In defense of little science

I have a co-worker that has the same answer to every question asked of him: ’42.’ This is a reference to ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ that I don’t fully understand since I’ve neither read the book nor seen the movie. However, lately my answers to questions have been in a similar, but less sci-fi, vein: ‘science.’


Why is the curve in a parabolic filter so important? Science. Where do pre-harvest intervals come from? Science. Why is muck soil such a great medium to grow in but such a pain to remove from water? Science. Why do the birds insist on chirping at a too-early hour? Because they clearly don’t want me to sleep…or ‘science.’


The Holland Marsh Growers’ Association Water Project has had its share of large-scale tests with multiple participating companies and many moving parts. But it has also produced smaller experimental results that are just as important.


Take Chester and Lester above. They’re two moss balls that were placed in (left) potable tap water and (right) washwater from a settling pond. Why were they named? Because science can be fun too. Their purpose was to sit in that water and use the nutrients present to grow. What happened was expected: Lester, the washwater dweller, grew algae and scum covered the water surface.


Chester, in the potable water, did basically nothing. What did we learn? We found a visual way to showcase water sample results; the nutrient content in the water could be used by biological organisms to grow.


The experiment took two weeks, tops, and the results are just pictures. But that little test can have a big impact due to its obvious conclusion.

Publish date: 
Wednesday, August 3, 2016

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