"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flu Precautions

The best advice I've heard thus far - avoid taking the subway
- you know the one between the U.S. and Mexico...or something like
that. (He can't help it...can he? He helps me remember to pray for
President Obama...)
"At 7:05 a.m. Thursday, Biden was asked on NBC's "Today" show what advice he would give to a family member who was considering flying to Mexico.
"I would tell members of my family — and I have — I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now," Biden said. "It's not that it's going to Mexico. It's you're in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft." Biden went on to say he wouldn't suggest that they ride the subway either." (AP News)

How We'll Take Care of the Peeps Next Year

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Peeps redux

I was asked today what those awful blobs were in my beakers. I forget sometimes not everyone is in on my yearly Peeps experiments. Now my students know when Easter rolls around each year it is time to torture the poor Peeps. You know - those awful "marshmallow" things. I say "marshmallow" because I am not convinced they are actually made of any identifiable food substance. If they won't dissolve in 18 Molar Sulfuric Acid (that will eat a hole in your coffee table - or your hand should you be so unlucky as to let it get on you!) then I can just imagine it happily bobbing along in your stomach which is about 1 Molar Hydrochloric Acid - with enzymes of course. But this year I did make up a solution that was a mock copy of gastric acid of sorts - HCl with enzymes tossed in. It did NOTHING to the happy little Peep.

However - one Peep I did NOT publish photos of because it almost did all of us at the school in with it's destruction - Nitric Acid. My Biology Class talked me into trying Nitric Acid. I have never before tried a Peep in Nitric Acid. I almost did not this year but poured about 1/4th of an inch in a pyrex beaker and put a Peep in. For 1 and 1/2 hours it sat there and while it did melt just a bit - nothing really spectacular happened. We were a but disappointed - yet again. I sat it back on that demo table with the beaker of Acetone and Phenol.

In came my Physical Science class and we were into lecture mode when about 20-30 minutes into my lecture 2 of the girls started pointing and saying, "Mrs. Brock!! Mrs. Brock" I looked back to see what was so important and brownish gas was pouring from the nitric acid/Peep beaker and to say it smelled bad was a very mild understatement. I thought briefly we might all die. I told the class to empty and head to the kitchen while I took the beaker outside. I came back inside to get baking soda (to neutralize the Nitric acid) and prayed that I didn't go back outside to find birds falling from the sky into the parking lot. It was that bad. We had to air the classroom for about 2 hours. BUT it dissolved the Peep totally EXCEPT for the EYES. Nothing will dissolve Peep eyes. However this is the FIRST thing I've tried in some 6 years of doing this that has actually worked. But I am NEVER repeating this again. I do not know what is exactly in the middle of the Peeps but when the Nitric Acid ate through the top layer of the Peep and got to the middle boy did it ever react. We might be able to destroy the Taliban with that stuff!

Oh, by the way, by the time I get through with the experiments each year almost always the students have sworn of ever eating Peeps. We just make things with them instead.

Pax, Chris

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

I like doing this demo every year but I do it outside (it does smell a bit and since fire is involved and since I've set off the fire alarms once too many times I've been banned from
using fire in the building...). Ammonium Dichromate is orange and I should have taken a
"before" photo (sorry!). Once it starts burning (my little wick ignited it quickly) the powder
makes it look very much like a volcano and this sequence of photos does not do it justice.
The final greenish powder is very fluffy and easily blown away so care must be taken not
to be in an area exposed to wind (or children who feel compelled to blow in the pile of ash!)

Chemistry Demos

Manganese Dioxide and Hydrogen Peroxide (35%) in a PYREX flask. (The foil just makes
it look well more like a "genie in a bottle"). The catalyst (MnO) causes the O2 in the
peroxide to release extremely rapidly as steam (yes, that is steam) and it is quite
spectacular. Think Old Faithful. I would not do this at home for fear of burns.
We are nearing the end of the Chemistry book and talking about energy of chemical
reactions (enthalpy). And the things that might cause reactions to speed up. A catalyst
such as MnO definitely qualifies.

