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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Science Spot with Dr. Harry Proboscis

This week's question was sent to us from 5th grade student- Sean Granderson  in Mrs. Avery's class at Kensington Elementary School:

Dr. Proboscis can you tell me which of these things is the slimiest ?

1 The top of a stone in a shallow stream
2 The hull of 25 yr old a fishing boat
3 A slug
4 A used car salesman
5 A Division 1 College Basketball or Football Coach

Your first guess would probably be the slug, and a fine guess that would be, until we start delving deeper.  The slug regulates its body water content thru its skin, and secretes a slimy covering which protects the animal from desiccation (drying out). The foot of a slug also secretes a slimy mucus, on which the slug crawls. Thus when the slug moves, it leaves a trail of mucus and slime behind it. Disgusting? Most definitely. But basically harmless, unless of course you are a crop of soybeans or a stalk of corn.

Another excellent choice would be the slippery stone in the stream, whose slime is created by a combination of bacteria and moss growing with the aid of sun light and moisture from the shallow stream. The slippery slime isn't totally apparent until you try stepping on a stone while navigating the shallow stream. Then you realize how truly slimy the stone was as you find yourself lying on your rump. Ouch!

The hull of the boat is similar to the stone in slime content, but with the added treat of barnacles, which are actually crustaceans that adhere themselves to the side of the boat, amping up the slime factor. Unsightly? Yes. Annoying? Yes, especially if it's your job to clean the boat. But also harmless to humans.

Our next candidate is the unseemly used car salesman. This creature is an entirely different form of slimy, synonymous with lying, greed and a complete lack of ethics. A very close cousin to the American 'cold calling' stock broker, but even more prone to slimy behavior. This creature, unlike the previous choices, is in fact, harmful to humans. This creature would probably wear the Slimy crown if not for our final contestant, and in fact our winner:

The Division 1 College Coach

This, according to all our vast scientific studies, is the unquestioned champion when it comes to slimy. This nasty creature incorporates all the attributes of each of the former contestants and ratchets up the slime quotient by incalculable numbers. Please Beware of this creature!

The Division 1 College coach, much like the slug, leaves a trail of slime wherever it ventures and similar to the used car salesman, will do so with a complete lack of ethics. The coach will  destroy a respected school and its reputation and leave just before the investigations are made. Seemingly unfazed and unscathed, the coach will then turn up at another respected school to wreak the same havoc, spreading a thin layer of slime on all those in contact with said creature. The coach will: win numerous games, accumulate vast wealth, accumulate vast wardrobe from Brooks Brothers, become moderately famous, marry an attractive slightly younger woman, have sexual intercourse with numerous even more attractive much younger women (unbeknownst to aforementioned wife), lie to virtually everyone it comes in contact with (most notably recruitment of high school boys and girls and  parents of said boys and girls), encourage "boosters" of the college to give highly recruited athletes certain "perks" (including cash, cars, jewelery, homes, prostitutes) and then plead ignorance when said "perks" are uncovered- all while excreting a slimy mucus from its epidermis, only partially concealed by its Brook Brothers tailor made form fitting suits, and shiny Bruno Magli designer shoes.
Boys and girls, scientific research does not lie.
Thank you Sean for your question, hopefully that clears things up for you.
Until next time, I'm Dr. Harry Proboscis, and this has been The Science Spot.

(Please send all questions/ inquiries to The Daily Drivel- Att: Dr. Proboscis)

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