• Mary posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    That’s an interesting idea! I might try it with tulips. For my experiment so far, the ranunculus has been the one that’s sucked up the most color, and I’m thinking it’s because of how the stem is a little less woody than the other flowers.

  • Like most parents I know, I started our family’s mandatory hiatus from school due to the COVID-19 outbreak with the best-laid plans. By which I mean the best plans I could come up with in two days – a pretty […]

  • Mary posted a new activity comment 2 months ago

    Oh that is a really cool followup! I wonder if that would also work on hydrangeas (since they also have pH-dependent color changes).

    One interesting development: I noticed that one of the flowers with a little damage to the petals had a lot of blue around the damaged area, which could lead to a good discussion about what exactly is going on with…[Read more]

  • Whether you’re stuck at home with the kids or not, this is a pretty neat experiment to try out–and a great opportunity to have your kids experience the scientific process. Science is not just about knowing how […]

    • Love it, and it made me think of a similar experiment, that may or may not give interesting results. A common spring flower in Norway is Anemone Hepatica (which has a bunch of English names as well) which most often has blue or purple flowers, but soil conditions can turn them pinkish or white. Another way to change the color is to use them to antagonize wood ants until they spray formic acid on the flower. If they started out blue or purple they will dramatically change to pink wherever the acid hits.

      Perhaps, and I’m just hypothesizing wildly here, household acids and bases might change petal colors as well, given a little time.

      • Mary replied 2 months ago

        Oh that is a really cool followup! I wonder if that would also work on hydrangeas (since they also have pH-dependent color changes).

        One interesting development: I noticed that one of the flowers with a little damage to the petals had a lot of blue around the damaged area, which could lead to a good discussion about what exactly is going on with the flower.

    • I THINK that some florists have sold flowers with a two-tone die. Splitting the stem and putting the ends in different colored waters. One could experiment with the axis of the split, the possible limit of how many splits could work, the possibility of superimposing a new color onto (into) a previously stained flower etc. etc.

      • Mary replied 2 months ago

        That’s an interesting idea! I might try it with tulips. For my experiment so far, the ranunculus has been the one that’s sucked up the most color, and I’m thinking it’s because of how the stem is a little less woody than the other flowers.

  • I wasn’t planning on going through social isolation a week ago, but the community I live in has been affected by COVID-19 and so here we are. Fortunately, I usually spend my weekends inside my house doing all […]

  • Gabrielle Union was one of my favorite celebrities even before she was a judge on one of my favorite schmaltzy competition shows: America’s Got Talent. She consistently uses her platform as a celebrity to speak […]

  • [This post was originally written by Lou at Grounded Parents]

    Welcome to what the British call the “Festive Season.” Here in the US, starting with this Thursday’s Thanksgiving and continuing through the winter […]

  • [This post was originally written by Deek at Grounded Parents]

    I have never been one to say “no,” easily, partly because there were so many things I wanted to do, and partly because I was raised on a steady die […]

  • Just in time for Thanksgiving, I thought I would share my favorite pie recipe: Apple Cheddar Pie. If you haven’t had this, it’s time to give it a try. What sets this pie apart is the fact that the cheddar is baked […]

  • Something bad is happening in the world every second of every day. And organizations that report the news can’t wait for you to read about it. So I’ve done something recently that has greatly improved my wel […]

    • Everyone’s mileage may vary, of course, but I found the big issue was the notifications. It’s amazing how much difference it makes when _I_ decide when it’s time to catch up on the news, instead of a torrent pouring down on me constantly. Couple that with tailoring which news I get in the first place (I get a lot of my news from the Guardian, who are kind enough to support antiquated RSS feeds on specific topics) and I feel a lot more empowered about my consumption of news. You mightn’t think that would make much difference, but it seems to for me…

  • Fall is here and it’s the perfect time to spend the weekend knitting a hat with the heat cranked on while watching all of the episodes of your new favorite TV show (recommendations: Raising Dion or […]

