Saturday, 15 December 2012

Chancre Crab Eats Gooseneck Barnacle

Our Chancre Crab (aka. Brown Crab, Edible Crab, Pastie Crab) enjoyed a feast recently.  We had found a washed up fish-box that was covered in Gooseneck Barnacles.  I scraped a few off the plastic box and strung them up our little marine aquarium.  They were fascinating to watch — sieving the water for food then retracting into their shells to eat.  That was until Chancre got wise to them and decided to get piece of the action for himself — even moving rocks so he could reach them!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Lack of activity

Apologies for the lack of activity here.  I've been focussed on building up my new venture:  Maker School — putting real tools in the hands of kids and working on real projects.

You can see more at :

Exploring Flight

Experimenting today with different wing shapes using a compressor blowing down a tube to create a sort of wind tunnel.  Kinda.

Bernoulli's Principle:  the faster the flow, the lower the pressure.



Friday, 15 June 2012

Our Marine Aquarium

A few pics from our marine aquarium.  Will be posting more on this as time goes by.  It's very exciting to have a window into the lives of creatures that you usually wouldn't see.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Can you cook popcorn with a magnifying glass?

Well, amazingly, the short answer is YES — but, it's all about the method.

A regular magnifying glass is able to set fire to a popcorn kernel quite easily.  This however is not what we want.  We need the moisture inside to boil, cook the starch and then burst the shell explosively.

We used a larger magnifying lens — a flat 'fresnel' book magnifier — and sat the kernels in some cooking oil in a teaspoon.  I think the cooking oil is there just to spread the heat around the kernel rather any cunning cooking chemistry.  After a while it will start bubbling (some of it's moisture boiling off) then after a while longer, if you're lucky, it'll explode.  We managed to get a good few of them to pop but only one made a lovely big popcorn — the others were kinda half-hearted attempts at popping.

Focussing the sunlight too tightly on the kernel lead to burning.  A loose focus on the teaspoon head spread the energy out to a more controllable level.

After all this discovery we went inside and hit the stove with a saucepan.  They all popped in no time.  It just goes to show how much energy your stove kicks out!

Monday, 21 May 2012