Kool Aid continues to spread joy even after the sugar fueled mania of childhood summers have faded into memory while sipping more sophisticated beverages. Crafters around the world build vast networks so they can ferret out and barter for that one elusive color which, of course, is only available in some small town in the middle of nowhere USA. You heard me, I said color. You thought mango berry blast was just a neato flavor? Staining pristine lilly white fibres with magical liquids feels so wrong and yet… just so right.
She’s secretive, yet informative!
A fine specimen of the rare corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum), is now in bloom at the Houston Natural History museum! Her name is Lois. This is cause for great celebration and merriment among the nerdy denizens of this muggy metropolis. So what’s with all the hubbub bub?
Math and science sure are fun, but what are geeks to do once they go home after a long day under the fume hood? There are many hobbies that can be adapted to soothe the nerdy soul and one that may even enhance mathematical prowess and intuition.
Brace yourselves, it’s crochet. Yep, crocheting, just like your grandma and great aunt Ethel used to do can produce more than scratchy afghans to adorn your parlor. It can answer questions like “will straight, parallel lines intersect on a curved surface” or “does my hypothetical pseudosphere agree with Bolyai-Lobachevskian geometry”? Granted, non-Euclidean geometry sounds pretty fancy, but just watch as it unfolds before your eyes into a three dimensional and easily manipulated model when rendered with yarn and a hook. (Visit the Institute For Figuring’s (IFF) online exhibit of hyperbolic space for a more extensive introduction.)
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Exotic mysteries that flow underneath a seemingly familiar surface teem with opportunities for the inquisitive mind. A most literal and timely example is the topic of ocean circulation. As the erudite listeners of Science… sort of may already know; not only is the earth quite a bit rounder than once thought, the oceans that dance on its surface are not mere mixing bowls of uniformly salty fluids churned by a flick of King Neptune’s trident. Ocean water is stratified into layers that separate because of differential densities controlled by temperature and salinity. As water moves, it travels along planes of constant density (isopycnals); which means that on average, water is more likely to flow laterally rather than vertically.