Last Updated: 11-24-00
Hello, and welcome to my cornered little web page. This is the smaller, more compact, less casual, less opinionated cousin of another site I made on tripod, which you can see here if you so choose. Otherwise, on with my purpose, which I'm sure is around here somewhere if I can just find it...
Ah. Well, when I finally do figure out where I left that little snippet of information, I'll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, greetings, make yourself at home, whatnot, I'll be around if you have any questions.
Sites I've written/participated in:
http://cafeAdemain.tripod.com- My Website
http://whsweb.nsd.org- Woodinville High School
Heh. Our high school's science club participates, amongst other programs, in a national academic competition called Science Olympiad. It's basically set up like a highly competitive science fair, with 20-30 different "events" that one to four students from a school team up to do together, hopefully completing the task better than the other schools in their region, state, or the entire country. There are many different events, ranging from building events like Wright Stuff where participants have to build a rubber-powered balsa wood model plane that will fly as long as possible, to scientific process events like Disease Detectives, which requires participants to know enough about epidemiology to be able to follow the procedures to deduce facts about a health epidemic, to purely academic events like Rocks&Minerals, which is about, strangely enough, rocks and minerals, and focuses mostly on identification of samples. Depending on how the students fare in each event, their whole team is assigned a ranking, and if they score high enough as a team, they move on to the next level of competition(district, regional, state, national). The events I usually do are Wright Stuff, Mission Possible, Can't Judge a Powder By Its Color(which was cancelled this year, sad), and Nature Quest(which has also been cancelled).
Wright Stuff is, like I said, a model plane competition for duration aloft. What makes it tricky are the restrictions they place on the planes. It is entirely possible to build a balsa plane that will fly for over an hour. These are called F1-Ds, and are awesome to watch. Science Olympiad planes, however, usually time in at close to 2 minutes if the judges have done their thing right. Any longer, and they have trouble getting through everyone before the competition is over. Any shorter, and tweaking becomes less important, which is basically the entire point of the event. It's a good way to learn about the fundamentals of aerodynamics, and plus, it is an amazing event to watch. If you ever get a chance to see indoor freeflight planes in action, I highly recommend it.
Mission Possible is a variation on the Rube-Goldberg device. If that means nothing to you, then upon seeing one of these things going, you will be truly amazed. Rube-Goldberg devices basically take a simple action such as dropping a ball into a cup or popping a balloon, and perform it in the most complicated way possible. A section of a transfer series might go, Drop a quarter in a slot which hits a switch which turns on a fan which blows a sail whose boom knocks over a string of dominoes which bumps into a lever which releases a pile of baking soda into some vinegar, which, upon reacting, blows up a ballon which pulls a string which activates a dart gun which pops a ballon. And that's a fairly simple one. Points are based on the number of energy transfers you can fit into your device. The five valid forms of energy are mechanical, electrical, EMF, heat, and chemical. So, the lever-baking soda/vinegar-balloon-dart gun sequence of that last example would go mechanical energy, chemical energy, mechanical energy. If I had had the balloon detected by a photocell instead of pulling a string, then had the circuit pull a solenoid which activated the dart gun, it would go mechanical, chemical, mechanical, EMF, electrical, mechanical, which gives you a whole lot more points. Mission Possible involved a lot of electrical work if you're going to have a good box, which means it's advantageous to find someone in your community who is good with circuitry. Lucky for me my dad used to do electronics work, so I have a suberb source to do pretty much anything I want to with a handful of photocells, transistors, capacitors, relays, and a surplus lead-acid battery or two.
Can't Judge a Powder is an academic event that I did for the first time last year, and was incredibly disappointed to find had been cancelled for the 2000-2001 competition. Basically you're given a miscellaneous white powder, and you can do any sort of test you want on it during a set time period, but you've got to bring all the materials yourself. So, you bring in some HCl, NaOH, conductivity testers, pH paper, whatever you can think of. You do your tests, and write down the information you discover IN PEN and number the observations. Then, they take the powder away, and give you a sheet of questions like "Is the substance exothermic in sodium hydroxide?" and if you did that test, then you put the number of the observation. If you hadn't done that test, but you know what the substance is and know the answer to the question anyway, then you can write the answer down, but you get less points. It's a fun event, and I wish they were holding it this year.
Natue Quest is yet another cancelled event, but one in which my partner and I were the best in state when they got rid of it. Nature Quest is a combination of botany and orienteering. You work in groups of two, bring a compass, a calculator, and a backpack full of reference books. They hand you a sheet of paper which might begin, "At a bearing of 34 degrees north, walk 20 meters. In what genus is this tree? How were the rocks at its base formed?" Your score is a function of how many questions you get right and how fast you get the course done, which usually runs about 30 minutes in length. Since the event relies so heavily on botany, you really get to know your area and its history well, but going to nationals is really tough. Going from the green, rainy, fertile Pacific Northwest to a national competition in Santa Fe is almost insane...which is probably why they cancelled the event. But yeah. I loved it... I can still ID most any plant you'd point to around here.
The other main event my school science club attends is the Science Bowl, which is a quiz bowl-type competition held in Portland, Oregon. The thing that gets me usually during the competition is the pressure and speed you need to get any points... I can get most of the questions just fine, but I don't buzz in quick enough. Something to learn.
Anyhow, I've talked for long enough. If I for some reason seem interesting to you, hop over to my other website, this one is mostly my technical one, slightly more professional, hold up an appropriate image for any potential clients out there. My other site, much more casual, but better content I think, is here, or you can talk directly to me instead of stalking me online by emailing me. Thanks for dropping by, hope to see you again sometime... maybe I'll even update it by then, who knows?