  • Fall is my favorite time of year—the trees are changing, the air is brisk, and I can finally use my oven all the time again. The only thing I don’t like is constantly getting zapped by static electricity. It’ […]

  • Today’s post was inspired by Rebecca’s recent viral tweet:

    Everyone’s been there: you’re checking out at the grocery store and you get asked if you want to donate a few dollars to charity. But should you don […]

    • The only place I ever donate at the register is at PerSmart, but that’s because they run the shelter in the store. I mean, I see and play with the cats when I’m there then always add $1 to the shelter charity when I’m leaving. However, I wonder how much I’m still being tricked. The shelters are usually run by 3rd party charities, so I might still be better off donating directly to them rather than to the store. I’m unclear on how much of my donation goes to the shelter vs the store for their costs in providing space to the shelter.

  • The other day, I was listening to Scriptnotes, a podcast hosted by Craig Mazin (creator of Chernobyl) and John August (writer of Disney’s Aladdin), and one of the issues they brought up was the treatment of p […]

    • Interestingly, there was a Bojack Horseman storyline about this exact issue.

      One small observation about this line: “temporary employees can be fired at any time for just about any reason”. That’s true of everyone, honestly. California is an “at-will” employment state, which means you don’t need to justify firing people. HR departments tend to do so just as insurance against civil suits in contentious dismissals, but legally anyone can be dismissed without cause at any time in CA.

  • ThumbnailEditor’s Note: Today’s guest post, from Jenny Splitter, is a good reminder to step out of your comfortable echo chamber and engage with people instead of lecturing at them. 

    ****

    A couple of weeks ago, I […]

    • A lot of honesty there. Us skeptics aren’t immune to confirmation bias. We’re people, and we make all the same social mistakes, leaps of logic, and unscientific assertions as everyone else.

      All we have is an intent to avoid doing so as a central tenet.

    • “All we have is an intent to avoid doing so as a central tenet.”

      YES! And thanks.

    • Hmm. My own take on the whole gluten thing is – OK, we know there is a clear genetic disorder that causes problems. Only… we are only **just now** looking at some oddities that may arise as a result of differences in gut bacteria, so… there *is* a possible vector for additional sensitivity problems, related to the same class of foods, and it thus could be from differences in something for which he have done almost jack all of any kind of real research on. That said… I very, very, very, much doubt that dang near every other person I talk to has a sensitivity problem, but, some days at least, it appears as though that comes close to the number of people trying to give me, or someone else, where I work, advice on how much better they feel, now that they became semi-obsessive over gluten.

      The only good thing about the whole mess is that eventually we are almost certainly going to be able to do targeted gene replacements, and its only going to be the gene-fearful equivalent of anti-vaxers who will still even need gluten free, and other similar things. The rest can just fix the bloody gene(s). So, in the long run, this is all just a bloody temporary irritant, I hope…

      • Your entire first paragraph could describe aspartame just as readily as gluten. The only real difference is that gluten sensitivity has been given credibility (in some cases by those trying to cash in on the fad) while aspartame sensitivity is relegated to the fringes of Natural News.

        It’s all about perspective.

      • The sensitivity might actually be FODMAPS.

        I know a lot of people who have gone gluten free to treat an inflammatory condition of some kind but that could be anything from a person with a diagnosis like Crohn’s to a person who has decided on their own that their pain is caused by inflammation.

    • I love the way that article starts with a leap straight from “we don’t currently have any evidence” to “it is conclusively proved” without any intervening evidence. Then proceeds to talk about skeptics who get their logic wrong.

      But that’s of a piece with a rattle-off-the-usual dismissal of something that the skeptic has decided is annoyingly irrational and therefore beneath their attention. Yes, they make valid points about common fallacies, but they don’t link those to the actual article very well. Or maybe that’s just me writing off what evidence they have based on them being so horribly wrong in their starting premise.

