The Spangler Effect - The Science of Toys Season 01 Episode 08

Uploaded by TheSpanglerEffect on 21.03.2012


STEVE SPANGLER: Welcome to Toy Fair 2012.
So look at this.
God, that's amazing.
Oh, and it doesn't take much of a squeeze at all.
You are now compressing some of the air
that's in that packet.
So I bet you think this is the part of the show where I'm
going to say, don't try these experiments at home.
And you're right, except there is one experiment
we want you to try.
Just look for the graphic that's right here
that says try it.
That's your signal that you can try that
experiment at home.
Everything else off limits.
Look, I've already given you homework, and the show hasn't
even started.
I'm Steve Spangler, and I'm all about making science fun.
For the last 20 years, I've been teaching ways to turn
ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning
I have an amazing team who will do whatever it takes to
affect the way people think about science.
And to do that, I live by one motto--
"Make it big, do it right, give
it class." All right.
Watch this.
There's a squid in the bottle--
And you just take a hair like this-- it's a trained squid--
and you wrap the hair around the squid.
It's almost like a lasso.
Hard to see.
See I can kind of pull the little--
here let him go.
Just grab the hair, pull him down like this.
And you can take him to the bottom and just pull the hair
off, and he'll go right back up to the top, and--
OK, that's not how it works.
But it's the first science toy I ever invented.
And some people will ask, so how does a science teacher own
a toy company?
And the reason why is because of that dumb squid in a bottle
that goes up and down when you actually squeeze the bottle.
This is it.
It's the very, very first toy that started the toy company.
And it's nothing more than an eye dropper and a hex nut and
this little rubber piece that's the squid.
And let me show you how easy it is to make the diver.
Well, here are the pieces, parts that we're using today.
I've got just some 1 liter bottles filled with water, a
couple of deep containers, because we're going to need to
do some things that sink and float.
The original Cartesian diver, named after
Rene Descartes, used--
well, the original one, I'm sure used something other than
glass eye droppers.
The oldest one I can remember used a glass eye dropper.
And today, you can still find them at stores like Walmart or
wherever, a pharmacy.
Let me show you how to do it with the original one.
The whole idea is this.
You have to get a container of water like this here, and you
drop the eye dropper inside.
And you say float or sink, and, of course, it floats.
And it floats because there's air inside that eye dropper.
Even though it's a glass eye dropper, there's air.
If I hold it up like this-- here, take a look at this--
I can squeeze some of the bubbles out like this, and
pull some water in.
So in essence, I'm changing the mass, right?
And now it just barely bobs there.
See how it bobs up and down that way?
OK, so that's perfect.
When you make a Cartesian diver, you've got to have that
kind of set up there, so it just barely bounces around.
Now we've got a 1 liter bottle.
And I'm using a 1 liter.
You could use a 2 liter.
It's just easier to squeeze with a 1 liter.
Remove the label.
It's almost full to the top.
And one of the secrets of a Cartesian diver, to make it
easier to squeeze, anyway, is to make sure there's just no
air inside the bottle.
The only air that we want--
if you take a look at this right here-- the only air that
you want is the air that's in that Cartesian diver.
All right.
So now, here's what happens.
You take a cap and put the cap on like this.
And now, we're ready to go.
So the way it floats and it sinks is if I can change the
mass, ultimately changing the density-- if I can change the
mass, because the volume is going to stay the same, then
density equals mass divided by volume.
I know it's nerd fest here, but I've just got to change
the density so it's greater than 1 and so it will sink.
So watch-- as I squeeze it, you can actually see the water
level going up.
You see this here?
So I'm just barely squeezing it.
So water's being pushed up into here.
The air compresses, because the water cannot compress.
And when it gets heavy enough, it finally sinks.
Isn't that nice?
And as you let go, it will float.
So we've got a perfect way to be able to make something
float or sink.
And of course, we're just using our fingers to be able
to squeeze it.
You can do all the magic that you want to.
You pretend like you have the magnetic finger.
And when the person comes up, their finger follows.
And if you just don't want the person to have the magnetic
finger, then you just don't let them make it work, right?
But that's the classic Cartesian diver.
I was introduced to a new style of Cartesian diver by a
man by the name of Bob Becker.
Bob is a chemistry teacher in Kirkwood, Missouri, and
actually showed me this version using plastic eye
droppers called pipettes.
And they're very, very prevalent in
the chemistry classroom.
A lot of teachers use these pipettes.
They may be a little bit harder for just the average
person to get their hands on, but just befriend a teacher,
and for sure they know about pipettes.
This one is special, because it's graduated.
Do you see this one here?
And when you're picking one, just make sure that you can
find one that the hex nut will go over the top.
So if I drop this into the water like this-- so here's
our container.
Let me drop this into the water.
Of course it floats, right?
I want to weight it down.
So here's what we're going to do.
We're taking a regular quarter-inch hex nut.
And I use these brass ones, because they don't rust.
This goes on the pipette like that.
So here's what it looks like.
It's just right there on the pipette.
And then I'm going to twist and turn it into place like
this, so it kind of holds it into place.
And that's what it looks like.
It's held into place.
A pair of scissors will help us cut the end off.
