Adventures in Ethics and Science

i-5741d5621253b4d0e55db394c58efd07-Avocado.jpg

Elder offspring: [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] said we’re going to do some experiments this weekend.

Dr. Free-Ride: Oh really? Do you know what the experiments will be, or are you going to make them up as you go?

Younger offspring: One of them will be making milk curdle.

Elder offspring: With vinegar or lemon juice, I think.

Dr. Free-Ride: Ah, that’s a classic.

Younger offspring: We’re going to curdle the milk before lunch. That will make cottage cheese, which we can eat for lunch.

Dr. Free-Ride: Clever! What else will you be doing?

Younger offspring: I can’t remember.

Elder offspring: Maybe we’ll make [younger offspring] a zombie.

Dr. Free-Ride: You know my rule: No zombies in the house!

Younger offspring: Awww …


* * * * *
Dr. Free-Ride: So what’s all this I hear about weekend experiments?

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Yeah, they were pestering me to do some experiments so I told them we would.

Dr. Free-Ride: Don’t these children know enough already?

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Ha!

Dr. Free-Ride: So they told me milk-curdling is on the agenda, but they couldn’t remember what else was.

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: We’re going to see if we can dissolve an avocado.

Dr. Free-Ride: Really? In a nice salsa?

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: No, I figured we’d try water, vegetable oil, and vodka.

Dr. Free-Ride: Wow. And who’s going to consume the avocado once you’ve gotten it into solution?

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: No one. You don’t eat in the lab!

Dr. Free-Ride: Oh right. Except you’re totally using the kitchen as your lab — and we eat there!

Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Ummm.

* * * * *
Younger offspring’s predictions about the avocado solubility experiment:

I think the avocado will dissolve in water because I heard [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] say, “Maybe water.” I don’t know if it will dissolve in oil or vodka either. I guess we could also try to dissolve it in apple juice to see what happens.

Elder offspring’s predictions about the avocado solubility experiment:

I think it will dissolve in vodka. I think maybe vinegar could do it, too. Sugar and salt dissolve in water, but fat will maybe (I think) dissolve in oil. I think cooking oil might dissolve the fat from bacon. I guess it depends on what an avocado is more like. An avocado is squishy … gelatin is squishy, too, and it dissolves in water, but I don’t think avocado will. It has too much fat to dissolve in water.

Comments

  1. #1 Eva
    April 25, 2008

    Use acetone or DMSO! What, you don’t have that in your kitchen?

  2. #2 Avenel
    April 25, 2008

    I’d expect the most solubility in oil, because of the high fat content. A friend of mine tried making an avocado liqueur once. This involved macerating the avocado in vodka. After straining, the liqueur had an oil slick on top. I was the only one willing to taste it. It was one of the worst things I have every tried consuming.

  3. #3 J-Dog
    April 25, 2008

    Your Sprogs have already done more science and scientific experiments than ALL THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN “SCIENTISTS”. EVAR!

    Maybe they can make a movie in the future… How Not To Get Expelled.

  4. #4 Penny
    April 25, 2008

    Dr. Free-Ride’s Better Half has obviously mastered the art of getting the kids to prepare lunch.

  5. #5 Wendy
    April 25, 2008

    You know my rule: No zombies in the house!

    Wow, you’re no fun at ALL, are you? ;)

    (Really, I want to know how you enforce that. My son just makes zombies when I’m not looking. There’s not a lot I can do to stop him. I do need to make sure he never finds out about cane toads, though). :D

  6. #6 Super Sally
    April 25, 2008

    Can we expect the lab report next week, with error analysis–of course?

  7. #7 warren
    April 25, 2008

    Trying to dissolve an avocado?

    Well, I suppose it’s more useful than trying to eat one.

  8. #8 Nic
    April 25, 2008

    Curdling the milk with lemon juice also makes a nice cheese for palak paneer.

  9. #9 chezjake
    April 25, 2008

    I suspect you’ll need to use precisely an Avocado’s number of molecules to come up with a guacamolar solution.

  10. #10 Anonymoustache
    April 25, 2008

    Chezjake: Nice!

    Dr.FR: These Friday Sprog Blogs are most excellent.

  11. #11 Mavaddat
    April 26, 2008

    That’s so cool that you get your whole family to do experiments. My mom bought me a book of experiments when I was a kid and went through it page by page and did each one. It was probably one of the best memories of my childhood.

    Regarding your setup, I always thought that alcohol dissolves fats. Hmm…

  12. #12 Alan Kellogg
    April 26, 2008

    Younger Sprog,

    Being a zombie has big problems. The biggest is the fact you stink. Zombies stink worse than poop in a heat wave. Means you can’t go to birthday parties, school, or even the store.

    Zombies stink because they’re decaying. As a zombie you’re falling apart. Your organs and muscles are rotting, and things are eating you. You have become a bacteria buffet.

    This all means you are becoming weaker, clumsier, and dumber. You lose patches of skin, chunks of muscle, and your guts fall out of holes in your tummy so you trip and fall on them. Not only that, but your bones become brittle and break easier. Before you know it, you’ve lost your hands and feet and have to hobble about the the splintering remains of your ankles and wrists.

    And forget about eating and drinking. Your digestive system doesn’t work anymore, so anything you ingest just sits in your stomach and rots. Means bloating because of the gas, and that added stink makes you even less popular.

    And need I mention the scavenger? Go to the park and the dogs want to eat you. Go to the beach and fish and crustaceans want a bite. Even at home roaches and beetles and ants will be carting off bits of Younger Sprog for tiffin later.

    No friends, you’re falling apart, nothing really to do because you have nothing to do it with. As I said, being a zombie stinks.

  13. #13 Z. M. Davis
    April 27, 2008

    Except you’d never be able to tell if there were philosophical zombies in the house.