Looks festive, right? And it was...until the next morning.
Our Puppy Dog appeared to be fairing the best of the four (cooking oil). Frankenstein's Son (no treatment) had a small colony of flies beginning to take residence, Kitty Cat (petroleum jelly) had a dry funky mold at the top and Harry Potter (bleach/water) developed a pink mold unlike the three others. But this was just the beginning of the end.
We would have loved for the experiment to have lasted longer and seen more rot, but the flies coming of Frankenstein's Son made documenting their decay harder (we may have unintentionally eaten a couple - eww). Ultimately we think the Puppy Dog faired the best out of the four, but we wouldn't say Cooking Oil protected the pumpkin much more than the Petroleum Jelly did. It's our opinion that the untreated & bleach/water treated pumpkins did the worst, suffering from the most mold and flies. Although we had no strong winner, there may be something to be said for covering a pumpkin in an oil like Cooking Oil or Petroleum Jelly, at least to help keep the pumpkin from becoming a comfortable host for bugs.
Our recommendation for Fall 2019? Let's try it again! Maybe there will be less rain or cooler temps. Maybe we'll keep them inside next time, to see if the flies will stay away. We can say based on this year's observation is that an oil-based preservation method won't prolong a pumpkin by much time, but it can help a bit to keep your Jack-O-Lantern a bit nicer for a bit longer.
Can your Jack-O-Lantern Last Longer? Part 1
Update: Can your Jack-O-Lantern Last Longer? Part 2
* If the first thing you do when you wake up is look toward your window, you probably have noticed that lately it’s still dark outside. Due to the way our Earth orbits around our Sun, the light from that Sun hits the earth in different ways throughout the year. Rather than going into detail about how and why that happens (another blog post another time), we want to talk to you about a funny thing you may observe this year on November 4th (and every year around this time).
Your parents (and may you too) will move around the house, setting all of the clocks back one hour. Our computers and other gadgets that receive updates from the internet will receive their queue to update their time too! And then a really strange thing will happen: You’ll likely sleep in an hour later the next day, but wake up at the same time! AND it will be lighter out than the morning before! The weirdest part – when your parents come home from work, all of the sudden they arrive AT NIGHT!
How does this happen all at once? Sure, the clocks moved back, but this is a BIG CHANGE, right? Actually, no. The days have been getting shorter for weeks now, as you may have noticed in the morning. But it’s not as obvious when you get out of school, since the sun is still setting.
We found an amazing graph on timeanddate.com, which illustrates times of sunlight and darkness for Baltimore and the surrounding area throughout the year. There are breaks in the line appearing on days when Daylight Saving Time starts and ends. The graph illustrates how the small adjustment to our clocks on those days changes our perception of what is actually going on. The big change we see the next day has been occurring gradually since the last day of summer. Even more amazing – the amounts of light we receive changes daily over the span of ~365 days a year. There are exceptions to this rule - can you guess where this DOESN'T happen?*
So here’s where we ask our Scientists to use their observation skills to do a small experiment:
Have more questions about Daylight Saving Time, and the history behind it? Great! It's always good to be curious, especially of things we take for granted. We recommend this article from History.com to help you start your research.
*did you guess places located on the Earth's equator? If so, well done! Check out this Sun Graph for Quito, a city in Ecuador - it looks a LOT different from the one for Baltimore! Also notice they don't have the bumps for Daylight Savings - because there's no Daylight Savings in Ecuador!
We're at Day 4!
Not much has changed for our pumpkins, but there's been a lot of change in the world around them. Introducing, new VARIABLES!
It's important to consider these variables, because temperature and moisture effect rotting. If you could ask your refrigerator, it would agree! Cooler temperatures keep the food in your fridge from rotting - but too much moisture can cause mold, which aids in rot.
Are there any other variables you can think of that we're missing? Let us know in the comments!
So here's a few pics of how our friends are looking:
We'll check in again when we see more activity! Stay tuned!
Can your Jack-O-Lantern Last Longer? Part 1
Our Pumpkins made it to Halloween, but then... Part 3
Whether you’re heading to a patch or the store, the time is right for getting your Halloween Pumpkins. But how long will that pumpkin last after it’s carved? No one wants a rotten pumpkin on their stoop or windowsill (although sometimes they can look amazingly creepy).
We did a bit of research and found a bunch of suggestions on the internet for pumpkin prep that should keep our jack-o-lanterns from falling in on themselves...at least for a bit longer than expected. A popular suggestion is to dunk the pumpkin in a bleach-water solution (theory: bleach kills bacteria/mold). Others recommended applying petroleum jelly to the carved parts (theory: applying the jelly will prevent mold growth and drying), so we’ll give that a shot too. The last will be cooking oil, also rubbed on the pumpkin (theory: oil keeps the pumpkin from drying out).
As scientists, we love to test theories. And as Science Guys, we love to make it Fun, Cool and Easy! SO we’ll be carving 4 pumpkins (a control with nothing done to it, and one for each “preservation” method) and documenting how they look from the date of carving until Halloween. Keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for our updates. Hopefully we’ll be closer to our conclusion before you carve your pumpkin this year!
DAY 1: Meet our Pumpkins!
