Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Funnie...

In high school I had this Biology teacher who was weird, quirky, creative, strange, and funny. He was one of my favorite teachers, and he deserves a post all his own (maybe Shaina or Kim could more fully describe him...) His name was Dr Wendle. This is one random (there were many random stories and things he would do!) letter he read to us one time, and I made a copy because I thought it so funny. Here it is for your enjoyment...

A Letter from the Smithsonian

The story behind the letter below is that there is this nutball in Newport, RI, named Scott Williams who digs things out of his backyard and sends the stuff he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are actual archaeological finds. This guy really exists and does this in his spare time!
Anyway... here's the actual response from Smithsonian Institute. Bear this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond to a difficult situation in writing.

Smithsonian Institute
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078
Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled "93211-D,
layer seven, next to the clothesline post... Hominid skull." We have
given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform
you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof
of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago.
Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of
the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be
"Malibu Barbie." It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought
to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of
us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to
contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a
number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you
off to its modern origin:
1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are
typically fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic
centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified
3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent
with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating
Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses
you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence
seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much
detail, let us say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has
chewed on.
B. Clams don't have teeth.
It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to
have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our
lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's
notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our
knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon-dating
is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.
Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science
Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen
the scientific name Australopithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for
one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was
ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated,
and didn't really sound like it might be Latin.
However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this this fascinating
specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is,
nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem
to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has
reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens
you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff
speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site
you have discovered in your Newport back yard.
We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in
your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it.
We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories
surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a
structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex
femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty
9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
Harvey Rowe
Chief Curator-Antiquities

Friday, August 28, 2009

Is Hell exothermic or endothermic?

I was going through some of my papers tonight since I got a LC (Low Census: if we dont' have the enough patients then they call off some of the nurses, and we all take turns). I usually tear out the pages that interest me in the magazines I subscribe too so I only have a few pages, vs a full magazine. You can imagine how quickly it would take up space if I kept all the magazines over the years I subscribed too. Well, its a good idea, but after a while the loose pages of magazines then start to cause a problem. What do I do with all them? If anyone has an idea let me know...
Anyway one of the sections I have in my papers collections is of random funny stuff. I thought I'd share some of them with you over the next few days, and then I don't have to have those papers anymore. I will then have it in the blog book I'll do eventually! here's the first one:

Is Hell Exothermic or Endothermic?
As you study for exams, remember its not the quantity it's the quantity. And remember there is no substitute for pure unadulterated bull
Dr. Schambaugh, of the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical Engineering, Final Exam question for May of 1997. Dr. Schambaugh is known for asking questions such as, "why do airplanes fly?" on his final exams. His one and only final exam question in May 1997 for his Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer II class was: "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof."
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:
"First, We postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave.
Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for souls entering hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, then you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and souls go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.
Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant. Two options exist:
If hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase until all hell breaks loose.
If hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.
So which is it? If we accept the quote given to me by Theresa Manyan during Freshman year, "that it will be a cold night in hell before I sleep with you" and take into account the fact that I still have NOT succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then Option 2 cannot be true...Thus, hell is exothermic."
The student, Tim Graham, got the only A.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I must be the favorite daughter....

Ok this post will be "dedicated" to my sisters. They will be very interested in the contents of this box: There were a few items that we all remember playing with as kids. Now that we are older, and having families of our own we want to have the same toys for our kids to play with. The only problem... there are 7 girls, and one set of toys! There was some question as to who had those prototypes, because my mom didn't know where they were. The problem is: were they lost in storage, or where they being hoarded by a sister? Well, the mystery is solved. This last week I asked several of the sisters if they had these particular wooden dolls. All said no, and that they wanted to make them. Today I went to visit my parents and did a little investigating with the help of the youngest sister, Nancy, and... Voila! The "lost" dolls were found!

I nabbed these little beauties so I could take pictures for posterity, and so the other sisters would know how to make them (BTW I found a paper pattern for making them so I'll make some copies for you girls...) I know they will all be so glad they are found again!

See how cute they are? The clothes are made out of felt, and the underwear of the dollies has some velcro to help them stick. We used to have alot of fun with these!

As another little tidbit, I also happen to be in possession of the finger puppets too. These are the original versions our mom made. See Shaina's post here about them:
Mom gave me both to "take care of" for a bit... Looks like I'm the favorite daughter!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What could be better than S'Mores...?

How about some S'Mores cookies! I ran across this recipe and immediately decided to make them. They looked so good, and they are just as good in real life! The recipe is a Martha Stewart one, and its easy. Just a tip though, you might want to undercook slightly because when you broil it it makes them a little crunchy. Anyway, enjoy!

S'mores Cookies
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
1 large egg
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into 30 squares
15 large marshmallows, halved horizontally

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse oats until finely ground. Add flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; pulse to combine. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, scraping down side of bowl. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture just until combined.
Drop dough by tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets. Top each with a chocolate square. Bake just until lightly golden, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Remove sheets from oven; heat broiler. Top each cookie with a marshmallow. One sheet at a time, broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.