Friday Sprog Blogging: Kids Day at SLAC 2010 hazards and mitigations.

Longtime friend of the Free-Rides LO has been instrumental in hooking the Free-Ride offspring up with Kids Day @ SLAC. Finally the year has come when the younger Free-Ride offspring meets the age requirements to join the elder Free-Ride offspring. As is our practice, we prepared by reviewing the safety information:

Dr. Free-Ride: So, we're talking about Kids Day @ SLAC. I'm showing you the logo for this year's Kids Day @ SLAC. There seems to be some sort of -- I don't know if that's a laser beam or something. Looks interesting. But, the part we need to discuss has to do with the safety information. "All children must wear long pants, Kids Day T-shirts" -- which you guys will get from LO and put on when you get there -- "closed-toe shoes, no jewelry, and long hair must be pulled back. Please review the hazards and mitigation information on the workshops." Younger offspring, let's look at workshop B.

Younger offspring: OK.

Dr. Free-Ride: "Magnetics: Build your own electromagnet and use it in a “shocking” demonstration of “step up” power. Test your aim with a magnet powered accelerator. Make your own magnets and - PUSH! PULL!" So what does it say the hazards are for that?

Younger offspring: Electricity.

Dr. Free-Ride: They don't say what kind of hazard that is, but what kind of hazard do you think electricity might be to you?

Younger offspring: I think the hazard would be my hair catching on fire? Or me getting electrocuted?

Dr. Free-Ride: Or getting a shock. So, do you know what "mitigation" means?

Younger offspring: Nope.

Dr. Free-Ride: Can you take a guess from context what mitigation might mean?

Younger offspring: Well ... what you have to do?

Dr. Free-Ride: What you have to do to deal with the hazards. So, what does it say you have to do to deal with the hazards of electricity?

Younger offspring: "Listen to your instructor. Wear safety glasses." Is that all I'm doing?

Dr. Free-Ride: No, that's the first of four workshop activities. So let's move on.

Younger offspring: Oh, and can we keep the magnets that we build?

Dr. Free-Ride: I believe so. It looks like you're building them by wrapping wire around a bolt or something like that. I think I found one of those cleaning up in your room, from last year maybe. Next, you have -- do you say "LEE-vers" or "LEH-vers"?

Younger offspring: "LEH-vers".

Dr. Free-Ride: I say "LEE-vers". I wonder why that is. Anyway, "Monster Muscles: Learn how levers and pulleys work. Play tug of war and see the little guy over come the big guy! Weigh yourself and learn how to lift yourself up with half your weight! Brains, not brawn, win - RULE!" The hazards?

Younger offspring: "Fingers pinched in pulleys. Sudden drop in lever."

Dr. Free-Ride: Uh huh, and the mitigations?

Younger offspring: "Pay attention to what is going on. Watch you fingers."

Dr. Free-Ride: Paying attention seems like good general safety advice. no matter what the activity, I would think. But I guess for the monster muscles you do not need safety glasses. Which is sad. Because I'm a big fan of safety glasses, as a former chemist. Next, "Paleontology". There's a song about that, isn't there?

Younger offspring: "I am a paleontologist. That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am."

Dr. Free-Ride: I thought so. Anyway --

Younger offspring: "Paleontology: There is a dinosaur at SLAC! Well, not a dinosaur but a really old (15 million years old) mammal! Learn about Paleoparadoxia, unearthed here at SLAC. Go on your own expedition - DIG DEEP!" So, do we actually get to dig?

Elder offspring: Yes.

Dr. Free-Ride: So, the hazards: "Critters. Cutting or bumping yourself with a digging tool." And, the mitigations?

Younger offspring: "Look for and keep away from critters (snakes, ticks and spiders)." What if a tick actually jumps on your back? Will they do tick-checks?

Dr. Free-Ride: I think if you ask, there will be tick-checks. And that seems like something you guys could offer to other kids in your group, to check each other for ticks.

Younger offspring: "Wash your hands when done. Use tools carefully. Wear safety glasses."

Dr. Free-Ride: Yay safety goggles! And finally, the fourth workshop.

Younger offspring: "Vacuum: Experience the discipline that is required to make a good vacuum. You will mount flanges and leak-check a vacuum system. Watch the effect of a vacuum on different materials- SUCK IT IN!" Hazards: "Cuts, bumps, scrapes from dropping or slipping tools."

