So I ran my iPhone through the wash yesterday night. Not intentionally you understand, but as a consequence of just being a little stupid. But it is still running this morning, slightly worse for wear thanks to a sandwich bag and a couple of scoops of rice – and a little science geekery.

I heard with a weird clunk, a noise as my washer finished up late last night. Then it hit me, the thunk was likely my iPhone left in the cargo pocket of my walking shorts. Oh no. A rumble through the laundry confirms the evil truth.

So my science teacher brain goes to what my options might be. Normally that moisture sucking gel that they pack with electronics would be the best choice, but not being an electronics supply store – that really wasn’t an option. The alternatives run through my mind and I settle on dry rice and a Ziplock bag. (Apparently this choice wasn’t unique) I pack the iPhone in and hope for the best. It recovered slightly in about an hour but I left it over night. The LCD is still a little rough, either from the water or the thumping in the washer. However it is working and functional enough that a replacement isn’t immediately required.

Science to the rescue – and it made me miss being a science teacher.

It wasn’t the only time in the last couple days that I wanted to jump back into a classroom. I attended Northern Voice this weekend as well. That will be the topic of a number of posts here – it is a blogging conference after all. On friday, David Ng’s session on science education which included the Phylomon Project. It is amazing that kids can keep track of thousands of animated characters, know the rules to complicated games – online and otherwise, and have the manual dexterity to run through the toughest first person shooters. Compared to most Flash-based maze games, the periodic table is a walk in the park. It all comes down to context.

School Science still hasn’t found a context that is compelling to kids on a regular basis. We still teach science as history in many cases rather than the practical reality of the world around us. Dave had a great quote that “Science is the closest approximation we have of the truth”. If that isn’t compelling I don’t know what is. Not to mention it helps you fix your wet iPhone.

Thanks David, you make me want to teach Science again:

David Ng is a geneticist, science educator, wannabe writer, and faculty based at the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia. You can find out more about his academic dabblings at You can follow his twitter @dnghub

UPDATE: read David’s Comments on Northern Voice – Here (05/11)

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