Sunday, 28 June 2009

What does a scientist look like?

I have still been crafting away to myself. Part of that reason for my quietness is that I decided to cut down on blog reading while working, and have instead allocated blog-reading time in the evening. It means that I have about 300+ unread blog posts which I feel kind of bad about: you all do such fabulous things and I want to read it all! However, I have been really inspired to get some awesome science done, and sometimes some things need to take a back seat. I have thought maybe I should have a science and karate blog to run along side my more crafty blog, and then realised that it would probably eat away more of my time. I think a crafty/baking/gardening blog is far more entertaining for me to maintain anyway.

But on reflecting about crafting/baking and science, I realised recently that when I was a teenager thinking about "what I wanted to be when grew up", I didn't really think that the two could exist. I was invited by my old high school biology teacher to come and give a presentation to a group of Year 9 students and it got me thinking about when I was in Year 9 what I thought about "scientists". I always loved science, but I never thought I could be a "scientist" because:
  • Scientists are very serious people
  • Scientists are rarely female and must be tall. And old.
  • Science is only conducted in a laboratory. Chemists and biologists only look at little things, like chemicals, genes, cells or other microscopic things. Or alternatively, they study the behaviour of exotic animals, out in the middle of nowhere in extreme weather conditions. Physicists sound boring and is only for old, serious, grumpy, balding men.
  • All scientists only wear lab coats and gloves and dorky glasses.
  • All scientists must be super intelligent.
  • If I do science and creative things like baking and sewing, I can't be a serious scientist.
We went on some excursions that only confirmed my stereotypes: we went to a university to do a day course in genetics (at the time, one of my least favourite subjects - so dry!) in flies (boring!) lead by an intimidating old man with greying hair wearing a lab coat, gloves and glasses. He was very serious.

Gib and I being what scientists should be: super smart but boring, labcoat/glasses wearing dorks, who never, ever have any fun.

I finished high school loving science but being confused as to what I could be. All because my concept of what a scientist is was very skewed. I have since learned:
  • Scientists can have a sense of humour.
  • Scientists can be short, female and young.
  • Not all laboratories are stark white with bottles of strange liquids and pipettes everywhere.
  • Not all laboratories are designed for studying little things, but can for studying big, whole things too, and you don't always need to wear a lab coat and protective glasses.
  • Not all scientists are super intelligent.
  • Scientists can also bake, sew, fix cars, take part in contact sports, sky dive, make sculptures, knit, have children and still be scientists.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Cook up to save $$$

We've had to tighten our belts a bit around here, and one of the easiest ways for us to cut back on expenses is to not eat out to so much. I work in a place where there is only one cafe and they charge you $9 for pumpkin soup and a tiny piece of bread, so I always take lunch to work, usually leftovers (rarely sandwiches. 13 years of taking sandwiches to school kind of broke me). But Gib has now realised after several years of me persisting that buying lunch is expensive and he should take his own. So we did a big cook up of three dishes:
The thing I love about doing batch cook ups is that it actually takes less time overall: I can chop up all the onions for all three dishes at the same time, all the carrots, all broccoli... etc, and put them into their respective pots at about the same time, and there are fewer chopping boards to wash.

Total cost per serve - and they are big serves for my hard working man - was $2.42 each!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Eye spy... my perfect invention

Before going on to list my perfect invention, I should mention that I was so excited when I read this week's topic. My dad is a bit of an inventor, and many of my favourite childhood memories are of helping dad with his wacky inventions. The word "invention" conjures up so many hilarious family memories for me. My dad would always make a grand announcement over dinner that he had just come up with a new, amazing invention... and then a few weeks after that we'd always discover that his inventions had already been invented... and usually 10x less elaborate than his. But that never stopped him. My dad was, I think, the only person who was completely in his element during the 1998 Esso Longford gas explosion: he spent the entire two weeks coming up with new ways to heat water for our showers (like buying 50 m of black piping and leaving it on the roof filled with water, for some real "solar hot water"). I was always the guinea pig for his new shower inventions... and it resulted in me having many cold showers!