    • What I don’t understand is, why do people even care so much about what other people have chosen for their diets? You don’t actually need gluten to have a healthy diet, so if someone wants to do without it, so what? I think it’s fair enough to point out that gluten sensitivity may not be a thing, but if the person wants to be gluten-free anyway, then … Oh well? And in fact, someone pointed out to me recently that the rise in gluten-free dieters has led to a rise in gluten-free products and gluten-free menu items in restaurants, which is fantastic for people who have celiac disease. People who in the recent past had a hard time finding things they could without destroying their innards, and forget about eating socially — now have a lot more options, which I think is pretty cool. If some of the people popularizing this way of eating don’t actually need to eat that way, I find it hard to care too much.

      • Why should we be okay with psuedoscience? It’s the same mentality that promotes anti-vaxx rhetoric and belief. To allow one form of psuedoscience because it’s “not a big deal” (says whom? and why?) is not okay. It just helps promote yet more anti-intellectualism and lazy thinking.

        Accurate science is necessary, not optional.

  • New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers – “The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, […]

    • Ingredients: anything at all*

      *this statement not evaluated by the FDA.

    • I know some who works in as quality control for one of the supplement manufacturers. They do indeed do testing and follow guidelines to make sure they’re not putting allergens into the supplements and that they do contain what they’re supposed to. The powdered rice and sand are to make the material go through the machines more smoothly. She said the New York lab making these claims is using a new, unvalidated testing method.

      • Care to cite your sources, rather than relay third hand knowledge? Thanks.

        (“She said” and “I know some one” doesn’t really cut it.)

  • Mary posted a new activity comment 5 years, 3 months ago

    I never get out and walk because by the time I have free time, it’s dark!

  • Here’s what Anita Sarkeesian’s harassers do with the rest of their Twitter time – “As it turns out, some of the most direct threats come from throwaway accounts, or ones that have been suspended. But some of […]

    • “real grievances about issues such as bias in family courts”

      I thought I read recently that this was a myth, that women do not really have an advantage in family court. (Unfortunately I cannot find the link to this information.)

      • Economically the stats are ironclad — women come out worse in the average divorce. The man’s standard of living rises, the woman’s falls. Hard cold fact, on average.

    • Well…Anti-vaxxers, rather than being Marin-county sandal-wearers, turn out to be: misinformed, credulous, lacking in critical thinking skills, at least on the fringe of conspiracy-mindedness.

      In other words they arrive at their position just about the way most Americans derive all their political/moral/scientific positions. All floating about in bubbles tailored to their enthusiasms and fears.

    • So what is the difference between the homemade tDCS devices and the laboratory versions?

      Also, why would would someone interested in stimulating their brain with an experimental homemade device be dissuaded by the claims that it might cause temporary blindness?

    • Just one note for the Mother Jones article: SJW began as a way to describe somewhat naïve middle-to-upper-class white allies who were ultimately useless because they were busy turning activism into a competition (among other, ah, issues, e.g. thinking the world is America, showing contempt for IRL activists, tendency to language-police).

      Racists and sexists then turned it into a term for normal people, so now we need another term to describe naïve and ultimately useless middle-to-upper-class white allies who think activism is some sort of competition. Which they will then use as a term for normal people. And we’ll need another term. Which they will then use as a term for normal people. And we’ll need another term.

      Oh, while this is Radio Free Europe (and therefore propaganda, but at least it admits to it), this got in my Facebook feed. Missionary stew, anyone?

    • I’ve known that about depression and walking for most of my adult life. It’s still really hard to get out and walk.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow says steam your vagina, an OB/GYN says don’t – “On today’s episode of ask the experts we pit the gynecologic advice of Gwyneth Paltrow, a consciously uncoupled actress and self-professed […]

  • Mary posted a new activity comment 5 years, 4 months ago

    I agree, it just sounds like an oily black coffee. But then again I do like my cream and sugar.

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