Tag Archives: Humour

A Dialogue with Sarah, Aged 3

The Science Creative Quarterly has this very funny dialogue between Sarah, aged 3, and her father, a chemist, which I’m quoting here:

A DIALOGUE WITH SARAH, AGED 3: IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT IF YOUR DAD IS A CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR, ASKING “WHY” CAN BE DANGEROUS
By Stephen McNeil

SARAH: Daddy, were you in the shower?

DAD: Yes, I was in the shower.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: I was dirty. The shower gets me clean.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does the shower get me clean?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the water washes the dirt away when I use soap.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why do I use soap?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the soap grabs the dirt and lets the water wash it off.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does the soap grab the dirt?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because soap is a surfactant.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why is soap a surfactant?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: That is an EXCELLENT question. Soap is a surfactant because it forms water-soluble micelles that trap the otherwise insoluble dirt and oil particles.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does soap form micelles?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Soap molecules are long chains with a polar, hydrophilic head and a non-polar, hydrophobic tail. Can you say ‘hydrophilic’?

SARAH: Aidrofawwic

DAD: And can you say ‘hydrophobic’?

SARAH: Aidrofawwic

DAD: Excellent! The word ‘hydrophobic’ means that it avoids water.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why does it mean that?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: It’s Greek! ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘phobic’ means ‘fear of’. ‘Phobos’ is fear. So ‘hydrophobic’ means ‘afraid of water’.

SARAH: Like a monster?

DAD: You mean, like being afraid of a monster?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: A scary monster, sure. If you were afraid of a monster, a Greek person would say you were gorgophobic.

(pause)

SARAH: (rolls her eyes) I thought we were talking about soap.

DAD: We are talking about soap.

(longish pause)

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why do the molecules have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: Because the C-O bonds in the head are highly polar, and the C-H bonds in the tail are effectively non-polar.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Because while carbon and hydrogen have almost the same electronegativity, oxygen is far more electronegative, thereby polarizing the C-O bonds.

SARAH: Why?

DAD: Why is oxygen more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen?

SARAH: Yes.

DAD: That’s complicated. There are different answers to that question, depending on whether you’re talking about the Pauling or Mulliken electronegativity scales. The Pauling scale is based on homo- versus heteronuclear bond strength differences, while the Mulliken scale is based on the atomic properties of electron affinity and ionization energy. But it really all comes down to effective nuclear charge. The valence electrons in an oxygen atom have a lower energy than those of a carbon atom, and electrons shared between them are held more tightly to the oxygen, because electrons in an oxygen atom experience a greater nuclear charge and therefore a stronger attraction to the atomic nucleus! Cool, huh?

(pause)

SARAH: I don’t get it.

DAD: That’s OK. Neither do most of my students.

Did you like this? Share it:

Eating soy and Homosexuality

In a perfect malingering type of disinformation, a WorldNetDaily’s article, Soy is making kids ‘gay’, is full of mistakes, misconceptions, and red-neck-like statements:

“I have nothing against an occasional soy snack. Soy is nutritious and contains lots of good things. Unfortunately, when you eat or drink a lot of soy stuff, you’re also getting substantial quantities of estrogens.”

Ahhh…estrogen in soy? Sure, if you talk about phytoestrogen. Babyhopes.com explains the potential effect of soy:

“The type of phytoestrogen in soy is known as isoflavones. These isoflavones come in different forms and have different effects. Some may function similarly to estrogens in the body, producing a very weak effect compared to the real hormone. And others act as antiestrogens, to reduce the activity of estrogen. Evidence is growing that these phytoestrogens may help with menopausal symptoms, as well as inhibits cancer cell growth.

In fact, TransHealth.com, an online magazine for transsexual and transgendered people states:

“It has been speculated that a diet high in soy can have hormonally feminizing effects. This has almost no basis in fact, and really, makes very little sense. The beneficial effects of dietary soy are more related to the fact that it inhibits the action of estrogen, not that it has estrogenic effects itself. These inhibitory effects seem to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) as well as breast and uterine cancer, but only when taken as part of a complete program.”

