Thursday, January 28, 2010

Parental Myths Busted

Have your parents ever told you sugar makes you hyper? Is that why you aren't allowed much at bedtime. Your parents, I'm happy to say, are wrong. Sugar actually has a calming affect. A few things your parents tell you aren't true. In winter, you will not get a cold because you failed to dress warmly. Colds are a virus caused by germs,
(not weather.) And sugar doesn't rot your teeth. Bacteria does. But there is sense in saying that sugar rots your teeth. It does tend to have bacteria on it, so there is some truth to that. And if your mother tells you that reading without a lamp is bad for your eyes, tell her that it's like a camera. If you took a picture in the dark, then you wouldn't have the greatest picture in the world, but would it damage the camera? No. It's the same with your eyes. So use these ones on your parents next time they use their silly ideas on you. They might be annoyed you know better, but they also might be impressed that you know something they don't! I love proving people wrong, particularly my big brother.

So What Can I Expect From Nanotechnololgy?

Nothing is for certain. It is being developed for use in healthcare. Well, something called Qdots to be more precise. The full name being Quantum dot, these tiny wonders emit rays of light in a variety of colors. There is a possibility that one day they can be released inside the body to test for cancer. The dots would attach to tumors and flash their lights until the doctors found them. It would be beneficial to cancer patients to have their tumors located at the earliest possible time, when they are quite small. It would save lives. There are other treatments that nanotechnology is already used for.

Other things aside from health care are possible. Advances in computer technology. Robotics. Energy. Global Positioning systems that are faster and more accurate. DNA
fingerprinting that is quicker. There is a special type of clothing invented using silver nanoparticles. Guess what? You don't have to wash it! You just wipe the dirt off. The nanoparticles keep dirt from staining the clothing.

This is an exciting time in the new field of nanotechnology. There's a lot of things that could be improved using it. One day, people will look back and say, " Wow, their computers took, like, five seconds to load! Way too long! How did they stand waiting?!" or something like that. Our computers will be made smaller too. People in the future will ask their grandparents how they put up with having such big computers, and will think about it the way we think about people having one room for the computer like they used to. Won't that be the day?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Interesting

At any moment there are 2000 thunderstorms going on in the world. Every second, 100
bolts of lightning hit the ground. One thunderstorm generates the energy of a hydrogen bomb. The record of most times being struck by lightening and living is seven. I wouldn't want to break that record!
Does anyone out there like whales and dolphins? I sure hope so. There are some very unkind things happening to them. I'm not pinpointing anyone in particular although I could if I wanted. I once opened a book and there was a picture of thousands of whales,
all lying on a beach, dead. The water nearby was red with their blood. Does that tell you anything. There is one dolphin that has only three hundred of its kind left. I heard somewhere else that it was only fifty left of that kind. Their numbers are still declining. Ouch. We don't want to lose the baiji! Remember, while it's endangered we still have time, but when its extinct... They're always saying that bottlenose dolphins are happy. That's just the shape of their mouth. And by the way, don't make one angry if you can help it, because I went to Sea World and we petted them. Those teeth could seriously injure someone! And while we're on the subject, you can pet sting rays at Sea World.(Or is it bat rays? Whatever they are, they're cool animals.)
Who doesn't like orcas? They're so cool! And they're fun to watch when they're performing. Well, you know that fin on their back? That's their dorsal fin. It's about 6 feet tall. Or maybe five. It's about as tall as a grown man. If that's just one fin, I have some advice: if you ever meet an orca in the wild, don't make him angry. And don't approach him either, come to think of it. You don't know what he might do. You don't know his current mood, his thoughts about humans, or anything like that. He might be friendly, but he also might not. Don't approach any wild animal, for that matter. With dolphins, only a few of the dozens of cases of unfriendly dolphins were actually truly dangerous to humans, but it's wise to leave them alone. There are a few places where it's okay. If you're in a swim with the dolphins place with proper supervision, it would be okay. But wild dolphins are usually best left alone.

