Oobleck! April 18, 2016April 17, 2016 Jim Burt: “You may not know it, but you really want to see this video. It’s a production of some young ‘Backyard Scientists’ conducting some rather spectacular experiments with ‘Oobleck,’ a non-Newtonian fluid made by mixing approximately 1 part water to 1.5 to 2.0 parts cornstarch. You’ll be amazed and entertained.” ☞ Do you remember boredom? Are you old enough? Yes, wages have stagnated and we face loads of challenges (that one party believes can almost all be met by shrinking government while growing the military and lowering taxes on the wealthy). But is it not worth noting that in the last decade or so boredom has been eliminated for anyone with an Internet connection? I now have the Backyard Scientist and his sidekick to amuse and enlighten me. (They also do an experiment with hand grenades you’ll enjoy.) And cream, I’ve now learned, is a rheopectic non-Newtonian fluid, whereas honey is thixotropic, and there are two other kinds as well: ketchup and oobleck. And have I mentioned Words With Friends? Podcasts? TED talks? Khan Academy? Social media? Porn? Who can possibly be bored? Eliminating hunger and disease are higher priorities. Keeping warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot rank higher as well. On a pain scale from 1 to 10, boredom might be a 1, waterboarding a 9, and a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding* a 10. But even at 1 on the pain scale, boredom is still a dull, grinding ache. So eliminating it, while that doesn’t show up in the GDP, is a big deal. Thank you, DARPA, Vint Cerf, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin and thousands of others — very much including Al Gore — who made it possible. Have a great day. If you’re rich, bid high. (Today’s the day.) If you’re not, buy the book. (Arrives next Tuesday.) *Perhaps waterboarding with a non-Newtonian fluid?