Stupid science questions


Just a few random things I wonder about from time to time, but never seem to get around to solving:

  • Rain on the Windshield: Presuming the rate of rainfall to be constant, will there be a difference in how much rain strikes the windshield of any given car depending on whether it is stationary or moving?
  • Wet T-Shirt Contest: Why does a white cotton t-shirt become nearly transparent when it gets wet?
  • Kool-Aid: Why do different varieties of Kool-Aid juice mix dissolve at such different rates? I’m thinking here of why orange-flavored Kool-Aid appears grainy so much longer than fruit punch or grape.
  • Frozen Soda: Does the color of a liquid affect its freezing temperature? Or what properties contribute to orange soda freezing more easily than root beer or cola?

Minutiae, of course. But I think the T-shirt question would probably keep a high school student’s attention. Well, the guys, at least. The hetero boys, that is.

Never mind.

A moment of stupid


Okay, just … just work with me here for a second.

Children.

Right. Whatever.

Why can’t children drive? That is, why is, say, a ten year old not allowed to get a driver’s license?

I know. It’s a stupid question, right? But if you stick around the internet long enough, you’ll come across it. Of course, sometimes that means admitting to reading some pretty strange stuff. I’d rather be caught, I suppose, looking at pornography.

Maybe.

Anyway, yes, something got me to thinking about the question, and such inquiries always annoy me. Yes, I understand, it seems obvious, and there are some things about which that ought to suffice, but of course it doesn’t. I mean, it will for now, but, really, it doesn’t.

There are all sorts of things you could say. Try setting a minimum qualification at all. Then apply it to every driver. Motor skills testing? Hey, if the kid can get the key into the ignition ....

Not only would it be an atrocious bureaucracy, but those who complain about the size and scope of the government should probably not throw their hats in with freeways full of children.

Which, in the end, is the most obvious point. Yes, we can posit some outcome of burdening the developing psyche with such sustained and repeated mortal responsibility. We can flip aimlessly through the pages of how much literature describing the attention spans of children, and just how hard and far we can tweak them before they break. At some point, it actually becomes a fascinating question, and damn it to Hell for that. But, when we arrange the factors, ponder their natures, and consider their magnitudes, one notion stands out so clearly among the rest―freeways full of children.

Driving cars. At eighty miles an hour.

Two words: Natural selection.

No, really. That’s your answer. If you’re ever actually there, in that moment, when someone says, “Well, like, why can’t―I don’t know―why can’t children drive?” You just look them square in the eye and say, “Natural selection.”

And if they don’t get it, so what? Fuck ’em. It’s a stupid question, anyway, and never actually seems to serve the rhetorical context in which it’s raised.