Nevertheless Have Leftover Halloween Candy? Use It For Science!

No need to threat sugar shock, people. We’ve got a whole bunch of experiments you can do with leftover candy that are possibly a lot more fun than consuming it. Rebecca Siegel/NPR hide caption

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Rebecca Siegel/NPR

Halloween has come and gone, but piles of candy remain. You have two choices: Consume it all and risk a critical sugar coma, or get seriously creative with some candy-themed science.

We asked staff at numerous science museums what experiments they like to do with leftover candy. Get crackin’.

The classic “what does candy Actually taste like”?

“Your sense of taste is really truly limited,” explains Julie Yu, senior scientist and director of the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. A lot of what we perceive as flavor comes from smell, since our tongue can only taste a handful of issues: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory (and fat). You can test this by plugging your nose, placing candy in your mouth, and unplugging your nose. Then, see if the flavor adjustments.

What’s in Your Candy?

You can test foods for starch making use of ingredients from a drug store, according to Debra Bailey, co-coordinator of the Micro Globe Investigate Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Organic Sciences. Just crush up a candy and mix it into water. Then, add a couple of drops of the remedy into a cup of iodine (yes, the antiseptic). If it modifications from amber to black, you have got starch!

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Bailey says you can also test for Vitamin C, glucose, and proteins with paper indicator strips for sale on Amazon.

Skittles Chromatography:

Ever wonder how several distinct dyes are utilised to colour Skittles? Well, OK, me neither. But now I truly want to know, and Kelly Thornton, youth and loved ones applications manager at the Pacific Science Center, says it really is not as well hard to locate out. You require candy, a coffee filter, a pencil, aluminum foil, salt, water, toothpicks and cups.

    Ever wonder how many various dyes are utilised to colour Skittles? John W. Poole/NPR hide caption

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    John W. Poole/NPR

    1. Reduce the coffee filter into strips.
    2. Location various colored Skittles on a piece of foil, leaving space in between the candies. Use your finger to drip a bit of water on leading of every single Skittle and wait for the colour to dissolve.
    3. Collect water from beneath the Skittle by dipping in a toothpick. Location a dot of the colour about half an inch from the bottom of the coffee filter. Use a various strip of filter paper for each color.
    4. Mix one cup of water with 1/eight teaspoon of salt. Pour a layer of this answer into the bottom of the cup, and spot the filter paper in it, with the water just touching the bottom of the coffee filter.

    The salty water will pull the dye up the paper with capillary action. Diverse dye molecules will move diverse distances, so the colors will separate. If numerous dyes color one particular Skittle (or M&ampM, or Canadian Smartie), you are going to know!

    Try random experiments:

    Rebecca Reilly likes to mutilate her candy: “Cut it up, melt it, dissolve it, test the acidity … factors like that.”

    She’s the meals science coordinator at the Oregon Museum of Science and Business, and her favorite candy experiments are open-ended ones. “1 wonderful point about candy is it is full of factors you wouldn’t count on, which makes it great for science experiments! It reacts in actually strange techniques,” she says.

    Reilly shared some of her favorite factors to do with candy, and a bit about what these factors can teach you:

    1. Dissolve it: Dissolving candy tests the principle “like dissolves like.” Oil, for instance, dissolves in fats, not water, so you need an emulsifier like soap to clean greasy dishes. Reilly suggests dissolving distinct candies in water, oil, vinegar, or baking soda water. Ambitions: Attempt to dissolve candy corn, or the letters on M&ampMs and Skittles.
    2. Melt it: “Placing all your candy in the oven is in fact truly fun,” says Reilly. Items that are pure sugar will bubble and caramelize. Reilly isn’t certain why Twizzlers don’t melt and Smarties (or Rockets, if you happen to be Canadian) turn clear. Try it at home and make your personal hypothesis. Critical note: Don’t place Jawbreakers in the oven. Reilly says the diverse layers have distinct melting points, and the scalding molten interior can burst out of the Jawbreakers’ challenging shell and seriously hurt you.
    3. Test for acidity: Boil some water and pour it more than diced purple cabbage. Let it sit for at least five minutes, till the water turns purple. Pour the juice into a bunch of cups. Purple cabbage juice, explains Reilly, is a organic pH indicator that will turn “all colors of the rainbow” based on what is in it. Acidic factors turn the cabbage juice orange, red and pink. Bases turn it blue, green or yellow. Reilly says she’s accomplished this experiment with just about almost everything in her kitchen.
    4. Far more acid experiments: Spoiler alert for the above experiment — every thing sour contains acid. Sour taste receptors are sort of a constructed-in pH meter. And as you may recall from volcano science experiments, if you mix an acid (vinegar) with a base (baking soda water), you get bubbles. The same issue happens when you place sour candies in baking soda water. Reilly says sour gummy worms are really fun “’cause they’ll float up on the bubbles and dance.”