Nanotechnology: Littler and Littler

In 1956, an American scientist named Richard Feyman suggested that it would be possible to build structures atom by atom. He decided to start things off by offering
a $1,000 prize to anyone who could build a working electric motor that fit inside a cube 1/25 of a centimeter long. He awarded the prize 2 and 1/2 months later to William McLellan, a physicist from the California Institute of Science and Technology. McLellan made the miniature motor using a microscope, toothpick and watchmaker's tools. Clever. Even smaller motors have been made since.
Many other items may one day be made by nanotechnology. There is already tennis rackets that are designed using nanotechnology. They are lighter, but stronger too.
Scientists are developing a form of carbon that will absorb water vapour, concentrate it, and turn it into usable drinking water. This could one day be used to supply water when there is no readily available source.
Nanotechnology is in its beginning stages. Scientists are still defining what is impossible- and what is possible. Richard Feyman says that is a possibility that nanotechnology could have an impact on every man-made object. Nanobots could crawl into the human body and do medical procedures. It is possible that they could change the future of mankind as no other discovery has done before.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Cleopatra is probably the most famous of Egyptian rulers, (after King Tut, of course.) She was actually a Greek, whose ancestors conquered Egypt. Nobody really cares about that, though. Her father was forced to flee to Rome during his reign, and Cleopatra's oldest sister, Bernice, took the throne for herself. When the Pharaoh returned, Bernice was killed. Sweet daddy, eh? All heart.
When the Pharaoh died, Cleopatra's brother, Ptolemy XIII, took the throne. Fearing for her life, Cleopatra fled. This is about the time she introduced herself to Julius Caesar by rolling herself in a carpet and having the carpet delivered to him. He arranged a meeting with her brother, who agreed to let her help him rule. Fat chance! He surrounded the place where Caesar and Cleopatra were staying and attacked it. Ptolemy lost, and he was drowned in the Nile River. Cleopatra had a search made for his body, because if the body wasn't found when someone drowned in the Nile, the people would believe the drowned person was blessed. His body was found at the bottom of the river. His gold armor had weighed him down, and he'd sunk.
Cleopatra had to marry her other little brother, who died a few weeks later after eating a poisonous plant. Cleopatra had had a son with Caesar, Ptolemy Caesar, and she made him Pharaoh. He was about two years old. Slick move there. Cleopatra could
rule for her son.
Cleopatra traveled to Rome, and met Caesar's friend, Mark Antony. While she was there, Caesar was murdered, and Cleopatra decided to go home. Meanwhile, Mark Antony and another man, Octavian, split Rome in two halves, one for each of them. Cleopatra had to decide which to support. She chose Mark Antony. But she promised ships to him and ordered them back at the first sign of a storm. Mark Antony demanded she come to Rome to explain why. Cleopatra knew she needed to do something impressive, and a carpet wouldn't work this time. So she decided to dress up her barge and to pretend to be Venus, the Roman goddess of love. It had the desired affect, and Mark Antony invited her to stay a long time. She invited him to Egypt, where she made a famous bet: that she could drink a million dollars worth of wine. She won her bet by taking a pearl earring and dissolving it in the wine.
Things began to go downhill. She began fighting a war against Octavian. He was winning. When he reached the capital, Alexandria, she went to hide in her tomb. Big mistake. Mark Antony heard she had gone to her tomb and assumed she was dead. He tried to kill himself, but failed. He bled to death. Cleopatra was found and imprisoned inside her tomb. The story says that rather than be brought back to Rome in chains as a war trophy, she had one of her maids bring her a basket of fruit. Inside was concealed an asp, a poisonous snake. She let it bite her. A letter she had sent earlier to Octavian was her final request: to be buried with Mark Antony.
There are a few impossibilities in that story. The letter she sent would've reached Octavian in a few minutes. The guards would be swarming the place then. But an asp's bite takes an hour to kill you. And how could the maid have smuggled a poisonous snake past the guards? And come to think of it, why wasn't the maid bitten while finding the snake? Could Octavian have killed her instead? But he'd wanted to take her back to Rome as a war trophy. We'll probably never know what really did happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Something To Chew On (Not Literally)

If you like herbal stuff, here's some facts for you.

Nettles lose their sting 12 hours after being picked and are often used in salads. If you pop them in a blender for long enough, you will get a juice that is good for the skin.

Rose petals make a supposedly very nice jam. I'm never tried it, but I will when the roses bloom this year, believe me. And if you ever try it, clip the bottom off the petals, as the white part isn't very good. You can also add rose petals to omelets.

If you like domesticated birds here's something for you.

Birds deserve the best care possible. Don't buy a small cage. Buy the largest you can afford, since your bird will spend most of their time in that one area. Don't give them the same toys very day. Change them around. If you had the same toys day after day you would be bored, and you can leave your room and do other things! A bird can't leave its cage. I don't own a bird, but I have done extensive reading on the subject and know probably as much as anyone who owns a bird. Here's something I came across recently that all bird owners should know. I'm glad I know it. Birds have special eyes that enable them to see UVA, which allows them to see in see in color, which is important for them mentally. In our homes, we don't have that light, and without it birds cannot see the full color spectrum, which contributes to feather plucking and other behaviors . They also need the sun to create vitamin D3, so full spectrum lights are very important. By the way, no one pays me to say that. It's my opinion.

