Ask Calvin’s Dad / / Calvin’s Dad’s sciency explanations


Amazing 70-year-old color photographs

Stolen from someone who stole them from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.

Illustrating the value of a good explanation in science education!

Calvin: Why does the sun set?
Dad: It’s because hot air rises. The sun’s hot in the middle of the day, so it rises high in the sky. In the evening then, it cools down and sets.
Calvin: Why does it go from east to west?
Dad: Solar wind.

Calvin: Why does the sky turn red as the sun sets?
Dad: That’s all the oxygen in the atmosphere catching fire.
Calvin: Where does the sun go when it sets?
Dad: The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near Flagstaff. That’s why the rocks there are so red.
Calvin: Don’t the people get burned up?
Dad: No, the sun goes out as it sets. That’s why it’s dark at night.
Calvin: Doesn’t the sun crush the whole state as it lands?
Dad: Ha ha, of course not. Hold a quarter up. See, the sun’s just about the same size.
Calvin: I thought I read that the sun was really big.
Dad: You can’t believe everything you read, I’m afraid.

Calvin: How come old photographs are always black and white? Didn’t they have color film back then?
Dad: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It’s just that the world was black and white then. The world didn’t turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too.
Calvin: But then why are old paintings in color?! If the world was black and white, wouldn’t artists have painted it that way?
Dad: Not necessarily. A lot of great artists were insane.
Calvin: But… But how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn’t their paints have been shades of gray back then?
Dad: Of course, but they turned colors like everything else did in the ’30s.
Calvin: So why didn’t old black and white photos turn color too?
Dad: Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember?

Calvin: Dad, will you explain the theory of relativity to me? I don’t understand why time goes slower at great speed.
Dad: It’s because you keep changing time zones. See, if you fly to California, you gain three hours on a five-hour flight, right? So if you go at the speed of light, you gain more time, because it doesn’t take as long to get there. Of course, the theory of relativity only works if you’re going west.

Calvin: Why do my eyes shut when I sneeze?
Dad: If your lids weren’t closed, the force of the explosion would blow your eyeballs out and stretch the optic nerve, so your eyes would flop around and you’d have to point them with your hands to see anything.

Calvin: How do bank machines work?
Dad: Well, let’s say you want 25 dollars. You punch in the amount and behind the machine there’s a guy with a printing press who makes the money and sticks it out this slot.
Calvin: Sort of like the guy who lives up in our garage and opens the door?
Dad: Exactly.

Calvin: What causes the wind?
Dad: Trees sneezing.

Calvin: Why does ice float?
Dad: Because it’s cold. Ice wants to get warm, so it goes to the top of liquids to be nearer to the sun.
Calvin: Is that true?
Dad: Look it up and find out.
Calvin: I should just look up stuff in the first place.

Calvin: How come you know so much?
Dad: It’s all in the book you get when you become a father.

4 Responses

  1. Great blog and it’s funny too!

    Keep it up!

  2. Very funny list! :))

  3. Within a reproductive cardinals of the September 11 concerns, a water of measures purchasing to hit operations to

  4. […] I can’t dismiss the facts that these thoughts occur to me in part because of my 15 month-old daughter’s absolute adoration for Symphony of Science songs along with the fact that I have a duty to try to explain the universe and the whys-and-where-fors of it. (Clearly I favor a similar approach as Calvin’s dad.) […]

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