Science

We have a winner!

Out of 348 votes, “goodguyseatpie” has won the Mr. Wizard Moment of Science contest with 33% of the votes. He’s going to receive one complete set of Mr. Wizard’s World DVDs, a Skepchick t-shirt, and a handmade necklace from Surlyramics. Congrats! Click below to see his winning entry:

Second place goes to kseleresen, who managed to get 29% of the vote. Because I’m feeling generous, he’ll also get a prize — his very own t-shirt from the Skepchick store! Here’s his entry:

Finally, I want to give special recognition to three other entries: house221b, razela, and deetee09. They may not have won the voting, but they created some excellent videos that amused and enlightened. As the only three ladies in the top ten, I’m going to send each of them a handmade SurlyRamics science necklace. After all, this is Skepchick, plus it’s my contest and I’ll do whatever I want. HA! Check out the photo below for a look at some of the pieces that will be going out to our winners. (All winners will hear from me in the next day or so to nail down info on getting your prizes.)

Thanks again go to Mr. Wizard’s wonderful, loving family for donating the top prize of a full set of Mr. Wizard’s World DVDs. If you have kids, teach a class, or just love seeing cool science experiments, get on over to the Mr. Wizard store and pick up some swag of your own.

I also want to thank Amy at SurlyRamics for going above and beyond the call of science to custom-make awesome necklaces just for this contest. She makes the most amazing pieces of wearable art, and I get complimented nonstop whenever I have one on. If you’d like your own science necklace (or bracelet!), let Amy know!

Finally of course, I’d like to thank everyone who submitted a video and everyone who took the time to vote. You can still see all the entries in this post.
Until next time, here’s to Mr. Wizard.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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13 Comments

  1. After all, this is Skepchick, plus it’s my contest and I’ll do whatever I want.

    This is madness! I demand greater accountability from my bloggers!

    You're out of order, this contest is out of order, the whole goddamned blogosphere is out of order!

    *cough*

    On another note, congrats to all the winners! goodguyseatpie's entry was one that, unfortunately, I couldn't watch due to technical difficulties. I'll have to try it again when I get home to see what all the fuss is about! I do have to admit, though, that I sympathise with his screen name. Mmm… pie.

  2. [children crying in the background]

    It's ok boys we just didn't have enough friends to vote for us.

    Seriously we had a lot of fun doing our lemon battery. My boys want to make a "pickle light" next time.

    Anyway we went last weekend and shot off a rocket about 10 times. It was a blast… sorry. I have some video of that as well maybe I'll post that too.

  3. Oh wow, I actually didn't expect to win!

    I just got back from two weeks in Europe, with intermittent net access, so this is a nice welcome back :-) Thanks to everybody who voted, and congratulations to the other finalists. Now that I've seen all the videos, I like them all. I particularly liked the one about air pressure and the infrared remote (house221b and kseleresen). I think I'm going to get a portable hot plate and do the soda can demo in class next semester.

    My girlfriend's birthday is today, and she's a skepchick (cognitive scientist). She'll get the necklace :-)

  4. JohnF said,

    July 24, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    I’m glad you gave a prize to House221b.

    I definitely would have given her one.

    Um….

    Haha! Well played, sir!

    I voted for her for roughly the same reason Rebecca opted to give her a prize: The videos were all so good, it was hard to pick one. Amongst my short list, she was the only female, and since this site is called "Skepchick", that's the way I voted.

    (Which isn't to say I don't ALSO agree with JohnF's reasoning :-P)

    Nonetheless, congrats to goodguyseatpie on a job well-done, and nice work to all!

  5. So what you're saying is, that any of the females who got any votes just got them because they simply happened to look hot, not because of the merits of their presentation?

    Hmm, I think that may kind of undermine the whole effort of this web site …

  6. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I agree 100% with the views expressed here on the "hotness" of house221b.

    I would like to think that I was able to compartmentalize this in my brain when deciding for whom to vote. I really did think her presentation style was excellent, and I very much liked her choice of experiments.

    I work with a number of relatively "hot" female scientists/engineers, and I make a strenuous effort to focus solely on the quality of their research when I interact with them. It works most of the time.

  7. exarch said,

    July 25, 2007 at 4:07 am

    So what you’re saying is, that any of the females who got any votes just got them because they simply happened to look hot, not because of the merits of their presentation?

    I hope that wasn't directed at me. I certainly didn't say that. Let's rewind the tape:

    Expatria said,

    July 24, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    […] I voted for her for roughly the same reason Rebecca opted to give her a prize: The videos were all so good, it was hard to pick one. Amongst my short list, she was the only female, and since this site is called “Skepchick”, that’s the way I voted.

    In other words, I narrowed it down the best I could based on the quality of the presentations and the information presented. But, as I said on a previous thread, I found it difficult to narrow it down any further as my shortlisted videos were all essentially equally good in my mind. SO, as I said above, I went with the choice I thought best reflected the theme of the website, thinking it was only fair for a contest on a site featuring the writings of Skepchicks to be won by a Skepchick. Was it a political choice? Sure. But all other things being equal, as they were to me, I let politics decide.

    That myself and others also found her attractive is ancillary to the main point, I think, in all cases. This site has always been quite open about discussing attractivity and sexuality. Look back at the comments on Rebecca's "I ran three miles" post, or a significant portion of bug_girl's posts…what was said here wasn't out of character for this blog at all.

