Posts tagged “science

Curiosity

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milkyway-gerald-rhemann

The Important Thing

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Is not to
Stop Questioning.

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Curiosity
Has its own Reason

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For Existence.

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~ Albert Einstein


Images:

1.) Gerald Rhemann
2.) Fototripper.com
3.) Michael Shainblum
4.) Dave Lane
5.) Sapna Reddy Photography


Indigo Children

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She thought she was safe that night, when she slipped past a group of protesters into the pub. However, it was here where the real danger was percolating: once again, Sister Madly found herself facing the Happy Phlebotomist.

meet-again-2

Through no fault of her own, Sister Madly found out that much has happened in the life of this cheerful mosquito since their last encounter, including co-authoring a vegan cookbook (which, incidentally, no one has ever seen) as well as making a batch of vintage wine- which should be ready “by the end of the year.”

Sister Madly, however, maintained a healthy level of skepticism. One just can’t call it a ‘vintage’ wine if it hasn’t been made yet; that’s like calling milk ‘butter’ when it’s still inside the cow. Life just doesn’t work that way, no matter how much one prays.

fixed-sink

But the Happy Phlebotomist was quick to point out that wine-making was merely his passion, perhaps something for retirement. In the mean time, he gets by through a lovely regime of Spinning, Zumba, and Hot Yoga, through promoting a line of ‘natural’ supplements, and through phlebotomizing unsuspecting souls.

Now don‘t get her wrong- Sister Madly has nothing against a vegan lifestyle, nor the Spinning/Zumba/Hot Yoga Combo Plate that the Happy Phlebotomist now champions; it’s just that Sister Madly finds no joy in feasting on topsoil or twisting herself into a well-cooked pretzel. Still, she has a hard time believing that anyone who habitually depletes the human race of life-sustaining fluids for a living is as humane as his routine leads one to believe.

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As for the vitamin supplements, one has to be cautious around these products- after all, most of them are not FDA approved, unlike American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food, which is.

But that didn’t stop the Happy Phlebotomist, who achieved a freakish level of joy when he discussed the many uses of Colloidal Silver- surely even you, Sister Madly, would benefit from this miracle ‘cure-all.’

Sister Madly has to admit that she is not the spring chicken she was last week- why, just the other day, she managed to turn basic strength-training into a most spectacular pageant of twists, flails, and fancy footwork that any respectable jitterbug would envy, and has walked like a hunchback ever since. She also has a fair amount of illogical allergies, becomes exceedingly deranged when life withholds from her a decent amount of sleep, and when it comes to medieval weaponry, Sister Madly has all the self-control of a starving vulture over a zebra carcass.

silver

But while Sister Madly loves to wear silver, she admits that her enthusiasm stops short of drinking it.

“There are some who swear by it.”

Some may swear by it, Jolly Ol’ Blood Extractor, but Sister Madly is more curious about those who don’t. She wants to know what, exactly, she is getting into before she starts melting down her jewelry for breakfast.

Oh, there was a reason, all right, but he was suspiciously evasive about it: any natural remedy has its risks if not used properly, he said, such as stomach upset, headaches, or rendering certain medications ineffective…

“…and then there some people who have been known to turn blue – permanently – but I don’t think it’s something you need to worry about.”

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Hold it right there, Chipper: you are trying to pitch Sister Madly a miracle supplement whose potential side-effects include turning into a Smurf, and you don’t think that is something she should worry about?*

* A condition known as argyria, caused by prolonged exposure to chemical forms of silver, resulting in a blue or gray discoloration of the skin.

In an effort to reassure her, the Happy Phlebotomist explained that one could reduce the risk of this Technicolor discoloration by becoming nocturnal, as exposure to sunlight increases it. His pathological good cheer quickly escalated to psychotic levels when he realized all the delightful possibilities of promoting a substance that has adverse effects when exposed to the sun, such as creating a package deal consisting of Colloidal Silver and Vitamin D- the latter of which would be lacking in an individual avoiding the sun.

Yes, somewhere there is a world where that idea will work…

To tell you the truth, Sister Madly spends precious little time contemplating what life would be like if she were blue, but even then it didn‘t take her long to reach the conclusion that, if she woke up one morning the color of her recycling bin, she was be apocalyptically cross about it.

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Then again, there is something appealing about having a choice of what color one turns after prolonged exposure to the sun. Mother Nature can be so thoughtful, the dear.

