Category Archives: Just For Fun…

Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!

I first saw the following text in an e-mail back in 1997. For those of you who have not yet read it, or have seen it and may have forgotten about it, I thought that it might be fun to post it here. It’s a good reminder of the fact that there really are no totally harmless substances. Find out more about the origin of this “warning” at Snopes.com:

BAN DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE! THE INVISIBLE KILLER!

Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:
* is also known as hydric acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
* contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
* may cause severe burns.
* contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
* accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
* may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
* has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Continue reading Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!

Are You A Geek?

I have never posted one of these quizzes on my site before, but I thought this particular one (found via Dave Does the Blog) might be fun since a lot of people associate the word “scientist” with “geek.” Obvious, that association doesn’t always hold true. I am 100% scientist, but only 8% geek (*grin*). Have fun with it…

You are 8% geek

Christmas Gifts for the Scientist in Your Life

Are you looking for a special gift for the scientist in your life? Here are just a few gifts that you can buy at The Discovery Channel Store:

Discovery Whodunit? Forensics Lab ($79.95)
Winner of the 2003 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award.

“Learn how to use science to fight crime! With advances in forensic science, more and more crime work is being solved in the lab. Now you can introduce your child to a fun and fascinating side of science, with this complete at-home forensic lab. You’ll face six tough cases – each harder than the last. Use the state-of-the-art lab instruments to analyze handwriting, decipher blood type and examine mysterious fibers in your search for answers.”

Discovery DNA Explorer Kit ($79.95)
Named to Popular Science’s 2003 Best of What’s New List.

“Explore one of the newest frontiers in science – DNA mapping. From science labs to courtrooms, few discoveries are as exciting as the world of DNA. With this deluxe, first-of-its-kind kit, you can extract, view and map real DNA yourself. Ideal for budding forensic-scientists or secret agents, the working lab and tools are just like the real thing. Plus, you’ll have all the supplies needed for six fascinating DNA experiments. Extract DNA from vegetables, find out what actually makes ink colors and even grow crystal stalagmites!”

Remote Control Vectron UltraLite ($39.95)
Featured in the December 15th issue of The Scientist in the article “Presents for Profs: Holiday gift ideas for the scientist who has everything”

“Control your very own UFO as it glides, hovers and flies! The Vectron UltraLite is an infrared, remote control flying disc that’s ready to fly right out of the box. Just set it on the docking base, charge it for approximately 10 minutes, then stand back and watch it lift off, hover and fly around like an alien spacecraft. The special proportional controls mean the harder you press the trigger, the higher it flies. Just ease off the trigger to make Vectron descend. Designed for indoor use, this unique design is completely safe – the propeller stops instantly and automatically upon contact with any object.”

Chemistry (and Christmas??)

Ms. Frizzle has written a really clever song about hydrogen to be sung to the tune of a popular Christmas carol. Here is an excerpt of the song:

Hydrogen (Sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)

Hydrogen, hydrogen
Atomic number one
Oh what a bang it is to be the fuel inside the sun
Hydrogen, hydrogen
atomic number one
Oh what a bang it is to be the fuel inside the sun

To see the complete lyrics, check out Ms. Frizzle’s Web site.

“The Secret Garden”

The image to the left is an x-ray image of a columbine. The “secret garden” is a collection of x-ray images of flowers have been taken by Albert Richards, a University of Michigan Professor Emeritus, over the past forty years. Check out the rest of his images at his on-line photo gallery.

Dr. Richards describes his collection as follows:

“Flowers speak for us in many ways. On happy occasions we send flowers to express our joy and on sad occasions to express our sorrow. Almost everyone is fond of flowers, but they may never see the secret beauty that lies hidden within the blossoms. When we close our eyes, we cannot see the beautiful flowers around us. Even with our eyes wide open, we see only that portion of the flower that is nearest us, the same portion that would be recorded by a camera.”

Daylight Saving Time

REMINDER!!! Don’t forget to set your clocks back before you go to bed tonight. And if you want to learn why we “spring ahead, fall back”. There are a few sights on the web that discuss the history of Daylight Saving Time. Learn NC (the North Carolina teachers’ network) has links to a number of sites relevant to Daylight Saving Time, including a link to a WebExhibit site that describes the history of this custom.

How Everyday Things Are Made

Here is another neat “web pick” from the Discover Magazine web site…

The Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing at Stanford University brings us “How Everyday Things Are Made.” This site describes (through movies and diagrams) how everything is made…from crayons, to jellybeans, airplanes, glass bottles, denim fabric, etc. The site was designed to introduce people to the “world of manufacturing.”

You can also follow links to:

  • on-line factory tours
  • information about manufacturing processes (as pdf documents)
  • suggested reading

    Note: Viewing this site over a DSL line or Cable modem will provide optimal results. You will also need Macromedia FlashPlayer plugin (6.029 or greater) to watch the movies.