Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Musings of a Sci-Fi junkie.

Distance used to matter. Since the internet though, not so much. Now we're just a tweet away from being connected to the rest of the world. It's amazing! Virtual networking. And this is just the beginning. What great wonder awaits us just around the corner? I imagine... we'll be almost telepathic. Maybe we'll do away with computer screens and keyboards. Maybe we will connect to the rest of the world via our minds directly. Sounds all Matrixy, but in the movie it was just a lie, something evil. It was like dreaming. And it sounds like the Borg from Star Trek. But if we were at peace and people could walk around and function in a world where they were are all virtually connected, yet still retaining their individuality, immagine! How will that change us? Will it be a bad thing, or will it be extraordinary? Human virtual telepaths. Hmmm... don't I remember something similar on DS9? Or was it RogerLeloup's comic Yoko Tsuno?

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Glorious Dawn - A Symphony of Science

The techno quality of this music video might not be for everyone to enjoy (freaks my bf a little) but if you're a fan of Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking or even just science in general, you might enjoy this as much as I do.

Watch more music videos from a Symphony of Science here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Supercooled Water

After a colleague sent me a link on the subject, my boyfriend and I spent an evening watching YouTube videos about supercooled water. The principle is that you can cool water bellow its freezing point without it actually turning into ice. But once disturbed, it causes a chain reaction and freezes instantly, as you can see in the following video:

It's so cool, I had to try! I didn't know about this property of water. It's amazing to see that you can still learn from something that we use -and take for granted- every day. And it's a simple experiment too: all you need is a bottle of water, a freezer and a timer. Timing is extremely crucial because if you leave it too long, ice will form. And if you don't leave it in the freezer long enough, it won't work.

Attempt #7:
This is my third success. It wasn't as good as the other two times because the chain reaction was a little fuzzy. When I shook the bottle, you can see some slush being thrown around and the freezing didn't spread quite evenly. For this experiment I keep reusing the same bottle over and over again. I just make sure that there is no ice present in the bottle when I put it in the freezer as the water will form ice around those "seeds". I'm using a 1 L bottle of unopened filtered water. So far, I've had the most success keeping it in the freezer for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Can't tell ya how cold it is in there though. Obviously, different freezers and other variants will produce different data. I'm hoping to make a video where you can see the same chain reaction as you can see in the YouTube video above.

After the cooling time, I admit I might've taken the bottle out of the freezer a little too slow! It does take a bit of... persuation for the reaction to start. I suspect the colder the water is, the faster it freezes.

Once I'll have this down to a (ahem) science, I'll make a video using the glass of water with ice cubes. What happens in that instance is that the supercooled water freezes instantly as it touches the ice. The point of contact is where the chain reaction begins. This is the reason why the water needs to be free of particules. Even bubbles of water can help ice form crystals.

Attempt #8:
I think I'm starting to understand what I need to do instead of shaking and beating the bottle! Something about the top part of the bottle..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crime scene photos

Exhibit "A":
A bag of cat treats.

The back of the bag: as you can see, the bag was ripped apart and only a few crumbles were left behind. Further forensic analysis might be needed to uncover the culprit.

The main suspects:

Froufrou... (whom, in my opinion, looks guilty as hell)

...and Stella. (A little upset that I woke her up.)

The suspects have decided to remain silent until an attorney of their choice can speak in their defense. Very suspicious indeed.

Update: Yup! It was Froufrou alright! Sorry Froufrou, no more treats until I do the groceries, because someone ate them all already.