Monday, December 27, 2010

Learn Something New Everyday - Brain 'Power'!

Smallest Periodic Table Written on a Hair

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have written what they believe is the world's smallest periodic table -- on the side of a human hair. The table is so small that a million of them could be replicated on a typical post-it note.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham created a special birthday present for Martyn Poliakoff, a professor of chemistry. It’s a periodic table of the elments inscribed on the surface of a hair from Poliakoff:

Professor Poliakoff said: “Although the application was lighthearted I felt that it enabled us to show people how such nano writing is done. Our microscopist, Dr Mike Fay, made the whole operation seem so simple and really demystified it in a most appealing way.”

Read more and watch videos here.

Fly Geyser

This is a geothermal geyser found in Nevada, which originally started when the landowners were drilling for the water.

The water from the geyser is thrust skywards on a continual basis. The spouts of water squirt out two meters in the air, spraying the surrounding thirty or more pools with a fresh source of water. The different mix of minerals (which includes sulphur) reacting with the oxygen in the air help to give the geyser its glorious colors.

The multiple spouts mean that a single cone of enormous size has not been able to develop. Yet the alien looking mound is something quite extraordinary, especially with its myriad of colors. The other factor in the strange coloration of the mound is the fact that it is covered with thermophilic algae which as a heat tolerant microorganism thrives in this sort of hot environment.

See more pictures of the geyser and read more here.

Microscope Image of a Snowflake

What's your excuse?

Make Contest: Robotic Plant

This was a post after the Make Contest for building a robotic plant. It can grow or retract. Fun!

World's Biggest Cave

National Geographic presents The World’s Biggest Cave, a TV special that gives us a close-up look at Son Doong, a huge recently-discovered underground labyrinth in Vietnam.

A half-mile block of 40-story buildings could fit inside this lit stretch of Hang Son Doong, which may be the world’s biggest subterranean passage.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rockets of the World

This is an illustration from physics professor Peter Alway's 1995 book Rockets of the World.

Click on the picture to zoom or download the full 3,322×5,079 image here. It's quite amazing what a monster the Saturn V still is, almost 40 years in retirement. The "Black Brants" are the Canadian rockets. They are all in the first two rows.

Personal Energy Footprint

National Geographic has a calculator for a personal energy footprint. It is also possible to compare your footprint with averages across the United States. Calculate your own here:

The picture above shows a "Greendex" image of the globe shows the results of the third annual National Geographic/GlobeScan "Consumer Greendex," a scientifically derived sustainable consumption index of actual consumer behavior and material lifestyles across 17 countries. Read more:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Photography of Stars

A colorful, craggy column of dust and gas dubbed the Mystic Mountain stars in a picture from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Hot, young stars in the nebula are constantly emitting radiation and charged particles that sculpt the cosmic cloud from the inside. Columns like this one are regions of matter dense enough to stand up to stellar erosion.

The hourglass shape of the supernova remnant SN 1987A isn't as well balanced as thought, according to an August picture of the exploded star.

Using data from an observatory in Chilea astronomers were able to confirm that, when massive stars explode, some of the ejected material gets shot into space faster than other debris, as predicted by computer models.

See more Photography from Space at National Geographic.

How It's Made: Crayons!

Cool video on how crayons are made. The factory in the video can produce 30,000 crayons an hour.

Make Contest: Robotic Plant

MAKE Magazine and blog have a contest closing just before Christmas. For this project, they'll build a robotic plant seedling that will use its microcontroller brain to monitor its environment, and bloom when the time is right. The whole project will be housed in an ordinary plant pot, and thanks to an energy-efficient design, should be able to lie dormant for months, even years, on a single set of AA batteries. That means you could set it by your window and be delighted when it finally wakes up, or give it as a gift to a patient robot enthusiast for safekeeping.

You can check out the website to find out more and to see the winners. You can also see if any projects come up that you would like to try out!

DNA Portrait

Your very own DNA blown-up and in living color. How much more personal could this portrait get?

You can actually buy your own here:

How-To: Simple Motor

This is a simple step-by-step guide on how to make a simple motor at home.

  • Toothpick
  • 18" of motor wrap wire, around 22 AWG
  • AA battery
  • Masking Tape
  • Flat piece of wood or cardboard
Full how-to at:

I bet this would spin well and you don't have the problems with the brushes touching the commutator that we had in the lab!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chem 20 - Qualitative Analysis

Some tests for determining whether a certain type of compound is present is found here and here.

Here is an academic research article on pesticides in drinking water in Alberta.

A short description of liquid chromatography can be found here and another for atomic absorption spectroscopy can be found here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Website Tracks Local Pollutions

A new website called helps people pinpoint pollution sources in Canada, thanks to a cross-country team that includes an Edmonton environmentalist.

Read more:

Learn Something New Everyday - Blood!

Earthquake warps train tracks

An earthquake in New Zealand caused this deformation of the train tracks.

