Category: Chemistry/Science

I did a weekend trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I went to several locations. It was nice that all the places were near each other.   When I purchased the tickets there was a discount to buy 3 tickets at once. The Lookout Mountain attractions were together (Ruby Falls, Rock City, Incline) and so were the Tennessee Aquarium (Aquarium, IMAX Theater, River Gorge Explorer) tickets.

Ruby Falls was the best part of the trip. This is an underground waterfall (see video) that you have to walk through caves to get to. I was surprised how many people were wearing sandals to walk around in a cave with random areas of dripping water. Several people were slipping. Also people had children that obviously didn’t know how to be careful walking.
IMG_2118Rock City was a cool attraction. I almost didn’t go because it seemed like a lot of walking. At the top of the walking trail, you get to a cliff where you can see 7 states. There were 2 bridges to cross between parts of the rocks. One was a solid bridge and the other was a swinging one. You can picture it as one of those bridges in movies that either breaks off at one end or one of the planks break. The worst part about my trip here was that there was a school field trip going on (on a Saturday). Kids were running around getting yelled at by teachers and/or parents.
I was most disappointed by the Incline on Lookout Mountain. Now, I have been on an incline train before in Colorado Springs ( I did this after Rock City and Ruby Falls, which are also on Lookout Mountain. What I didn’t know is that by driving to those 2 places I was at the top of the mountain. I followed the signs to the Incline station thinking it was the bottom station described on the website. You can imagine my surprise when I got on the world’s steepest incline train and it started to go downwards. At the bottom station, there was tons of parking that did not exists at the top. I spent 15+ minutes looking for a parking spot. There was a good little ice cream shop, Clumpies, at the bottom. The ride back up the “mountain” was where you really felt the 73% incline.
20160327_120556River Gorge Explorer was a boat trip that took a couple hours. I couldn’t hear much of what the tour guide was saying. I like ferries so in general it was nice. It rained randomly but that didn’t bother me. Again, there were screaming children. The Tennessee Aquarium was alright. It was split into 2 sections: freshwater and saltwater.   A lot of the same fish were in different tanks. I did get to touch a stingray. I enjoyed the IMAX Theater. For some reason, the movie was narrated by Jim Carrey.


It has been forever since I did a “state of the union” post. So I thought I would cover several topics.
I managed to get a real job starting later this month. For the last few months, I have been working at a tutoring center teaching math and a little science. If you have read my blog before you know I don’t like kids or teaching so it was not fun. But, it was a minor amount of income. With my new job coming up, I will be moving (next week) to Alabama. I know, the South. The good thing is that it’s a good job and related to my chemistry background. The other thing is they are paying for everything. I’m even getting temporary housing for a while so I can be in the area to find a permanent place to live.
Since I had not been working full-time, I had not been making new recipes. I didn’t want to waste money on food I may not like. Once I get settled in my new place, I will start that up again. I know I have some followers that are only here for the cooking adventures. In general, I have been eating healthily so my weight has been around the same. I’ll pay more attention to exercise later.
Reviews are the one thing I have not slacked on. This year I have improved on my Twitter usage. I have been getting a lot more favorites and retweets from people on or associated with the shows I review. Somehow I need to turn that into new followers. Also I am a lot smarter with the media attached to my posts. I’ve backed off YouTube since there are so many copyright issues involved with that. I’m going to start doing more memes and attaching my website to more of my pictures. It should help with my promotion. I expect to soon upgrade my phone (I still have a flip phone) so maybe I can use all these apps out there to make the blog better.
That’s it for the update. My blog anniversary is coming up soon, so more stats on the blog there.

Mole Day: 2014

October 23 is Mole Day in the science world. You can read about Mole Day on this website. Or you can look up activities and crafts suggested by the ACS (American Chemical Society) For non-science people, it just a general awareness day based on a scientific constant that anyone that has taken chemistry has used before, Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23). I may look to see if I can make something today (food wise) to celebrate. Mole Day always sneaks up on me.

