This is a collection of some of the ZUNICKisms that students learn about in their science classes at Ridgefield Memorial High School.

Earth Science & Biology ZUNICKisms


     ❌     "Minerals are the same as rocks."

     ✅     "Minerals are NOT the same as rocks!"


     ❌     “That woman is wearing such a big rock!”

     ✅     “That woman is wearing such a big adamantine mineral!”


     ❌     “My pencil ran out of lead.  May I borrow a new pencil?”

     ✅     “My pencil ran out of graphite.  May I borrow a new pencil?”


     ❌     “I just made a mistake.  May I borrow an eraser?”

     ✅     “I just made a mistake.  May I borrow a graphite destroyer?”


     ❌     “I need to sharpen my pencil.”

     ✅     “May I use the mechanical weathering machine on my graphite stick?”


     ❌     “That glass of water is very cold.”

     ✅     “That glass of water is very less hot because it gave away a lot of its thermal energy.”


     ❌     “Excuse me, waitress.  My glass of soda is too warm.  Could you put some ice cubes in it?”

     ✅     “Excuse me, waitress.  My glass of soda contains too much thermal energy.  Could you place some thermal energy

               absorbers in it?”


     ❌     “This sunrise truly is beautiful!”

     ✅     “The Earth rotating into view from the sun truly is beautiful!”


     ❌     “This sunset truly is beautiful!”

     ✅     “The Earth rotating out of view from the sun truly is beautiful!”


     ❌     “All rivers flow south.”

     ✅     “All rivers flow down.”


     ❌     “Let’s go down the shore.”

     ✅     “Let’s go south to the shore.”


     ❌     “Your granite countertop is beautiful.”

     ✅     “Your countertop made out of an intrusive, large-grained igneous rock containing the minerals quartz, feldspar,

               mica, and hornblende is beautiful.”


     ❌     “If you are bad, Santa will leave coal in your stocking.”

     ✅     “If you are bad, Santa will leave a compacted, organic sedimentary rock made from compressed leaves from millions

               of years ago in your stocking.”


     ❌     “I got a flat tire because I drove over a pothole.”

     ✅     “I got a flat tire because I drove over a piece of road that had experienced mechanical weathering due to



     ❌     “There was an earthquake in Japan.”

     ✅     “There was an earthquake 15.2 miles below Japan.”


     ❌     “One day California will end up in the ocean.”

     ✅     “In millions of years, a small piece of California will move along a transform-fault boundary created by a strike-slip

               fault toward Alaska.”


     ❌     “The Andes Mountains is the longest mountain chain in the world.”

     ✅     “The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is mostly underwater, is the longest mountain chain in the world.”


     ❌     “Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.”

     ✅     “Iceland is much taller than Mount Everest, considering that Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and

               technically goes all the way down to the abyssal plain.”


     ❌     “That tsunami produced devastating tidal waves.”

     ✅     “That tsunami produced devastating seismic waves that transferred its energy to the ocean water, creating such a

               large splash.”


     ❌     “The rip tides were very strong today.”

     ✅     “The rip currents were very strong today.”


     ❌     “The Earth is a perfect sphere.”

     ✅     “The Earth is wider at the equator than at the poles and has a roundness ratio of 1.01.”


     ❌     “The Earth is closest to the sun in the summer.”

     ✅     “The Earth is closest to the sun in January, and farthest from the sun in July.”


     ❌     “A day is 24 hours long.”

     ✅     “A day is 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds long.”


     ❌     “A year consists of 365 days.”

     ✅     “A year consists of 365.242199 days, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.”


     ❌     “It is hard to see the screen with all of the lights on and blinds open.”

     ✅     ““It is hard to see the screen due to all of the various sources of light pollution.”


     ❌     “The moon gets more lit or less lit during its different phases.”

     ✅     “Moon phases don’t really exist.  The moon is always 50% lit by the sun.”


     ❌     “During a full moon phase, I can see the entire moon.”

     ✅     “During a full moon phase, I can see half of the entire moon.”


     ❌     “I stayed up to watch the shooting stars.”

     ✅     “I stayed up to watch meteors travel through Earth’s atmosphere at a minimum speed of 25,000 miles per hour,

               burn up in the thermosphere, and produce a flash of light 1 meter wide by a few miles long.”


     ❌     “Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun.”

     ✅     “Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, is large (over 51,000,000 meters in diameter), sideways (rotates on its

               axis at a 98° angle) and full of gas (such as methane).”


     ❌     “Stars actually look like stars.”

     ✅     “Due to gravity, stars are spherical in shape.  It is impossible for stars to be shaped like stars.”


     ❌     “The sun is large and hot.”

     ✅     “Compared to the majority of stars on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram, the sun is relatively small and less hot.”


     ❌     Corona should always be enjoyed cold.”

     ✅     “Corona, which is the name of the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere, should always be enjoyed at a

               temperature of 2 million degrees.”


     ❌     “The sun is burning hot.”

     ✅     “The sun produces thermal energy by fusing hydrogen and helium atoms together.”


     ❌     “It sure is windy today.”

     ✅     “There seems to be an abundance of air molecules that are traveling from an area of higher air pressure to an area

               of lower air pressure.”


     ❌     “I really enjoy a delicious glass of apple juice.”

     ✅     “I really enjoy a delicious glass of the liquid extracted from the plump, sweet, juicy ovary of an apple tree.”


     ❌     “Thank you for bringing me such beautiful flowers!”

     ✅     “Thank you for bringing me such beautiful hermaphroditic plant reproductive organs!”


