Friday, June 6, 2014

Driven to Desperation by Rain

Well it's been raining for two days straight here in Aarhus and the natives are restless. The ex-pat natives, in any case.

Having survived England and much of grad school without a car, I know about biking in the rain, and the key thing about it is, it isn't fun. And I wasn't about to take the kids out on their bikes without rain gear without a very good reason, so we spent the last couple of days indoors.

So here we are, cooped up in our apartment, looking to have some fun.  Yeah, yeah, I know. The last time we were cooped up like this we threw eggs down from our balcony.  This time, we were much more dignified. Cultured, even.

A couple of weeks ago, I had made the big mistake of buying yogurt drink instead of milk. There it is, you can see the container for it on the left.  The milk I was after was in the container on the right. "Naturel 1,5%." Innocent looking, enough, right? And nowhere on the carton does it deign to tell you that its "yoghurt." All is fine, and you pay for it and put it in your backpack and lug it back to the apartment by bike thinking how well you've provided for your family until you open it and pour it on your morning cereal and it comes out in a goopy mess.  OK, so I learned: in Denmark the yogurt is packaged almost exactly the same way the milk is.  Then, what to do with the yogurt?

I decided to use it up with an age-old demonstration of surface tension.  You pour out a nice bowl of it, put a few drops of food coloring into the yogurt (or milk), introduce a little dish soap via a Q-tip, and voila, lovely little rivulets of color spread through the yogurt.  It really is fun to see.  

However, with an eight year old and six year old who've seen it all before, it's hard to keep them at this for very long.  Luckily, they both discovered that yogurt and food coloring make for nice marbling, so we turned from science to art and created these:

This photo on the left is actually a good demonstration of what you get with the yogurt+food coloring+dish soap experiment.  See the little filaments of color looking a little like fractal arms coming from the spiral? Those filaments were created using dish soap.   In the photos following, the boys abandoned the dish soap and simply made swirls of color by drawing their Qtips through yogurt dotted with food coloring.


And here of course are the artists at work.  Let it rain! (Uh, no. I didn't really write that. I'm out of eggs AND yogurt, and the food coloring is way expensive here.).


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