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Happy Baconmas!

January 12, 2012

Actually Baconmas is not til January 22nd but I wanted to get everyone totally psyched for it so I led with a misleading title. Sorry about that.

What is Baconmas?

Baconmas is a relatively new holiday, celebrated on January 22nd (the birthday of Sir Francis Bacon) to celebrate the sciences, with a side order of bacon.

Here’s what I love about the blog Baconmas. First of all the fun science experiments, second of all the bacon-related recipes, and third of all the fun of making up ridiculous traditions, including:

1. The Boasting Prop

Would it be that bad if we had a time set aside to acknowledge that we’ve done some pretty awesome things? I think not. So set aside some prop at your party (in my case an awesome model brain) as the Boasting X (again, the Boasting Brain in my case), and make the rule that whenever you hold it, you can announce to all around you the coolest thing you’ve done or achieved in the past 12 months, and bask in the applause.

Variations: No statute of limitations on boasting material; require everyone to boast once; allow for increasingly ridiculous fake boasts.

2. Science Book Swap

It’s a bit awkward recommending your favorite books to your friends, or asking to borrow one. We can fix this on Baconmas. Have everyone bring a book (related to some science in some way; sci-fi totally counts) that they’d recommend to others, and that they wouldn’t mind loaning to a random party guest. (Make sure everyone’s written their email or contact info on their offering.) Then when the party starts, anyone can swap books with anyone else, for as long as the party goes! At the end, most everyone should have a new and exciting book to read.

Variations: Instead of having everyone carry their books for the whole time, you could just run a round of “Rob Your Neighbor” in the middle of the party.

3. Great Moments in Science

From the discovery of phosphorus (the first official elemental discovery- a glowing residue produced from giant vats of urine) to the discovery of pulsars (Jocelyn Bell, a grad student at Cambridge, found the signals which were quickly dubbed “little green men”), the history of science is full of moments that would be really neat to re-enact for your friends. In full costume and on video, if you feel like it. (Please think carefully before re-enacting the Archimedes’ discovery of fluid displacement.)

Suggestions: In addition to the ones above:
James Young Simpson’s discovery of chloroform as anaesthesia
Marie and Pierre Curie’s discovery of radium
Louis Pasteur’s disproof of spontaneous generation
Erasto Mpemba’s discovery of the Mpemba effect in fluid cooling

Variations: Have one person read a short description of the event, then run it as a Genre Switch improv game: two people act it out ‘normal’ the first time, then take audience suggestions for different genres and act it out again in that style! Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic should be a lot more interesting when played as a zombie buddy-cop movie…

4. Drunk Science Lectures

Now, I wouldn’t recommend letting your friends get as drunk as the Drunk History stars, but if you’re planning to make it an alcoholic Baconmas, you can’t go wrong with having a knowledgeable friend try and give an impromptu scientific lecture in an inebriated state. And you certainly can’t go wrong by filming this, then using it as the voiceover for a “serious” science video on the topic.

Variations: Instead of having one impaired person try to explain science, you could record the results when your entire party tries to explain a concept, with each word being spoken by the next person in line (like the Whose Line is it Anyway? game Three-Headed Broadway Star– Google it for some hilarious clips).

5. Free Cookies

This one isn’t a party tradition, but a good “day of” tradition. Bake a bunch of homemade cookies, find a busy public place, and give them away for free! Watch a neverending wave of gratitude and confusion. (It goes without saying that you’d better not put anything bad in the cookies. We don’t want a bad reputation here!)

Variation: Compete to invent the best explanation when people ask you why you’re giving away free baked goods- I’ll start you off with “Because cheeseburgers don’t stay tasty nearly as long!”

This guy is just plain funny, and I love his blog. My kids and I are coming up with ideas for the big day. On the list: fun with non-Newtonian fluids.

Categories: rant
  1. Paul
    January 16, 2012 at 2:49 am

    What about the other early scientist Bacon – Roger Bacon?


  1. January 16, 2012 at 10:30 am
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