Creating Class Surface Tension

, , , , | Learning | May 13, 2016

(I am a senior year in high school when I discover that I haven’t taken a required class for graduation.  My headmaster opts to just plunk me into the class, adding that I really don’t have to pay much attention, since it is taught with a seventh or eighth grade textbook. For most of the class, I pretty much keep to myself, ace the tests, and doze. That is, until one day near the end of term. The teacher is talking about random things when she comes to a point about water. I will never forget the next things she said.)

Teacher: “Surface tension is the tendency of water to stick to itself and repel other things.”

Me: *thinking* “Well, that’s over simplifying it… but eh, they’ll learn more later.”

Teacher: “In fact, surface tension is so strong, it’s what keeps ships afloat! From little speed boats, right up to big aircraft carriers.”

(At this point I blinked, and laughed loudly.)

Teacher: “Is something funny?”

Me: “Uh… yeah. Kinda.”

Teacher: *snooty* “Well, if it’s so funny, why don’t you share it with the rest of us?

Me: “I don’t think you want me to do that.”

Teacher: “You’ll either share it or I’m sending you to the headmaster’s office for disrupting my class.”

Me: “You asked. You just said that surface tension is what keeps ships afloat right?”

Teacher: “Yes. Do you have a problem with what I teach?”

Me: “When it’s wrong, and I can prove it wrong? Yeah, I do.”

Teacher: “So, you know more than me now, is that it? If you think you’re so smart, then why don’t you prove me wrong? Come on up. Let’s see your so-called ‘proof.'”

(I walk up to the board and start writing.)

Teacher: “What’s that mumbo jumbo?”

Me: “It’s the formula to figure buoyancy.”

Teacher: “So, surface tension.”

Me: “Nope, because this takes into consideration the submerged volume of an object, which is V, the fluid’s density, which is P, and the gravitational acceleration which is a standard 9.8 meters per second squared. Using this, you can determine whether or not an object can remain afloat.”

Teacher: “You just made that up.”

Me: “No, Archimedes did back, oh, I’d say, about three thousand years ago. Even then, people weren’t stupid enough to think that surface tension keeps something afloat.”

(The teacher leaves, coming back a few minutes later with the headmaster in tow.)

Teacher: *pointing to the formula* “She is lying to the students!”

(She rants about how I claim the formula can tell what kept things afloat. He looks at my work.)

Headmaster: *nodding* “She got the formula right… So, what’s the problem here?”

(The teacher loses it and storms out. I explained what she’d said and he groans, pointing to the board and to the students.)

Headmaster: “Learn this. It’ll help you in your physics class. As to what the teacher said… We’ll work something out.”

(In the end, I didn’t have to go back to the class. The remaining five or six weeks of class were cancelled, and the teacher dismissed. Years later, at one of our class reunions, the subject came up again. We got back to the question of how someone like that could get a teaching license. One of the students, who had been a freshman in that year, and remembered the incident explained. Apparently the lady was the mother of one of the students, had worked as a substitute teacher, and when the regular geography teacher had to take a year off due to an accident, she stepped in to take her place. After her dismissal, it had been discovered that she’d lied about her qualifications.)

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You Can’t Run From Death

, | Learning | November 8, 2015

(A student is giving a presentation on analyzing some microscope movies of cells. Prof #1 is well-known for being a keen marathon runner.)

Student: “To determine cell death, we have three inputs: the distance trace, the fluorescence trace, and the coefficient of variance.”

Prof #1: “I don’t understand how the distance trace shows cell death.”

Prof #2: “When you’re dead, you stop running.”

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A Flawed Eggs-periment

, | Learning | July 14, 2015

(It’s our last science lesson of the term, and because we have nothing better to do, we are told to make something out of a limited number of items that will protect an egg from damage when dropped from various heights,(15m, 20m, and 25m, roughly). This occurs after my pair’s egg survives all three.)

Me: *holding the parachute out at arms’ length* “How funny would it be if Eggbert survived all that, and then ‘died’ when I dropped him from this height?”

Partner: “Go ahead, it’s your design.”

Me: *drops egg*

(I hear a crunching noise when the cup the egg was in hits the ground and, surprise, surprise; the egg broke.)

Me: “Eggbert!” *clenching fists and looking towards the ceiling* “NOOOOOOOO!”

Science Teacher: “[My Name], we had prizes for things like ‘Best Landing’, and ‘Best Craft’, but I think you get a prize just for ‘Most Emotional Attachment to the Egg.'”

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Didn’t Do Well With Pi At School

, , , , | Working | July 13, 2014

(I’m getting lunch and have asked for two slices of pizza.)

Cashier: “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have a personal pan pizza? It’s one and a half slices and it’s only a dollar more.”

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Friends For Life Of Pi

, , , , | Friendly | July 11, 2014

(Some of my friends want to introduce me to someone they think I will get along with. We are sitting at a table in the dining hall talking and the mathematical constant pi comes up.)

Girl #1: “What is pi anyway?”

Me & Girl #2: *simultaneously* “Pi is 3.1415926535897932384626433832795…”

(About half way through reciting it we both locked eyes and realized we were going to be good friends.)

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