The Greatness of Dark Matter

I recently finished reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I have a great urge just to shout at you in all caps: JUST GO READ IT!!  However, this doesn’t make for the most interesting blog post.  So, I’ve decided to give you a few reasons.

Reason one-

It clearly explains Schrodinger’s Cat paradox.  Okay, before you go screaming in the other direction. This is a novel, but its premise centers on some pretty incredible quantum physics.  However, Crouch does a great job at explaining how it works.  You don’t have to be a physicist or even pass physics class to get what Crouch is saying.  I’m a science nerd, so I’ve read and heard many different explanations for Schrodinger’s cat and honestly this book contains the best and easiest to understand explanation I’ve come across.

Reason two-

The book shows how much we take for granted and is a really good reminder to be happy with what you have.  It shows that choices matter, but that sometimes the less glamorous choices are the best ones.  They are the choices that have the best long-term effects.

Reason three-

It’s a really fast read. Crouch tends to write in these short, clipped paragraphs which give you the impression that you are careening through the book like the characters are though the storyline. But this speed doesn’t lessen the emotional impact or character development.

Reason four-

This book is a bit of a mind screw, but it’s a hugely fascinating concept. It gives you a lot to chew on and is very memorable. It presents a few conundrums that, as a reader, I haven’t faced before.  Mainly the relationship between the hero and the villain is very unique.

Honestly, this is just an all-around good read and one of the few that I would feel pretty comfortable recommending to almost anyone.

Happy Reading!


Some Serious Wordiness

I really like science. I find it generally fascinating and wonderful, but there are certain topics within science that really get me giddy.  One such topic is cephalopods. I did my science fair project involving the bacteria that make squid glow when I was in ninth grade, and I’ve been gaga for the creatures ever since.  They’re just so nifty.

Whenever I see articles about new discoveries regarding this magnificent group, I’m all in.  I mean what isn’t cool about squid having a symbiotic relationship with bio-luminescent bacteria that reflects moonlight, so it can move about without casting a shadow on the sea floor and thus protecting it from predators?  Or that Octopi have this crazy ability to change shape and texture to blend in with their environment?

Anyway, the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I saw an article regarding the octopus.  I was instantly excited. What other coolness could I learn? But then, sadness struck. I couldn’t take this article seriously.  They had spelled the plural of octopus as “octopuses.”

What dopes, I thought.

Anybody who knows anything knows that octopus becomes octopi.  This article obviously had no credibility. But something in me just couldn’t let it go.

I soon found myself on Merriam-Webster’s website and to my sheer delight I learned that octopuses is indeed an acceptable plural of octopus. In standard English, octopus would be pluralized to octopuses.  But because people wanted to be more in-line with Latin root words they pluralized words ending in “us” with an “i.”  The rub is that the root word of octopus is not Latin, but Greek, making the plural “octopodes” which is really weird and confusing. In conclusion, technically all three plural forms−octopuses, octopi, and octopodes−are correct.

This was great news! I could read the article after all.  I will still default to octopi, but this is captivating stuff.  See, even the words used to name these wonderful beings are crazy fascinating!

Happy wordy Friday!


A Periodic Periodical Reader

I’ve never been much of a periodical reader.  The most I’ve ever thoroughly poured over in the newspaper has been the crossword, and when I was younger, my love horoscope.  I did have a subscription to Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager, and I do remember perusing its pages with fair regularity. And at one time I did have a subscription to National Geographic, but I mainly just looked at the fabulous photography.

I have attempted to get into Time and Newsweek, but with no lasting success.  I did read The New York Times every day for an entire semester because of a journalism class I was taking, and I did enjoy it.  But summer came and that habit fell away.  I also didn’t have access to a free copy anymore.

However, science magazines have always held my fancy.  It was an article about microbes in a science periodical-I can’t remember which one-that really got me interested in science.  To be fair, the only reason I picked up the magazine was due to needing an idea for a science fair project.

It was a requirement that all students participate in the school science fair for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.  I was dreading it. I guess it struck me as laborious. Step one of the project was to pick a project. You needed to get an idea, run an experiment, do research, and present your findings. You know that whole scientific method thing.

I had gotten the idea to do something with carpal tunnel, but I wasn’t feeling stoked about it. I figured if I had to put all this effort into a project I should at least try to do something that got me a little excited. Thus, I picked up a science-y looking magazine to get the ideas flowing. The cover story was on microbes.  It was a magazine that was actually meant for kids a few years younger than I was, but it got me thinking.  I mean germs were kind of cool. I could get behind that.