    Bonus Candy Craft: Candy Scat

    All you want to make edible turkey scat is a very good image of the genuine scat, a couple of tootsie rolls, and some powdered sugar! Courtesy of Megan Chesser hide caption

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    Courtesy of Megan Chesser

    Have you ever noticed that chocolate sprinkles look like mouse poop? Properly, the North Carolina Museum of Organic Sciences has. Megan Chesser, a teacher education specialist, likes to hide animal scat (yes, poop) in schoolyards. She leads teachers on a scavenger hunt, and dares them to make observations about the scat. They break it open to see what’s inside and smell it.

    “Finally, I say, ‘You know what is a great way to inform what this is made of? Consuming it.’ And then I pop it into my mouth,” says Chesser. The secret is, it is chocolate, mashed up to appear like it came from a raccoon.

    Chesser requires the teachers back to a classroom to make edible scat of their own. They mold tootsie rolls into various shapes for distinct animals. To make omnivore poop, like a bear has, she mixes in nuts and berries. For bird and reptile scat, Chesser suggests rolling tootsie rolls in powdered sugar to get that authentic patina. For carnivores, add some shredded wheat for hair. Chesser says it’s a excellent way to get youngsters thinking about food webs.

    Some candies don’t need to have considerably function. Hershey’s Kisses appear like elk scat, and if you chop up chocolate sprinkles it looks like cockroach poop (or “frass,” which Chesser delightedly informed me is the technical name for arthropod poop.)

    For larger animals, “leftover brownies from a Halloween party are great to mold into tubular scat,” says Chesser. “A box of brownie mix goes a long way.”

    Edible raccoon scat created with brownie, chopped oatmeal, and chopped cranberries. Snickers or Child Ruth can also perform in lieu of a brownie. Courtesy of Megan Chesser hide caption

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    Courtesy of Megan Chesser

    Arts &amp Life : NPR

From Health-related Maggots To Stench Soup, &#039Grunt&#039 Explores The Science Of Warfare


Frank Rossoto Stocktrek/Getty Images

Science writer Mary Roach is not effortlessly repulsed. Even though researching her newest book, Grunt, Roach learned all about the medicinal use of maggots in World War I. She also purposely sniffed a putrid scent identified as “Who me?” that was created as an experimental weapon during Globe War II.

For Roach, it really is all in the name of research. “I am sort of the bottom-feeder of science writing,” Roach jokes to Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “I’m just an individual who is OK with being quite out there with my curiosity.”

Roach’s curiosity compelled her in previous books to dive deep into the science of cadavers, sex and digestion. Now, in Grunt, she examines the science of warfare — especially some of the scientific developments that help stop wounds from becoming infected, and enhance the chances that soldiers will endure the heat of the desert and survive explosions.

Interview Highlights

On combating the issue of diarrhea in the military

It’s specifically serious among unique operations service members — Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, people who are operating off the primary bases in really remote rural regions in villages where there isn’t a secure water provide. They may be eating meals that is been contaminated by flies, not refrigerated, so they’re obtaining diarrhea at a rate that’s twice what the typical enlisted person is acquiring.


And the typical enlisted particular person — there was a study carried out, I think it was 2003 to [2004] and they asked folks, “How frequently did you come down with diarrhea, and what type?” Seventy-some percent had diarrhea — 40 % negative adequate that they sought health-related remedy, and 32 % had been in a scenario where they couldn’t get to a toilet in time.

You could picture if you have been a specific operations team, like three or 4 men and women going to do some hugely classified crucial mission exactly where you can not truly stop and say, “Hold on, I got to go behind that rock.” …

The researcher that I accompanied at Camp Lemonnier [in Djibouti] is Capt. Mark Riddle, who is with the Navy, and he’s searching at a far better remedy regimen for traveler’s diarrhea, which can really put you out of commission for a even though. He’s hunting at a one particular-dose regimen, rather than 3 or four days it was anything that you could take, and inside the day start off to be feeling much better and be more than it.

