Do You Notice Very Tiny Wildflower “Weeds”?

Uncategorized
[caption id="attachment_29051" align="alignright" width="480"] Elephant's Foot, E. Tomentosus. Image by Author [/caption]Elephantopus tomentosus, an aster, is a lovely, if tiny, U.S. wildflower. But it is not the only miniature beauty among the wildflowers. Blue Curls - A Truly Beautiful Wildflower "Weed" It is outclassed (for me) by Trichostema dichotomum or Blue Curls. In fact, there are many attractive tiny wildflowers. Some are even more beautiful than their larger cousins. Sadly, most consider them mere weeds – mower fodder. Elephant's Foot E. tomentosus is commonly known as "Elephant's Foot". Is elephant's foot really a weed? Well, yes. After all the definition of a weed is, "anything that grows where it is not wanted". An orchid can be a weed. [caption id="attachment_29057" align="alignright" width="400"] Blue Curls Image © Arthur Haines, Native Plant…
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Photography: Reflection in the Eye of a Canary

Forensics, Photography
[caption id="attachment_29029" align="alignright" width="480"] Our subject... Joe Canary.[/caption]Recently I downloaded a beautiful photograph featuring a canary. I use it as a wallpaper on my desktop computer. There's just something about a canary and the color yellow. In addition, included in the photo is a peculiarly attractive shade of its contrast color, blue. I'd had this photo for quite some time when the bird's eye caught my attention. I wondered: Can I make out what the bird was seeing by examining the reflection in it's eye? Image Manipulation So I cropped the image of the bird to close in on its eye (see image). The reflection in the eye was somewhat rectangular. It featured some pink and some blue regions. I zoomed in further in an attempt to recognize the regions.…
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An Old Man Furthers His Education

Education
[caption id="attachment_28934" align="alignright" width="400"] Vincent Summers[/caption]As a child, I enjoyed science. I decided I'd like to be an astronomer. My mother, always the practical one, told me "You can't make a living at astronomy; choose something else." I chose chemistry. Mom had a friend whose husband worked for Union Carbide. He made lots of money. It's true he was not a chemist, yet Mom approved. So for my 8th grade career report for Mrs. Best, I wrote of my desire to be a chemist. Education: High School Days Very soon after I entered high school, I met a fellow who moved from Canada, named Charles. He was a year or so older than I. He had his own basement laboratory. It was pretty decent. We lived near each other, so…
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Hydrofluoric Acid: A Weak Acid – Yet It Dissolves Glass?

Chemistry
On the far right side of the Periodic Table of the Elements is listed the halogens, which include fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. In order of ascending atomic weight we have: fluorine and chlorine gases, bromine liquid, and iodine and astatine solids. Each exhibits a –1 valence. Each attaches to a single atom of hydrogen to form an anhydrous acid. Most of these acids are considered very strong with the exception of hydrofluoric acid. It is comparably a relatively weak acid. This is the case, even though hydrofluoric is the only acid stored in polyethylene bottles because it dissolves glass. Since it can eat its way through glass, how can hydrofluoric acid be considered a weak acid? Hydrofluoric Acid Attacks Glass While hydrofluoric acid is usually written HF, for…
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Structure of Hydrazoic Acid and Its Azide Derivatives

Chemistry
When we think of nitrogen and hydrogen, we are likely to think first of ammonia, NH3. But what of hydrazoic acid? Hydrazoic acid is HN3. It looks to be the opposite of ammonia. What is the chemical structure of hydrazoic acid and its azide derivatives? And why are they of importance to us? Valence Consideration When we think of hydrogen, we think of a +1 valence, though at times it is assigned a –1 valence. Similarly, nitrogen ordinarily assumes either a +3 or a +5 valence. Both ammonia and hydrazoic acid exhibit a +3 valence for nitrogen. All of this is well and good, but what is the structure of ammonia? of hydrazoic acid and the azides? In both instances, we may be surprised that what we imagine may not…
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[12]Annulene and Two Simple Derivatives – Aromaticity?