Married at First Sight is based on a Danish show where 3 couples are matched up scientifically and meet for the first time on their wedding day. The show is hosted by 4 specialists: sexologist, Dr. Logan Levkoff; spiritualist, Greg Epstein; psychologist, Dr. Joseph Cilona; and sociologist, Dr. Pepper Schwartz. Together, they devise a lengthy questionnaire (one girl said it took her 6 hours), attraction tests (through people’s pictures), and interviews to determine who should be matched up with whom. The series takes the viewer through the selection process, the weddings, honeymoons, and 4 weeks of living together. At the end, the couples have to decide whether to stay married or to divorce. Remember they don’t even learn the name of the future spouse until they are standing at the altar.
I think this show is genius and people should be getting married in this fashion. While watching the casting special several facts were given. Dr. Cilona said divorce rates between non-arranged marriages is 50-60% and for arranged are 4%. People think all arranged marriages are bad but in this case it is good. In normal arranged married, couples are put together by their family members for the benefit of social standing, money, or preserving genetics. Other marriages have a range of reasons as well. Even if you say they marry for “love”, they may not be compatible in other ways. It seems lots of people get married without thinking how they will handle finances and children. Some get married because they were both drunk in Las Vegas. I believe this show takes people’s personalities, physical preferences, and personal/social beliefs into account to find a good match. In normal practice, you would probably have them meet before getting married but it would be a much better start then some random person on the street.
Now for the details of the show; a casting call was done without telling them about the marriage part. There was a room full of people. Once they were told about the marriage stipulation, people started walking out but not all at once. Fifty people said yes the process and then narrowed down to 18. The specialists sat in a room debating who would be the best couples out of the 18 finalists. They discussed people’s pasts and their current lifestyles to pick the final 3 couples.

Final 6:

Monet – 33 – Harlem – Fashion Product Developer
She is a conflicted Christian who wants her husband to be a leader but still respect her in their partnership.
Jason – 27 – Brooklyn – EMT (training to be a Firefighter)/Pro Wrestler
He works the night shift and lives with his cancer-stricken mother. He goes to church but sees it more as a calming, peaceful experience.
Cortney – 26 – NY (from NC) – Makeup Artist
She shares a 1 bedroom apartment with a roommate and their rooms are separated by a curtain. She is also a Burlesque dancer who is looking for her soul mate.
Doug – 31 – NJ – Software Salesman
He moved in with his parents after being laid off but is recently employed and plans to move out. His parents are very involved in the interview. Religiously he considers himself open-minded and does attend services.
Vaughn – 30 – Long Island, NY – Industrial Technician (black)
He asked for the doctor to take her shoes off before entering the home. He was in the Air Force with the Thunderbirds (like we should know what that is). He thinks his demanding job kept him from meeting people. He likes traditional gender roles, curvy women, and is looking for a real commitment.
Jamie – 27 – RN
She grew up with a drug addicted mother who was in a bad relationship. They lived in a trailer park with little money. She took legal guardianship over her 2 younger siblings at age 20. She says she is picky and not willing to open up so quickly. Personality is most important to her and wants to marry into a loving family.

The people were told they had a match less than a week before the scheduled weddings. It looked like all the people had to do was pick out clothing and maybe food but everything else would be arranged.

The Couples (with the specialists’ reasoning):

Jamie & Doug
Both late bloomers, outgoing/social people, Strong family for Jamie to join
Monet & Vaughn
Traditional gender roles, positive (military) father role models, supposedly the highest compatibility
Cortney & Jason
Adventurous (pro wrestling/burlesque), family oriented

