Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Lesson on the Law of Conservation of Matter


Good day everyone. My name is Tom Kitt and this is the first post on my new blog. I'm a seventeen year old college student, and I'm a pretty decent nerd. Geek. Cool stuff admirer. Whatever you want to call me. Some people call me weird, but I take that as a compliment because without "weird" life would suck.... a lot. Boring mundane "normal" tasks would overtake our lives, and we'd be nothing but drones doing the same thing every single monotonous day and eventually the weekdays wouldn't even need names because they would all be the same. So yeah, weird is good.

I have another blog ( ) and that is dedicated solely to model aviation and other related things (that's my hobby). This new blog I've created will be just a bunch of things I think are cool, things I have created, maybe some links to cool things from my other blog, cool stuff (like bow ties, bow ties are cool)... basically I'll play it by ear. I want to start a youtube channel with ties to this blog, but again it's all ear-play.

Anyway, let's get started. The first thing is pretty scienc-y. You've probably heard of the "Law of Conservation of Matter/Mass" in your science class somewhere down the line. If you haven't, it's basically a scientific law stating that matter/mass (those words are interchanged from person to person, source to source) is not changed during any kind of transformation, physical or chemical. All the atoms you started with, will be there when you're done. For example, you burn firewood. You'll be left with a bunch of ash, but also smoke escaped, and the matter of the log was transformed into heat and light energy as that magnificent thing that the cavemen stumbled upon: fire!

For a more illustrated example, take a look at this. The following is pretty much why I started this blog. I saw something cool, and instead of doing something important, made myself busy with typing up this thing... and now I need a place to put it. This happens whenever at term paper is due soon, so I figured I'd start a blog to put all my procrastination projects on...

So, without any more boring ramblings, here's that thing I made:

A Lesson on the Law of Conservation of Matter

I recently was scrolling through my tumblr blog feed and I saw a very interesting gif with an interesting caption. It was unusual, as my tumblr dashboard is normally filled with Doctor Who and Avengers stuff, so it grabbed my attention. The caption read: “How to eat chocolate, indefinitely.” Okay, this I HAVE to see!

I clicked the source button and was brought back to the original source of the gif on tumblr. I’m not sure if this is the original creator of the idea, but regardless, below is the link I will provide. Credit to whoever came up with this idea:

This utterly amazed me. I looked at it. I analyzed it. I made sure there were the same amount of squares as before the gif started, and I made sure it was the same height… everything! I knew it couldn’t be true, but as a chocolate lover and a broke college student, I wanted ot know if there really was a way to bend the laws of physics and truly eat one candy bar… forever.

My first idea was to go and buy a chocolate bar and try it with that. As delicious as that idea sounded, I knew I would eat it before I got home, would be out a dollar, and even if I did manage to get it home It would have melted or broken and I would have to start all over.

My next idea was better: use something physical, tangible, reliable, and cheap. So I went to my office, grabbed a pen, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a highlighter, a calculator,  and a piece of 8.5x11 printer paper.  I knew the dimensions 8.5x11 would be tricky to make anything even out of, so I decided to shrink the paper to 5x10 so the numbers would be more even. Also, the chocolate bar in the gif was a 25 square bar (5x5), so the numbers 5 and ten would work nicely for nice rectangular pieces. See the photos below:

The next step was to look at the gif and see where the pieces were separated and then transfer that onto my paper chocolate bar. I noticed that the bar was cut diagonally from a bit past center on the second brick up from on the left, to a little before (when moving from bottom to top) center on the second brick down on the right. I then drew some dots along that line and connected them with my pen using a straight edge. I then looked to see where the bar was cut both vertically and horizontally, and transferred them onto my paper chocolate bar. They were split directly on the brick lines, so to illuminate where the cut was going to be made, and also to help with the arrangement of the pieces later, I highlighted all the cut lines with a blue highlighter, and cut along the line. See photos below:

Then I moved the pieces around, mimicking the movements made in the gif: I removed the single brick from the rectangle, swapped the placement of the two-wide section and the three-wide section along the diagonal line, and replaced the two brick section. At first my mind was blown! I was only looking at the general shape of the rectangle, and I could not believe that it came together! I was completely blown away.

But upon further analysis I noticed the lines did not line up, and that meant that something was wrong with it and it was not like the original. So I went to my magazine shelf, grabbed one of my model aircraft magazines, and placed the original figure onto the magazine. Luckily, on my first try the magazine I picked fit the figure perfectly! There was a margin along the top where everything lined up to, and the bottom of the page was where the bottom of the figure laid. Check below:

I then did the same thing before: removed the single brick, swapped the three-wide and the two-side, then replaced the two brick piece.

Unfortunately for the chocolate enthusiast with limited chocolate funds, the pieces did not fill the original space. The gap left by the single brick was evident as the figure could not reach the top of the margin as it did before.

Yet there is still one last thing to realize about this little experiment. What is the space left open, and could that remaining rectangle fill it? Well, I had to do some cutting, and please excuse my poor craft skills, but yes it does!... well, if I cut it correctly if would fit better, but you can eyeball it and see that the remaining paper will fill in the excess area.

So, that has been the first post on my new blog. Please try and check back every once in a while. Soon I'll customize my blog with something where you can punch in your email address and every time I update the blog you'll get an email notification (it doesn't spam you! I've used it for over a year on my other blog and follow it myself to make sure it's not spamming my lovely followers). Please feel free to comment and share this with your friends! Thanks for reading.

--Tom K.

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