To make things worse, the WorldNet article says that soy sauce is okay, “Unlike soy milk, it’s perfectly safe because it’s fermented”, which is completely false. Soy sauce indeed does not contain phytoestrogen because “since it’s the protein portion of soy that contains the phytoestrogens […] soy sauce does not contain phytoestrogens” (Babyhopes.com). The article quotes no studies, bases itself on no fact whatsoever. It is a pack of wrong information.

It is so pathetic, it’s hilarious. Anyway, what can you expect from a site that advertises the sale of a book entitled “Conservatives are from Mars, Liberals are from California”, and written by the Chairman of an outfit called Megashift Ministries?

Did you like this? Share it:

I’ve been tagged!

Until my friend and blogger Verna Wilder tagged me, I had no idea what this game was. It’s a take on the old children’s game, except that instead of standing there and counting when you’re ‘it’, you have to reveal five things about yourself then tag five other people you know, like, love, and/or admire.

About me:

  • I didn’t speak English until I was twenty-one. I had studied it at university and knew enough to order a meal or talk about the weather when I was transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia and put in charge of fifteen, non-French-speaking staff. I had to learn, and real fast.
  • I met my husband when I was twenty-one. We met on a 13th of May and by 13 August (of the same summer) we were living together. We were married a year later and have been a couple for 28 years. If you want to know my age, do the math.
  • I’m the laziest person I know. I’ve developed a technique where I do everything really efficiently so I have more time for my favorite sport, relaxing.
  • I don’t watch TV. Hate it. Find it a total waste of time. I use the internet for news from around the world. Will watch DVDs, though.
  • I’m fluent in three languages, and functional in two others. Fluent in French, English, Spanish. Can get by in Portuguese and Italian. I’m currently studying Italian more in depth. Next language for me: Mandarin Chinese.

Now that I’ve suffered through these revelations, here they are. (Darn, a lot of people I would’ve loved to tag don’t have blogs)

The Tagged:

  • Cheryl Swanson. Cheryl’s a one-person whirlwind with more energy than I have. She recently started a blog to promote her fellow authors from Zumaya and she writes incredible reviews. She also lives in Hawaii (one of the islands) and is known as Surfing Cheryl.
  • Eva Kende. Eva is a Hungarian-Canadian who has lived an incredible life, both in Hungary and in Canada. She recently published her childhood memoirs in Snapshots: Growing up Behind the Iron Curtain.
  • Erin O’Brien. Erin likes to run around the internet… naked, talk about sex, and make hilarious comments on life in general.
  • Edward Willett. Ed is a multi-published author who is rare: he writes both fiction and non-fiction. He’s also the diligent and hard-working (I know how much work that takes) webmaster for the SF Canada site.
  • Christopher Stires. Another fellow author, Chris always has fun pieces on his blog. Chris lives in Southern California. Right now, with -11C and snow, neither Cheryl nor Chris are popular with me. I’m swiftly turning green.
Did you like this? Share it:

If your life were a movie…

…What would the soundtrack be?

Here’s how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that’s playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool…

Here’s mine:

    Opening Credits: “Your Sweet Name” – Harry Manx
    Waking Up: “I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues” – Toots Thielemans
    First Day At School: “A Song For You” – Michael Bublé
    Falling In Love: “Troisième leçon des Ténèbres à 2 voix” – Jordi Savall
    Fight Song: “Hallelujah” – Handel
    Breaking Up: “Once I Loved” – Charlie Byrd
    Prom: “The Long Day is Over” – Norah Jones
    Life: “Cosi fan Tutte” – Mozart
    Mental Breakdown: “You and I” Michael Bublé
    Driving: “Se Tu M’ami” – Cecilia Bartoli
    Flashback: “Time after Time” – Cassandra Wilson
    Wedding: “Talk to You” – Tracy Chapman
    Birth of Child: “The Point of Purchase” – Harry Manx
    Final Battle: “Carmina Burana” – Orff
    Death Scene: “Run the Voodoo Down” – Cassandra Wilson
    Funeral Song: “Beyond the Horizon” – Charlie Byrd
    End Credits: “Come Away With Me” – Norah Jones

It’s uncanny how some of those songs are appropriate. The idea was stolen from Ammy J.

Did you like this? Share it: