Reproduced with permission from the neOnbubble Know You Some Science series of student learning guides.
What Are Volcanoes?
A volcano is a special type of mountain so to understand what a volcano is we must first determine what a mountain is.
What Is A Mountain?
Some scientists believe that these can be made out of molehills but those sandwiches in the fridge were clearly marked as mine and I don’t think it’s unreasonable of me to scream about it in the cafeteria at lunch time; I was very hungry; I had been sciencing all morning without a break. However, mountains are really a special type of hill so to understand what a mountain is we must first determine what a hill is.
What Is A Hill?
A hill is a raised area of land on the ground. If you needed to be told this then you probably don’t know what the ground is either. On we go.
What Is Ground?
Coffee beans are ground. The aromas released during this process are to die for and sometimes this very process is more pleasurable than the consumption of the hot drink itself. I like a nice, full-flavoured coffee and find the lighter bean variants can be a little too bitter. I have similar tastes when it comes to wine and real ale too; dark, heavy, not bitter. Now you know what to buy me when you bump into me at the Sciencorium.
What Is The Sciencorium?
The Sciencorium is where we sciencercise all day long, sciencing up things for all of mankind. Just last week I scienced an invisible ray. I’ve no idea what to do with it yet so it’s sharing a shallow pool with the invisible flounder and the invisible dogfish (I think) but that’s not the point; sciencing is about whether you can do something, not about whether you should or what benefit it might possibly have. Anyone who tells you different is a hippy.
What Is A Hippy?A hippy (short for hippopotalayabout, from the ancient Greek for “does nothing, eats like a horse”) is an inhabitant of San Diego, birthplace of the atomic bomb. Hippies don’t like working or sciencing but they do like marijuana and this evil drug tells its addictees to complain about everything using placards and body odour.
What Is Body Odour?
The human body is covered with a layer of skin that looks solid to the naked eye but under a microscope it can be seen that this layer is perforated much like a teabag. If you were to hold a teabag to your nose and sniff deeply you would smell the various odours associated with the tea leaves inside the bag; similarly, with human bodies, if you were to sniff deeply you would smell the tea leaves inside a human body but unlike teabags where the leaves remain mostly dry the leaves inside a human often get wet with perspiration and sex juices and this can cause an unpleasant smell to emanate. Scientists at the Sciencorium invented deodorant and after shave many years ago to mask the smell but this can sometimes clog the skinholes (doctors call these “pores” to justify their salaries) and this can lead to pimples.
What Are Pimples?
When the area over a skinhole becomes clogged with a layer of dried after shave, petrified deodorant vapour, or sweat worms it permits bacteria that would otherwise fall through the holes to set up a base. Bacteria are fans of vintage science fiction and will typically build their bases in the form of domes (although South Americans will often discover 1950s-era, brutalist design apartment blocks on their skin as the style is very popular in Argentinian microbe circles). While initially very pleasing to the eye these domes and skyscrapers (collectively known as “pimples”) inevitably cannot sustain the population within them and crime takes over; the acne buildings fall into disrepair and all it takes is a little pressure from within for them to explode.
What Has This Got To Do With Volcanoes?
Volcanoes are ground pimples.