brine shrimp don’t sleep

Daily Trivia:
The lines in the circle of the peace sign form a combination of the letters ‘N’ and ‘D,’ abbreviating the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament‘s call for nuclear disarmament.

I feel like someone poisoned me. Stop poisoning me! Amber and I used to say nuclear warhead to each other for no reason. Like if I wanted to say something threatening to her, I would make my hand into a fist and be like ‘nuclear warhead.’ It doesn’t make much sense, but it made sense to us. Also, we poisoned brine shrimp with acetic acid to simulate the affects of acid rain on their environment. Many of them died, as expected. That was not a very good experiment. At first we wanted to try and do an experiment where one of us would stay awake for weeks and see how impaired our cognitive abilities became. But then neither of us wanted to stay awake for that long so we decided on brine shrimp.

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kelp is kool

Daily Trivia:
Ancient humans from Asia may have entered the Americas following an ocean highway made of dense kelp.

I wish there were still highways of kelp. The best we get these days is kelp forests. Which are pretty awesome. Giant kelp (genus Macrocystis) can grow 30-60 centimeters a day! For you Americans, that is 1 or 2 feet! I am imagining a highway of dense kelp. It is very slippery. In elementary school we studied kelp a lot. This is because Palo Alto is very close to the Pacific Coast, where some of the largest Giant kelp forests grow. We dissected giant kelp pneumatocysts. Pneumatocysts look like ovoid air bubbles made out of seaweed. They are like blimps attached to the kelp so that it can stay upright and not flop over. One of the reasons it needs to stay upright is so that its blades (strong, broad, long leaves) can be exposed to the sun and photosynthesize enough to support such a crazy growth pattern. Kelp forests are also very interesting because they represent an incredibly lush ecosystem. I love kelp.

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geek residue

Daily Trivia:
A leading theory on the derivation of the word nerd is that Dr. Seuss created the word for his story, “If I Ran the Zoo, in 1950.” In it is a creature known as a Nerd from the land of Ka-Troo. Others claim the word began as “knurd” (before arriving at its current spelling) by researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the late 1940s. Students who partied, and rarely studied were called “drunks,” while the opposite – students who never partied and always studied – were “knurds” (“drunk” spelled backwards).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the term nerd were invented by researchers at RPI. Those people are pretty big geeks. It is my impression also that it is really cold at RPI. I think it is somewhere farther north than any human being should live. That is probably why there are so many geeks there. Because if you are truly an ubergeek in the original supercomputer sense of the word, you want to be somewhere cold so that your cpu doesn’t get overheated. Of course, you could have your computers all in a cold room or use a customized water cooling system, but these are all a lot more expensive than just living in a very cold place. A counterexample to this argument is the prevalence of ubergeektitude in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think I can incorporate this counterclaim by saying that RPI and other cold places are more likely to have vestiges of geekiness from 40 years ago since back in the day it was more important and more difficult to cool large computers. The Silicon Valley, on the other hand, is responsible for the progression of software that used large computers more efficiently, which eventually decreased the need for them (and increased the need for smaller computers), and hence extremely cold temperatures were no longer necessary in the geek world.

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bonnets aren’t just for babies anymore

Daily Trivia:
Henry Ford asked Thomas Edison‘s son to capture his father’s final breath in a test tube. Ford was both an admirer of Edison and a believer in reincarnation.

Do you know who else was a believer in reincarnation? Jane Stanford, the wife of Leland Stanford. Their son died of typhoid fever. After they established Stanford University she was always holding seances in her house because she missed him. Seriously. There was even a rumour that the reason they decided to found the University was because their son came to them in a seance and told them to. This rumour was not true. Apparently this was a pretty common thing back in Ye Olden Days. To have seances and believe in people coming back from the dead to visit and such. Ulysses S. Grant was into it. So was Victor Hugo, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many other Olden Day notables.
If I lived in Ye Olden Days, I would probably wear a bonnet. And a bustle. My name would be Clarissa or something like that, and they probably wouldn’t let me use the internet at all. To protect me since I am a lady. And such.

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