Tag Archive: Science


Wonder if Kirk Cameron would like to share a slice.

Coolness!

Two amateur astronomers, Anthony Wesley in Australia and Christopher Go in the Philippines independently spotted a meteor strike on the surface of the planet Jupiter

According to Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder Colorado, the impact has all the markings of a Jovian ‘bolide’ impact.

This is the second time a large object has been documented slamming into Jupiter’s surface within a year. The first occurred on July 19, 2009. Coincidentally, that impact was also witnessed by Anthony Wesley (he needs to buy me a lottery ticket ;)) Both impacts caused an Earth sized fireball to explode into the atmosphere.

That’s right kiddies, that little blip you’re seeing in right side of the frame is the size of our planet. Kinda makes you feel rather small doesn’t it. Maybe I don’t need to diet after all.

According to the National Geographic, scientists are gearing up to study the latest strike:

Scientists are now racing to get professional and amateur astronomers to train their telescopes on the gas giant to see what kind of scar will be left behind by this latest impact and hopefully what kind of object hit the giant planet.

Experts believe the collision should produce a dark debris field in Jupiter’s clouds—similar to the previous impact site—which may become visible over the next few days.

“We don’t know if there is a dark site yet, since this appears be a small impact,” Hammel said. “We are working on getting telescopes around the world in gear for followup work, including the world’s largest telescopes and [the] Hubble” Space Telescope.

So, if you’re an amateur astronomer or if you know of one, this could be your chance! Get those telescopes trained on Jupiter. Hopefully, it isn’t little green men looking for a site to launch their invasion of Earth. Good Luck!

Watch the skies!

Via: National Geogrphic, Gawker

It’s spring and with the warmer weather there comes the request that all mom’s dread. “Mom! Can I have a freezie?!? And some for my 20 0r so friends who’ve followed me home today?”

FreeziesFirst off, freezies in my house are usually 100% juice, except DH decided he would do the shopping at the end of the summer and came home with a giant box of jumbo, artificially flavoured, synthetic liquid. They made their way down to our freezer once I rolled my eyes and reminded myself once again that DH, being male, is not capable of making healthy food choices when confronted by puppy dog eyes and tragic pleas from our two daughters.

In the grand scheme of things, freezies aren’t *that* bad. There are probably thousands of worse snacks, but given how hard it is to get my kids to eat healthy, I’d rather avoid snacks that are essentially sugar and chemicals.

But I digress.

Science for kidsAs soon as the snow was gone and the sun finally graced the GTA with its presence, the aforementioned scene took place in our front yard. The crowd of kids meant that I could get rid of the junkie freezies sooner than I thought and could soon replace them with the healthier, 100% juice versions. Imagine my surprise when these things actually served a purpose and we were able to hold an impromptu Physics class in our driveway.

Here’s what happened.

DH brought the box from the basement freezer and opened it for the first time in front of all the kids. The kids, being kids, all wanted the same flavour of freezie, prompting him to have to go digging. What he found in the middle of the box were some freezies that were still liquid despite being in the freezer for the last 8 months. When he pulled these freezies out he squeezed the contents and they immediately began to freeze, crystallizing before our eyes. Because the freezies were coloured, we were able to get a really good idea how water crystallizes whilst freezing.

Why did this happen?

Freezies - Ready for the FreezerAnyone who’s ever tried to quickly chill a can of pop or a bottle of water in the freezer and had to clean the catastrophe once they remembered where they put the container knows that water expands when it freezes. What happened in our freezies’ case was that they were so tightly packed in their box, the packages in the middle didn’t have room to expand as they froze. In essence, they were forced to stay liquid due to the surrounding outside pressure and became super-cool fluid. When the box was opened and the surrounding freezies pulled out, the pressure was released, allowing the water inside the plastic tubes to expand and the contents to freeze right in front of our eyes.

How can I do this at home?

Frozen Ice TreatsI can’t promise you that if you buy the same brand DH did that you’ll have the same results with no effort.

