous to these particles. No one ever really has a single defined identity as the act of a being observing us defines our behavior and thoughts at that point of time and position. For example, the way you would act in front of your boss, girlfriend, or Tuco Salamanca, would be much different than the way you act around a swag beast like me because you cannot behave the same way to different people in the same space at the same time. Instead, you are a slightly different person every time you are consciously observed and are required to be consciously aware that you’re being observed. So in actuality, we are like the smeared up waves of energy potentiality, waiting to be actualized by another human being. Psychologically speaking, our ego and id are illusions of the different identities other people define us as and in contemporary society, we are continuously being defined and observed by human beings around us, meaning we in turn must have an action-reaction behavior to every and each of them.

jump into high-intensity exercise (especially if you are a new athlete), but that is applicable to any form of high-intensity exercise and not only to CrossFit. So don’t get discouraged in attempting certain forms of exercise, just be aware of your limits (if you ever want to be able to lift again). Continuously exercising until the point of regurgitation is classified as severe exertion and can be linked to serious risks like rhabdo. To help prevent rhabdomyolysis, drink plenty of fluids after strenuous exercise to dilute your urine and flush any myoglobin that is released from your muscles out of your kidneys. And remember, don’t jump into any new high-intensity exercises right away, start slow and progress with care.

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Werner Heisenberg — the one who didn’t make meth However, during Halloween, we put on masks and costumes, creating an outer identity that isn’t subject to the conscious observations of other vampires, ghouls, and “nurses”.

On October thirty-first, when the Bieber swag comes off and the three-holed white blankets come on, we no longer have a particle-observer relationship between each other; we become identity-less and we have no defined persona whatsoever. We, quantum mechanically speaking, all become particle-waves. Whether you are partying, trick or treating, or driving a ghost busters vehicle around the block in circles, realize that in that time and space the only observer of you is yourself. Halloween literally treats us by allowing us to not be a defined form of ourselves and instead be someone or something we are not allowed to be during the other 364 days of the year. If you only get this chance once a year, put on your My Little Pony dress and apply yourselves! Have a Heisenberg Halloween! #yoloween2013

The Current — October 2013

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The Shining



Lucy Zhao

Shreyesh Dalmia

Andrew Poon

Margaret Ho

Every year, the daunting task of finding the perfect Halloween costume remains the source of constant nagging at the back of your mind. Here is some advice to help you with your dilemma this year (or years to come). 1. Less is More I’m talking about avoiding the coordination of costumes with large groups of friends (I know what you were thinking). Unless you’re really distinguishable by yourself, like Iron Man as a part of the Avengers, don’t plan to be a part of the group. You’re bound to confuse people as to what you’re dressing up as if you separate from the whole. 2. Comfort is Key It’ll be a long night if you’re not comfortable in your own costume. That being said, avoid scratchy costumes that have been locked up in the attic for who-knows-how-long. Costumes that are too small for you might result in some irritating tightness in places you don’t want to be tight in. 3. Be Original Try something different this year and be daring with your costume. Find that one supporting character that you’re really drawn to from a book, movie, TV show or popular media while trying to avoid the popular choices like Catwoman, Superman or the wonderful Miley Cyrus. Of course, don’t choose a really obscure character because that just makes for awkward conversation when no one knows whom your costume is supposed to represent. 4. Plan Ahead Don’t wait until the last day to try and pull something together because you’ll probably end up unsatisfied and not dress up at all (yes, I am guilty of this). Halloween costumes show something about your personality so make sure yours is a memorable one.

It took more than a year but former NBA MVP Derrick Rose has finally decided to don the red and black colors of the Chicago Bulls once again. Following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to his left knee in the 2011–2012 playoffs, the Bulls were nothing short of ecstatic to see the star player return. By early 2013, Rose was cleared to start playing by doctors but he chose to stay out and continue rehabilitating. Every game, fans would gaze over to the bench, hoping to see him wearing the iconic uniform but would instead be greeted by a new tailored suit. The prodigal hero, who was supposed to return Chicago to its Michael Jordan glory days, seemed to be more avid in Adidas commercials than the games! Although fans continued to support him, many had lost trust in their homegrown superstar, including myself.

“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.” Have you ever read a book so scary that you wanted to hide it in the freezer? Are you a fan of Stephen King? If you haven’t read The Shining yet, then get your heart ready for some psychological horror. A man with an explosive temper, along with his wife and his son, move into a hotel during closing season. Little does anyone know the son has a paranormal gift of premonition that allows him to predict aspects of the hotel’s history

As everyone knows, Halloween is fast approaching, and with it comes the creative decorations and ghoulish effects. Are you a scare fanatic? Here are a few DIY ideas that will leave your neighborhood the scariest of them all.

