mysterious...
A DIALOGUE WITH SARAH, AGED 3: IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT IF YOUR DAD IS A CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR, ASKING “WHY” CAN BE DANGEROUS By Stephen McNeil
SARAH: Daddy, were you in the shower?
DAD: Yes, I was in the shower.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: I was dirty. The shower gets me clean.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why does the shower get me clean?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: Because the water washes the dirt away when I use soap.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why do I use soap?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: Because the soap grabs the dirt and lets the water wash it off.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why does the soap grab the dirt?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: Because soap is a surfactant.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why is soap a surfactant?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: That is an EXCELLENT question. Soap is a surfactant because it forms water-soluble micelles that trap the otherwise insoluble dirt and oil particles.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why does soap form micelles?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: Soap molecules are long chains with a polar, hydrophilic head and a non-polar, hydrophobic tail. Can you say ‘hydrophilic’?
SARAH: Aidrofawwic
DAD: And can you say ‘hydrophobic’?
SARAH: Aidrofawwic
DAD: Excellent! The word ‘hydrophobic’ means that it avoids water.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why does it mean that?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: It’s Greek! ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘phobic’ means ‘fear of’. ‘Phobos’ is fear. So ‘hydrophobic’ means ‘afraid of water’.
SARAH: Like a monster?
DAD: You mean, like being afraid of a monster?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: A scary monster, sure. If you were afraid of a monster, a Greek person would say you were gorgophobic.
(pause)
SARAH: (rolls her eyes) I thought we were talking about soap.
DAD: We are talking about soap.
(longish pause)
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why do the molecules have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: Because the C-O bonds in the head are highly polar, and the C-H bonds in the tail are effectively non-polar.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Because while carbon and hydrogen have almost the same electronegativity, oxygen is far more electronegative, thereby polarizing the C-O bonds.
SARAH: Why?
DAD: Why is oxygen more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen?
SARAH: Yes.
DAD: That’s complicated. There are different answers to that question, depending on whether you’re talking about the Pauling or Mulliken electronegativity scales. The Pauling scale is based on homo- versus heteronuclear bond strength differences, while the Mulliken scale is based on the atomic properties of electron affinity and ionization energy. But it really all comes down to effective nuclear charge. The valence electrons in an oxygen atom have a lower energy than those of a carbon atom, and electrons shared between them are held more tightly to the oxygen, because electrons in an oxygen atom experience a greater nuclear charge and therefore a stronger attraction to the atomic nucleus! Cool, huh?
(pause)
SARAH: I don’t get it.
DAD: That’s OK. Neither do most of my students.
First, you have to ask yourself if you are genius…

First, you have to ask yourself if you are genius…

good to note that there are new discoveries….

good to note that there are new discoveries….

psydoctor8:

You have a brain that makes you think that you think.
And it’s a pretty messed up trick, but the lies we tell ourselves may be more important than we realize. Experiments have shown that our brains are constantly deceiving us, almost every second of the day. We can’t totally trust our memory, our perception differs constantly on all kinds of levels, we make up reasons why we believe what we think… meanwhile we don’t even know what consciousness is exactly, but we buy every bit of it.
I freely admit, I was not interested in perception, illusion, memory or attention studies prior to realizing it’s all a form of self-deception. The obvious question then is why do we lie to ourselves? In a recent chat with my new lab director, we touched on some evolutionary reasons that sound like a good starting point, as ya do when you have such questions. 
So for the next couple of weeks, in hopes of coming up with an experiment:
I’ll be looking at this 3 pound blob of gooey jello-like mass of tissue….a things that is truly ours, makes us who we are, possibly the seed of our soul and I’ll be asking why it lies to us and how can I manipulate that. 

psydoctor8:

You have a brain that makes you think that you think.

And it’s a pretty messed up trick, but the lies we tell ourselves may be more important than we realize. Experiments have shown that our brains are constantly deceiving us, almost every second of the day. We can’t totally trust our memory, our perception differs constantly on all kinds of levels, we make up reasons why we believe what we think… meanwhile we don’t even know what consciousness is exactly, but we buy every bit of it.

I freely admit, I was not interested in perception, illusion, memory or attention studies prior to realizing it’s all a form of self-deception. The obvious question then is why do we lie to ourselves? In a recent chat with my new lab director, we touched on some evolutionary reasons that sound like a good starting point, as ya do when you have such questions. 

So for the next couple of weeks, in hopes of coming up with an experiment:

I’ll be looking at this 3 pound blob of gooey jello-like mass of tissue….a things that is truly ours, makes us who we are, possibly the seed of our soul and I’ll be asking why it lies to us and how can I manipulate that. 

So therefore, me also…

So therefore, me also…

personalfantasia:

Two fossil skeletons of early humans appear to mark a halfway stage between primitive “ape-men” and our direct ancestors. A year of detailed study has revealed that the skeletons are a hodgepodge of anatomical features: some bones look almost human while others are chimpanzee-like.

unknownskywalker:

Fifty New Exoplanets Discovered
Astronomers using ESO’s exoplanet hunter HARPS at La Silla Observatory in Chile have today announced a rich haul of more than 50 new exoplanets, including 16 super-Earths. This is the largest number of such planets ever announced at one time.
By studying the properties of all the HARPS planets found so far, the team have now improved the estimate of how likely it is that a star like the Sun is host to low-mass planets (as opposed to gaseous giants). They find that about 40% of such stars have at least one planet less massive than Saturn. The majority of exoplanets of Neptune mass or less appear to be in systems with multiple planets.
One of the recently announced newly discovered planets, HD 85512 b, is estimated to be only 3.6 times the mass of the Earth and is located at the edge of the habitable zone — a narrow zone around a star where liquid water, and perhaps even life, could potentially exist.
These results make astronomers confident that they are close to discovering other small rocky habitable planets around stars similar to our Sun. In the coming ten to twenty years we should have the first list of potentially habitable planets in the Sun’s neighbourhood.
Watch video »
Image: Artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the Sun-like star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela.

unknownskywalker:

Fifty New Exoplanets Discovered

Astronomers using ESO’s exoplanet hunter HARPS at La Silla Observatory in Chile have today announced a rich haul of more than 50 new exoplanets, including 16 super-Earths. This is the largest number of such planets ever announced at one time.

By studying the properties of all the HARPS planets found so far, the team have now improved the estimate of how likely it is that a star like the Sun is host to low-mass planets (as opposed to gaseous giants). They find that about 40% of such stars have at least one planet less massive than Saturn. The majority of exoplanets of Neptune mass or less appear to be in systems with multiple planets.

One of the recently announced newly discovered planets, HD 85512 b, is estimated to be only 3.6 times the mass of the Earth and is located at the edge of the habitable zone — a narrow zone around a star where liquid water, and perhaps even life, could potentially exist.

These results make astronomers confident that they are close to discovering other small rocky habitable planets around stars similar to our Sun. In the coming ten to twenty years we should have the first list of potentially habitable planets in the Sun’s neighbourhood.

Watch video »

Image: Artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the Sun-like star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela.

Wrestling…

Wrestling…

When this will stop? AHHHH…

When this will stop? AHHHH…

Run run run as fast as you can….

Run run run as fast as you can….