Ten Things I’ve Learned From Failed Experiments

Image: Jenn Tylbon

Most will have heard the (sometimes mutilated) quote of Thomas Edison; “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work.” I don’t know if he actually said that. But it is an encouraging quote when you are having a time of doing, well, anything.

To trot out another overdone cliche, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. It never applied to me. If I didn’t pick it up immediately, I would get frustrated and drop it altogether. I have a terrible habit of pulling back and quitting when things don’t go right the first time. I suck at taking criticism and often lash out toward my critic. Even when I know full well they are correct. Especially when I know they are correct.

Seeing as I’m doing my best to recreate myself this year, I thought I would embrace my failures and share my new-found, hard-earned knowledge with the GeekMom readership. I’ve listed my ten most intriguing experiments that failed so that you may save yourself the trouble of recreating the experiments. This ranges from home remedies to science experiments to experimental cooking. None of them went so well.

  • Alka-seltzer does not a good toilet bowl cleaner make. I thought perhaps the effervescence would help break up the grimy grossness. Nope. It pretty much just makes dirty, fizzy toilet water. (On a related note, it does nothing for clogged drains either.)
  • Contrary to popular Aegean bridal movie, Windex doesn’t do a darn thing for mosquito bites. You smell like Windex and you itch. Fail-fail.
  • You cannot substitute construction paper for poster board or papier-mache when making an old-school volcano. You know the kind, with baking soda and food coloring and vinegar. For the record, vinegar eats construction paper. No, really, it dissolves it. (On a related note, baking powder is also useless for this experiment.)

[Read the rest of Jenn’s list over at GeekMom!]