Friday, April 16, 2004

learning science

It is said that the best way to learn science is to learn in practically, in a hands-on method. Therefore, the government spends millions of ringgit each year to build science labs in schools. Extra costs are put in to ensuring that students are exposed to proper equipment to quench their thirst for scientific knowledge.

I learned many many things in science labs, both in school and in college. All of them teaching me a great deal of things about life. Among the stuffs I learned :

1) Ants have no facial expressions.
I don't think they have muscles on their face to show happiness or suffering. This was learned in Form 2 when the science teacher brought in a few microscopes to the lab. She asked us to go to the garden outside and pluck out some leaf or some shit like that. We reckoned, plants are boring. Who the hell is bothered what a leaf looks like? We decided to catch a few ants. Brought them back to the lab. First we killed an ant and put the bugger under the microscope. Boring. The bugger was already dead, all we could see was a magnified version of his head and body.

Then someone had a fucking brilliant idea. We poured some glue on the glass slide, and then threw a couple of ants into the glue. We watched them struggle to get free under the microscope. Poor bastards, imagine having to live a life without being able to express yourself. Even when they so noblely sacrificed themselves to quench our curiosity, they could not laugh or cry. All they could do was keep moving their legs frantically. And then die. Such noble creatures.

2) Cockroaches can swim well in water, but cannot swim in alcohol.
I knew all along that these bloody creatures can swim in water. When I was small, I caught a cockroach and threw the bugger in the toilet bowl. He floated and swam to the side. Then, I flushed the toilet. Still, regardless of the whirpool and all that water turbulence, the bloody bastard refused to get flushed into the sewer where he belongs.

Fast forward to the year 2000. My biology teacher was a mamak (half Indian, half Malay). One day, she brought 6 live cockroaches to class and asked us to disect them. God knows where the hell she found 6 bloody live cockroaches. Probably in her husband's mamak stall (mamaks in Malaysia are famous for their good food served in roadside stalls). Anyways, she asked us not to stomp on the fella. Seems we had to maintain his ugly body shape so that we could look at it properly. Not very useful to us if he was mashed up pulp. To do that, we had to put him in a container. Then we had to soak a piece of cotton wool with alcohol and throw it in the container. He will then get dizzy cause of the alcohol fumes and pass out. Or so it seems.

Our bloody specimen must have been a mutated motherfucker. We threw in 3 bloody pieces of alcohol soaked cotton wool but the bastard still didn't die. Instead, he got high on the fumes and started clubbing in the plastic container. Bastard kept running around the container like as though its a dance floor. Mamak woman asked us not to be impatient and wait for him to pass out. We waited for 2 hours but still nothing happened. Well, ok, it was 2 minutes but the asshole was still dancing around. We got fed up and poured half a bottle of alcohol into the container to flood it. Stupid bastard thought it was water and tried swimming. Serves him right when he finally drowned and died. We also learned that cockroaches are not as noble as ants.

3) Chewing gum disintegrates in boiling water, but hardens in acid.
This was the most important thing I learned in Chemistry class in college. We had to heat up the acid for an experiment. The method for doing that is to boil water and then put the test tube with acid into the boiling water. Can't remember what we had to do with the acid after that. But anyways, after we finished the experiment, we looked around the class and found out that we were a bunch of efficient fuckers. We had our results and everything but the other groups were not even half way done.

So, since the water was still boiling, we decided to throw our chewing gum inside to see what happens. So, 2 of us decided to sacrifice our chewing gums and dropped it into the beaker. Instantly, we could see it losing its shape. Started melting. And formed a goo at the bottom of the beaker. Like melted tar. Fuck. Then someone decided to put his remaining chewing gum into the test tube of acid. And for some fucking reason, it turned into stone. No shits. After we poured out the acid and washed that chewing gum in water, we threw that piece of gum on the table, and it bounced! Obviously didn't bouce like a ball, but still did bounce 2mm off the surface of the table. As for the goo stuck at the bottom of the other beaker, we poured away the water and put the beaker on another table so that we won't be blamed for it. That was definately one of my most productive days in college.

I will blog more on this title another day.

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