Thank you to Brownie Troop #11016 out of Locust Point, who helped us clean and carve our pumpkins last night! "Harry Potter" soaked in bleach water for about an hour, "The Kitty Cat" was slathered in Petroleum Jelly, and "The Puppy Dog" got a nice bath in Vegetable Oil. Our "Frankenstein's Son" pumpkin is our control, so we did nothing but carve it.
Which Jack-o-lantern do YOU think will last longest?
What if we told you that a leaf has been the color it’s changing into all along?
Trees receive nourishment from the sun through chlorophyll, a compound that is responsible for converting sunlight into food, and also responsible for a leaf’s green coloring. But chlorophyll isn’t a stable compound – it requires sunshine and warm temperatures to function. As the days get shorter, chlorophyll breaks down. The green fades to reveal other new pigments within the leaves – pigments that were actually present in leaf cells during the growing season! But during the spring and summer, the color of the chlorophyll keeps those colors under wraps.
When we have a dry late-summer and sunny fall days with cool nights, those "new" colors reveal themselves in spectacular fashion. We’ve seen a lot of rain this summer, so the experience of brilliant fall foliage may have to wait until next year in the Mid-Atlantic. But maybe we’re wrong – we’ll be keeping an eye on the local foliage this fall and hope you will be too.
What is Bioluminescence?
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light from a living organism. Can you think of some examples of bioluminescence?
How about a firefly, jelly fish, and glow worms like the Bomber worm? Can you think of some more? If so let us know on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/scienceguysbaltimore/
Did you know…
Want to see bioluminescence for yourself? Head to The National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD and see the Moon Jelly at the Living Seashore Exhibit.
Science is everywhere
Bioluminescence has enthralled humankind forever. As kids, we captured fireflies in a jar and we know children still enjoy that summertime activity. There are many places in the world where you can swim in bodies of water and experience bioluminescence first hand. This ocular enchantment is no longer a mystery. Thanks to places like The National Aquarium we now understand the chemistry of bioluminescence. Click to find out how to do a simple Glow in the Dark - Bioluminescence Science Experiment
The Science Guys of Baltimore announce their 2017 roster of libraries for summer reading programs across Baltimore and Howard Counties. County libraries will host The Science Guys of Baltimore summer science program for the 2017 Summer Reading them “Build a Better World.”. A comprehensive list is included below.
In the summer reading program “Tomorrow’s World, Build a Better World,” the Science Guys of Baltimore introduce engineering marvels, new and old, and invite children and families to explore new technologies. Learn about renewable solar and wind technologies, then try to demolish a building to gain a better understanding of earthquake construction and natural disaster protection. Participants even get to launch a catapult and ride on a hoverboard!
The Science Guys of Baltimore 2017 Library Roster
Baltimore County Libraries
6.17.17 2 - 3pm Cockeysville Branch 9833 Greenside Dr, Cockeysville, MD 21030
6.22.17 6:30 - 7:30pm White Marsh Branch 8133 Sandpiper Circle White Marsh, MD 21236
6.24.17 2 - 3pm Catonsville Branch 1100 Frederick Rd, Catonsville, MD 21228
7.1.17 2 - 3pm Randallstown Branch 8604 Liberty Rd. Randallstown, MD 21136
7.6.17 2 - 3pm Arbutus Branch 855 Sulphur Spring Rd, Arbutus, MD 21227
7.8.17 2 - 3pm Rosedale Branch 6105 Kenwood Ave. Rosedale, MD 21237
7.12.17 2 - 3pm Perry Hall Branch 9685 Honeygo Blvd. Perry Hall, MD 21128
7.15.17 2 - 3pm Towson Branch 320 York Road Towson, MD 21204
7.16.17 2 - 3pm Pikesville Branch 1301 Reisterstown Rd. Pikesville, MD 21208
7.18.17 6 - 7pm Sollers Point 323 Sollers Point Rd. Dundalk, MD 21222
7.22.17 2 - 3pm Woodlawn Branch 1811 Woodlawn Dr. Woodlawn, MD 21207
7.29.17 2 - 3pm North Point Branch 1716 Merritt Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21222
8.2.17 1 - 2pm Lansdowne Branch 500 Third Avenue Baltimore, MD 21227
8.6.17 2 -3pm Loch Raven 1046 Taylor Avenue Towson, MD 21286
8.8.12 2 -3pm Essex Branch 1110 Eastern Blvd, Essex, MD 21221
8.12.17 2 - 3pm Owings Mill Br. 10302 Grand Central Ave. Owings Mills, MD 21117
For further information, visit the Baltimore County library’s main website http://www.bcpl.info/.
Howard County Libraries
6.29.17 2pm Central Branch 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, MD 21044-3411
7.27.17 2pm Miller Branch 9421 Frederick Road Ellicott City, MD 21042-3801
8.3.17 2pm Savage Branch 9525 Durness Lane Laurel, MD 20723-5991
Howard County tickets will be available June 1st on the library’s main website http://hclibrary.org/.
4 Ways to Help Protect the Chesapeake Bay
Learn how plants act as filtration devices with science. Plants’ roots filter water before it even hits the rivers, therefore, protecting our air and water quality. Who knew plants were so helpful?
Here’s a cool science experiment that shows the role of plants in our environment. Try it!