On maggots employed to clean and heal wounds throughout WWI

This was a battlefield in Planet War I, and there was a healthcare man, William Baer, with the French expeditionary forces, and he noticed that a couple of his individuals had come in with these wounds on the legs and on the genitals. They had been out in the field for seven days. They’d been lying there, they have been brought in, and the wounds were infested with maggots. …

Initially there was that revulsion of, “Oh my God we’ve got to clean them out.” And they did clean them out, and then what he saw was this lovely pink, new, fresh tissue that had grown in.

The maggots had been impressively successful at debriding the wound — that is, consuming the dead tissue — which is crucial in wound healing. You want to let the fresh tissue have a chance to grow. The dead tissue doesn’t get blood it doesn’t heal. It stands in the way of healing.

The maggots also seemed to prevent infection … so it was this kind of miraculous feat that the maggots had achieved. And William Baer some years later, back in civilian life, he kept pondering about this and he thought, “I’m going to attempt this.” There were some children with bone infections — it was TB infection of the bone — and he attempted the maggots, and it worked.

You can envision that was a pretty brave issue to do, to place maggots in these children’s wounds. But they have been wounds that had not responded to other therapy or surgery, and it in fact worked. There’s perform going on nonetheless today with maggot therapy, as it really is known as. Really, the FDA has authorized maggots as a healthcare device. … I can actually inform you the Medicare reimbursement quantity for maggots.

On the problem of employing maggots in modern hospitals

Not only is there a revulsion issue that you have to overcome with the employees — the nurses are going to have to go in — you are going to have to clean the maggots out after a couple of days. You do not want them to pupate, turn out to be flies, due to the fact you consider, flies flying around a hospital is the last thing you would ever want, simply because a fly can spread illness from landing on material in the bathroom and then landing on a wound. It’s the final point you’d want in a hospital, so you have to be cautious employing maggots. …

They’re not any old maggots. They’re a particular sort of bottle fly. They’re from a business called Healthcare Maggots. They come with a dosage card — it is something like five to eight maggots per such-and-such square centimeters. … They come in a vial, type of like drugs. You never want to just sort of attract any kind of fly to come and lay eggs in a wound. That would be a tiny dicey. … You require a prescription, although!

On the usage of stink bombs for the duration of WWII

I use the term “stink bomb” sort of casually … this was far more specifically a … squirtable spray, or a smearable paste. The idea was to get this very easy, low-cost weapon into the hands of resistance organizations. Individuals in occupied nations — France, China — give it to them, and they would surreptitiously approach officers, German or Japanese officers, and squirt this little 2-inch tube of this quite heavily researched and tested, quite foul-smelling odor, which was nicknamed “Who Me?” as in “Who dealt it.” So it was a sort of surreal and bizarre chapter in the history of Planet War II. …

The thought was to give motivated citizens things that they could very easily and cheaply use to undermine morale, to isolate, humiliate these officers. It’s a quite little gesture it wasn’t going to turn the tide of war. And in truth, “Who Me?” — this smell paste — was by no means deployed. The project went on for two years. And a lot of testing went on, since of a tremendous quantity of difficulty with the delivery method. The tubes tended to leak and dribble, and then the operator, himself or herself, would have this stench on their hand. … It was a bit of a fiasco.

On the ongoing study to find a universal poor smell for stink bombs

There’s nevertheless function that goes on. Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has accomplished perform more than the years on malodorants. They designed one particular named “Stench Soup.” …The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, back in the ’90s, commissioned them to come up with a universally loathed scent, simply because there are some cultural variations. They really looked into different cultural reactions to the scent of vomit, of burned hair, of dirty feet, all of these different odors to see, “Can we find 1 that is universally loathed?” And then we could use that in any military setting, in any nation, in any culture. It really is very difficult to do. If you don’t know what you are smelling — for example, butyric acid, depending on the context, might smell like smelly feet or it may smell like Parmesan cheese, just completely depends on the context, whether or not you feel it smells very good or negative. …

I truly have, in a box in my closet, a sample of “stench soup.” It’s in a bottle that is double bagged and sealed with paraffin and packed in a box and I haven’t had the courage to open up, since the last time I opened up some thing that came from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which was an old archival sample of “Who Me?” and I opened it up out on the deck, it was quite some time prior to anybody could go out on the deck. I really gagged. As you can imagine, I’m not very easily repulsed or … disgusted.

Arts &amp Life : NPR