Clean plate

Just so you don't think I was a bit off on writing something about crumbs, I found these bits of crumb related items:

  • From Patent 7,375,141, Soluble carob, The depolymerization may be carried out in a reactor provided with a mixing system suitable for handling fine powder, that is to say powder with a particle size of around 20 to 200 .mu.m, so as to prevent the formation of crumbs. As nonlimiting examples, mention may be made of LODIGE-type reactors, and ribbon mixers.

  • Patent 7,353,952, Insulated compartmented lunch bag, Additionally, any crumbs or stains from eating are contained on the interior side or surfaces of the major compartment 120. Thereafter, major compartment 120 may be closed to hide the said crumbs or stains therein and out of sight.

and two I thought were interesting:

  • Space Station Christmas, She looked at the swarm of crumbs and saw why NASA packaged crumbly foods in bite-sized morsels -- or avoided them altogether.

  • Astronauts wrap up space station work, Reisman, meanwhile, can’t wait to get back to his wife, Simone Francis, and, to a lesser degree, their cat Fuzzy. He’s also looking forward to “a good slice of pizza” and some bread, banned from the space station because of crumbs. He’s had to settle for tortillas in orbit.

And if you really want to learn more, NASA Facts: Space Food, has some info on crumbs.

Thanks to Kim Williams, Amy Stark, and Lorraine Ball for their additions to the crumb list.

Ok, brainstorming, the kids way...

I spent last week at Camp Invention at Pike Township's Fishback Elementary School. This is a program by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, run all over the country, to provide kids age 7 to 12 with hands-on activities, brainstorming, experimentation, and unbelievable action. My involvement was to help the kids during the invention time.

All the kids (and parents) were told to bring a "take apart" item, from which they would, over the course of the week, build an invention. The younger kids (ages 7 to 10) were to think about some job or activity that really bugged them and come up with an invention to do the job or make the activity fun. The invention did not have to actually work, they just had to build a concept.

The older kids had to build a Rube Goldberg device, in a team setting, that would break a water ballon on a target, using at least four steps, two simple machines, a part from each of the team member's take apart item, and once the machine was started its process no additional human assistance could be given.

Some interesting observations about the kids:

  • Kids will try anything. One boy insisted on using white glue to hold together material (LOTS of glue:) even though nothing was sticking (the items were too heavy for the glue. So he used more glue! One team of older kids found some foam tubing to make a marble launching system as part of their balloon breaking system, even though the foam tubing was not originally part of the supply kit.

  • Older kids start to get constrained by implied teacher direction but younger kids don't let directions get in the way. Some of the direction by teachers and coaches seemed to bind the teams in a design direction they may or may not have realized was needed. I found my self imposing my view of design on the kids works by the way I responded to how a kid would build something.

  • Scope creep occurs even in kids projects! The older kids rules received a few implied rules: the balloon had to go through the air (fly) and the target could be horizontal or vertical. These new implied rules came out during a discussion on what is to happen. When one kid asked about if the balloon has to fly through the air, a teacher said "yes" even though it was not stated on the rules.

It was a fun week and the kids learned some things. Hopefully they will get to practice their abilities to make things as school starts up in the next few weeks.

Pics and video of inventions.

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