The Flower Bed at Grandma's House

We went to Elamville this weekend to visit my mother in law's old country home.
My grandchildren love to visit the country - where they can run freely and play - they have
a tire swing and woods to explore and loving relatives. And ice cream cones. What more
could you want in life? So as we were going into the house Darcy, age 4, says, "Oh, good!
They are blooming!" (Now, these are plastic flowers - I don't know if you can tell that from
the photo. I was wondering why on earth they were in the flower bed!).
Everyone else smiled or laughed. Later they told me that on their last trip down (I was
not with them then - daddy was still sick) Darcy had "planted them".

And they are STILL blooming. I'm SO glad too!

smiles, Pax

PS This trip she attempted to dig to China but didn't quite make it. The soil is very sandy down in south Alabama and is easy to dig in. Our area is very hard to dig in so the kids love it there
for that reason too.

Jeremiah (and daddy)

Random Grandkid photos

My little "angels" - Jacob and Jeremiah (saying "cheese"). They had been painting
so I had tee shirts on them. When they were handed ice cream cones, I decided to
leave the paint smocks on them and then decided to get a photo.

Swinging in the Country


Monday, April 20, 2009

Darcy Finds a Lizard

We visited Duane's boyhood home in the country this weekend. Darcy loves to
explore the country. She also found a snake but, thank goodness, did not pick it up!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Peeps 2009

Since one of the listed ingredients of Peeps is gelatin, we decided to try phenol. The only phenol I had available was in Chloraseptic spray (1.4%). So we sprayed Mr. Peep down well and mixed
more in water. He seemed totally unaffected by all of this. Four hours later we just removed him and wished him well.

More Peeps 2009

The "stuff" in the bottom of the glass is a dissolved styrafoam cup as I wanted
to demonstrate to the class that acetone dissolves styrafoam quite readily. But it does
nothing to a Peep. The little green Peep happily bobbed along for four hours with no
apparent harm.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Easter service at church was nice - Matthew played and the choir did a Easter music performance. Then we all went to Matthew and Nicole's for a cookout and an Easter Egg
hunt for the kids. All of Nicole's family was there (following her dad's birthday party the
night before many were there from out of town.).
Now, Darcy was all about hunting eggs. Jeremiah caught on quickly. BUT when told to
go hunt for eggs Jacob simply went inside to the refrigerator and pointed at the eggs. No
one could convince him those did not count and to go look OUTSIDE for special eggs. He
thought everyone was nuts. (There is one photo above of Jacob and Goose the dog - Jacob
without basket sort of gazing around like "eggs? what eggs?"). So Darcy and Jeremiah found
lots of eggs. Maybe next year. Now that I think about it I do wonder how we ever
convinced Michael to hunt for eggs. He tends to be very literal about things too.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

About the End of Time

"About the Time of the End, a body of men will be raised up
who will turn their attention to the Prophecies, and insist
upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition"

Sir Isaac Newton

The Hand of God?

(gas off of the Chanda Nebula) First we had the "Eye of God" (scroll down) and now this
shot. Wow!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Twins are Three

Cars. cars. cars - that was what they wanted and they got them. I think they were
satisfied. (They got clothes too - which made mommy happy but got only a glance
from the boys.). Nonnie and Grandma enjoyed their great-grandsons (and both
sets of grandparents did too.). Matthew got his new guitar out to play us a tune
and Darcy had to accompany him on her bugle (she is really playing the thing -
I cannot get more than a "blart..." out of that bugle - it is Matthew's Boy Scout bugle
and it has been around a long time now. She was actually playing a few notes.)
Later she asked me, "CC, how does a butterfly make a chrysalis?" (I know it is the
caterpillar and I'm not sure how exactly she phrased it now but she got the pronunciation
of chrysalis right. I got tongue tied giving her an answer. Did I mention she is four?
I see lots of trips to McWane Science Museum in the future. And she had a painting of
an Octupus to give to her Nonnie.)