Sunday November 30, 2003

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors

The terra-cotta warriors buried near the tomb of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, present a fierce challenge—to modern-day chemists. Since the site's discovery near Xi'an, China, in 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,500 of the life-size figures. But once the warriors see the light of day after more than 2,200 years of burial, their paint disappears, sometimes within minutes of exposure.

With an estimated 8,000 more figures still buried, scientists have been looking for ways to lock the paint in place. Now, a group of chemists in Germany has a technique that just might work.

Although the terra-cotta warriors excavated so far have lost their original color coats, a novel restoration technique could preserve the paint layer on the thousands of warriors that remain in the ground.

[c.f. The March of History: Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors, Alexandra Goho, Science News Online, Week of Nov. 29, 2003


What's even more interesting (to me :-) is that this article's abstract arrived in my mailbox yesterday, the day after we watched the latest Lara Croft movie Tomb Raider II: The Cradle of Life. (Yes, I enjoyed the movie very much). The terra-cotta warriors are featured in a "bit part" in the movie. Synchronicity strikes again.

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 30 Nov, 13:08 Pacific

Saturday November 29, 2003

Cat Show

We went to a TICA Show (Fog City Cat Club) in Pleasanton CA today. There must have been three aisles of Bengals! Lots of Bengal kittens too!

There were some splendid Maine Coon representatives including a cousin of Squirrel's (Holdermaine's Prowler) who is a Very Handsome boycat! He's a red-shaded silver (w/o white) so looks much the same as Squirrel except he has apricot tabby-marked feet)-- at 18 months he's a BIG boy with enormous feet. He will be extraordinary when he's full grown; he looks like he will have an awesome ruff. He's being shown as an alter. We've met his mama and she's a stunner so we can see where he gets his looks! ...
       Continue reading "Cat Show"

Cat Show ( in category Nature/Cats ) - posted at Sat, 29 Nov, 22:58 Pacific

Friday November 28, 2003

Shop till you drop

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Or, so goes the quote. The Day After Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

The Friday 5 for this week focuses on shopping.

  1. Do you like to shop? Why or why not?
  2. What was the last thing you purchased?
  3. Do you prefer shopping online or at an actual store? Why?
  4. Did you get an allowance as a child? How much was it?
  5. What was the last thing you regret purchasing?
       Continue reading "Shop till you drop"

Shop till you drop ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Fri, 28 Nov, 14:24 Pacific

Thursday November 27, 2003

Turkey Day reprise

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the words of Arlo Guthrie, we "had another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat". We had 6 people again, this time two different friends (brothers that Rich has known since he was about 8 years old). We had run out of dark meat, so we cooked 3 new turkey thighs; we still had some turkey breast, however. We cooked new squash and cauliflower, made another cranberry fruit salad, brought out the leftover corn and sauerkraut, and added a spinach salad. This time the pie was apple (one crust, no sugar added) and as I had always guessed, Fuji apples do make a splendid apple pie!

A Good Time was had by all. We hope your Thanksgiving dinner was as good.

Turkey Day reprise ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 27 Nov, 22:00 Pacific

Wednesday November 26, 2003

List Five Things...

The Friday 5 for the week of Nov. 21 was tough. It took me a long time to think of answers, and once again, I considered not doing it, but decided to post anyway. These are an excellent thought excercise.

  1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.
  2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.
  3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.
  4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).
  5. List five things you do that help you relax.
       Continue reading "List Five Things..."

List Five Things... ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 26 Nov, 12:38 Pacific

Saturday November 22, 2003

Turkey Day

We celebrated Thanksgiving a week early. My sister came to visit from Dallas, TX, for the weekend. My parents are also visiting for a week and a half (they'll be here next Thursday when we will have Turkey Day reprise).

