FUN Science with Halloween Candy!

Check out our updated list of spooky science Halloween Activities here! 
Worried about having too much Halloween candy laying around? Here’s a little science you can do with your kids’ haul—or your own!

Chances are if you’ve got kids they’re going to want to go trick-or-treating. This means they’ll end up loaded with way more candy than you’d want them to actually eat. What could you do with the rest? Well, you could donate it, you could take it to a candy buyback program or you could do a little science with it! Here are a few ideas from

Lifesaver Lights
Here’s a simple one. Grab some wintergreen flavored Life Saver candies, stand in a dark room, face a mirror and chew them with your mouth open. You’ll see flashes of light that result from electrons in the candy; these are more easily visible thanks to the wintergreen flavoring.



Pop Rocks
Ever tried pouring some Pop Rocks into a glass of water? If you do, you’ll find that it’s a pretty effervescent experience.




Chocolate Bloom
By rapidly heating and cooling a piece of chocolate, you can gradually seperate it into its component parts. This results in white streaks and spirals called chocolate bloom. You can even still eat the chocolate once this is done—the texture might be a little unusual but it’s still perfectly edible!


Density Rainbow
Skittles are both delicious and colorful – here’s a way to really help that color shine. By using different quantities of various colored Skittles and the principle that sugar makes water more dense, you can create a liquid rainbow. This is one of the tougher experiments to try; make sure you pour the melted Skittles very slowly otherwise the different colors will just mix together.


Color Separation- Chromotography
Even if a piece of candy is only one color, that color can actually contain a variety of differently colored dyes. By dissolving candy coloring into water then slowly dripping that water down a piece of paper, it’s possible to see all those various colors. This is an easy experiment and the results are striking. Try it with brown M&Ms!

Watch The Polar Bear Migration LIVE!


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In the harsh, remote wilds of the Canadian tundra, a wolverine scampers up to a polar bear snoozing near the shore of the Hudson Bay. The bear rises and makes a half-hearted charge, driving away the fierce, badger-like animal.

The brief encounter Thursday was streamed live to computers around the world through a new program that aims to document in real time the annual migration of hundreds of polar bears outside Churchill, Manitoba.

The bears travel through the small town each October and November and then wait for the Hudson Bay freeze-up, when they can get out on the ice and hunt for seals. In the past, their trek was witnessed mainly by scientists and intrepid tourists.

Now, thanks to an initial $50,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation to set up four cameras on a makeshift lodge and a roaming Tundra Buggy, plus ongoing payments for bandwidth and technical infrastructure, the bears’ antics and actions at this way station can be viewed from anybody’s living room through the foundation’s website,

“It brings the Arctic to the people,” said Krista Wright, executive vice-president of Polar Bears International, an advocacy group based in Bozeman, Mont. “The polar bear is the North’s iconic species. This is that exotic animal that people travel from all over the world to see.”

There are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide. The Western Hudson Bay polar bears, one of 19 subpopulations, are estimated to number between 600 and 800. Their gathering point near the former military town of Churchill makes them among the most accessible and studied group of bears in existence.

Their numbers are expected to grow over the next few weeks as the weather turns colder, culminating with the bay expected to freeze around the third week of November.

It’s unseasonably warm in Manitoba, as evidenced on the webcam by the tundra bare of snow. That raises concerns that ice will be late in forming again this year — last year, freeze-up didn’t happen until mid-December, nearly a month later than usual. That’s a problem for the bears, Wright said.

“It’s breaking up earlier and freezing later, so the time they’re spending on land is longer. The time they’re on land, they’re basically fasting,” she said.

Charles Annenberg Weingarten, the foundation’s vice-president and a trustee, said the polar bear webcam is an experiment he hopes to expand into a program called Pearls of the Planet that would place streaming cameras in various wild places.

Weingarten said a new feature will be added to the polar bear webcam soon that will allow viewers to document their observations of the polar bears on the website. The idea, he said is to encourage scientific learning, something like a Sesame Street for adults.


