We have begun conducting experiments at The Naturalist's Notebook. No burning-sulfur stinky ones, just fun tests of the physical properties of everyday things. Like potatoes.
You may have done this in grade school, but I didn't. Take a plastic drinking straw. Take a potato. Try to stick the straw into the potato. Doesn't work well. Straw bends. Idiot idea.
O.K., now put your thumb over the top end of the straw. Rear back and stab the straw into the potato. Whoa! The straw goes in like a knife. With a little luck, you can put the straw all the way through and have it come out the other side of the potato.
The reason this happens is simple. It's the same force that makes a balloon expand when you blow it up: air pressure. When the straw hits the spud, the air in the straw is compressed. It pushes out against the straw and makes the straw stiffer. The farther you stab into the potato, the stiffer the straw gets.
If you can figure a way to get the mushed potato out of the straw, you can make some really thin French fries.