By ◆ Juppie on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 @ 2:54 PM


My mother has revealed her uncanny knack for making things. (Well, she was always better with her hands than I was, but never mind that) Why, just today, she was helping me out with a project about buoyancy we're doing in school.

The project is a partner project. I have a partner who I work with in science class. The point of the project was to build a boat which weighs less than 15 pennies and for the boat to float for 10 seconds in water with a load of 60 pennies, 2 quarters, 3 dimes, and a nickel. You can't get a premade boat or use a boat-building kit, and the boat needs to be small enough so it won't hit the sides of Lake Hembry. (Lake Hembry is not an actual landmark, it's a big tub filled with water. It got polluted by the coins)

My partner and I worked on it on Monday and Tuesday. Our first stage of the boat, which was simply a box made of aluminum foil with toothpicks in the corners and yellow masking tape to make the walls higher, worked fine, and was able to hold the load quite well when we performed a test run. However, some problems did occur later on. For one thing, my partner had some ideas, like added another structure made out of carton and putting it in the boat (which I denied him, because it would add to the mass without really adding to the volume, thus making the boat more likely to sink). We ended up putting paper on top of the foil, and putting another layer of foil on. Then we added another layer of tape. It still floated, but now it was leaking, which is very dangerous. And so I brought it home, planning to patch the leaks (I tried to do that with Scotch transparent tape, but the transparent tape soaked up too much water).

And so here came my mother to the rescue. She said we should simply build a new, better boat, so we did. We got some aluminum foil and recreated the boxlike shape. (I know a box isn't necessarily as good, because that means it has more mass and less volume than just an almost completely horizontal boat, but we have to make sure water doesn't flow over the sides and into the boat) We put plastic wrap on the inside of the box so that even if there were holes in the aluminum foil, the water would not leak into the part of the boat where we put the coins. And then my mom suggested we line the base of the inside of the boat with four straws so the walls would stay straight. And now we are just waiting for my dad to bring masking tape since he probably can find that at his office (he insists he is much more valuable to the company than masking tape, so no one minds if he takes supplies as long as he's not abusing them).

My mom is much more resourceful than my partner and I combined. I feel the need to bow down to her. I never really thought my parents had great knowledge of science despite the fact that they have Master's Degrees (my mother in Physics, my father in Electrical Engineering). So I guess it's like a wake-up call for me. You can never judge a book by its cover; you can't underestimate people, either.

Let me give you an example...There's a book called The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. (I can't recall whether I've talked about it, so please tell me if I already have) I had been seeing this book in the library quite a few times. (This was some time ago, when the Calabazas branch of the San Jose library was not yet planning to close) I always debated whether to check it out. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. Finally I did check it out, and it turned out to be one of my favorite books. This isn't a risk, but it reminds me of what my math teacher has been talking about...

He said that some students have parents who are successful in their fields. And if the parents would be asked by their fellow workers "What can I do to get ahead?" (regarding work) the people would say, "Do what everyone else is doing" or something like that. And they want their kids to do that too. "Get all A's. "Take as many AP classes as possible." And my teacher said that colleges are not going to be interested in you if you do the same as everyone else. True, having good grades is definitely helpful. But you need to make yourself look different. The colleges are interested in people who have dreams and plans for the future, who are going to do great things (to make the colleges famous! XD). So my teacher said, "Why do all of you not want to take a job at Starbucks? Go join the Peace Corps? You have to take risks sometimes in life." And I heard someone say (not to the teacher, "I only care about getting rich." So my previous post, about the selfish people, is proven... People really are selfish after all.

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