Get the full streaming schedule and more info online by visiting:

ScienceMadeFunKids Announces the “Name That Site” Contest!

Hey Parents, Teachers & Kids – We need your help!

The NEW premier section of ScienceMadeFunKids is looking for an exciting & compelling name! The new section will debut in 2012 & offer amazing and engaging activities where science & imagination collide!

If your entry is chosen you could win one of these exciting prizes:

– a FREE 1-year subscription to the NEW premier section of ScienceMadeFunKids!
– a FREE in-school field trip for your entire class!
– a FREE Sizzlin’ Science Birthday Party!

Simply log on to ScienceMadeFunKids to submit your “Bright Idea” today!

Good Luck!



Coca-Cola Uses New Can To Save Polar Bears


Coca-Cola Ltd. is changing its iconic can — and pledging millions of dollars — to help scientists plan how other icons such as polar bears can survive in Canada’s melting Arctic.

Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund have announced a project called Arctic Home, to which the global corporate giant has committed $2 million over five years, with another million promised to match donations from the public. The money is to fund research programs in the High Arctic related to habitat and wildlife survival, particularly with regard to polar bears.


Read the full story here! 

Scientists Break 18th Century Secret Code


A trans-Atlantic team cracked the Copiale Cipher.

Originally written in the 18th Century, the Copiale Cipher was a secret document detailing the rites, rituals, and fascinations of an obscure German cult.  Long hidden away behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, the document was unknown to the west for many years.  Even after it was discovered by Western researchers, the code of the Copiale Cypher remained uncracked.  Finally, a team has translated the Copiale Cipher, cracking the code that remained a mystery for hundreds of years and stumped dozens of scientists.

“I defeated their security!” cheered USC computer researcher Kevin Knight, who worked alongside Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden.  ”For me, the fun is in cracking the code.  It has passed through a lot of hands, but you persevered and could read what other people couldn’t.  You start to see patterns, then you reach the magic point where a word appears.”  He added that, after that key moment, “you no longer even care what the document’s about.”

As it turns out, the group was obsessed with eye surgery and ophthalmology, among other things.  Now with that message solved, will the team turn their attention to the secret code on the seal of the United States Cyber Command?  If you can break the Copiale Cipher, you can break any code!

New Menu Label Could Require Visible Carbon Footprint

Companies  across the country are still struggling to figure out how to accommodate the menu-labeling mandate, which will require them to be transparent about their calories. But some operators say customers will soon want a new kind of count posted for the public to see: size of the restaurant’s carbon footprint.

Otarian, an Australian concept that opened a unit in New York City in 2010, is one operation that touts its low-carbon vegetarian fare. Its customers receive “carbon karma credits” for purchases, which are exchangeable for free menu items. The menu also includes calculated carbon savings. For example, the Tex Mex Burger compared to a typical beef burger saves 1.39 kg of carbon dioxide emission.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, Max Burger is breaking new ground in Sweden by posting the carbon footprint of each menu item. It’s also encouraging consumption of more ecofriendly dishes, which steers customers away from its signature beef burgers.

But U.S. quick serves have been slow to embrace a low carbon-footprint or be carbon-footprint transparent.

Bob Donegan is president and CEO of Ivar’s, a Seattle-based seafood fast casual with 69 stores. He says the ecofriendly nature of the Pacific Northwest means many customers expect their favorite restaurants to be mindful of their footprint.

“They assume anything we can do to lower our carbon footprint, we’re already doing that,” he says. “There is a segment of people for which carbon footprint and a green company is their most important thing.”

Still, in Ivar’s market research, he says, consumers usually point out things like price, customer service, and flavor as being the most important qualities of the restaurant.

A quick serve’s carbon footprint includes electricity, lighting, and food lamps, as well as food and packaging waste, says Thomas Rosenberg, vice president of advisory services for San Francisco–based Emergent Ventures Inc. A carbon-footprint rating for a hamburger would include the entire life of the cow, from its birth to becoming a burger on the grill.

