Host Tim Shaw gets right to it and kids like that. He has the two episodes we saw moving at full-speed.
The premise is simple; Tim presents a fun or clever twist on a seemingly intuitive experiment and asks people what they think will happen. He even provides them with the answer, in the form of multiple choice responses - but watch out for those choice "D: None Of The Above" picks that give the show its name.
Sometimes stuff just happens to blow up. SCIENCE!
Credit: National Geographic
Want to know what will happen if you soak your precious dollar bills in a bucket of booze and set it on fire, or land a helicopter on eggs? Well, you just have to watch the show.
"None Of The Above" finally provided a valid reason for pickles to exist. Credit: National Geographic
After the experiment is over, he explains the science and engineering of what was happening in clear, intuitive language. Everyone from 9 to 90 will come away from it feeling a little smarter.
Then he hops in his car and moves on to another grand adventure. There's no time to waste and none is wasted.
My kids were intrigued by a Tesla coil experiment in episode 1, for example, where a willing subject is covered in electricity and shoots man-made lightning from his hands without being harmed - but my sons, Colin and Aidan, wanted no part of me hooking them up to a million volts in the front yard. It was ice cream in episode 2 that piqued their hands-on interest. They know what it should do in a microwave. Or so they thought.
In the show, Shaw asked a pastry chef - an expert, obviously - what would happen if he stuck ice cream and flour in a microwave. Then we got the answer. The lads and I talked about what happened and why but I knew they were not going to be convinced unless they did it themselves.
Since a fundamental tenet of science is replication, off to the kitchen we went.
Yep, we followed the steps in the show and it turned into a delicious bread.
I asked Tim Shaw for some insight into what was happening. "The ice cream bread experiment is a real kid pleaser (and we're all still kids at heart). Find me a kid on the planet who hasn't mashed their bowl of ice cream up with a spoon. It's great stuff to play with and making bread from it...well...I also did it with my kids and they LOVED IT! "Colin & Aidan's Ice Cream Bread" sounds like a brand name. I'd buy it!
"So why does it become bread? Well, when you mix ice cream with self-raising flour and heat it the self-raising flour produces CO2. These little pockets of CO2 get trapped in the gluten in the flour and expand within the ice cream, which has mixed with the flour to form a kind of a dough. When it cools again the gluten means that it doesn't just collapse again, and you're left with what is essentially bread. 'Colin & Aidan's Ice Cream Bread' that is!"
Now, I have to warn you. This is 2-glasses-of-milk per slice bread. It is that rich. I felt like I might as well just smear it on my waist and spare my body the digestion process. The boys, however, ate the whole thing without flinching.
More importantly, their doubts in the experiment were dispelled, their faith in chemistry was renewed. Thanks, None Of The Above!