     ❌     “The leaves change colors in the fall.”

     ✅     “The decreased amount of sunlight in the autumn causes the chlorophyll 'a' and chlorophyll 'b' pigments to degrade.

               Thus, we are able to see the colors of the various lycopenes, carotenes, xanthophylls, flavones, flavonols,

               anthocyanins, and tannins."


     ❌     “That t-shirt is my favorite color -- black!”

     ✅     “That t-shirt clearly does not contain any color, as all wavelengths of the visible part of the electromagnetic

               spectrum have been absorbed into it!”


     ❌     “Plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.”

     ✅     “Plants NEVER turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.  In fact, they produce oxygen before they use the carbon dioxide.

               During the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis, chloroplasts split water molecules into hydrogen ions,

               electrons, and oxygen gas.  The oxygen gas is then released into the atmosphere as a waste product.  During the

               light-independent reactions, the carbon dioxide is converted into glucose.”


     ❌     “Animals turn oxygen into carbon dioxide.”

     ✅     “Animals NEVER turn oxygen into carbon dioxide.  In fact, they produce carbon dioxide before they use the oxygen.

               During the Krebs cycle stage of cellular respiration, mitochondria produce molecules of carbon dioxide whose carbon

               atoms originated in a molecule of glucose.  The carbon dioxide is then released into the atmosphere as a waste

               product.  Then during the electron transport chain and chemiosmosis, oxygen is used to produce ATP.  Water

               molecules are created as a waste product.”


     ❌     “The nucleus is the brain of a cell.”

     ✅     “The nucleus controls the actions of a cell by transcribing DNA into messenger RNA.”


     ❌     “The mitochondrion is the powerhouse of a cell.”

     ✅     “The mitochondrion is the ATP producer of a cell.”


     ❌     “I am proud to be myself.”

     ✅     “I am proud to be a complex ecosystem that is approximately 10% human and 90% bacteria.  I can proudly say that

               my own human body cells are outnumbered by the 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) bacterial cells living in and

               on me!”


     ❌     “I like to eat grilled cheese sandwiches.”

     ✅     “I like to eat sandwiches made out of rotted milk that was spoiled by the waste products of bacteria.”


     ❌    “May I go to the bathroom?  I have a stomach ache.”

     ✅     “May I go to the bathroom?  I am experiencing some distress in my small and/or large intestine.”


     ❌     “You are what you eat.”

     ✅     “You are what you eat, digest, absorb, and assimilate.”


     ❌     “I don’t feel very well.  I think I am constipated.”

     ✅     “I don’t feel very well.  Food is moving so slowly through my large intestine, causing too much water to be reabsorbed.”


     ❌     “I need to go to the gym to burn off some calories”

     ✅     “I need to go to the gym to break down the covalent bonds in the triglycerides found in my adipose tissue.  That will

               surely release a lot of chemical and thermal energy!”


     ❌     “Excuse me, I have a lot of hiccups right now.”

     ✅     “Pardon my spastic diaphragm.  It has been contracting uncontrollably for the past few minutes.”


     ❌     “That starfish is really cute!”

     ✅     “That organism from Phylum Echinodermata, Class Asteroidea, also known as a sea star, is really cute!”


     ❌     “I am a vegetarian.  Therefore, I am an herbivore.”

     ✅     “I am a vegetarian.  Therefore, I am a carnivore.  The only herbivorous vegetarians are vegans.  A vegetarian who

               consumes eggs or dairy products is technically a primary carnivore on the food chain.”


     ❌     “That raging forest fire is scary!”

     ✅     “I am so excited that the forest is finally able to proceed with secondary succession!”


     ❌     “Using hand sanitizer is a great way to stay healthy.”

     ✅     “Using hand sanitizer is a great way to naturally-select against the 99.9% of harmless bacteria that live on your skin.

               It is also a great way to allow for the micro-evolution of multi-drug-resistant bacterial strains that cannot be stopped

               by any known antibiotics.  But at least your hands will smell nice as they cultivate strains of ‘super’ germs!”


     ❌     “Some genes skip a generation.”

     ✅     “Genes do not skip a generation.  Recessive genes can be 'hidden' by a dominant gene in individuals who are



     ❌     “Dominant traits are more common than recessive traits.”

     ✅     “A dominant trait refers to an allele that is capable of masking or hiding a recessive allele.  The specific biochemistry of

               the gene determines which alleles are dominant and which alleles are recessive.  Natural selection, and occasionally

               other mechanisms of evolution, determines which alleles are more or less common in a population.  Dominance has

               nothing to do with the frequency of alleles in a population.”


     ❌     “There are two versions of every gene.”

     ✅     “There can be an infinite number of versions of every gene.  New versions of genes, called alleles, arise through

               random mutations.  Therefore, there is no specific number of alleles because new versions can be made at any time.”


     ❌     “I am important!”

     ✅     “I am not geologically important because I appeared at the very end of the geologic time line in the late Cenozoic Era.”


     ❌     “Congratulations on your new baby!  You must be so excited.”

     ✅     “Congratulations on having achieved Darwinian fitness.  You are so successful at life.”


     ❌     “I am successful.”

     ✅     “According to Charles Darwin, I would be considered a biological failure because I have not reproduced and created

               fertile offspring of my own.”


     ❌     “Santa is a happy, jolly man who brings presents to children who are nice.”

     ✅     “Santa lives at the north pole, where he likely suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder due to the lack of sunlight.

               In addition, he is clearly at risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health conditions.”