Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I've Got Gas

Well, I did...(okay, I do...but everyone does...even you deniers). 

Early in Pinstrosity's life I did a post about a pin I had seen everywhere. We were able to spread the truth about the mis-captioning of the pin, and, at least on my friends' boards, the pin either quit showing up or began to be correctly captioned. As more friends have joined Pinterest and as I've started following more people, I'm seeing that pin recirculating with the same misleading caption, so it's time to pull the post out of the files and redo it. 

So what is the pin? This one:

The Original Pin
Most of the time I see this it has a caption along these lines: "No helium needed to fill balloons for parties."

While that caption isn't necessarily false, as you can fill a balloon with just about any gas, many who read it get the idea that the gas you are filling the balloon with will have helium-like properties. They go to the blog, look at the ingredients and put it together without reading what the blog author actually has to say about this project. 

So before I jump into details...here's how things went when I tested it: 

The Pinstrosity

There's the set up. The bottle with magic ingredient #1, and the balloon with magic ingredient #2 inside it. 

Tip the balloon upright to dump the two magic ingredients together and gas is produced, which does indeed fill the balloon:

But then when you take the balloon off and tie it:

No flotation. At all. 

So what's going on? What's going on is that someone somewhere along the line hadn't read the post completely when they pinned it as an alternative to Helium. This was a science experiment for kids to learn about gasses, not a development of a alternative to Helium. The secret ingredients are vinegar and baking soda, which, when combined, create Carbon Dioxide...which doesn't make balloons float. If CO2 made things float we'd all live in some sort of Willy Wonka world where we would have to burp to get back down to the ground.

I think one of the problems here is that many people don't like to read as much. They just want to look at the picture, get the basic details and go on. We've gotten a few comments about how we write too much and we should just show pictures like many humor sites. But then we wouldn't be Pinstrosity, would we. So, those that don't want to read, don't have to. What the non-readers didn't read in the original pin was this statement by the blog author in her post:
** Due to lots of comments left below I feel the need to add (for clarity) that this does NOT produce helium. Carbon Dioxide gas will inflate the balloons but they do not "fly" like helium inflated balloons as it is not the same kind of gas. This is meant to be a fun science experiment/demonstration. **

So this pin works perfectly as described in the original blog post, but it doesn't work at all per the description I saw on so many pins.

Lessons learned:
  • As Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas stated...CO2 will be formed, but it DOES NOT float. 
  • Read. Read. Read. I think we're all conditioning ourselves to text messages, tweets, statuses, etc. and anything longer we just blow off. Don't be afraid of reading. It's great stuff!
  • Don't take the descriptions on every pin as the gospel truth. Check into things before you get too excited. 
So I'm rating this, again, a Level 4 on the GCT Scale since it failed as to the pin description, but if we were rating it by how it worked according to the original source, it'd be a perfect piece of toast with raspberry jam.


  1. While the pictures are invaluable to round out each pinstrosity, it's the writing that makes me come back each time!

  2. I'm glad for your detailed dissection of what went wrong! I have learned quite a bit while following your site (I've also laughed really hard too!) keep up the great work pinstrositeers!

  3. Oh my goodness I HATE this pin! I die a little inside every time I see it in the crafting tab.

  4. The "glowing mountain dew" pin has been re-circulating a lot too. I've long since learned to take captions with a grain of salt until I read through the source myself and check if others have had positive/negative results.

  5. I always try to research the pins that I try and do NOT go simply on the caption. : ) Also, I really love your site and tell lots of people about how great it is! Don't start writing less!


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