The Young Scientist Archives
February 22, 2007
Jeff R.:Instructions for the Babysitter
The cat should be fed at five. Please stick to dry food; last weekend Alva modified the can-opener and now, while more efficient, it occasionally ejects metal discs at supersonic velocities.
Feel free to use the Coffee-maker, but check the filter. If the grounds are blue or violet, dispose of them in the yellow receptacle.
The remote control for the television is on a chain with an orange tag marked "TV". The other remotes will probably activate one or another of Alva's abandoned projects.
Do not, under any circumstances, press any of the buttons labeled in Cyrilic on the microwave.
April 3, 2007
Jeff R.: Cruel and Unusual
The anti-technology field is my own invention, although Lynne did help. When activated, it de-activates any invention based on technologies more advanced than the wheel. We use it for controlling experiments gone wrong, and, ocassionally, for punishment.
It's a pretty harsh punishment, but it is the only one that works with Alva. And we never used it for more than an hour, until now. This time, though, it's got to be at least all night.
Meanwhile, it's going to take me at least a couple of days to figure out how to reverse the effects of Alva's Gender Randomizer Grenades,
April 26, 2007
Jeff R.: There Goes the Neighborhood
After the New Vespa town council passed an ordinance specifically requiring us to move, preferably out of state but definately out of town, we found the perfect place, thirty miles away in Harper's Crossing. Huge place, plenty of clear views, and an absoute bargain price.
We found out a week after moving in just why the previous tenants were so eager to sell. It's the neighbors. Perfectly agreeable people, but their daughter Niki's a terror like no...no, like only one other.
I don't know whether to be more worried when she and Alva are fighting, or when they're working together.
May 7, 2007
Jeff R.: M=m/(sqrt(1-v^2/c^2))
We found an old slot-car race set at a garage sale last week, and, of course, Alva was entralled. Of course, about ten minutes after setting it up and running a few test races with Niki, they both decided that the cars were far too slow, and began tinkering.
They mostly managed to keep the cars on the tracks, but one hypersonic projectile careening through the living room TV is one too many, so we moved them to the basement. Just in time, too, since the very next day the cars had enough relativistic mass to crack the house's foundation.
July 6, 2007
Jeff R.: Uncle Herman Knows His Stuff
My Uncle Herman built a better mousetrap, and the world did in fact beat a path to his door- carrying torches and ptichforks. That's another story, but one that I'd hoped Alva had taken to heart. No such luck.
When the Code: Nickel Metal Hydride intelligence-enhanced rodents he was working on for the school science fair escaped and bred with the local population, I told him to let it go. But after they started attending classes and wrecking the curve for the school bullies, Alva volunteered to help them with their problem.
His solution: Robot Cats.
Heaven help us all.
August 2, 2007
Jeff R.: Self-Made
I met Lynne through several statistically absurd events that led to both of us, on seperate vacations, myself to Mexico and she to Vancouver, getting stranded in Miami airport while our luggage gadded off to Vladivostok and Sydney.
It was love at first sight, despite the constant distraction of eleven distinct narrowly-averted fatal accidents. (My 'favorite' being the classic falling piano.)
I rather suspect that in a few years, Alva's going to invent a time machine, and then take the adolescent cry 'I wish I'd never been born' literally. Luckily, his more mature, further-future selves must have won that fight.
August 30, 2007
Jeff R.:Words that Jangle in Your Head
There are things Lynne and I would never say near Alva, but not everyone is so circumspect. Case in point: Niki's aunt Eileen.
She was babysitting Niki and Alva one May evening. They were untypically, angelically serene, raptly watching the season finale of their favorite television show (You know: the one with teenage Leonardo DaVinci and an aye-aye.)
When the show ended, to their dismay, with a cliffhanger, she told them they'd have to wait three months to find out what happened, 'unless they know how to make the Earth spin faster around the Sun.'
Well, there you have it.
March 24, 2009
Jeff R.: Technically...
"Meanwhile, back at the ranch...how is grandmother doing?"
"Strictly speaking, the theory of relativity precludes the concept of simultaneity between two distinct frames of reference. So 'meanwhile' is a meaningless term, isn't it?"
I blinked. Then I counted to ten, slowly. Finally, I spoke.
"Alva...tell me you haven't been accelerating your grandmother's ranch to significant fractions of the speed of light again."
"Okay, I haven't."
I relaxed, but only for a second.
"All right. Now tell me you haven't been accelerating the rest of the universe apart from your grandmother's ranch to relativistic speeds."
He just stood there, looking sheepish.