    I don't THINK anyone meant to cause offense, or to imply that the only reason they voted one way or another was due solely to attraction, just like I don't think anyone continues to come to this blog and read/comment solely due to attraction to our lovely Skepchick hosts. I hope that a couple of commenters jokingly stating they thought a contestant was attractive doesn't "undermine" the site's efforts…

  8. Joshua sez:

    You’re out of order, this contest is out of order, the whole goddamned blogosphere is out of order!

    The sidebar is out of order! (It doesn't mention me.) The vending machine in my laundry room is out of order! (It gave me bottled water when I asked for a Coke. Goddamit, if I wanted something which wouldn't kill me, I would have asked for it, you smegging machine.)

    Expatria,

    That myself and others also found her attractive is ancillary to the main point, I think, in all cases. This site has always been quite open about discussing attractivity and sexuality. Look back at the comments on Rebecca’s “I ran three miles” post, or a significant portion of bug_girl’s posts…what was said here wasn’t out of character for this blog at all.

    Hell, compared to the Darwinian pick-up lines, it was pretty damn mild. Let's face it: undermining feminism and commercializing skepticism is hard.

    <inside joke obscurity = "80%" > Right, Rebecca? </inside joke >

  9. I just wanted to say congrats to all the "winners". I had a wonderful time designing the necklaces for the contest and I am happy they are going to adorn the necks of some trully great people. I also think that the real winner here is Rebecca for coming up with a great way to get more science videos up on the web. Great idea and a really great job to EVERYONE who participated. Keep up the good work!

  10. Rebecca, you rock! I agree, it is your blog, and you can do what you like!

    I really enjoyed all of the other videos! That pickle one was awesome; you can't beat that. Of course, I whole-heartedly agree that goodguyseatpie deserves the prize. That was amazing!

    Wow…I haven't even been called 'cute' in years…that must have been a good angle or something. =D

    ~house221b

  11. Exarch's comment has been troubling me since I read it, and since it was probably prompted by my rather facetious (and lame) attempt at a joke…

    First, there was nothing in my comment that mentioned whom I voted for, or even IF I had actually voted.

    Second, assuming that I did vote and the vote was for house221b, there is nothing in my comment that said I voted for her only because I found her physically attractive (exarch's "hot"). It would be an amazing feat of concise writing to cram every reason for my voting into three (well, okay, two and a bit) sentences. How he inferred my reasons for my voting from that one, heavily-biased-towards-the-humorous, comment is puzzling.

    Third, even if for the moment we assume that I did vote and I voted for house221b and the only reason behind that decision was how attractive I thought she was, what exactly is the problem here? Were we meant to close our eyes to the presenter completely and vote solely on the inanimate objects in the video? Exarch mentions specifically the presentation as a criterion for deciding where our vote should go, which is a valid point indeed. But how does he actually define "the presentation"? Isn't it tied in with the personality, physical characteristics, and mannerism of the presenter? Why do some people do better on TV shows than others? It's because the whole—for want of a better word—package that their physical characteristics, their appearance, their manner, their style of delivery, their voice, and everything that makes up that person, appeals and works together well.

    Fourth, to conclude the point I started above, I actually did vote and I did vote for house221b and I did find her physically attractive, but that was only one factor. I also liked her enthusiasm, her delivery, the way she spoke, the way the video showed a tiny glimpse of someone's personality even though it was only a very short (4 minutes?) clip. Whatever science the video had been about, I would have wanted to watch it to the end because the whole aspect of the presentation appealed, not only on a physical level (sorry if that's a bit crude, but you know what I mean) but also because I, as a viewer, could relate to the feelings/enthusiasm/character so evident in the person who was speaking to me. In short, I think there was an indefinable honesty in the presentation that caught my attention and made me think it was worthy of my time and vote.

    Fifth, those characteristics that I've tried to put into words above (and probably failed to explain fully, since it's to do with intuitive feelings rather than logical thoughts) are the things that I find very attractive in a woman, and are part of the whole array of things that add together to guide my own "sexual attraction" drive. Physical appearance is just one aspect. If I had wanted a video that appealed purely to the "physical attraction" thing…. come on, exarch, this is the internet, for goodness' sake! I'm hardly spoiled for choice if that was my sole motivator for watching and appreciating videos!

    So, it was definitely not a case of "Hot chick? VOTE!!!" It was a much larger and more complex combination of attributes that I saw in house221b's video. I admit, I think she's an attractive woman, but such an attraction is not simply based on the "hot"-ness as mentioned in your comment, but because of the other aspects of her personality and character that became evident when I watched her video.

    The contest, as I took it, was meant to be judging who presented some science in a way that best carried the message over to the viewer. house221b's whole presentation, "hot" attributes and everything else included, did that for me.

  12. Perhaps I should have included a smilie with my comment, as it was meant as a joke. I too voted for House221b, and I did so because of the presentations that really appealed to me, she was the only female "presenter".

    My joke was actually that many of us probably had a similar motive in mind when voting for a skepchick, although at the same time, that kind of positive discrimination (for lack of a better term) is technically the kind of thing that skepchick.org is trying to eliminate. Although for the time being, it's OK to exploit it while it lasts (I mean, look at the calendars. Duh!!).

    So it's alright to vote for the girl when you've got no other criterium left to decide with. In fact, more people should do so for more important choices.

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