Evil Genius Tool #3 – Pokemon

In the spirit of Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Ninjamas, I walked away from this argument. However, in the spirit of Ninjamas, I definitely knocked her down a peg or two.

Oh EG Mum, what did you pick a fight over this time?”

This woman was trying to convince me how Pokemon is evil.

Naturally I agreed with her. Pokemon really is an Evil Genius Tool. But I don’t think she appreciated my reasoning.

You see – Pokemon is evil for a couple of reasons:

Commercial Viability

Let’s start at the obvious – Pokemon is owned by Nintendo. Sure, it originally started as a Gameboy feature (remember those?) but then it’s commercial viability became a tad obvious so Nintendo bought it and started flooding anime, manga, toys, books, magazines, and my favourite – trading cards.

Druddigon-New

If there is ever a way that you want to control a generation of kids – bring it out in trading cards. The little spawnlings go uber-competitive over the varying strengths and destructive value (love it). So of course, they want to buy more cards.

And here is the beauty – you can then watch young kids learn the value of individual cards and negotiate/bargain/extort accordingly. Some of these kids could teach a few commercial lawyers I know! All the separate values of the characters, plus the damage and danger – it’s amazing to watch in action. And all this over a printed piece of cardboard. Skills they learn for life.

Educational Value

So I’ve already touched on the negotiation/bargaining/extortion skills within Pokemon. But there is more – the trading card game is quite educational on the ground level. And once you know how to exploit this, any spawnling can convince any adult that Pokemon is good. This can lead to  stacks of cards from inexperienced parents and grandparents, as well as convincing principals to allow Pokemon in schools. Old article from last year, but I have heard of the same argument being used in many schools around the world ever since.

Telling this to EG Grandma and EG Opa has scored about a dozen full-size packs over the last year between our two spawnlings. Grandparents think they are tricking the kids into educational activities; Spawnlings know they are tricking the grandparents into buying them more cards, even when EG Mum has said earn the spending money yourself. Win-win; especially as I watch on in amusement.

Strategy of the Game

My final point is on the strategy of the game itself. You have to capture pokemon and enslave them to do battles for your own benefit. A bit like recruiting minions.

Rayquaza-New

In battle, the greatest of champions have a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the characters – and the players themselves. Have you ever seen a live-battle between two Trading Card Game players? It is intense, and inspiring. There are threats of clawing your (pokemon’s) throat out; claims of dirty play; screams of agony as they run out of energy (cards); and moans of despair as the last trophy card is turned over. It’s like WWE, but without the visual impairment of seeing the players in spandex. Bad spandex.

As entertaining as it may be, the strategy is quite amazing to see. I have watched as a 7yo determines the favoured style of pokemon in his opponent, readjust his approach accordingly – and willingly sacrifice his current pokemon to ensure that he can then move a subsequent card up and smash his opponent in such a way, the poor 28yo guy sniffed back a tear.

If Pokemon teaches Sinister and Nefarious skills like this, then I think my legacy is in good hands.

Naturally, pointing out these 3 chief values (for me) to this Other Mother did not help my argument. I think the response was more like fear – quick glance at her son watching Sinister and Nefarious battle it out. So, in the spirit of Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice, I walked away.

Don’t even have the heart to tell her about Monsuno. Think Pokemon but with more genetic engineering.

But that’s a discussion for another day…

No commission, credit, or any other form of bribe was received from this post. Should have been – with the amount of money my kids are investing in this venture. Well played, Nintendo. Well played.

Forensic Friday #2 – Slime

“I’ve been slimed!!”

Today’s Forensic Friday experiment is brought to you by the letter S – for SLIME. Ooey, gooey, slime.

Of course Sinister and Nefarious want to make their own slime. And it is a good lesson in chemical reactions (as is any cooking in the house)… My concern is what kind of weaponry they are mentally designing with this new knowledge.

Want to know how to make it yourself? It’s really quite simple, and a great starting point for testing out the ‘evil genius’ of your own spawnlings:

Making Slime

Step 1: In a container, mix together one tablespoon of glue (general craft glue), one tablespoon of water, and one drop of food colouring (Sinister chose BLUE).

Step 2 – In a separate container, dissolve one teaspoon of borax powder in one tablespoon of warm water. Borax powder is POISONOUS – wash your hands after touching it or your slime!

Step 3 – Pour the Borax solution into the glue mixture. Mix with your fingers and a slime should form, almost instantly. It will feel plastic-y and gooey. And awesome.

Step 4 – The glue and the borax mix together to make a new chemical – SLIME!! The borax stops the glue flowing like a liquid. This makes the slime very elastic.

Step 5 – Store your slime in an airtight container.

And there you go! This slime is excellent. We had some extra moisture, but once you squeeze that out it becomes a little sticky and very much like malleable plastic.

Even better: Stretch it at just the right angle, and you can slingshot it right into your kids’ hair.

So I’ve been told 😉

Forensic Friday #1 – Snappy Ruler

Fridays are now “Forensic Fridays” – or “How to Avoid Forensics through your Knowledge of Science – Fridays”. Batman would be proud.

Big thanks to EG Opa for buying Sinister the “365 Science Experiments Book” … and a contribution towards the Home and Contents Insurance.

We’re starting off small. Don’t want the kids too excited too early. Today’s experiment: Snappy Ruler

  1. Take the ruler and place it so that it is half on the table and half off.
  2. Firmly hold the part of the ruler that is on the table. Use your other hand to pull up on the part of the ruler that is off the table.
  3. Let go and listen to the sound. Keep repeating this action, testing out ways to make higher and lower sounds by moving the ruler.

I then asked Sinister why he thinks this happens:

“It’s all the energy in the ruler. You flick the ruler and it puts energy in the ruler, so the ruler tries to shake the energy out.”

That’s the 6yo definition of ‘vibration’.

And of course, Sinister wants to take it a step further. So he keeps flicking it. Hard… And the ruler breaks. *sigh* Rather than waste good science-time being mad at him, I simply ask why he thinks the ruler broke.

“Well, there was too much energy in the ruler. It couldn’t handle it. So it broke. That was the best way to release the energy.”

I’m pretty sure he is talking about the snappy ruler experiment, and not The Snappy Ruler (me).

His punishment – to write a science report explaining what happened and the steps he took. Not really a punishment – more a lesson in the steps of science. And he only protested a little. Three sentences seems fair to both of us. Nefarious draws a ‘picture’. I’m pretty sure it is the ruler exploding, but his minimalist approach leaves a bit to the imagination.

While writing his report, Sinister turns and asks

“Is Lego Batman’s sonar gun like the ruler?”

He then starts asking me about vibrations, directed sound, and frequencies. Although the discussion starts innocently enough, both boys seem fascinated with police using sonic weapons against protesters. Nefarious starts to ask how many rulers need to shake in our bellies before we stop being naughty. Sinister asks how many machines would be needed to control the minions.

I suddenly see a glimpse of where these Forensic Fridays are taking my children… and I sniff back my pride and excitement, lest they see it as a moment of weakness and attack.