Friday, May 27, 2005

Art Project IV

You will need:

room with a large picture window
scotch tape (™ 3M Corp)
overhead projector
overhead projector bulb
overhead projector stand
silicone aquarium sealant (one tube should be sufficient)
butcher paper sufficient to cover picture window
multiple siphons long enough to reach a bathtub or sink from your designated window (these may be shared among members of the class; sign up for a time to use them if you do not have your own, or are unable to purchase your own, or else substitute a pitcher)
aquarium (approximate dimensions: 6" H x 40"L x 16" W; consult me if you are unsure whether your pre-made aquarium may be used)
approximately 15-16 gallons of water (amount will vary according to aquarium dimensions)
30-35 small goldfish or 5-10 large koi
two wood or metal stands (to be custom-built)
aquarium thermometer (inside-mounted preferable)

Ms. Guilford wishes to publicly acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Schaffer and his fifth period Industrial Arts class for their offer of expert help in constructing custom aquariums and support stands. This project counts for course credit in Industrial Arts; interested students should contact Mr. Schaffer, room 15, for details.

1. Tape a single sheet of butcher paper over the picture window.
2. Place the overhead projector, on its stand, in front of the window. Turn it on (make sure the bulb is installed and functioning).
3. Adjust the distance of the projector from the window until the image fits precisely in the window.
4. Adjust the focus of the projector so that the image projected on the window is as sharp as possible, then turn off the projector.

NOTE: you may require some assistance for steps 5-8.

5. Place the stands on either side of the projector. They should be sturdy enough to support about 60 pounds of weight. The tops of the stands should be slightly taller than the top of the overhead projector (one inch or less if on carpet, less than a quarter-inch if on wood, stone, tile, or concrete floor).
6. Carefully place the aquarium across the tops of the stands and the projector. For best results, the bottom of the aquarium should be resting just above, or else flush with, the top of the projector.
7. Unplug the projector.
8. Slowly fill the aquarium with water. Be alert for any leakage (especially from corners).

ATTENTION: If any leakage is detected, stop filling the aquarium immediately and empty it with a siphon, pitcher, etc. until it can be moved to a different location and dumped out. You must then allow the aquarium to dry before resealing the edges and corners according to the silicone manufacturer's instructions. Also take care to dry the projector, stands, etc. thoroughly before proceeding.

9. When the aquarium is full, clean up any water spills and then plug in the projector and turn it on.
10. Recheck the focus of the image produced on the butcher paper and adjust as needed. (You should not need to make a large adjustment.)
11. Add the goldfish to the aquarium.
12. Your butcher paper should now be the screen on which a projection of the goldfish (viewed from top down) is being shown. You may decrease the water depth for slightly sharper shadows, though this will increase ripple visibility from the goldfish, and may also make the glass more prone to breakage, due to temperature differences. For the first few hours of operation, monitor the water temperature; goldfish and koi are relatively hardy over a range of water temperatures but the heat output of the projector may vary according to make and model; if water temperature goes above 80ºF (27ºC), add more water (if possible), cool the room, or shut down the projector for 18-24 hours. You should also go outside and view your projection.


Under NO circumstances should you leave the projector in continuous operation for more than two hours; though the water should serve to buffer extreme temperature changes in the glass, it is still only glass, and will break if overheated. You may connect the projector's electrical plug to an outlet via a 24-hour timer (available at most department stores): I would recommend setting the timer to run the projector from 9 to 11 PM and 1-3 AM (plus an optional 5-7 PM run during the winter, when the nights are longer.).

Do not leave the projector unattended while in operation.

Overfilling the aquarium may increase mechanical strain and lead to breakage of the aquarium glass, the projector glass, or both.

Students concerned about animal cruelty may substitute other items for the goldfish, subject to my approval; some mechanism to provide continuous object motion must be included in the proposal or it will be rejected.

Goldfish will die if not fed regularly. Frequent cleaning (at least every three or four days) of the bottom of the tank will be necessary as well.

Water will evaporate from the tank over time and must be replaced with fresh dechlorinated water (at least every two weeks).

Algae will grow on the sides and bottom of the tank and should be regularly removed to maintain transparency of the projection.

The presence of water in this electrical installation greatly increases the risk of shock. Always disconnect the apparatus from the power supply when performing aquarium maintenance. Whenever possible, have a parent, guardian, or other student in the room when making adjustments to the projector, aquarium, stands, etc.

Extra Credit Opportunity: Students will be given extra credit for completing, prior to set-up of this project, an electrical safety program given by the local Red Cross chapter. Contact me no later than June 7 if you wish to sign up.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Math Problem VII

1) A cubic meter of helium gas can lift a load of one kilogram. Assume that the mass of the balloon (and string or ribbon) is negligible, and calculate the diameter of the spherical balloon required to lift:

A) a 21-gram mouse
B) a nine pound, two ounce newborn baby in a fifteen-pound car seat
C) a 230-pound giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
D) a Humvee (5200 pounds)

Extra Credit 1: an average-sized rubber party balloon has approximately the same volume as a sphere eleven inches in diameter. Determine for each of the above how many such helium-filled balloons would be required to lift the object in question.

