Monday, February 12, 2007

Order of the Science Scouts . . .

Members are:
- fond of IPCC reports (especially the pictures).
- into badges.
- grieving for the slow and miserable death of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- not in the business of total world domination.
- committed to the constant and diligent presentation of science stories, be it to editors, producers, directors, educators, relatives and/or friends of various ilk, in an effort to lessen the gaps in this thing we call public scientific literacy.

Here are the badges I can rightfully claim. How about you?

The "talking science" badge.
Required for all members. Assumes the recipient conducts himself/herself in such a manner as to talk science whenever he/she gets the chance. Not easily fazed by looks of disinterest from friends or the act of "zoning out" by well intentioned loved ones.
Erm, what is it I do for a living again . . . . ?

The "MacGyver" badge.
In which the recipient has demonstrated that his/her science communciation prowess was handy in simplifying a potentially challenging scenario. For example, was able to escape from unjustified prison term, with the clever use of a paper clip and WD-40. You know, that kind of thing.
You don't want the gory details, but it involved one of the offspring, a fancy restaurant with no high chairs, and a diaper.

The "I blog about science" badge.
In which the recipient maintains a blog where at least a quarter of the material is about science. Suffice to say, this does not include scientology.
Welll . . . this might be a stretch.

The "arts and crafts" badge.
Because you can't have a bunch of badges without an arts and crafts badge. This one assumes the recipient has all manner of "craftiness" with a sciencegeek twist.
Why was it that the Brownie troop really really liked the crafts, but the Cub Scouts abhorred them? Could it have been the pink fuzzy stuff? Anyway, my undergrad chemistry profs can confirm that my lab results often included unexpectedly vibrant colors. Cyan, anyone?

The "I'm pretty confident around an open flame" badge.
Recipients have demonstrated proficiency around open flames in laboratory settings.
If "proficiency" means "haven't caught my own hair on fire yet," it's all good.

The "inappropriate nocturnal use of lab equipment in the name of alternative science experimentation / communication" badge.
In which the recipient has "borrowed" scientific supplies for the sake of stealth scientific communication.
AKA "Fun with Lasers and People Who Made Bad Decisions Earlier This Evening." ;)

The "destroyer of quackery" badge.
In which the recipient never ever backs down from an argument that pits sound science over quackery.
'Nuff said. Heh heh heh.

The "I've touched human internal organs with my own hands" badge.
In which the recipient is "hopefully" doing something that is somehow related to human health.
Hey, it was a cadaver lab. And I will never, ever, ever eat liver again.

The "has frozen stuff just to see what happens" badge
(LEVEL I)In which the recipient has frozen something in the freezer for the sake of scientific curiosity.
Hailstones. 'Course, as a kid I didn't know about the defrost cycle, and those beautifully layered treasures turned into flat blobs.

(LEVEL II) In which the recipient has frozen something in dry ice for the sake of scientific curiosity.
My fingertips.

(LEVEL III) In which the recipient has frozen something in liquid nitrogen for the sake of scientific curiosity.
Ahhh . . . . the good stuff! Roses, grapes, bologna (for a 'cold cut' sandwich, of course), rubber tubing . . . pretty much any inanimate object that would fit.

The "I work with way too much radioactivity, and yet still no discernable superpowers yet" badge.
...Although not for lack of trying...
. . . it's not a good idea to play a practical joke on anybody with practical science knowledge. Trust me on this one, okay?

The "I will crush you with my math prowess" badge.
Seriously, scary stuff.
Meh. Test scores. Math was my weakest. Didn't let it slow me down. If I can handle this science stuff, anybody can. Seriously.

The "experienced with electrical shock" badge
(LEVEL I) In which the recipient has had experience with the electrical shocking of an organism. Humans are organisms.
(LEVEL II) In which the recipient has had experience with the electrical shocking of a human. I am a human.
In which the recipient has had experience with the electrical shocking of himself/herself.
I forgot about the ol' 'keep one hand behind your back while you're working' rule. In my defense, this happened during an era when most of my friends were learning how to make chocolate chip cookies without burning them. I was learning how to burn IC chips.

DISCLAIMER: Freshman, I have three times your life experience . . . learn from my mistakes, 'kay?

Loosely adapted from here.

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