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Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Amusing Monday: Science eludes young students

April 23rd, 2012 by cdunagan

When it comes to science, it takes only a little confusion by young students to produce some amusing answers when test time comes around.

Making the rounds on the Internet are lists of funny answers that young students reportedly provided while trying to answer scientific questions. Maybe you’ve heard these responses before, but they are always good for a smile.

Here are my favorites:

  • Water is composed of two gins, oxygin and hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water.
  • When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire.
  • When you smell an odorless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide.
  • Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free state.
  • The pistol of a flower is its only protection against insects.
  • A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is.
  • Germinate: to become a naturalized German.
  • Rhubarb: a kind of celery gone bloodshot.
  • The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is so that there is something to hitch the meat to.
  • To prevent contraception, wear a condominium.
  • The body consists of three parts the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain. The borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowls, of which there are five A, E, I, O and U.
  • For fainting: Rub the person’s chest, or, if it’s a lady, rub her arm above the hand. Or put her head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor.

I was able to find a reference to the above list in an Ann Landers column published in numerous newspapers on June 9, 1996. See, for example, New York Daily News. The writer said he was enclosing the list, which was contained in an article he clipped from Popular Science, He said students actuallly said these things.

It appears that people have added to the list through the years. I cannot verify the source or validity of these other “answers,” but many are funny:

From Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis.

  • “H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water”
  • “Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire.”
  • “Artifical insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull.”
  • “A super-saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold.”
  • “The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.”
  • “For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead.”
  • “For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower then the body until the heart stops.”
  • “For dog bite: put the dog away for sevral days. If he has not recovered, then kill it.”
  • “To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow.”

Lots of websites provide this list in one form or another, but the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provides some “facts” to help straighten out the answers.

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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