The Why Files presents:

Story map

X vs. Why?

The Weird, Wordy World of Science

New Uses For Radioactive Waste

Science Fair Projects We'd like to see











A MAD look at science!

Gullible travels, Dept.
At a loss for a science fair project? Don't want to be the thousandth high schooler to grow paramecium in a dish? Need spare cash? Got credulous adults coming out of your ears? Then grab your notebook and wallet, and read closely as The Why Files presents:

Science Fair Projects We'd Like to See
Goal: Invent a profitable Internet company from nothing. illustration of computer


  • Gullible audience (required)
  • 486 computer with Internet access
  • Two index fingers
  • Optional: product and cash flow
Procedure: Hold a press conference announcing your pathbreaking discovery of a "new business model" for e-business. Be vague but reassuring. Go public. Cash out your shares before anybody realizes you've got no products and no ideas.

Food Fright -- The Ultimate Fast Food
Goal: Create a food that can be downloaded over Internet and eaten while surfing. After 30 seconds, uneaten "food" is auctioned on the 'net.

Materials:illustration of match

  • Scraps of Hostess Twinkies
  • Box of sugar
  • Liquid rocket fuel
  • Electronic timing chip
  • Bullet-proof gastro-intestinal tract
  • Charcoal and grill
  • Skittles

illustration of box of sugarillustration of grillillustration of Twinkie

Procedure: Drench Twinkies in rocket fuel for 15 seconds, or until saturated. Insert timing device and char-broil until done. Sprinkle with Skittles.

Make the money tree
Goal: Make money grow on trees. Cross Scrooge McDuck's greed gene into a golden delicious apple tree.

Advantages: Bypasses pesky consumer regulators. No need to market bothersome products. Kit includes genes for dollars, yen and euros.

Materials: illustration of money tree

  • Greed gene sequence
  • Dirt
  • Sun
  • Water
  • Guarded research plot
  • Environmental Impact Statement (optional)
Procedure: Cross the DNA. Plant seeds. Wait 4 years. Check fruits. Sell, sell, sell!

Enhanced Laptop CompuCalc 3.01
Goal: Invent the next-stage computer, have world beat path to your door.


  • One slide rule

illustration of slide rule

Advantages: Needs no electricity or batteries. No upgrade hassles. 100% Microsoft-free. No ports, no cables, no printer, no monitor. Pocket-protector friendly.

Disadvantages: No color graphics. May depress job market for computer science grads. May require brain and/or skill to operate.

Patent-a-microbe kit
Goal: Find useful bacteria and patent them so you can retire at age 17.


  • Dirt (for best results, from exotic beaches at luxury resorts)
  • Magnifying glass (microscope optional)
  • Notebook
  • Portable gene-typer
  • Patent lawyer (included with kit)
  • Publicity agent (rent by the hour)

illustration of magnifying glassillustration of notepadillustration of pail and shovel

Procedure: Look very serious and brilliant. Dig up sand and strain it. Put siftings on glass slide. Grunt intelligently as you find new things. Pass discoveries to patent lawyer and wait to cash in on your interest in natural science.

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