And now we have the makings of a modern-day Cartesian diver.
So the same thing-- of course it floats.
So watch.
When we drop it inside, it floats.
If I squeeze some of the air out and pull some of the water
in, I can make it so it just barely floats.
Of course, of we have too much water in altogether, then the
whole thing will sink.
So I want it so it just barely floats.
So I'm going to just continue to play with it.
That seems to be a pretty good buoyancy there.
Again, that whole idea is so it just barely floats.
So now that we have it adjusted, you just have to be
careful that you don't get any of the water out.
It goes down inside.
Notice how it's full almost to the very, very top.
That's exactly what we want--
no air inside the bottle.
And now we cap it off.
Again, just as it happened before, that we saw with the
glass eye dropper, when you squeeze, notice how the water
goes up inside.
This systems just works perfectly.
Bob's a genius.
And there is the making of the modern day Cartesian diver.
We had to find a way to disguise
this diver right here.
I was working in television in the early 1990s for a program
called News for Kids.
And so on the set, we had a whole bunch of kids.
And they were squeezing this.
And the director kept on commenting that she couldn't
see the diver very well inside.
So we found other ways to be able to glue things on, for
example, or use a Sharpie pen to color on them.
Again, Bob Becker had a bunch of great ideas.
But I wanted something that was just a little
bit easier to see.
So I'll show you how we changed everything.
It looks like a fishing lure.
It's not really a fishing lure that would catch a fish.
These were specially made, because the regular fishing
lure just wouldn't go over the pipette.
Remember coming back and trying to find a way to be
able to use this and put it over the pipette.
So here, watch.
This is Squiddy.
So you just open up the little opening here like this.
And then this slides over the workings of
the squid like this.
And this is the new squid.
All right, so this is in place.
Enough history.
As you squeeze, the water goes inside, the little squid falls
down, and as you let go, the squid goes up again.
And that was Squiddy.
So let's say you don't have a squid and you don't have
pipettes and hex nuts and everything else and you'd like
to do the Cartesian diver.
I'm going to show you how to do one.
This is ingenious.
It's done out of a condiment.
It's just ketchup.
So you're going to start collecting
some ketchup packets.
This is an interesting Cartesian diver.
And it's interesting because, in this style of Cartesian
diver, there was an open end.
So when you squeeze, water would go inside.
You would increase the mass, and it would sink.
But when you use something like this, these ketchup
packets have never been opened.
And so this means that the mass has to stay the same.
We would have to possibly change the volume if you want
to change the density.
So here's what you need to do.
Not all ketchup packets work.
Collect a whole bunch of different ketchup packets and
in a container of water, just drop them inside.
Some will float, and some will sink.
You're hoping that a couple will float.
And pick the ones that will float.
OK, so this is a good one here.
This one may float just a little too much.
And this one right over here, this Carl's Jr. one might do
fairly well.
So you want the two of them that just barely float.
All right?
The other ones are out of the question.
So again, here's our bottle.
Let's try that Carl's Jr. one.
Let's see if this one works fairly well.
So you're going to take the ketchup packet.
Don't open it up.
Just kind of fold it and push it down into the bottle.
And you're going to lose some water, so you're going to have
to fill it back up again.
Ah, so there it is.
Got it.
And now, cap it or top if off this way.
And we need a cap.
So this will go on the top.
So now, look at what we have.
This is fairly cool, because this now doesn't get ruined if
you turn it upside down or anything like that.
It just kind of sits in here.
While you can't see it, as you squeeze--
and it doesn't take much of a squeeze at all--
you're now compressing some of the air that's in that packet
and changing the density or the buoyancy.
And that's the simplest of the Cartesian divers.
Now that you know how Squiddy works-- a simple science toy--
there's a big jump from having an idea like this to actually
getting it into stores.
And the best way to do that is a convention called the New
York Toy Fair.
It attracts thousands and thousands of people.
These are people who own educational stores, regular
toy stores.
And that's the best way to be able to show people.
Well, the product line has grown from just a couple
products that we started with the 1993 to now over 75
products in a company called Be Amazing!
So I want to give you a behind the scenes glimpse of what Toy
Fair looks like-- the normal public isn't allowed in-- and
what happens when you walk the aisles and ask other people to
show you some of their best toys, as well.
Take a look.
Well, it's cold for a reason.
It's February in New York.
It can only mean one thing--
Toy Fair.
And we'd like to have you help us out a little bit.
So we want to comment below and tell us which toys we're
going to show you are the great ones and which ones are
kind of-- eh.
Well, you be the judge.
And welcome to Toy Fair 2012.
All right.
This is a sneak peak of Toy Fair.
We're actually in the exhibit hall, because we're exhibitors
today with Be Amazing!
It's wonderful company they carries so many of the Steve
Spangler science items.
But they carry it for things like Target and Walmart and
mass-market stores in addition to small ma and pa stores.
Those brick and mortar stores are there as well.
And this is where I get to hang out for
the next eight hours.
And I have a feeling-- see these hands?
They are going to be coke-covered here in no time,
because it's my job to launch as many geysers as I can.
I have 780 bottles to get through.
And it'll be a successful day if I get it.
See ya.

