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May 09, 2007

The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas

As some one who grew up knowing every word to her father's Kingston Trio album and who's first cassette tape she ever bought with her own money was They Might Be Giant's "Flood". I simply had to link to this compilation of Folky Children's Science Songs. One of which is done by TMBG, "Why does the Sun Shine?". via Cosmic Variance.

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May 02, 2007

Curse words and power tools

Every week or so Cog Daily surveys their readers on one topic or another and then analyses the results. A couple weeks ago they did a study that I actually participated in. It was their most popular survey to date. They took about 10 curse words and asked people to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being neutral and 10 being extremely offensive. So far they've written two results posts with the possibility of more to come:
(Warning: they use the bad words in the results analyses. So don't link through if you don't want to read them.)
Results post 1
Results post 2
Some of the more interesting results are the inter generational reactions to certain words as well as the gender specific reactions to gender specific bad words.

The other neat thing on Cog daily was this post with a link to this youtube video which has guys in a workshop playing some song from Carmen on table saws, hand saws and power drills. What sets this video apart from other videos of guys in a workshop playing some classic song on table saws, hand saws and power drills, is that at one point they set up several different types of wood with different densities (therefore different pitches when cut) in a row and play a part of the melody that way. I, like the guy from Cog Daily, thought it was pretty neat.

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May 01, 2007

Too much sun and no cable

Another full and pretty weekend. I took off Friday, our two year, and Brian and I did a few errands, I made a pie and we played some Wii. We went to a very nice sushi restaurant in Vienna which re-energized our discussion of how we really need a nice little sake set, there's nothing like hot sake, to take the chill off a nice night out.

Saturday, we got up early and went to the National Arboretum with Ev, the other Julie and the Zimmermans. I was very impressed. They have the largest Bonsai Garden I've ever seen, if I ever get my pictures off of my camera I'll put some up. The azaleas were also in full bloom and the Arboretum had a whole big hill covered in them. Unfortunately for us, this giant pink and white hill took some finding and Eric had captured the navigator seat in the car, terrible idea.

The Arboretum has a phone number set up to hear pre-recorded lectures on what you are looking at in whichever garden you're in. Upon leaving the Herb Garden, Brian and I overheard one woman after she saw the sign, say "Oh, maybe if we go to the Visitor's Center we can get one of these cell phone thingys and listen to the tour" I kid you not.

Brian asked Zimm if Martha, who is an excellent potter, potterer, pottist?, would like to make us a sake set. Later that evening I was on the phone with her giving a very vague description of what sort of sake set we wanted. It's very exciting to think that we'll have our own handmade set!

Sunday, I dragged my parents out for a long hard day of scrubbing the sail boat. We were dismayed to see the boat covered in a dark film and a large red puddle in the galley were the rain water had overflowed the bilge during the winter. But much to our surprise and relief, we found that our new slip neighbors, Sue and Ron, not only own a power washer but were more than willing to let us borrow it for most of the day. Dad and I took turns experiencing the joy of actually cleaning with every wave of the nozzle. The boat is cleaner that it's been in 27 years! I'd be very surprised if my parents didn't own their own power washer within the month. My mom was probably imagining all the things that needed power washing around the house the entire ride home.

The boat of course is where I got horribly burned. I brought sunscreen with me in my purse but hadn't put any on by the time the power washer came out, and then I completely forgot. Now, I'm attempting to stave off a bad peeling experience with aloe lotion. Does it actually help?

After the boat was dinner at Brian's with his and my parents and gardening until 10pm. That's right, we gardened until 10pm. It was dark.

We also managed to cut the cable line into the house, oops! But really who buries a cable line only about 2 inches deep in the middle of a back yard? They told Brian last night that they'd come out today for an investigative look but probably won't be able to fix it for 2 weeks. Luckily, we can steal wifi from a neighbor but I'm afraid it's only movies at Brian's until it's fixed.

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April 25, 2007

Clopping along

For those of you who some how missed this record breaking event amid all of the much sadder news reported these days, the Largest Coconut Orchestra was put together on monday to play along with the song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". To hear briefly what it sounds like when over 4,000 people smack coconuts together at once, listen to the NPR coverage here.

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April 24, 2007

Soccer study

Yet another link from Cognitive Daily. If a goal keeper in soccer stands just slightly to one side of the goal there is a good chance that the kicker will aim towards the other corner. Makes sense right? Unfortunately, the keepers tend to not know which side they're on so it doesn't help them decide which way to dive when the ball is shot. What neither cog daily nor the person they're linking to for this study realize is that all the keepers teammates are often in a position to see which side the keeper is standing on just like the kicker. It shouldn't be hard to develop some sort of signal where the coach or teammates let the keeper know which side the kicker is likely to go to, thereby giving the keeper an advantage. Though perhaps the distances involved are so small and the teammates are significantly far enough away so that they too are unable to tell which side the keeper is on. Perhaps they need a tv screen on the bench to watch the zoomed live footage.

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April 23, 2007

What a gorgeous weekend!

Saturday was spent gardening in Brian’s back yard, which I’m afraid my cracked and blistered hands will never forgive me for. But it was indescribably nice to be outside and active after such a long winter.

Saturday night we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Dinner at Filomena’s, very good and expensive food. I had the calamari, pork chops and mushroom risotto and triple chocolate mousse pie. Happily, Brian schlepped along the doggy bag to the various bars afterwards and I’m able to revisit the amazing pork chops and risotto for lunch today. I’m usually not a huge pork chop eater but the veal reduction, olive, and sweet pepper sauce was just too good to pass up.

Sunday morning was spent having brunch with the parents and Gianluca (whose surprise visit got my parents out of a day of boat cleaning). Afterwards, we relaxed and then tackled the peach tree which is threatening a less than impressive yield this year, sigh, and my bike which was still rusting away from the salt and grime it accrued during the drive from Denver to Virginia. Then, I went back to Brian’s for potato planting and Sea Bass cooking. The mustard sauce came out very good and I recommend it if you like that sort of thing, but by all means DO NOT put wax paper in your 450-degree oven! Whoever wrote this recipe must have some terrible practical joking streak. There was fire and wax paper ash everywhere adding much to the excitement of cooking and possibly a little to the taste of the fish and sauce. So if you’re adventurous (and you have a sink within flaming paper tossing range of your oven) perhaps you would like to try the wax paper.

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April 19, 2007

More evidence for smaller portions

(From Cognitive Daily) Here's a study that confirms what many have been saying for a while. The best way to diet is to put less food on your plate in the first place (also, exercise - but that's not covered here).

Now, if only I could stop myself from ordering dishes based solely on whether or not they come with french fries.

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