Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's so hard to hide the scientist inside.

I am a dunker. If I have milk in a glass near a plate of cookies (this applies to the hard and store-bought more than the soft or homemade), it's hard for me to keep my cookie out of there. Which means people don't share beverages with me while I eat Oreos. Which, actually, is okay by me.

After my foray to the dentist this morning (no root canal necessary! huzzah!), I have an aching jaw and instructions to chew neither the hard nor the sticky (nor the gum) on my new temporary crown. The aching jaw part is a little worse than I was expecting. I left work in need of a comforting, soft snack to lift my spirits. A soft snack and a new lip gloss, but the latter isn't edible so I won't comment on it further here. When Dan asked me to bring home some cookies, I decided the comforting, soft snack might as well be Oreos dunked in milk.

What you're about to read might at first suggest my brain was somehow addled by the Procaine Hydrochloride I was given this morning (I turned that movie off after 15 minutes, btw!), but it's related, so stay with me. Today I read about Stefania Follini, who lived alone (communicating with the outside world by computer) in a specially constructed habitat within a New Mexico cave for over 4 months in 1989. She took 400 books, her guitar, some art supplies, a journal, and a deck of cards for entertainment. The book I read did not mention snacking supplies, though she did make tea with yeast. But even if she was, probably, rather more Oreo deprived than you or I, her participation in the experiment helped scientists discover more about what can happen to our bodies and minds when not subject to the light-and-dark cycles contained in Earth's 24-hour days (potentially applicable, in part, to the experiences of astronauts). Pretty fascinating stuff.

Thus and therefore, my dentist's treachery (I jest! He was nice and efficient and it was painless until the numbness wore off) and an Italian woman's bravery (she was a volunteer and interior decorator, not a scientist or spelunker by profession), made today's after-school snack possible. Upon arriving home bearing comforting, dunkable chocolate cookies and fresh milk, I was inspired to conduct a science experiment of my own -- in Stefania's honor, of course. Its full title:

How many Double Stuf Oreos can I eat (each one being dipped in milk) before I start to feel slightly ill?

My findings:
The answer is 10. But I ate 12. For science!

Lab equipment

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