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Last updated on 8 June 2008

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2004 2:43 pm

Still thriving in the Club Soda bottle

Sea Monkey Tank Status: Wow, they are still doing well! I’m so pleased. I’m about to change the water and see how they do with some new, room temperature, purified water! Wish me luck!

I would like to quote you a letter right now that I received today…I won’t mention any names here…

Lady, Im from Newark,Ohio! im doing my science fair project on sea monkeys and what they are ! if u have any info 4 me send it!! question,how long does it take 4 the sea monkeys to born??Please if u can send me info send it !! my Science fair question is What are sea monkeys ?? Any info would help!!

Okay, where should I begin? I hate letters like this for a number of reasons…let me spell them out…

  1. Lady? Not the best way to start a letter. How about something like “Dear Sea Monkey Lady” or “Hey there!” Would you walk up to someone on the street and yell “Woman!” in her face? No, you might say something like “Excuse me but…” or something similarly kind and polite. What the hell has happened to netiquette? Or is that even a concept any longer?
  2. Did you even read the site? Have you checked out the science section or the FAQ or ever read anything ever on Sea Monkeys? I work hard on this site to provide as much information as possible, and to just write to me requesting all the information I have is just insulting and annoying…
  3. Do your own work for a change! It’s called a science project because you are supposed to actually do some reading, do some experimenting, create a hypothesis and prove or disprove it. If you want me to do the work, then I want the McDonald’s gift certificate you win for first prize…and I’m not sharing my fries with you.

I hate science fair season because I am inundated with e-mails of this nature. Give me information, send me this, it’s due next week…none of these things are my problem. I get lovely e-mails from kids asking about non-harmful experiments or ideas for their work, questions that I am happy to answer because they are well written and polite.

Do people even do research any more? I know that our schools in Chilliwack are buying computers while cutting back library funding…we are raising a group of kids who think the internet is all true (have you checked out snopes.com lately), have no idea on how to research a topic, and have no idea how to compose a letter. (I want to blame text and instant messenging, but consider the grammar and spelling contained in some of the letters I receive from adults, there’s really nothing new about terrible English skills!)

I don’t want to sound like one of those people who talks about “in my day…” but it’s true. We had encyclopedias and books and documentaries on Australia that were so boring that you wanted to rip your eyes out, but it wouldn’t matter because the image was implanted in your head for all eternity and you would still see it in your sleep…but I digress. When I did a project I went to the library, checked out a few books, read them, then checked out a few more. I might speak to my teacher or the assistant or the librarian for some help, but I did all the work. I didn’t write to the World Book company and tell them to send me every single thing they had on Australia. I actually read a book. And those skills served me well in my job as a social worker and in my real life, causing me to become a voracious reader who has an actual interest in things non-fictiony.

So please, if you are going to write to me or anyone else on the Internet, please be nice. Use correct spelling — where possible — and think about your grammar. Don’t write in all caps and don’t send people flashy gif’s that take up loads of space on the computer. Write something easy to read like “Please send me everything you have on Sea Monkeys” with a cheque for $13.95 and I can expect that you want to buy a copy of my book. That was easy, wasn’t it?

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