We invited a friend to join us for dinner, so we had 6 people. We had turkey of course (1 breast and 4 thighs; wings don't have enough meat and legs never did anything for me) - we had just about enough dark meat (even a little left over)! We had Pennsylvania Dutch dried corn., baked acorn squash, baked yams, a little bit of bread stuffing, broccoli, pork & sauerkraut, and cauliflower with cheese sauce. We had a cranberry fruit salad (much like my favorite Jello salad but leave out the gelatin and put in applesauce and boy is it yummy). We ended with two kinds of sugar-free crustless pumpkin pie and whipped cream for any who wanted it.

The turkey wasn't stuffed but we were!

Turkey Day ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Sat, 22 Nov, 10:54 Pacific

Saturday November 15, 2003

Adjectively speaking

adjective n. Abbr. a. or adj.
The part of speech that modifies a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase.

The Friday 5 for this week asks for 5 descriptions, using only adjectives. Kinda fun, this one.

  1. Using one adjective, describe your current living space.
  2. Using two adjectives, describe your current employer.
  3. Using three adjectives, describe your favorite hobby/pasttime.
  4. Using four adjectives, describe your typical day.
  5. Using five adjectives, describe your ideal life.

       Continue reading "Adjectively speaking"

Adjectively speaking ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sat, 15 Nov, 15:14 Pacific

Sunday November 9, 2003

Love it or hate it

The Friday 5 for this week addresses various likes and dislikes.

  1. What food do you like that most people hate?
  2. What food do you hate that most people love?
  3. What famous person, whom many people may find attractive, is most unappealing to you?
  4. What famous person, whom many people may find unappealing, do you find attractive?
  5. What popular trend baffles you?
       Continue reading "Love it or hate it"

Love it or hate it ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Sun, 09 Nov, 14:12 Pacific

Saturday November 8, 2003

Powers of Ten

One of the coolest coffee table books of all time is Powers of Ten.
Back in 1968, designers Charles and Ray Eames made a 10-minute documentary film, titled Powers of Ten , showing what the universe looks like at different scales. Philip and Phylis Morrison were scientific advisors on the movie, which Philip narrated, and it was chosen in 1998 for preservation in the National Film Registry, which selects "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant motion pictures" for preservation. The Morrisons' book translates the film onto paper.

Starting with a view of a billion light-years, the book (like the film) moves inward, with each page being at one-tenth the scale of the previous one. In 25 steps, you're looking at a picnic by the shores of Lake Michigan, then plunging into a human hand, down through the cells inside it, the DNA inside the cells, the atoms inside the DNA, and the subatomic particles inside the atom. By the time you've gone a total of 40 steps, you're in a world of quantum uncertainty.

There is no better guide to the relative sizes of things in the universe, and no better teacher about what exponential, scientific notation really means. --Mary Ellen Curtin

[c.f. editorial review for the book version of Powers of Ten by Philip Morrison, Phylis Morrison, Office of Charles & Ray Eames ]. Also available on DVD.

Now, the Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida has recapitulated Powers of Ten as a Java applet (also available as a Windows screen saver).

View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.

Java works so nicely on Mac OS X :-)

Powers of Ten ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 08 Nov, 18:46 Pacific

Tuesday November 4, 2003

Open Sesame!

Do you have trouble opening vacuum-sealed jar lids? (If not, you're probably one of the lucky few!). We just discovered there's a trick to it (if you don't need to re-use the lids) and we're happy to share! ...
       Continue reading "Open Sesame!"

Open Sesame! ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 04 Nov, 23:54 Pacific

Saturday November 1, 2003

November is for Nuts

November isn't just for turkeys anymore.

November has been designated Georgia Pecan month. Is pecan pie a traditional part of your Thanksgiving feast? Add pecans to your stuffing this year! (I've always added almonds and hazelnuts; pecans would be tasty too). Or... try my family's recipe for cranberry gelatin salad, a tasty and light side dish to complement your Turkey Day dinner.

November is also Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Yummmm. (National Peanut Month is in March). I'm not sure how to add peanut butter to Thanksgiving... maybe some peanut butter cookies? Or peanut butter-stuffed celery as an appetizer! If you live near a Safeway store, try their house brand "100% natural peanut butter". It's our favorite.

Have a nutty month.

November is for Nuts ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sat, 01 Nov, 12:32 Pacific