Advice Staff

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Sport Staff

This situation just got worse when Kobe Bryant injured his Achilles tendon, which also takes around 8 months to recover from. On one hand, you had Rose, who was being “selfish” and sitting out, while on the other hand, you had Kobe, who was blasting through physiotherapy in order to return and lead his team. I was initially disillusioned but it really was in Rose’s best interest to be careful. He’s a young player with plenty of seasons and championship opportunities left, unlike Kobe, who would rather go out with a bang. Furthermore, an ACL tear is no joke; this ligament is one of four that help stabilize the knee structures. The knees especially are a basketball player’s lifeline, especially for a speed demon like Rose. Hopefully, we’ll see some of that explosiveness on the court this year as he returns to lead his team to the top.

…Nah buddy, if wearing suits will lead to future championships, wear all the suits you want.

Book Staff

and future; the man is ticking time bomb spiralling down to madness. What happens to them in the hotel? King paints each scene in the book with unexpected phenomena, crafting together all the elements of a true heart-gripper. Does everyone die? It’s Stephen King, so you’d never know. If you have never heard of this book, or film, then you should definitely give this title a try for Halloween. But if you’re a part of the 90% who “doesn’t have time to read”, there’s no excuse not watching the movie!

Theme Staff

Dry Ice, a frozen, solid form of carbon dioxide at around -78°C, is a key staple in creating the mysterious fog or bubbles in a cauldron by simply placing it in water. Unlike normal ice, the dry ice vaporizes into carbon dioxide gas, a safe and versatile supply that can be placed into jack-o-lanterns, spooky haunted houses, mock graveyards, or a glass bowl to mimic a crystal ball. Add some food colouring into the water to make coloured bubbling potions or hang glowsticks outside to achieve a silent eerie effect….everything is scarier when there’s smoke involved.

‘Elephant Toothpaste’ can be made from ½ cup of household hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup dishwashing soap, a mixture of one tablespoon of dry yeast and warm water, and food colouring. The result is fast-expanding foam that oozes out immediately, perfect to use in jack-o-lanterns and fake oozing corpses to surprise oblivious trick-or-treaters. Coloured-Flaming Effects can be made by painting surfaces (ie. Jack-O-Lanterns) with hand sanitizer. The pumpkin is then coated with a little borax – chemically known as sodium borate, a common boron compound that can be used in cleaning, flame retardants, industrial processes, and laundry detergents - which is easily found in your local Wal-mart, Target or grocery store. When the pumpkin is ignited, a ‘flaming rainbow’ will be created (orange from the pumpkin, green from combusting the borax, and a natural blue flame from the alcohol based hand sanitizer). Hot stuff, right?When metal salts are burned, the atoms are excited and removed from their usual relaxed, resting state, causing the emission of energy that we see in the form of colour! Epsom salts (magnesium sulphates) give off a white light when burned. Alcohol based chemicals give off a blue light. Purple light can be attained through burning potassium chloride, a water softner salt.

But of course, wear gloves when you handle dry ice, and make sure all flammable materials are tucked away when you’re making glowing lights. Safety first!

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The Current — October 2013

) s c i m o c ( m = e


Across 2 cell division 3 nearsightedness 4 the study of the behaviour of light 7 A _____ force is one that makes an object travel along a curved path. 10 a saturated hydrocarbon 15 violent and unsteady movement of air or water 18 a physicist who developed a commonly used model of the atom Down 1 _____ light from the sun causes sunburn. 5 the state of remaining unchanged 6 the subatomic particle whichi is a building block of hadrons 8 when light from the sun is obscured by the moon 9 the study of heredity and inherited characteristics 11 a pointof minimum amplitude on a standing wave 12 his cat is quite famous 13 the biophysicist responsible for the first X-ray diffraction photographs of DNA 14 the separation of electric charge in a molecule

Answers to last month’s crossword Across 1 coal, 3 oxygen, 6 ventricles, 7 magma, 9 bones, 10 Goodall, 11 Einstein, 12 viruses, 14 Sahara, 16 pong, 17 Nile, 18 uni Down 1 convex, 2 atmosphere, 4 acoustics, 5 carbon, 8 elephant, 13 heme, 15 helium

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