My dad loves to modify things too and he loves a good bargain. Recently he was after a paper shredder, but didn't want to spend $45 on an electric paper shredder when he could spend just $15 on a manual, hand crank one. Within 15 minutes of him manually shredding paper he was tired of turning the handle and was coming up ways to make it go faster. He made an elaborate attachment so he could fit his power drill (set to ~200 RPM) onto the handle pulled the trigger. It worked great... for about 20 seconds. And then the shredder cracked. And he ended up having to buy the $45 electric shredder.

So... anyway... being my father's daughter, I do like a bit of inventing too. I guess that's how I ended up in science. I have no trouble coming up with hundreds of new, cool and exciting medical inventions. However today as I sit here, just having come back from a weekend long karate training event with a big full of stinky clothes and no motivation, the idea that comes to mind for my perfect invention is a bit closer to home. It involves a device where I could put all of my clothes:
  • It would automatically sorts between clean/'worn once but still ok' and dirty clothes (perhaps via some sort of chemical detection for armpit odours?)
  • It would sort between white/coloured/dark coloured clothes (colour detection)
  • It would puts them in the washing machine and selects the appropriate setting (cold for those clothes that shrink, like my karate uniform)
  • It would then dry them appropriately (again, cooler settings for shrink-prone clothes)
  • It would fold my clothes and place them neatly in a basket. Ultimately it would sort between the folded clothes into three piles: pants, tops and underwear.

This Whirlpool Ultimate Care washing machine is not ultimate enough!

Go visit Cindy to see who else is playing!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Nerd craft... awesome!

I spotted this over at Hoppo Bumpo, who was the lucky winner of a swine flu softie created by clutterpunk! I think this is awesome, with bonus points for accuracy.

While we're at it, I was also sent this by a friend: a free pattern for 'Baby's first DNA model'

I hope you are all flu-free!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Overwhelmed with colour

When I go to a fruit and veg market, I always become overwhelmed with the amazing colour of the produce. The bright oranges and pinks and reds and purples and greens...! I even think my heart sometimes skips a little bit with all of the excitement. So how could I contain myself when I found this amazing bunch of Swiss chard: the bright oranges and reds of the stems with the green and purple leaves. I think the man at the stall thought I was a bit mad when I was saying to Gib "Just look at those colours!". There was also an amazing kohlrabe too, with purples so purple that it almost looked fake (my camera wouldn't do it justice though).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Almond biscotti!

Yesterday I had an itch to bake. I was tired and sleepy, but I really wanted to get into the kitchen. It was Gib's cousin's birthday, and there was a bit of a family gathering and there was an Italian food theme so I decided to try my hand at making biscotti. About half way through the process I realised it was kind of pointless, because right now me and crunchy food, especially seriously crunchy foodstuffs like biscotti, can't be friends. I think my hips and thighs might think it's a good thing though.

I used this biccotti recipe from Joy of Baking and it was actually surprisingly quick and easy to make. By quick I mean that the dough was quick to make, and cutting up the biscotti for the second baking was quick too. Baking time was a while, but if you're already hanging about the house doing other things then it's really not a problem. Dead easy. I thought biscotti would be an arduous task, but I was wrong. And they store so well, I think I might have to remember these again for Christmas time.

Biscotti: Dipped into a nice mug of coffee, it then becomes more edible for those who can't chew

Eye spy...

This week's theme is a challenge, even despite there being a choice of two! There's not much blooming in our garden, or nearby. Lots of green but no bloom. And while I could show you my new, recent scars, even I think they're totally gross and you wouldn't really like to see them either. I had my wisdom teeth out last Monday and the wounds are healing nicely. I am not a huge fan of lots of sweet things, so I was onto solids within a day or so. However there are still some aches and pains in my jaw, but the swelling has gone right down. I can't wait for them to finish with their healing though. Back at work tomorrow.

The only other scars I have are from when I had my tonsils out. Again, these are not photos you want to see. It's funny, but despite all my outdoor adventures and contact sports, I don't have any scars. All of my injuries have been internal ones (like when I fell off a trampoline and tore the muscles in my lower back), with no blood and gore (dislocated thumbs generally don't result in blood), or have healed so neatly I have nothing to show (like the times I've sliced my finger to the bone).

No more trampolines for me, please!

Go check out who else is playing over at Cindy's place!