Wedding Day

Jamie & Doug
Doug made picture charts about who is in his family for Jamie. Jamie said she wasn’t wowed by him. Uh oh, she is barely looking at him. She said she decided to just go through the motions. She is on the floor after the pictures by herself crying. That’s a good start to the marriage. She feels the experts failed her. After the speeches and some dancing, it looks like Jamie is having a good time.
Monet & Vaughn
Monet’s godfather is walking her down the aisle and saying nice words like this is going to be forever. During the wedding, I think you could have knocked Monet over with a feather.
Cortney & Jason
Cortney’s family is not happy about this whole thing and cannot attend. His mother couldn’t make it to the wedding because of the effects of chemotherapy treatments. The tag team partner is not happy he is doing this experiment because it would take time away from their work. Cortney sent “her future husband” a card and signed as wifey. It turns out Cortney’s father and brother are fire fighters so I guess that is good. She seemed happy about it.
It’s funny that the guy walks in to the room and both families are in there so the girl’s family gets to at least see him before the marriage even if it is moments before. People clapped for the guys as they walk in. Some of the guys introduced themselves to the brides’ families while waiting. After the weddings, the couples had a few minutes to talk to each other and take pictures. There was the reception and the episode ends with the couples leaving to go to their hotel rooms.
I like the show. I think there will be a good amount of drama especially when they have to live together. Someone told me I should try to find the shows in the other countries and see how they compare.

I saw this article on Yahoo talking about a cake that looks like a drop of water. This seems to be the original article. I wish I could make that at home so I can try it. The article states that after 30 min at room temp, the cake disintegrates. How cool is that? It is only available in Japan. I never wanted to visit there and I don’t know if I can justify going there just for this.

Photo via @Berry_summer

Photo via @Berry_summer

I got my Ph.D. today in 2008, which seems like a long time ago. I’m only 75% convinced it was a good idea. I think things would have better if I didn’t graduate right before a recession. For the majority of the time since then I have been employed at the level I should be. Today, I had a phone interview and an on-site interview scheduled for next week so things are still progressing. It would be great if one of those turns into a real job but who knows.
On an unrelated note, I watched this week’s episode of Catfish last night. It was all about a girl, Sammie, who was semi-stalking barely famous actresses/singers on Twitter. She was making up other profiles, promoting their independent movies, and speaking with the women directly online. The main woman, Tracie, said Sammie was so good at promoting of her work that she considered hiring her. That all went downhill when Sammie introduced Tracie to her best friend. Reese. They all talked online. One day Sammie said Reese was in the hospital (Tracie knew Reese had cancer) and later died. A funny thing happened when Reese favorited an RIP tweet. Yep, after she died she still had access to a Twitter account. That was removed and soon after all the past tweets from Reese and Sammie disappeared from Twitter. Other things occurred like funeral videos and creepy poems. With some checking, Tracie confirmed that Reese did not exist. Tracie contacted the show to find out what happened to Sammie and if she was still around under a new name. It was a complex episode. I suggest you watch it.
I was thinking about how I need fans. People should be writing poems and such for me just because. I’m not famous so I don’t know how I can accomplish this. Maybe when I get my next real job I will have time to seek semi-fame.

Future Fame

Not much for me to say about this story on I Fucking Love Science.  It is supposedly quotes from yearbooks using chemical names on the periodic table.  If you look at the symbols of these elements it spells out slightly inappropriate things.  I should start doing that on a daily basis.

I got the chance to go out with Scott Bean Photography to see a Controlled or Prescribed Burning in Kansas on Thursday night. I wasn’t too close to the flames but they were moving toward me slowly. It was dark and afterwards my clothes smelled like smoke. I wanted to post a video of what I saw (end of post) and Scott Bean Photography has much better and more professional pictures at his website.
Controlled Burn - Ashes

This photo is next to the barbed wire fence that had been burned earlier. The only reason you can see it is because the flash lit it up. When you walk over the burned parts little puffs of ash would come up from the ground. At times the air is smoky on days that someone is burning and of course there is controversy over air quality. There is really no danger of accidents because the fire departments or someone like that are aware of the burnings and even supervise them. Generally, this process is rejuvenating the prairie and getting rid of unwanted plants (weeds, trees, etc.). I say that from what I’ve been told and I am in no way an expert. I just live here at the moment.

I decided to bake some mini pecan pies for Pi Day.  Those are pecans with food coloring.

Mini Pecan Pies

I don’t know how it is that I never bake a pie on this day.

Pi Day


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