Friday, March 15, 2013

Notes from the Mad Science Lab: Plasma Drill

Let me begin by offering my apologies. I understand that my son got into the manufactory at my lab this past weekend, and caused some trouble at school.

This was probably inevitable: the boy has become increasingly curious about how I find time to actually make the things that I design, and Jeffries - my assistant, who was supposed to be watching him - was also trying to clean out the electric octogator tanks. So my son wandered off, and by the time Jeffries found him again, he was sitting in the cryptozoo, looking at the wooly spider-mammoths. Neither Jeffries nor I had any reason to suspect that he'd been... building things.

As to what he built... well, even allowing that he is my son, I have to express a certain amount of admiration, here. How many eight-year-olds would design a self-propelled plasma drill for their science reports on the Earth's crust? He even managed to add a working remote control... though, since he borrowed the specs for a new tachyon-based telemetry system that I'd just added to the manufactory, his drill would make adjustments slightly before he worked the controls. So what happened next is entirely understandable; drilling straight into the Earth's Mantle is a perfectly natural mistake. It could have happened to anyone.

So, madam Principal, while I appreciate your frustration at having to evacuate the school, I think you're taking the loss of the building just a little too hard. Nobody was hurt, after all; and how many students actually get to witness the growth of a volcano firsthand as part of their education? In these days of shrinking budgets for science education, this was a rare opportunity.

Hence, while I do regret the damage caused by the drill, I respectfully submit that you, the School Board, and indeed the entire Parent-Teacher Association are all overreacting. Don't think of this as a disaster; take it as an opportunity. How many other schools in the country can claim this level of hands-on science education? Once the new building is completed...

Of course, a new building. I do acknowledge some responsibility for this unfortunate mishap. And since the volcano is there, it seems a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity to install a geothermal power plant in the sub-basement. Madam Principal, your school never need to pay for electricity again. In fact, it should be able to provide for most of the surrounding community, which should ease some of the difficulties in your budget.

No, ma'am. Building permits are for conventional construction. Our public servants, wise and dedicated as they may be, lack the expertise to evaluate this design. They are welcome to look it over tomorrow, when it finishes growing; and of course I am open to any feedback they care to submit.

While I'm here, I would also like to protest the grade my son received for his assignment. Granted, he destroyed the school in the process, but that has nothing to do with the quality of his presentation. I firmly believe that offering his class a firsthand view of the Earth's crust - as well as genuine magma, and eventually lava - merits substantially better than an F. If you would just let me talk to his teacher... Oh, I see. Still in counseling?

Well, perhaps we can fix her, too.


  1. Ah the polite approach. How many tries before you swear vengeance against the school (or your son does)?

    Seriously, he deserves an A for the presentation, but somebody's gotta pay for the replacement building. I must say that turning it into a volcanic lair worthy of a supervillain sounds like a great idea though. Hands on geology labs!

  2. Yes, well, you catch more basselopes with honeyed lettuce than with vinaigrette... or something like that.

  3. Despite what you might claim, this was clearly intentional. Your son had a remote control that would, had he not wanted to drill through the Earth's crust, have stopped it before he started. But the school board probably won't think of that. Hey, maybe you can name the new building after you!

    (I just got here from Popehat, and I'm glad I did.)

  4. I'll thank you not to mention that to the school board.

    (Glad you stopped by. It's always nice when people enjoy my stuff, and even nicer when they say so!)


Feel free to leave comments; it lets me know that people are actually reading my blog. Interesting tangents and topic drift just add flavor. Linking to your own stuff is fine, as long as it's at least loosely relevant. Be civil, and have fun!