By the way, did you know that birds come in species, not breeds? Species are as different from each other as dogs are from cats.

King Tut

King Tutankhamun is probably the most famous of all Egyptian Pharaohs. His tomb is very famous. His burial mask is famous as well. But few people know part of the story.

The last Pharaoh, Akhenaten, had decided that there was only one God in Egypt, Aten (not so far from the truth there), and had spent his whole reign taking care of his one god that the Pharaoh forgot to defend Egypt against invaders. For some reason, he died mysteriously. Certain officials (such as his uncle Ay, the highest minister) had no connection to his death, I'm sure. Akhenaten's brother, Tutankhamun, was next in line for the throne. He was only nine, though, so Ay took over and began sorting out religion and military problems. Ay ran the country while Tut enjoyed himself.

Then Tut died mysteriously. It could have been from natural causes, but Tut was only 18. Could he have been murdered? And might Ay have had anything to do with it? He did become Pharaoh after Tut died by marrying Tut's wife... his grand-daughter, Ankhesenamun.(Why did they always have such weird names?!)Tut's wife didn't like that idea at first.

Ankhesenamun decided to marry a foreign prince before Ay could marry her, who would become the new Pharaoh. He was murdered on the way to Egypt.(Could Ay have arranged that?! No, I'm sure not.) Ankhesenamun married her grand-father, but he died after a few years of married life.

King Tut's tomb was discovered on November 26, 1922. But certain circumstances surrounding that are interesting. As the workers left the cave that day, a sandstorm swirled around the mouth of the cave. When it died away, a hawk was seen in the west. The hawk is the symbol of the royal family of Egypt. The west was the direction of the Egyptians' land of the dead.

Things happened after that. The man who'd funded the work died. A man threw himself from the window of the room where one of Tut's vases was. The man who opened the tomb, Howard Carter, had a canary which was eaten by a cobra, a symbol of Egypt or something. But Carter died of natural causes. Why didn't the "curse" take him first?

The story of the curse is rather silly. There was no curse put on mummies anyway, just a spell to scare enemies of the Pharaoh and to wish the mummy a safe journey to the afterlife. So as you see it's rather silly.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Even More on Egypt: The Pointy Pyramids

The pyramids are probably the most famous symbol of Ancient Egypt. Napoleon Bonaparte visited the pyramid of Cheops in 1799. It is said he walked into the very center of the king's chamber and ordered the tour guide to leave. When he left, he was pale and shaking. No one knows what happened, but Napoleon hinted about it to a friend that he'd experienced incredible things. Just before he died, he nearly told someone, but changed his mind. His secret died with him.

Some people believe that the pyramids weren't tombs at all. They could have been giant calendars or landmarks. There are also stories of many tourists going in, reaching the center and fainting. Whatever they were, they are still one of the seven wonders of the world.

There is a story about a man who found a cat inside a pyramid. That wouldn't be so shocking if I didn't tell you the cat was a mummy. That wouldn't be shocking either if the cat was wrapped and embalmed. But it wasn't. He began experimenting to find out how this could happen. He made models of pyramids and put food inside them that you'd expect would rot. It stayed fresh longer than you'd expect.

Another man heard about the experiments and wondered if the pyramids would preserve razor blades, as they were in short supply. He put a dull blade inside a model. The razor blade became sharp again! He took the idea to a patent office. The man in charge agreed to try it for one week. When he came back, the man in charge was a shaken man. Apparently, the idea had worked! They couldn't figure out why, but the idea was patented.

We may never know if the stories told about the pyramids are true. We may never know what the Egyptians knew that we don't. But we do know this: the pyramids have a much deeper history than what we can imagine.

Crazy Chemistry

Chemistry is a very interesting subject, (if you understand the way they talk at all.) Chemistry is all about chemicals, elements, gases, and chemical formulas . If you like that kind of thing, then great. If you don't, you're normal. If you don't hate but don't love, you're like me. I think I'll start this with a few basic facts.

1. Mercury fumes can make you insane. Hats used to be treated with mercury, so the hat-makers were often slightly crazy. That's where the expression 'mad as a hatter' comes from.(I can tell you where 'mad as a March hare' comes from, but I'll save that for another day.)
2. Toast is made when the carbon in the bread is burned.
3. Copper turns green when it is exposed to air pollution. That's why the Statue of Liberty is green.
4. Eighteenth century soap was made from boiling fat and soda. But the alkali in them could dissolve your skin! Fortunately, not too many people could afford soap at that time.

Okay, that's over.