“You have to put it in consumer terms, like ‘We’re using less water, and reducing cardboard.’”

“You measure each one of these steps, and that would be the product footprint,” he says. “You can minimize it, or offset it—neutralizing it, as it were.”

Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies LLC, says carbon-footprint transparency could be a valuable marketing tool, but that consumers’ response will vary by brand.

“With Starbucks, you kind of expect it,” he says. “You’re just expanding [a menuboard] with more and more information.”

Winston, whose list of clients includes PepsiCo, says carbon grams have recently started popping up on product labels in the U.K. “I’ve seen studies recently that show knowledge of the term carbon footprint has risen dramatically over the last three to five years,” he says.

But whether or not carbon footprints will soon appear on quick-serve menuboards is up in the air. Rosenberg does not think it will happen, because most consumers do not understand what a carbon footprint is. Instead, he suggests quick serves tell customers that they are “looking at our carbon footprint, while keeping our prices low, while improving the quality of our restaurant. … That is more powerful to the consumer.”

Winston wrote about Max Burger in June on the Harvard Business Review blog, writing that the company pushed “consumers to change the mix of what they were buying.”

“It’s a slightly wacky approach, telling customers, ‘you don’t have to buy a burger,’” he says. Still, he sees it as a potentially big trend. “I would not be surprised to see a [U.S.] brand take a leap like that.”

Winston says the industry will get a “sense of scale as we learn more and see more details,” he says. “McDonald’s has a sustainability report. It’s not a huge leap from that to telling customers in the store. Intentionally using that kind of data can cause dramatic performance improvement in companies.”

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada is exploring the carbon-footprint issue. Louis Payette, a spokesman for McDonald’s in Canada, says even though it “doesn’t have any data on how customers make purchasing decisions relative to carbon impact,” the company is assessing its carbon footprint. “We’ll be putting a management plan in place to mitigate our carbon impact,” he says.

Subway, meanwhile, is working toward displaying corporate social responsibility information company-wide. Elizabeth Stewart, marketing director for Subway, says the company already publicizes gallons of water saved, pounds of source material saved, equivalents to cars taken off road, truck miles reduced, and oil usage reduced.

“We know some consumers say this information affects their purchase decisions, but we would have to do more research before using the space on the menu for this type of information,” she says.

David Donnan is vice president and partner at Chicago-based A.T. Kearney Inc., which provides sustainability consulting around the globe. He says that only a small percentage of consumers will be interested in seeing carbon footprints posted on menuboards.

“Just the introduction of caloric levels in restaurants is confusing,” he says. “It’s nice to have a graphic, but you have to put it in consumer terms, like ‘We’re using less water and reducing cardboard.’”

Discover More About The Carbon Label





San Francisco Rocked By Earthquakes 22 Years After Loma Prieta


In 1989, the city of San Francisco was rocked by the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the World Series (which was going on at the time), killed 63 people, and caused $10 billion dollars in damage.  Exactly 22 years later, San Francisco has experienced not one, but two earthquakes on the anniversary of Loma Prieta.  At 8:16 PM, San Francisco was hit by a 3.9 earthquake; six hours earlier, the city was hit by a 4.0 earthquake.

Of course, San Francisco is no stranger to earthquakes.  Every weird animal behavior is believed to be an earthquake warning.  San Francisco shakes pretty often; after all,it’s not New York.  San Franciscans know their quakes, and they remember Loma Prieta.  I have no doubt that the shaking earth on the anniversary of one of the most devastating earthquakes in the history of the city had more than a few people worried about what might happen.

These don’t seem like aftershocks, or just small self-contained quakes to me.  I’m no geologist, but if I was in San Francisco, I’d update my earthquake preparedness kit, because there might be a big one coming soon.  That may not be true, but it’s definitely how I’d be feeling if I was in the city by the bay.

A Dog Food Ad Only Fido Can Hear?


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A new dog food commercial is designed to capture canine interest since it features high-frequency noises that only dogs and certain other animals can hear. The sounds are either inaudible or not consciously detected by humans.

