When science inspires your gift-giving
Giving gifts should be a thoughtful exercise. One way to do that is by being "scientific" about it.
Here are some gift ideas I picked out from the galaxy of gifts out there that are science-inspired or science-themed. The list below could make this gift-giving season memorable to you and the ones who will receive your gifts:
- Edible Wilderness playing cards. With a planet that could undergo irreversible changes in 12 years if we do not get our act together, this will soon be a game of eco-nostalgia. A related gift item is this animal track mat – a mat with prints of claws, hooves, and paws – to remind you that other mighty creatures other than the marauding human bipeds that we are once lived among us.
- Vacation guide to the solar system. This is for your over-traveled friends – the ones who are running out of places on the planet to have their photos taken at. It is not just a tour of the 8 planets, but also the moons whirling around them, as well as the storms that are whirling within them. No visas, no customs inspection – yet.
- Galactic bulb. This gave birth to a moment of wonder for me. A close friend of mine gave me one of these this year. I read her note that it symbolized how "star-bursting" our friendship was, but I still was not ready for what I saw when I used it as emergency replacement for my bathroom bulb. It was like having your own miniature galaxy exhibit every time you turn on your light. It magically gives you that instant, amazing feeling sparked by witnessing a burst of spectacular light.
- "Failure" mug. This puts "mistakes" that we commit in a mug and, more importantly, in perspective. It says, "If at first, you don't succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant." It will make you feel good about committing just 1 mistake in 3 tries, but will also definitely cement that sucky feeling if you make it 3 out of 3.
- Make-up of the Universe mug. One of the most powerful insights that is recruited when someone is trying to make a case for bridging the arts and the sciences is this, "The universe is made up of atoms, but it is also made up of stories." This is inspired by poet Muriel Rukeyser's "The universe is made up of stories, not atoms." But the writing on this mug declares another fundamental truth about the make-up of the universe: "The universe is made up of protons, neutrons, electrons, and morons."
- Molecular Gastronomy Kit. This is for the chefs in your circle who would want to push further not just the flavor of food, but even how it is done. This is science-lab-meets-the-kitchen kit. It transforms veggies and other ingredients like chocolate into forms (spaghetti strings!) that they have probably not thought of.
- The Glass Puzzle. This may be an antidote for those who always see only the negative side of anything. It mathematically and chemically clarifies for you that a glass half-filled with water really amounts to a full glass because the other half is air!
- Decide-O-Matic. This is for people who feel burdened that their brains have to make so many decisions. They can outsource those decisions in this pendulum-driven device. It is like fortune-telling with cards, as it provides no reasonable link between the topic and the gadget. If a decision has to be made and you won't make them, this will relieve the suspense for those who are waiting for your decision – like your choice of pizza flavor, so everyone can finally eat.
- Coolest umbrella. Climate change points to many places in the world experiencing devastating rains and extreme heat, so umbrellas may be things that we would consider essential to carry regardless of the season. But this umbrella interacts with the weather so that it changes color when it comes in contact with rain.
- Unignorable alarm clock. You will never be late again for your early morning breakfast meeting with this alarm clock. It will beep with a robotic sound at the time you set, but will also jump off your bedside table and go wheeling around your room looking for a place to hide as it beeps. If this workout does not wake you up, very few things will.
- DIY Invisible Ink. If you want to put some thrill into sending messages, you can learn how to make invisible ink or another version of it which will be visible but not for long.
- Emotional Baggage. Who does not have any? This bag makes it obvious, so there would be no surprises to anyone who would have to deal with you.
Happy gift-giving, everyone! – Rappler.com
Maria Isabel Garcia is a science writer. She has written two books, "Science Solitaire" and "Twenty One Grams of Spirit and Seven Ounces of Desire." You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.