Ever heard of bucky balls? That's another name for nanotubes. They are the base for nanotechnology. They are huge: one billionth of a meter wide! Nanotechnology is trying to discover how to join these atoms together naturally. They each have 60 atoms; no more, no less. They are stronger than diamonds and could be created from sewage, charcoal,etc. as they are carbon. They could be used for wiring and building. They are part of the future of chemistry.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mummies and Mommies

Women in Egypt were expected to run the household and have children. That was it. Compared to other countries, though, they had lots of freedom. Peasant women weren't considered to be worth as much as cattle. Most ordinary women couldn't write, either. But women could own property, carry out business deals, etc. They could have jobs too. They could be dancers, musicians, acrobats, weavers, gardeners, and mourners. There were even a few doctors. The noblewomen could become courtiers or priestesses. Most girls, though, got married. Girls were supposed to marry whoever their parents said. They usually didn't, though. Girls were supposed to stay home until they got married. The rich girls went to school.

The Egyptian women took pride in their appearances. They considered eye-makeup necessary. It was practical to use, too. It kept dust and stuff like that out of their eyes. They plucked their eyebrows. Yuck. That would hurt, especially if you plucked too many hairs out. They used a mixture of henna on their nails, hands and feet to give them a red tint. They also bathed in water purified with natron, the salt used to preserve mummies. Double yuck!

And while we're on the subject, how about a little on mummies? It does tie in with this: women can be mummies. (Yes, I know that's an old, annoying, and very dumb joke. But I never particularly cared, either.) Some of this stuff will make those of you with weak stomachs throw up. I won't mention them. (And while we're on the subject, why are there so many words for vomiting. It's enough to make you upchuck! Okay we don't have to get into it.) Being mummified was at first very expensive, but eventually it became cheap enough for even the poorest to hope for. There were some very gruesome parts of the embalming process, which included removing certain organs. Triple yuck! I-think I need to-sit down. (Oh wait I am. That's still gross though.) Let's not dwell on the subject shall we. Here are some uses for mummies. (Former uses anyway. I mean, I don't think that they use mummies as ornaments today.)
1. Medicine
2. Fuel
3. (Yes, ornaments.)
4. Painting
5. Paper Making

So many mummies were being dug up that they were worthless, so uses were found... (Nowadays it would be unthinkable to burn a mummy. Especially if she's still alive. Ha ha. And I know I've used that mummy line already.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ancient Egypt : Some Interesting Stuff

If you like Egyptian history, here's some things you'll find interesting.
In November of 1926, a group of archaeologists set out for Egypt.Their mission? To discover the lost tomb of Osiris, an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. He was believed to be a god by the Egyptians. I won't get into the whole story about why they thought so, but if you like that kind of stuff you can look it up. Anyway, the group had nearly found it when they vanished. No one could discover where, but according to the book "Egyptology", which is the journal of one of the members of the group, Emily Sands, they had found a place they believed to be it. They found a door in a pit covered with the word Osiris. While they were wondering what to next, a woman approached them. Claiming to be a priestess of Isis, she warned against entering the tomb. The journal states they decided not to heed the woman's advice. They were never seen again.
Was it the curse of the mummy's tomb? No one ever found out what happened to the team. And what about Howard Carter's team, who opened King Tut's tomb. Many of them were killed or died mysterious deaths. But Carter died of natural causes. His canary, on the other hand, was eaten by a cobra. Men died mysterious deaths. One man died just as he was about to X-ray a mummy. Another man threw himself out of the window of a room which contained a vase from the tomb. Lord Carvon, who funded the search for King Tut's tomb, died of an insect bite on his left cheek. King Tut had an unusual mark on the left side of his face. The list goes on and on.
But the mummy's weren't buried with a curse. They were buried with a spell to frighten the enemies of Pharaoh and wish him well in the afterlife. The spell was
not meant to kill anyone.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Don't spend the night thinking about all this...

Sorry I haven't blogged in so long, but I couldn't. (I think I'll make it a weekly thing...)
To get an egg inside a bottle, soak the egg in vinegar for a few days. If the bottle you use has a fairly large neck, it should slip through. But make sure you drop it in water before you try this, because if it floats, it's a rotten egg and won't work.
If names interest you, then here's some facts. There's a celebrity known as Ginuwine. His original name was (and I'm not making this up) Elgin Lumpkin. As I said, I am not making this up. And children with names like David, Lisa and Micheal get better grades than kids with names like Huebert, Bertha and Elmer. Teachers expect kids with names like that to get better grades, so the teachers give them better grades. (Hmm, maybe that's why your teacher gives you such bad grades. Just kidding.)
If you're interested in history (and I am), then did you know that if you were in Egypt, cloth was measured according to the length of the customer's arm? The length of the customer's arm was one cubit long, so to get a good deal, send the person in your family with the longest arms shopping!