Now, when I pull the pin, the Mentos will fall, just like
the model here, right?
The secret is that those little pits on the outside of
the Mentos, all the carbon dioxide rushes to that--
they're called nucleation points-- and it
shoots the soda out.
We're just going to turn it sideways, see if Isaac Newton
was correct.
And if he was, we get a little shot.
All right?
So this goes in here like this.
All right, normally you're outside or you're sneaking in
some place that has great floors like Home Depot.
You'd shoot it all past plumbing and down the--
don't do that.
This pulls like this when it falls.
It starts to flow.
And as you let go, bam!
Isn't that a good shot?
That was.
It'll go about 150 feet at about 30 miles an hour with
what you saw there.
Now that we're done at the booth, let's go check out some
of the cool toys at Toy Fair.
Who doesn't like a severed hand that runs around on a
wall and scares the crap out of kids?
That's perfect.

You know, of anybody doing science kits today, Thames &
Kosmos has got to be one of my favorites and one of the best.
You look at this-- they're doing real science.
The materials that you see here are not watered down.
So if you're looking for chemistry along the way, this
Thames & Kosmos place is great.
MALE SPEAKER: Straw with flavored beads in the middle.
Is it lobster?
MALE SPEAKER: That's it.
MALE SPEAKER: Taste it again.
Maybe let the beads dissolve a little bit more.
You're not quite getting the flavor.
Now what do you think?
MALE SPEAKER: Strawberry, you got it.
STEVE SPANGLER: Strawberry lobster.
It actually tastes like strawberry lobster and shrimp.
Well, we're at Insect Lore.
These are people that I've known for years
and years and years.
And there, they manufacture this wonderful thing called
the butterfly pavilion.
And so I would stand in their booth years ago and tell
people that the butterflies were good to eat, and they
were just raising them for salads.
And a lot of people would believe that.
And then I got kicked out.
Do not eat the butterflies.