With a significant amount of help from a science teacher, I got a plan for a project about testing the potency of mouthwash and that perhaps mouthwash didn’t have to be as strong as manufactures made it in order to kill bacteria. It was at this point my love affair with chemistry and microbiology began. It’s been going on ever since.  In high school the same science teacher, an honest-to-God Ms. Frizzle, introduced me to Science News. I fell in love with this magazine.  It had so much to offer in one compact issue. However, I could only get it at the school library.

And like many things in life, I went to college, got busy, and forgot about Science News. I was without its wonders until about a year ago when I was feeling in need of some science reading. There are a great number of science books about a variety of science topics, but I didn’t know where best to direct my efforts. I thought a magazine that dabbled in a little bit of everything was the ticket.

I am always amazed at how much information is packed in its pages. It offers a nice little interlude between activities or other reading material. I even keep a couple of issues at work just in case I finish my book and need reading material for my train ride home. I will admit it’s not my main reading squeeze, but it is a delightful treat now and then that gives me much to ponder and explore.

What’s your favorite periodical?

WWW Wednesday

Say what?!?!

Have no fear, folks.  I can assure we have not gone Groundhogs Day and are repeating Tuesday, and no, unfortunately, we have not broken the space time continuum and jumped to Friday.  It is indeed Wednesday just with a bonus post this week.

Last Wednesday in my blog perusal I discovered WWW Wednesday from coffeeloving bookoholic who participates each week.  WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. (BTW both are great blogs and you should go check them out.) It looked like it would be fun, so I thought I would give it a go this week.

The three Ws are:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading-

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  by Rebecca Skloot.  I started it just last night on my way home.  I’ve heard marvelous things, thus far I’m intrigued. So I’m certainly looking forward to see what’s in store.

Finished Reading-

Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell.  It’s a short book, but a long read. This isn’t bad. There was just a lot to digest.  On the whole, I thought it was a good, but it certainly wasn’t light.

Next Read up-

This is a difficult question because while I have a pile of books to be read. I don’t normally know what I’ll read next until I’m nearly finished with my current book. I like to see what’s striking my mood in the moment.  Thus I can really only guess what will be next; however, I do have a sneaking suspicion it will be The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg.  I’m very excited about this read.  I’ve greatly enjoyed other works by Flagg.  Can’t wait to get to Heaven will always have a special place in my heart.

Hope you enjoyed this little extra. I will be back on Friday per usual. And please share in comments your three Ws!  Happy reading!

Minting New Culinary Insight

This past September I got hitched, and one of the bridal shower gifts was an ice cream maker. I was so excited! I still am, really. I made a few batches and loved the idea of experimenting with different flavors.  Naturally, Scott (this is the guy I married) and I can only eat so much ice cream, so when a friend’s birthday was fast approaching I decided to make him his favorite flavor: mint chocolate chip.

So off to find a recipe. All in all the recipes were very similar:  a bit of milk, some sugar, green and yellow food coloring if you want it to have that mint green appearance you find in the store.  But some recipes said to use peppermint extract and others said to use just mint.  Some reviewers mentioned that peppermint seemed to be too strong so they would in the future opt for mint instead.

Now my line of thinking, was why wouldn’t you just use mint in the first place?  It’s call mint chocolate chip not peppermint chocolate chip.  What’s the difference?  So, off to Googles I went.

After going down the rabbit hole of articles on mint, I soon discovered that “mint” is just a general term for a family of plants.  There isn’t just a mint plant out there. There is a wide variety of mint types including lavender, pineapple, spearmint, and peppermint.  So when one purchases McCormick’s pure mint extract in the spice aisle,  it is combination of two types of mint, peppermint and spearmint.  I also learned that generally people prefer peppermint to “mint” extract when making sweet items.  Apparently, the spearmint in the “pure mint” extract can make it taste kind of goofy with chocolate, however, it seems to be based mainly on personal preference.

Nevertheless, the only reviewer complaints I found talked about how the peppermint was too overpowering, nothing about the hybrid “mint” extract, so I decided to go with a recipe that had just called for the “pure mint” extract. It was a super simple and tasted minty to me, and the receiver of said ice cream seemed to enjoy it.  There were a few things that I would like to experiment with to see if I can make it better, and I’m sure the digital ink of the universe will be there to help me.

I must say I’m glad I live in the era of the internet otherwise I dare say I would be very much like my great-great uncle Ross who was known for reading the encyclopedia. Yes, the idea of learning via ink is in my blood.