Dr. Free-Ride: And mitigations?

Younger offspring: "Follow instructions when using tools. Wear safety glasses."

Dr. Free-Ride: It's curious that you're going to be making a vacuum, because, do you know what a vacuum is?

Younger offspring: (Makes a loud inhaling sound.)

Dr. Free-Ride: A vacuum is a whole lot of nothing.

Younger offspring: It's me! (Repeats loud inhaling sound.)

Dr. Free-Ride: No, you don't suck! A vacuum is a space with no matter in it. Now, we turn to your sibling's hazards and mitigations.

Elder offspring: Woo hoo!

Dr. Free-Ride: You're in workshop D. And, because it's the older kids, your workshops are twice as long, so you only get two of them. One is "Astrophysics: Fly through the Universe and around the Milky Way with a 3D virtual tour in our Visualization Lab. Learn about distances in astronomy and draw the entire universe in chalk" -- not life sized. Do you know why? Because there wouldn't be room.

Elder offspring: Ha!

Dr. Free-Ride: "draw the entire universe in chalk, to glimpse all of your favorite objects at once.  Learn about the Sun as real scientists do by splitting its light into a million colors - and see the latest movies from the SDO space telescope. - EXPLORE."

Younger offspring: I'll read the hazards. (silence)

Dr. Free-Ride: Wait, are you imitating a vacuum?

Younger offspring: No!

Dr. Free-Ride: OK, they don't list any hazards, but I'm going to ask you to use your imagination to see if you can think of any hazards from flying through space in a 3D virtual tour, or drawing the entire universe in chalk.

Elder offspring: Well, flying through a virtual universe, you might get motion sickness. And puke on someone else.

Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, with a really good simulation, motion sickness is a possible hazard. How about drawing the entire universe in chalk?

Elder offspring: Auuugh, there's chalk dust in my eyes!

Dr. Free-Ride: Chalk dust in my eyes, chalk dust in my lungs. I think also if you draw it life sized rather than scaling it down, you might have to cross busy streets or galaxies or whatever.

Elder offspring: Busy galaxies?

Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, OK. But they list mitigations for this no-hazards workshop!

Elder offspring: "Follow instructions."

Younger offspring: No safety goggles?

Dr. Free-Ride: No safety goggles. But you know what, maybe there are hazards to you from the workshop leaders if you don't follow their instructions. They might get cranky AND SNAP!

Elder offspring: Ha!

Dr. Free-Ride: See, it's Kids Day at SLAC, and it's not like everyday at SLAC is Kids Day at SLAC, which means these people leading the workshops don't necessarily have the --

Younger offspring: Patience!

Dr. Free-Ride: -- the same patience as people who deal with you everyday.

Younger offspring: Like you! And you have low patience also! Hee hee hee hee!

Dr. Free-Ride: Only sometimes. OK, your second workshop activity, elder offspring is "Optics: Learn about lenses, focusing and laser light bending through materials. Just like Galileo" -- uh oh! "Just like Galileo, build your own telescope to take home and explore the world around you and beyond – GET FOCUSED!"

Elder offspring: Woo-hoo! I'm going to get in trouble because of the Church!

Dr. Free-Ride: Um, yeah, OK. The mantle of Galileo many have assumed. And Galileo's story is more complicated than that. I'm going to make you read some history if you're not careful. OK, the hazards?

Elder offspring: "Get laser beam (extremely low power) in your eye."

Dr. Free-Ride: And the mitigation?

Elder offspring: "Don’t look into laser light. Don't point the laser at anyone else."

Dr. Free-Ride: Sounds good. As you're both pointing your imaginary laser-lights at me.

Elder offspring: What about Snowflake?

Dr. Free-Ride: Snowflake is not coming to Kids Day at SLAC, partly because if she did, she'd have to tie herself back, because she's a long hare.

Younger offspring: No she's not! She's a rabbit!

Dr. Free-Ride: I'm allowed some poetic license in service of a punchline.

2 responses so far

  • Super Sally says:

    We found your new blog home! Looking forward to your Kids Day @ SLAC report.

    Our den seems so empty these days . . .

  • Shaun says:

    I just want to say that you are one cool mom. While I luvs my mommy, I wish I could have talked about science with her like you do with your kids. I hope to be able to have similar fun discussions about science with my kids one day, although as a father. It would be soooo fun!