I thought it was just all about buying bugs.
And now it's a campfire.
MALE SPEAKER: Now it's all about camping.
I need to get in the camp.
MALE SPEAKER: It's time for bed.
STEVE SPANGLER: All right, so here's kind of a you choose it
an adventure.
You can choose what you want me to do.
I'll either A, go sneak into the tent at Insect Lore and
sleep there for the night, or B, I'll pretend like I'm a
sales person, and I'll sell butterflies, but convince
people that they're not real and they're animatronics.

All right, well, 3D is all the rage.
And these are 3D glasses here from Look3D.
And not only are they 3D glasses, they make you look
really sexy.
And watch this, I can look--
oh my god.
See that?
All contained in these classes here.
No batteries at all.
How many pounds?
MALE SPEAKER: This is 25 pounds.
25 pounds of Aaron's Thinking Putty.
It changes color.
This is a tremendous amount of fun.
I don't think he was a problem in school at all.
This is just what he does.
MALE SPEAKER: We're going to turn that
nice lady into a butterfly.
STEVE SPANGLER: All right, let's go see the butterfly.
How cool is that?

STEVE SPANGLER: That is awesome and tasty too.
Tastes like that lobster stuff that I had at the other booth.
Look at this.
MALE SPEAKER: When you spread out your fingers, they weave
in and out.
Here, we'll show them his nose.
Oh, he's scared.
Put it on your shower door, it turns your whole
shower into a speaker.
STEVE SPANGLER: You're using the entire box to just
resonate the sound.
Here's a booth--
four million different kinds of dice.

So here's the deal.
This nice man right here said that I can go sneak a toy away
during a live shot.
So they wrote something like "Hello, Denver" or something.
But during the live shot, we'll go sneak it away and
just see how he reacts.
He's good.
So he'll react well.
CHRIS BYRNE: And you know who's running around here?
Steve Spangler's running around Toy Fair creating all
kinds of havoc.
And I-- wait, there he is.
STEVE SPANGLER: I'm taking this back to the station.
CHRIS BYRNE: He's taking it back to the station.
So we are having so much fun here at the American
International Toy Fair.
So great to see you.
There's the regular--
there's six things on a die.
And then there's this one that's red.
And this one, it's another die, which looks a lot like
this one, but it's completely called the swirl die.
And this is the gator die and the pearl die.
This would be the cow die, the dog die, and the woodland
animal die--
not to be confused with the bison die, the beetle die, the
scorpion die, and the ladybug die.
One of my favorites--
the bat die.
There's the sided die-- the 16-sided die.
There's the hip dice, Chinese dice, Amish dice, regular
dice, Japanese dice, and another alien dice which is
probably a knock-off of that alien dice over there.
There's spotted, spotted, spotted, counting.
There's loaded dice, just in case you have a craps game and
you want to win--
loaded dice.
Nothing says I love you more, kids, than to give you a bowl
of dice for your birthday.
Happy birthday.
Here's a bowl of dice.
My all time favorite-- you can vote on it down below--
opaque die.

One question we never get to ask-- what do you think about

And do you have any thoughts on the current debate over
endoplasmic reticulum?
MALE SPEAKER: I'll show you just a quick trick here.
You've got a ring now, right?
MALE SPEAKER: If I squeeze them together,
now I've got a triangle.
If I fold up the tips, I've got an octahedron.
I can put it back down and smash it and it goes right
back into a ring.
MALE SPEAKER: Now, pinch here, fold it over, and I've got
myself a spinning top.
And if I add two, I get eight.
Eight's a cool number.
I known to be two times two times two, or two cubed.
Just like that.
Now, I'll show you a really cool trick.
It requires 12.
So I'm going to add four more here.
And 12's a really interesting number, because it allows me
to just wrap them around my fingers twice.
MALE SPEAKER: Pinch here, and I pull these two to the side.
Now I've got myself a ball.
STEVE SPANGLER: God, that's amazing.

STEVE SPANGLER: It's out of tune.

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