Extra Credit 2: a king-size waterbed mattress contains about 1.325 cubic meters of water when full. Determine for each of the above how many such helium-filled mattresses would be required to lift the object in question.

2) Annual world production of helium (mostly from natural gas) is 100 million cubic meters. How heavy of an object could this lift if it were all gathered together in a single spherical balloon?

conversion factors:
1 cubic meter = 1000 liters
1 pound = 16 ounces
1 pound = 2.2046 kilograms
1 kilogram = 1000 grams
1 ounce = 28.35 grams
1 foot = 0.3048 meters
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 foot = 12 inches
1 meter = 100 centimeters

volume of a sphere = (4π/3)r3, where r is the radius
diameter of a sphere = 2r, where r is the radius

π = 3.14159

Answers in comments.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Math Problem VI

You are attending a college undergraduate commencement ceremony. One of the commencement speakers has told you that there are 1,400 students graduating on this day, and they are all to line up as someone reads their name and someone else shakes their hand. You count twenty names read during the first minute. If the first name was read off at 10:06 AM, what time will it be when the last name is read?

Answer in comments.

Ethics Worksheet I

1. John (not the same John who is seeing Mary in Math Problem V, by the way) goes to Wal-Mart and picks up a frozen chicken and a hunter's knife. While there, he has the idea to go to the sporting/hunting department and use the knife to threaten a clerk, steal a gun and ammunition, and go on a murderous rampage.

John decides not to rampage on the grounds that he would probably be shot or arrested before he could leave the store, and leaves without incident.

Was John's decision moral, immoral, or neither?

2. John arrives home at his apartment, where he lives alone. He places the chicken on the counter and allows it to thaw. When it is thawed, he has intercourse with the chicken, cooks it, and eats it.

Is John's behavior moral, immoral, or neither?

3. John goes to bed. While he is asleep, a burglar enters the apartment and begins to steal John's VCR. John wakes up and enters the living room with his bedside handgun, whereupon the burglar pleads for his life and offers to leave the VCR. John, rationalizing that no one would hold him responsible for killing an intruder in his own home, shoots the intruder dead and then calls the police.

Was John's decision to shoot moral, immoral, or neither?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Poetry Project I

you will need:

poetic skill (optional)

1) Go to this web site and click on the word "English," under the "Word Generator 1.2" heading.

2) A new page will be generated, at the center of which will be a 6 x 10 array of "words." Select six of these. (If there are not six adequate words on this page, refreshing the page will generate a new set of 60 words, which you may select from as well. Repeat until you have six.)

For best results, your words should be pronounceable and not already in use as an English word.

3) Use these six words as the end words of a sestina. Your line length and meter is up to you; however, extra credit will be given for sestinas in iambic pentameter.

HINT: Some students will find it easier to begin if they invent definitions for the words before beginning.

4) You will be asked to write your words on the blackboard, and then read your sestina in front of the class. The other students will be asked to guess at the meaning of your six words, and you will be graded according to the accuracy of their guesses regarding your words (60% of grade) and the accuracy of your guesses about their words.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Math Problem V

NOTE: The ages in the following word problems are not constant from one question to the next. Mary's age from problem #1, for example, cannot be used to solve for Steve's age in #2.

1) Mary is dating a man, John, who is one and one-half times her age. In John and Mary's jurisdiction, John can be imprisoned for statutory rape if Mary is under the age of 18. If the sum of John and Mary's ages is 50, is John in danger of going to prison if found out?

2) Mary is seeing two men simultaneously, John and Steve. John is one and one-half times Mary's age, and Steve is seven years younger than John. What is the smallest possible value for the sum of their ages if all three are at least eighteen years old?

3) Mary has decided to become a prostitute. Her pimp, Tony Vinylman, requires her to pay him 75 percent of all earnings from her tricks, and she has living expenses of $300 per week. She can perform oral sex twenty-four times per day. How much does she need to charge for oral sex in order to pay her bills, assuming a five-day workweek? How much should she charge if she works every day?

Answers are in comments.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dadaism Project I

you will need:

one lint brush
20 oz. semisweet chocolate
one square of origami paper
one copy of Document album (REM, 1987)
500 g calcium chloride
5 gallons deionized water
modeling clay in at least three colors (may substitute Play-Doh™)
one medium carrot, peeled
one Phillips-head screwdriver
one 750-mL bottle of Black Velvet brand Canadian whiskey
Southern Baptist preacher (optional)
one nine-inch round cake pan

1. Beg with left hand.
2. Rotate pan 180 degrees.
3. Fold lengthwise and tear along fold into two equal strips.
4. Blend in brown sugar until the mixture has a creamy texture.
5. Wait twenty minutes.
6. Repeat steps 3-6.
7. Rinse with an equal volume of water.
8. Flex at top of curl and hold for fifteen seconds.
9. Keep out of reach of children for fifteen minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
10. Fold up from base until top of fold is three inches from the edge of the sheet.
11. Heat above burner while stirring and add 1.5 mL of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetate, 1M in water).
12. Declare victory.
13. Ignite blowtorch and turn over top card. Insert floppy disc into drive and wait for system response.
14. A box will appear asking you if you wish to retry. Click the "yes" button.