Friday, February 17, 2012

Science Friday: Factor-Label Method

The science novel madness continues!  Here's tonight's excerpt:
After writing it all down, Stefanie's exhaustion from the day finally got the best of her. She climbed in her bed and quickly drifted off. But after four nights without chemistry intruding into her dreams, the monster returned.

The dream started off fine. She was at a mall. It was two stories with a big open space in the middle. Look, there's a Cold Stone. Look, there's a Mexican restaurant. Look, a Fazolis. It was her kind of mall!

Then it kind of changed. She was facing two stories, but there were bowling pins--and humungous strips of chicken from "arroz con pollo," a Mexican dish, on both floors. They were different colors.

Suddenly, her sister Stacy was standing on the second floor in a tuxedo and tights, wearing a top hat and holding a very long black cane.

"OK, Stefanie," she yelled down. "Your job is to match the things on the top floor with the things on the bottom. Let me do one for you."

Normally, Stefanie wouldn't pay any attention to Stacy's instructions. But you know how dreams are. Things that are normally bizarre seem completely normal and real. Stefanie began to get nervous, even broke out in a sweat.

"See this twisted 1.3 meter long piece of chicken," Stacy continued, touching the chicken on the second floor. It strangely began to glow. "This piece is exactly like the 1.3 meter long piece of chicken on the bottom." And then her cane extended down to touch the other piece of chicken on the bottom. It glowed for a second and then both disappeared. "Now it's your turn."

Instantly everything disappeared and then a series of things appeared on both the top and the bottom. Two red bowling pins and a twisted piece of chicken on the top. A red bowling pin and a meter long piece of celery appeared on the bottom.

"Um," Stefanie hesitantly said. "It looks like all the bowling pins should disappear."

"WRONG!" Stacy said in a triumphant voice. "There's only one red bowling pin on the bottom so only one of the red bowling pins on the top can disappear. So what does that leave?"

Now in the dream Stefanie was quite unusually flustered. "I guess it leaves one red bowling pin and chicken strip on the top and just the celery on the bottom."

"Exactly," and with that balloons of all colors started to fall incessantly from somewhere overhead.

Stefanie woke up in a start. "What was that all about?" she actually said out loud. "Humph," she said, "like Stacy would ever make me nervous"

For the rest of the chapter, see here.

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