Your best bet is to buy a box of freezies, open it to see how much room there is around the individual packages. Stuff the spaces with plastic bags or newspaper to get them packed in there as tightly as you can. Then re-seal the box, taping the lid closed as tightly as you can. Then, put the box in the bottom of your chest freeze, wedging it in a corner. Surround the box with frozen whatever, remembering to put lots of weight on top. You don’t want to give the freezies in the middle any room to expand and solidify. Wait until the next sunny day, pull them out and quickly see what’s up with the freezies in the middle. Hopefully they will still be liquid. Give the plastic tubes a squeeze or a shake to kick start the process and watch them freeze before your eyes.

So, DH’s impulse buy wasn’t that much of a disaster after all.  It allowed us to demonstrate a major scientific concept – the phase transition of matter from liquid to solid form to the neighborhood kids.

But if he thinks that means he’s going to be able to buy those nutritionally challenged treats on a regular basis, he’s got another thing coming.

I’ve been wanting to blog about the new movie, The Human Centipede – First Sequence for a while, but never came up with the right angle.

At last, here it is.

I have found a way that for maker of the film, Tom Six, to convince me to actually see this dreck. It’s simple really,  replace the human actors with Gummi Bears!

Yes! Ed Lewis, aka fungus amungus, has perfected the art and science of Gummi Bear Surgery and has created the most bizarre and shocking procedures and creatures:

Gummi Bear Surgery - Limb Transplant

Limb Transplant

Continue reading

Final Rumblings

Jen McCreight - Boobquake instigatorWell, Boobquake 2010 is almost past, and unless there is a massive earthquake in the next 3 hours and 40 minutes, the planet has escaped reasonably unscathed. It remains to be seen if the event will continue. I personally think Jen McCreight, the woman who is responsible for unleashing the MMDs*, will need at least five years of events to track a statistical trend, but then I almost failed stats at university, so what do I know.

At any rate, it looks like people had a fun with the event. Well, most people. It seems there’s a small group out there that feels Boobquake runs against feminist ideas and called for a Brainquake instead.

First off, let me be clear about something. I love the idea of a Brainquake, an event where women can show off their accomplishments and awards, I’m thinking we should hold one 6 months from now, on September 26, 2010. We should shout it from the roof tops that women do amazing things in the fields of science, engineering, business, politics etc. Largely these accomplishments go unrecognized, so lets bang a gong and celebrate.

ThMMDs - Mammaries of Mass Destructionat being said, Boobquake responded to Iranian cleric Sedighi’s challenge to the physical expression of our femininity, not our intellect. As a matter of fact, Iranian women are well-educated, they comprise up to 60% of entrants to Tehran’s university. They are not shut out from institutions of higher education. So to respond with a display of women’s intellectual capacity and accomplishments is nonsensical. He made a quantifiable statement – seeing women’s bodies incurs Gods (TM) wrath in the form of earthquakes. To test and challenge that assertion means women have to dress immodestly – from low-cut blouses and daisy dukes to abayas without socks.

And that, according to Brainquakers is falling  into the patriarchal trap of reducing women to nothing more than their bodies.

And that assertion really bothers me. It seems to me that this response is patriarchal itself by saying that my body, and the display of my body can be nothing more than a result of my victimization by a culture that worships women’s beauty at the detriment of her brain. My body cannot be subversive. It cannot be political. It cannot be a free expression of my character.

Bullshit!

I thought the whole point of feminism was that women were valued for more than their bodies. One could be beautiful and blond and smart all at the same time. Or short, dumpy and plain and still be accomplished. Women’s clothing and how they dress should be a means of self-expression. I personally wear most of my clothes showing a fair amount of cleavage – it’s part of my fashion philosophy: look at my boobs, not at my butt. Why? Because *I* like it that way. I dress this way because I am confident, powerful, beautiful and comfortable in my skin, not because I am a victim of a misogynistic culture. The reverse is actually true. I’m seriously overweight and as a result society tells me that I should cover up, try to camouflage myself so I can fade into the background.

Screw that! My clothing is my rebellion. And guess what? The same can be said about Iranian women’s dress. They’ve been finding ways to subvert the Islamic rule regarding modest dressing by using make up and other means for years.

Continue reading

I'm qauking Okay, here I am in my official Boobquake shirt.  Oh so scandalous isn’t it?  I’m expecting God (TM) to strike me down any minute.

