For Science!

I was on the train last night from Helensburgh to Waverley. By the time I got on, the train was more or less empty: I picked the nearest empty group of seats so that I could take the giant Eskimo coat of warmth off and was about to settle down to reading Darwin’s Watch and texting Kreetch, when I noticed something weird on the window for the seats opposite.

Chocolates on window

Chocolates window on train Taking a closer look, I realised that they didn’t just look like chocolates stuck to the window, they were chocolates that had been stuck on the window. Someone had taken five little moulded chocolates and fixed them on the window glass.

Weird.

A closer look: they looked kind of grungy, as if they’d been dropped on the floor (which might explain why they hadn’t been eaten, I thought) but the glass on which they had been fixed was smeared with chocolate and each chocolate had a little slip of melted chocolate around it – one of the round chocolates had even slipped a little, leaving an edgemark on the glass.

chocolates on train

Lying on the seat there was a piece of coloured cardboard – I hadn’t looked at it more closely when I sat down, because it’s December, you see pieces of coloured cardboard abandoned everywhere. It was an advent calendar – the sort where you open each door to get a piece of chocolate.

Someone had been given an advent calendar and had reacted appropriately, given it’s 8th December: they’d opened all the doors and taken all the chocolates.

Mighty Power Rangers Samurai advent calendarFrom TV Tropes of Power Rangers Samurai:

The 18th season (or officially 19th and 20th seasons – it’s complicated; see Sequel Number Snarl below) and latest UnCancellation of the Power Rangers franchise*, using Ranger, Monster, and Zord footage from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.

In feudal Japan, Nighloks from the otherworldly Sanzu River emerged from cracks in the human world and terrorized the populace until a group of Samurai united to stop them. When the Nighloks begin appearing again in the present day, five young descendants of those samurai are gathered to train in the ways of their families’ “Samurai Symbols of Power” and stop the Nighloks’ efforts of using humans’ tears of despair to make the Sanzu flood the human world.

advent calendar matching mould Also, an excuse to sell young humans spinoff junk and cheap chocolate.

I confirmed that this was the source of the chocolates by looking for a matching mould.

The moment it’s no longer 1st December, advent calendars are useless. Except of course as a source of cheap chocolate.

So, young human opens all the doors, starts eating the chocolate, and then they’d got bored eating what was probably fairly awful chocolate, and experimented.

If you melt the base of a chocolate object and then hold the melted chocolate against a cold glass surface, when the chocolate solidifies again, will the object stick to the window?

Chocolates on train

Confirmed.

I don’t know how much earlier in the day the experiment was carried out (it’s my experience that the litter on the train that runs between Waverley and Helensburgh doesn’t get cleared up til the Waverley end of the run, and not always then) but the chocolates were stuck firmly to the window, and at a really close look, I realised that either before or after they’d been stuck on, the chocolate scientist had also been experimenting if a pen would draw on chocolate.

You can buy “science kits” in any good toyshop, which will allow children to carry out exactly-planned endeavours that will illustrate specific chemical and physical reactions. But while fun to play with, those kits aren’t showing children how to do science.

Science is the means by which we ask testable questions of the universe, by means of repeatable experiments, and get answers that can be confirmed by repeating the experiment. That kid sticking chocolates to the window was doing science.

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Filed under Children, Chocolate, Education, Public Transport

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