13 year old "re-invents" solar panel tree

digitalbeachbum
atheistRational VIP!
digitalbeachbum's picture
Posts: 2974
Joined: 2007-10-15
User is offlineOffline
13 year old "re-invents" solar panel tree

I saw this yesterday while roaming through the news and immediately knew it was hogwash.

Solar panels only produce X amount of output from the sun and this idea was floating around for many years before this kid re-invented the idea for his project. Besides, solar panel companies sell some kits with tracking systems so that you can capture a higher amount of sun light by tracking the sun through the sky.

So where does that leave the media, the judges who gave him an award and any money he gained? No one seemed to follow up on the facts and it took scientists who were in the field to expose the bogus results. Is this a cased where the parents used their influences to promote their son much like Rebecca Black videos?

I'm not surprised, but I don't see any follow up on the story on who the judges were and why they haven't been chastised for being such ignorant fools for not checking up on his facts.

http://whatsnext.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/18/meet-a-13-year-old-solar-panel-developer/comment-page-1/#comment-9047

And I'll say that I support the kid for trying to make the world a better place, but I think enabling him by heralding his pseudo science based project is really a stupid thing to continue doing.

Here is some debunking info:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/08/blog-debunks-13-year-old-scientists-solar-power-breakthrough/41520/

 

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

-Scott Adams


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
I think you, and everyone

I think you, and everyone else who's attacking him, is missing the point of science projects.  Or put another way, we all know that volcanoes are not made from baking soda and vinegar, but children keep making the damned things.

"Science" is done by experimentation, but it starts with a willingness to actually =do= something that starts off looking kind of like science, but isn't.

When I was 11 or 12 I didn't know that candles actually burn =liquid= wax, which is drawn up into the wick via capillary action.  I decided to see if wax could be made to burn =without= a wick by heating it up and putting a flame to the hot wax.  I put some solid wax into a metal spoon and lit an alcohol burner.  Once the wax was melted, I tipped the edge of the spoon, with its melted wax, towards the flame.  The wax ignited.  What happened next was less entertaining -- the heat from the burning wax, and the alcohol burning, gradually brought the wax to a boil, at which point it began burning quite spectacularly.  Not wanting to just drop the wax, I threw the spoon away from me.  The wax stayed put, with my hand passing underneath it as it began to fall to the ground.  The result was a 3rd degree burn about the size of a quarter on the back of my hand.

From this failed experiment I learned a very large number of scientific principles -- metal conducts heat very well, boiling hydrocarbons burn much better than cooler liquid hydrocarbons, liquids are usually "objects at rest" if you try to throw them, and burning liquids burn human skin very well.

Now, you can crush this kid's scientific curiosity if you must.  Have at it.  Hold him to the same standard as some PhD in Physics or Electrical Engineering.  Just remember that if you're judging him against PhDs, you have to judge him against 13 year old PhDs, and there aren't all that many of them out there to judge him against.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


digitalbeachbum
atheistRational VIP!
digitalbeachbum's picture
Posts: 2974
Joined: 2007-10-15
User is offlineOffline
FurryCatHerder wrote:I think

FurryCatHerder wrote:

I think you, and everyone else who's attacking him, is missing the point of science projects.  Or put another way, we all know that volcanoes are not made from baking soda and vinegar, but children keep making the damned things.

"Science" is done by experimentation, but it starts with a willingness to actually =do= something that starts off looking kind of like science, but isn't.

When I was 11 or 12 I didn't know that candles actually burn =liquid= wax, which is drawn up into the wick via capillary action.  I decided to see if wax could be made to burn =without= a wick by heating it up and putting a flame to the hot wax.  I put some solid wax into a metal spoon and lit an alcohol burner.  Once the wax was melted, I tipped the edge of the spoon, with its melted wax, towards the flame.  The wax ignited.  What happened next was less entertaining -- the heat from the burning wax, and the alcohol burning, gradually brought the wax to a boil, at which point it began burning quite spectacularly.  Not wanting to just drop the wax, I threw the spoon away from me.  The wax stayed put, with my hand passing underneath it as it began to fall to the ground.  The result was a 3rd degree burn about the size of a quarter on the back of my hand.

From this failed experiment I learned a very large number of scientific principles -- metal conducts heat very well, boiling hydrocarbons burn much better than cooler liquid hydrocarbons, liquids are usually "objects at rest" if you try to throw them, and burning liquids burn human skin very well.

Now, you can crush this kid's scientific curiosity if you must.  Have at it.  Hold him to the same standard as some PhD in Physics or Electrical Engineering.  Just remember that if you're judging him against PhDs, you have to judge him against 13 year old PhDs, and there aren't all that many of them out there to judge him against.

Where pray-tell did I attack him?

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

-Scott Adams


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
digitalbeachbum wrote:Where

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Where pray-tell did I attack him?

In your entire post?!?


digitalbeachbum
atheistRational VIP!
digitalbeachbum's picture
Posts: 2974
Joined: 2007-10-15
User is offlineOffline
FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Where pray-tell did I attack him?

In your entire post?!?

Egads! Entire Post? Really?

The closest thing to attacking him was the question about if he should give up his awards or any monetary gain.

The focus of my post was the media who blew this out of proportion and the judges who didn't do their fact checking.

I said "And I'll say that I support the kid for trying to make the world a better place, but I think enabling him by heralding his pseudo science based project is really a stupid thing to continue doing."

The quote above shows support for the child but that enabling him to continue thinking that his project was a success is a stupid thing to do.

 

Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

-Scott Adams


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
digitalbeachbum

digitalbeachbum wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Where pray-tell did I attack him?

In your entire post?!?

Egads! Entire Post? Really?

The closest thing to attacking him was the question about if he should give up his awards or any monetary gain.

The focus of my post was the media who blew this out of proportion and the judges who didn't do their fact checking.

I said "And I'll say that I support the kid for trying to make the world a better place, but I think enabling him by heralding his pseudo science based project is really a stupid thing to continue doing."

The quote above shows support for the child but that enabling him to continue thinking that his project was a success is a stupid thing to do.

But all kids his age do pseudo-science projects.  Why are you singling him out?  The purpose of these science fairs isn't to produce high-quality research projects, it's to get kids interested in doing "science".

Or put another way, if I was a 12 year old kid and I read your post, I'd feel discouraged from making any science project that hadn't been reviewed by a team of MIT scientists, which is never going to happen for a science project.

The kid deserves nothing but props for trying.  The media, on the other hand, is a bunch of idiots.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


digitalbeachbum
atheistRational VIP!
digitalbeachbum's picture
Posts: 2974
Joined: 2007-10-15
User is offlineOffline
Hey MOD! Fucking spam bots

Hey MOD!

 

Fucking spam bots are at it again.