The ad, for Beneful, is airing in Austria now. It marks a growing trend to incorporate dog-only sounds into entertainment and advertising.

“Pet owners are passionate about their pets and the commercial provides an opportunity for these consumers to engage with their ‘special friends,’” says Carol Johanek, adjunct professor of marketing at the Olin Business School. She was quoted in a Washington University in St. Louis press release.

The TV commercial contains squeaks similar to a dog toy, a whistle barely heard by humans, and a high-pitched pinging noise.

“In today’s world we see an increase of older individuals living alone who rely on their pets for companionship and this provides a time for the owner and pet to interact,” says Johanek. “Understanding the importance of the pet/pet owner relationship is critical for brands in this segment, as it provides opportunities for innovative ways in which to interact with the market.”

Last year, print posters advertising dog food in Germany featured odors that would attract sniffing dogs, not to mention curious owners who were willing to take a whiff.

The TV commercial, in particular, puts an interesting twist on subliminal advertising, or ads that feature information that can influence the viewer, even though he or she may not be consciously aware of the info. I can remember discussions years ago about supermarkets pumping in advertisements underneath the music soundtrack. Maybe that still happens?

In this case, the manipulative sounds are present, but we are not aware of them. Dogs may approach the TV screen so they could be affected, in terms of their behavior. Dogs, of course, aren’t going to run to the store as a result of these sense-stimulating advertisements. The ads are ultimately trying to grab the attention of owners.

“Because the pet itself is such a strong part of their lives, this can provides a great opportunity to influence this buyer,” Johanek says. “Similarly, when we view ads for products geared toward household with young children it almost seems like we are advertising to the child but in fact, due to their influence on the buyer, the female head of household in this case, brands are in fact promoting to the adult purchaser.”

“Brands that really understand the purchase influences surrounding their end-users can do this quite effectively.”

See what you, and maybe your dog, think.

High Touch High Tech of WNC Sponsors Asheville City Schools Foundation “2011 Celebration of Champions”


High Touch High Tech is a generous sponsor to the Celebration of Champions for Asheville City Schools on November 6. Dan Shaw, founder and CEO, recognizes the value and importance of the teacher’s role and creating the next generation of scientists. High Touch High Tech is sposoring to provide all of the ACS Science teachers to attend the event! Celebration of Champions is on Sunday, November 6, from 6 -9:30PM. Teachers will dine and be entertained by an awards ceremony and super fabulous raffles will be available.

AshevilleCitySchoolteachers can RSVP by Monday, October 24 to hold their seat by contacting Pam Clarkson ( Unused seats will be forwarded to other science superstars. You can invite a spouse or friend to join by purchasing an additional ticket @ $40.

Please take a few moments to learn about HTHT and what it can bring to your classrooms. If you haven’t hosted these “in-class” field trips, you are missing out! HTHT professional teachers roll in with exciting demonstrations, presentations, and hands-on activities complete with student assessments at the end.

High Touch High Tech of WNC is offering their Energy Series which features programs that can be paid for with Progress Energy Education grants & align with the grant requirements. here are many ways HTHT can contribute to your classroom. Find out how you or teachers in your area can benefit from exciting offers like this & get full program details!

Visit our Locations page to find a HTHT location near you!

Space Shuttle Endeavour Given to LA Museum


When the Space Shuttle Endeavour was retired in May, nobody knew where it would end up. Would NASA sell it to SpaceX to help with commercial space flight? Would they keep it around but in mothballs in case they needed it for something? As it turns out, NASA must need a multi-billion-dollar tax write-off, because the various Space Shuttle pieces are being donated to charities. For example, Endeavour is being donated to the California Science Center, where its new mission will soon begin.

“NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. ”The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we’re standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system.”

Joining the CSC as the final resting place of the various space shuttles are NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum. Endeavour has traveled 115 million miles over 25 missions and has carried 139 people into space. Now, it makes one last trip to Exposition Park through the streets of Los Angeles before it finds a new mission: teaching kids about science