It’s a busy day at Casa Fangirl today.  The girls are home from school so we’ll be going out and having fun with them, so I won’t be blogging much this afternoon, but I will be posting my final thoughts on Boobquake later this evening.

I hope you all have a good time.  Keep up on the news to see if there are in fact any major seismic disturbances. If you have any photos or funny stories to share, feel free to email them to me at fangirlshandbag (at) rogers.com.

Enjoy the day and remember your sun block!

Boobquake closeup

They're real, and they're spectacular

MMDs - Mammaries of Mass DestructionI’m off to bed and will blog about this some more later, but BOOBQUAKE has begun!

Jen, the organizer (perpetrator) of Boobquake has a list of interviews for later today listed on her site. If you’re interested, you can find them here.

There are a few sites that track earthquakes in real/near real-time. Here are a couple of links :

USGS: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/index.php?old=world.html

IRIS: http://www.iris.edu/dms/seismon.htm

As well, here are some handy tips on surviving an earthquake:

  1. Step 1

    Prepare ahead of time. There are many different things that go into an earthquake preparedness kit. See this link for specific details on packing your earthquake preparedness kit.

  2. Step 2

    Also, make sure you prepare mentally so that you know what to do without panicking during the earthquake. Try to stay calm during the earthquake. Many times, injuries or death occur which could have been prevented due to panic. When the earthquake starts, begin to think about the steps you need to take, which are outlined in the following steps.

  3. Step 3

    If you are inside when the earthquake starts, stand in doorway or crouch under a sturdy desk or table. Be sure to stay a safe distance from any windows, glass doors or large pieces of furniture containing doors or which are not secured to a wall. If you are outside during the earthquake, get away from buildings, trees, telephone poles and power lines. If you are driving, drive away from underpasses and overpasses. Stop in clear area and stay in the vehicle until the earthquake has stopped.

  4. Step 4

    After the earthquake, check for injuries. Provide first aid as needed and seek medical attention if required.

  5. Step 5

    If you are at home (or when you return home) check for gas, water and sewage leaks as well as downed power lines or electrical shorts. Turn off utilities as required by the situation. See Link for details-http://www.ehow.com/how_2264258_prepare-earthquake.html

  6. Step 6

    Check for building damage and potential problems during aftershocks. If severe cracks or other structural weaknesses have occurred, these could give way during aftershocks. If the structure you are in is no longer safe, retreat to another location.

  7. Step 7

    Remember to wear shoes after the earthquake. It will prevent injuries if things have fallen off of shelves or out of cupboards.

  8. Step 8

    At some time during this process, turn on the radio on and listen for instructions from public safety agencies. A battery or crank operated radio is handy in this situation as you often will not have power.

  9. Step 9

    Use the telephone for emergencies only. The lines become overwhelmed by calls after an earthquake due to people checking on relatives or friends. These lines may be needed for emergencies so you do not want to tie them up.

From eHow.com

And finally, here are some links to help the survivors of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chili:

Oxfam – Haiti: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/haiti-earthquake

Oxfam – Chili: http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/chile-earthquake-2010

Médecins sans frontières: http://www.msf.ca/donate/

I’m working on a some Boobquake 2010 t-shirts and bumper sticker designs.  I won’t have them done for today, but I’m hoping they’ll be ready to show you by the end of the week.

If you like, you could send me some pictures of Boobquake events or participation (keep it clean!) to fangirlshandbag (at) rogers.com and I’ll post them on the site.

Have fun!

*MMDs = Mammaries of Mass Destruction

MMDs - Mammaries of Mass DestructionWe women understand the power of the boobie.  They have the power to turn reasonably intelligent, eloquent men into gibbering idiots. I know this to be true, because just a simple flash of my luscious lady mounds can stop my DH in mid-sentence and cause him to completely lose his train of thought. His eyes go glassy and he gets this blank look on his face as though he’s just been confronted by a 3 line solution to Fermat’s Last Theorem (if you’re wondering, the actual solution is about 500 pages long).

But ladies, did you know that our sweater puppies can cause the earth to move?

No, not like that, I mean an actual earthquake? According to Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader, showing your cha-cha’s causes the ground to shake:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,”

Iran lives in one of the most earthquake prone regions of the world. The 2003 quake in Bam, a city in southern Iran, killed over 30,000 people.