Dave Petley, blogging at the American Geophysical Union, isn't exactly sure what caused the strange deformations, but speculates that "The compression on the very strong railway line was accommodated when a weak point was found, leading to a comparatively rapid deformation to form the main buckle on the left. This then concentrated stress on both sides of the buckle, allowing the other (right side) bends to form."

Eco-City 2020: Domed City Planned for Siberia

A Russian company has unveiled plans to build a gigantic domed city in an abandoned diamond mine in Siberia.

The city, named Eco-city 2020, would be constructed inside the Mir diamond mine, the second largest excavated hole on the planet. It's a quarter-mile wide at the top and over 1,700 feet deep, which is so big that air flowing into the hole can actually suck helicopters out of the sky. If the project gets going, the mine would be completely covered over with a glass dome to protect the city from the weather in Siberia (which is apparently lousy almost all the time), and solar cells embedded in the dome would provide power for the entire structure.

Eco-city would be constructed of multiple levels, with a huge central core. The main floor would hold parks and recreation areas, with residential areas terracing up around the walls of the mine. Underneath would be space for vertical farms and forests, subsiding on light piped down the central core. An estimated 100,000 people would be able to live in Eco-city, and architects are hoping that it would help to attract tourists to Eastern Siberia. Um, good luck with that.

More pictures.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Learn Something New Everyday - Bacteria!

Geek Optimism

Mixing and Unmixing Colours in Fluids

Based on our past experience, we know that color mixing is not a reversible process. Mix red and blue and you make purple. Separating the colors back into their original form is not only tricky but incomprehensible for many of us. Watch the demonstrates "laminar flow".

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Science 10 Physics Engine Technology Links

Some links to see pictures and animations of these early machines. More information is provided in your textbooks.

Engines from the first chart:


Heat Engine:

Savery Pump Engine:

Newcomen Engine:


Internal Combustion Engine:

Otto Engine:

Machines from the second chart:

Hero Steam Engine

Archimedes Screw

Persian Water Wheel

Reciprocating Pump

Science 10 Physics - Terms to Know!

The following are scientists that are important to know. Look up each scientist and state their largest contribution to energy or thermodynamics.









It is important for you to be able to differentiate between these forms of energy. State the definition of each:

Solar Energy

Kinetic Energy

Chemical Energy

Electrical Energy

Mechanical Energy

Nuclear Energy

Potential Energy


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mini Chem Glassware

This set includes miniature reproductions of a graduated cylinder, boiling flask, erlenmeyer flask, and an old fashioned distillation flask. Each piece is less than 5cm tall!

Sinking Boat but Actually Seaworthy

Julien Berthier is an artist, who created this sculpture that is actually seaworthy. He toured around Europe in his boat. His website is:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Learn Something New Everyday - Earth's Rotation!

Every Drop Counts!

Calculate your water footprint.

What may come as a surprise is that very little of that—only five percent—runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.

What can you do to conserve water?
  1. If you’re in the market for a toilet, buy a low-volume, ultra low-volume, or dual-flush model.
  2. Fix leaky faucets. All those wasted drops add up—sometimes to 10-25 gallons a day.
  3. Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full. When it’s time to replace them, buy a water- and energy-efficient model. Remember, saving water saves energy, and saving energy saves water.
  4. Buy less stuff. Everything takes water to make. So if we buy less, we shrink our water footprint.
  5. Recycle plastics, glass, metals, and paper. Buy re-usable products rather than throw-aways, as it takes water to make most everything.
  6. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing the dishes. Shave a minute or two off your shower time. Millions of people doing even the little things makes a difference.
  7. Know the source of your drinking water—the river, lake, or aquifer that supplies your home. Once you know it, you’ll care about it. You just won’t want to waste water.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Science 10 Physics Generator Links

How a hydroelectric generator works:

How a coal-burning power station works:

How a nuclear power station works:

How a solar cell works:

Engine Technology Chart

Science 10 Engine Technology Chart for pg. 25 in the Physics Note Book

Off the Grid Homes

Living spaces that are self-sustainable:

Chromium Cystals

Beautiful photography:

Crystals and 1-cm cube of pure chromium

How-To: Stoichiometry

Steps for solving stoich questions:

Colour Chemistry Crayons

These crayons are labeled with the names of the chemical compounds that produce the colour. Genius!

The Elements - As Seen By the Internet

Video and song created by Tom Lehrer about the Periodic Table:

Learn Something New Everyday - DNA!

Unpopular Science - Human Life is Subject to the Universal Laws of Physics

This explains why an empty refrigerator administrates a much smaller gravitational pull than, say, one thatʼs stacked with 50 pounds of delicious leftovers. Great: that means we can blame the leftovers.

Check out other pics and examples of physics in everyday life:

Virtual Neuron

You can explore this neat virtual neuron:

Cave of Crystals in Mexico

This is certainly old news to the geologists in our midst, but I couldn't believe my eyes watching this BBC video clip of Professor Iain Stewart exploring the amazing Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystals) in Naica, Mexico. The cave is home to crystal beams as long as 36 feet long. Looks an awful lot like Superman's Fortress of Solitude!

How-To: DIY Van De Graaff Generator