Chemistry
Complex chemicals possess names almost equally complex. Occasionally, a simpler nomenclature can be employed. For basic aromatic compounds, composed of a ring of alternating single and double bonded carbon atoms in a ring, the name [n]annulene has been is commonly used. Examples, including [12]annulene are given below. Aromaticity We won't go into the theory behind aromaticity. What we will do is lay out the basic factors that students use to determine if a compound is aromatic. 1. The ring is composed of conjugated single and double bonds (...−C=C−C=...). 2. The molecule is relatively flat. 3. The number of available π-electrons equals 4n + 2 (a Hückel number), where n is generally a small positive integer.¹ 4. Crowding does not severely limit or prevent aromaticity. 5. Ring size affects aromaticity, but…
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What’s the Difference Between Wax and Paraffin?

Chemistry, Language
[caption id="attachment_28810" align="alignright" width="480"] Not paraffin... Bees wax candles.[/caption]What's the Difference Between Wax and Paraffin? Waxes and paraffin would seem to refer to the same thing, and perhaps to some extent, the words are used interchangeably. In fact, paraffin is sometimes called paraffin wax or petroleum wax. Nevertheless, technically, they are different, and the difference should interest us. Let's begin with what a wax is. Waxes Waxes are esters1 of a long-chain alcohol2 (12 to 32 carbon atoms) with a fatty acid. One example of a long-chain alcohol is lauryl alcohol (CH3(CH2)11OH). But what is a fatty acid? A fatty acid is (typically) a carboxylic acid that has a long carbon chain3. One example is palmitic acid (CH3(CH2)14COOH). Palmitic acid is a saturated4 fatty acid. Some fatty acids are unsaturated.…
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What is Umami? What Food Does It Bring to Mind?

Biology, Food
[caption id="attachment_28768" align="alignright" width="480"] Chinese foods are famous for being umami rich.[/caption]During my early years, the tongue was believed to have a variety of taste receptors nicknamed taste buds located or "mapped out" at different parts of the tongue. There were four: sweet and sour, salt and bitter. These basic tastes can be compared to the primary colors, red, yellow and blue. Any color we can come up with can be derived from some combination of red, yellow and blue. But with regard to the basic tastes, could it be there are actually more than four? Enter Umami A new variety of taste bud is postulated. From the Japanese word umami, roughly equivalent to the English savory, this new taste bud has been associated with the flavor of meat and…
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Hemoglobin A1C: Reason for the Test and the Science Behind It

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_28695" align="alignright" width="480"] Red blood cells or erythrocytes.[/caption]The term HbA1C and its more common abbreviation A1C, is a familiar term to the diabetic or pre-diabetic patient. A1C refers to blood hemoglobin that has bonded to sugar molecules. It is easy to detect, and since it is stable over time, the A1C blood test is an excellent indicator of "blood sugar" level. Article Contents We here present artwork and a brief text, coupled with a most helpful Khan Academy video, so that, hopefully, the pre-diabetic or diabetic patient, who has a measure of technical background, can understand what the A1C test is all about. Hemoglobin Image Our second image illustrates hemoglobin's 3-D branch structure using red for its two alpha (α) chains and blue for its two beta (β) chains.…
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Using Data from Graphs: Interpolation Vs. Extrapolation

Logic, Mathematics
[caption id="attachment_28677" align="alignright" width="480"] Fig. 1. Plot of cook time vs. temperature[/caption]A familiar technique used when collecting data is to graph the results. For instance, suppose you want to see how quickly the internal temperature of a roast of pork rises in a 250° F oven. Nine internal meat temperature measurements are taken over a period of an hour-and-a-half, or 180 minutes. Collecting the Data After 20 minutes, the internal temperature of our pork roast is 60° F. Twenty more minutes yields 95° F. At 60 minutes, the temperature is 118° F, whereas the temperature is 139° F after 80 minutes. At 100 minutes, we read 148° F. When two hours have passed, we obtain 156° F. 140 minutes of cooking puts us at 163° F, while 160 minutes gives…
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