So, what should people do? Relocate to a safer part of the country? No, don’t be silly.  According to Sedighi:

“There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

Yeah, that will stabilize the tectonic plates that are shifting under Tehran as we speak. Besides, isn’t Iran one of the most conservative Muslim nation on the planet? Aren’t women already forced to go about their daily business covered head to foot so as not to cause ‘temptation’? Given their moral superiority over the rest of the fabricly challenged world, shouldn’t they be free of earthquakes? If you follow this man’s logic, shouldn’t a place like Brazil, or the south of France, where lots of people are practically naked all the time, be a hotspot for geological activity, not someplace, like, I don’t know, Iceland?

Jen McCreight - Instigator of the BoobquakeAt any rate, this whole ‘blame the loose women for the ills of the world’ attitude did not sit well with fourth year Purdue student, Jen McCreight. She issued a challenge last Monday on her Blag Hag blog for women to set their marimbas free on Monday, April 26th to see what kind of  geological destruction they can unleash on the world – all in the name of science of course.

“Time for a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

So, who’s with me? I may be a D cup, but that will probably only produce a slight tremor on its own. If you’ll be joining me on twitter, use the tag #boobquake!”

There are two pages set up for the event on Facebook that has already attracted over 33,000 women since Monday ( Boobquake page 1, Boobquake page 2).

The response has been overwhelming for McCreight:

“So what started as a joke and somewhat sarcastic reply to the ludicrous notion that women’s immodesty causes earthquakes has now exploded. Seriously, internet, you scare and amaze me sometimes.”

She has since had to refine her challenge somewhat:

I just want to apologize if this comes off as demeaning toward women. To be honest, it started as silly joke that I hurriedly fired off since I was about to miss the beginning of House. I never thought it would get the attention it did. If I would have known, I would have spent more time being careful about my wording.

That being said, I don’t think the event is completely contrary to feminist ideals. I’m asking women to wear their most “immodest” outfit that they already would wear, but to coordinate it all on the same day for the sake of the experiment. Heck, just showing an ankle would be considered immodest by some people. I don’t want to force people out of their comfort zones, because I believe women have the right to choose how they want to dress. Please don’t pressure women to participate if they don’t want to. If men ogle, that’s the fault of the men, not me for dressing how I like. If I want to a show a little cleavage or joke about my boobs, that’s my prerogative.

In order to keep the project scientifically relevant, she also plans on doing a statistical analysis on the effect of Monday’s Boobquake event:

And to the scientists who are concerned with my methods – don’t worry, I fully plan on doing some statistics after the event. I know many earthquakes happen on a daily basis, so we’re looking to see if Boobquake significantly increases the number or severity of earthquakes. Or if an earthquake strikes West Lafayette, IN and only kills me, that may be good evidence of God’s wrath as well (I’m not too concerned). And yes, I know I need a larger sample size to make this good science. Maybe I’ll include Mardi [G]ras in my calculations.

So, who’s with me? I’ll be taking part in the event wearing my favorite (and conversely my mother’s most hated) shirt, a purple tunic top with a scandalously deep square neckline on Monday to see what the effect is. If you participate, remember, you’ll be holding the fate of the world in your D-cups!

Alternately, my husband thinks a flash mob of immodestly dressed women should have a sit in at the Iranian Embassy. And yes, the pun was intentional.

ETA: Culture Shocks’ interview with Jen McCreight

Via: Blag Hag, The Toronto Star and The Associated Press

Tribble InnardsAny questions?

Via: Geek Feed on Buzzfeed

Just the thing for encouraging your children to dabble in God’s domain: Baby’s First DNA Model!

Baby's First DNAWhether mutating the human genome or creating an apocalyptic zombie virus, your baby will get a great head start with this cute, colourful and chewable DNA model.  Fashioned using the correct right twist double-helix and sporting G-T and A-C base pairs, your little evil genius is guaranteed to have hours of scientifically accurate fun.

Designed by craft maven Kimberly Chapman, she promises on her blog that making one of these things is easy.  I’m going to hold her to it.  I’ll be attempting this after I make my Cthulhu doll.

Check out her gallery for other patterns.