Saturday, August 8, 2015

checking in

A few random thoughts...

1) Up until last week, I thought the lyrics to The Killers song "Human" were:

Are we human? Or are we dancer?

Like I thought it was this great ode to dancing. Yeah, I'm not human, I'm dancer! Yay dance! Turns out the actual words are:

Are we human? Or are we denser? 

Which does make a little more sense, I suppose.

NEVER MIND. It IS dancer, and I clearly am unable to find reputable lyric websites.

2) The other day I read this review article about chemical gardens, which are these alien plant-looking mineral formations. It turned out my lab had everything needed to make some. So I did, and I posted about it on Twitter, and a million (okay like 40) people retweeted it, and I felt so cool.

What you do is make a sodium silicate solution (which you can do at home by crushing up some silica beads like you find in the do-not-eat packets in shoes or electronics and mixing it with lye) and then drop in some metal salts (which you can buy on Amazon, like everything else in existence). Pictured above left to right the metal salts used are: copper(II) chloride, cobalt(II) chloride, zinc chloride, and iron(II) chloride. Different metals lead to different colors and different growth patterns. Chemistry is so great. 

3) Speaking of how great chemistry is, here's a piece by Oliver Sacks that spells it out a lot more beautifully than I can. As he is dying of metastatic cancer, he finds comfort in the physical sciences:

"Times of stress throughout my life have led me to turn, or return, to the physical sciences, a world where there is no life, but also no death.

 And now, at this juncture, when death is no longer an abstract concept, but a presence — an all-too-close, not-to-be-denied presence — I am again surrounding myself, as I did when I was a boy, with metals and minerals, little emblems of eternity."

Little emblems of eternity. I love that.

4) I started listening to podcasts on my walk to/from lab. #muchculture. I am loving Invisibilia and Radiolab, especially this episode. Parents of a baby who died a few days after being born donated his body to medical research, and a little while later, his mom tried to find out exactly where his organs went and what they were used for. It made me cry and feel proud to be a scientist.

5) Aaron and I were recently debating over buying an ice cream machine because it seemed like a fun new cooking adventure we should try out. And then out of the blue, Wendy sent us one because she is the best! It turns out making ice cream is super easy and delicious. We've tried salted caramel and mint chip, and basically if you come to our house for a party or dinner in the future I'M MAKING YOU ICE CREAM!

So...that's how things are going around here lately. What are you loving these days? What else should I be reading/listening to/eating? I mean besides ice cream, obviously.


Matt Chandler said...

It is totally are we human or are we dancer (at least that's what the song they are coving says)

K Puls said...

Ugh, you're right, Matt. I hang my head in shame at my lack of research skillz.

Wendy Pulsipher said...

Your chemical gardens are FABULOUS!!! Love you post & LOVE your ice cream recipes!

Matt Chandler said...

I was confused too -- they didn't cover anyone. A great original.

amanda said...

Yay for ice cream! And I like the garden and the quote!