In the meantime, Sister Madly will be implementing her own health regimen by routinely disinfecting her insides through pints of lovely, local ciders.

THEME SONG: Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington


The Rose of Fire and Brimstone

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There comes a time in every child’s life where one must face that dreaded rite of passage: the ambiguous ‘science project.’

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If Sister Madly had known all the loopholes, such as time machine = clock, or better yet, cooking = chemistry, she would have had her mother bake a couple dozen cookies and be done with it. With little hesitation, both parents deemed proving the existence of unicorns impractical to the scientific community, yet supported her decision to dismember her sibling and replace the limbs with butterfly wings so long as Sister Madly was willing to clean up afterwards (which she wasn’t.) In the end, Sister Madly chose an experiment out of some How to Scientifically Take Over the World book that she once found wrapped up under a Christmas tree.

And that experiment was to bleach a rose. With sulfur.*

* The book mysteriously disappeared after the completion of this science project.

red rose

There was some concern about this project from the onset, in particular the obtaining of the roses. After all, Sister Madly knew just how expensive these flowers could be (He got you a dozen roses?! It MUST be love!) which was why they were so treasured. Growing the roses herself was simply out of the question- to this day, plants refuse to photosynthesize in her presence. She decided that her parents’ budget would allow for 3 roses: a practice run, the actual project, and one unbleached rose to compare. She wouldn’t need more than that because science projects always turn out perfectly the first time around- especially when it involves an 8 year-old playing with fire.

Her parents, however, had a slightly different- and, in Sister Madly’s opinion, utterly preposterous- concern: where, dear child, are you going to get the sulfur?

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Contrary to popular belief, one does not just pop off to Sulfur Express to get this element, nor does the average citizen keep a stockpile in the garage next to the Harley. And while certain religious texts believe sulfur* to be an important ingredient in the Lake of Fire, neither her parents nor the school board approved of the lengthy, transcendental holiday it would take to obtain the sulfur, much less the destination. Her school wasn’t very Hell-friendly.

*Brimstone = Sulfur

fire

Then again, she once heard that onions contain sulfur, thus saw no reason why setting fire to an onion would not produce the desired effect. Her parents did not agree.

It was her science teacher, through a connection at the local college, who later obtained the sulfur. As Sister Madly now had all the components, she was quite ready to bleach the rose and successfully take over the world.

However: Rose + Chemical + Fire = Father doing the project while Sister Madly watches.

With her father at the reigns, the project went off without a hitch (although it took a total of 5 roses.) But it wasn’t enough for Sister Madly to walk into school the next day and announce that the experiment had been a success; no, not only was she required to turn in the completed project, she was to present it to the class.

red and white rose

What do you mean that Sister Madly has to understand and explain the science behind this project? Isn’t the fact that a rose transformed from red to white in the seclusion of her own backyard with absolutely no witnesses cool enough on its own? The How to Scientifically Take Over the World book didn’t explain how this experiment worked, only that it does work and quite frankly, that’s good enough for her.

Mind you, when all this occurred, the average family was still several years away from regular internet access. Sister Madly didn’t know any pro-science adults who could explain to her the sulfur phenomenon (she wasn’t very social) and didn’t know where to begin researching it in the library (not that she had any desire to do so.) Faced with these impossible options, Sister Madly decided that it was necessary to bluff her way through, figuring that if she threw enough scientific-sounding words around, she would pass.

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And bluff she did, attributing the bleaching phenomenon to static electricity: when exposed to fire in an enclosed area, the sulfur produces an electrical charge which causes its particles to cling to the rose, thus turning it white.

It is not known whether the teacher bought this snake oil sales pitch, or whether he simply admired her audacity, but that day Sister Madly adjourned for recess with not only with a passing grade, but the confidence that school was a waste of time as her science teacher was no more wiser than she.

20+ years later, Sister Madly finally knows the science behind this experiment.* It hasn’t enhanced her life in the slightest.

* When sulfur burns it produces sulfur dioxide- which acts as a bleaching agent- reducing the pigments, thus turning the rose white. Re-oxidizing the reduced pigments restores the color, which can be as simple by exposing the reduced dyes to the oxygen in the atmosphere.


IMAGES:

1) youtube.com
5) ajkop.deviantart.com
6) kirbymuseum.org