July 4th, 2011


Chemistry that goes BANG

I don't remember when I started learning science in this life; it was just there all along.  My mother has taught science and one of our family friends was the science teacher at a local school.  They'd sit around a campfire and if the flames turned color, would name what element(s) burned in that color.  Fireworks too; we'd watch them and try to guess the components.  And model rockets, including the one that got stuck in a tree and retrieved with gunfire.

So today my_partner_doug tipped me to this photo-essay showing some different types of fireworks.

One of the links in it led to this terrific page of glossary terms for fireworks and related materials.

Then I got to thinking about all the fun I've had guessing colors, so I looked up references for that.
"Chemistry of Firework Colors"
"Colors of Elements in a Flame"
"Flame Coloration by Element"
"Flame Test"

And just for old times' sake, read about how to make blackpowder.

I love science.  It's just endlessly fascinating.  If a phosphorescent horror slouched past me, sure I'd be running and scanning the area for possible weapons.  But another part of my mind would be trying to figure out which combination of chemicals would produce that particular shade of light.  You never know, it might be useful in killing the thing.  Cool.

No scientists, hobby or professional, were harmed in the making of this post.  Please keep it that way.

Monday Update 7-4-11

These are some posts from the later part of last week, in case you missed them:

Fireflies in Flight
Geek Points
Torn Tongue: Sea Monsters T-W
Recipe: "Bacon-Wrapped Deer Steaks"
Nerds and Geeks
Female SF Writers Meme

Torn World writing update:
Approved as canon: "Squiggles: Excerpts from Nleimen's Journal," "On the Rocks," (fiction) "Steam Power," "Cage of Hope" (poetry).  Back to me for edits: "Cutting Time," "Scars of Stone" "Catch and Release," "Swept Away" (fiction), "Seafoam Fashions" (poetry).  Currently in front of the canon board: "Rhubarb Song," (poetry)  Drafted: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands," "Like Ash Before the Wind," "Breaking the Ice," (fiction) and "The Hearsay Cafe," "The Colors of the Rainbow," (poetry).  In revision at home: "Water Dance," "The Green Speech," "When the Wind's Teeth Sing," (fiction).  Currently writing: "From Dark to Bright," "Raining Kittens," "Catch of the Day" (fiction)

Greenhaven: A Pagan Tradition website updates:
* Added a "Crafts" section including "Scrapbook of Shadows"
* Added "Facilities" page
* Added a "Sitemap" page
* Added pages "Activities in a Nutshell" and "Memories of Samhain 2004"
* Added "community skills" and "Pagan chants and songs" to the "Links" page
* Reorganized some of the tab pages and topic sections

There are four epic poems in microfunding: "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son" features Fiorenza the Italian herbalist musing about social roles and gender dynamics, at a time when there is NOT a major preternatural crisis going on. "Enki's Messengers" is essentially a sidebar to the Sumerian myth "The Descent of Inanna," focusing on the kurgarra and the galatur created by Enki. "Igor's Creature" is a mix of horror and science fiction with a large helping of sociology and a wry twist of humor.  The epic poem "A Periodic Table of Elementals" is ahead of production.  With this many epics already active, I'm inclined to discourage opening any new ones this month, unless one or more of the others is finished off.  I don't want to spread out microfunding donations too far -- sometimes people complain about choice paralysis in polls.

The next Poetry Fishbowl will be on Tuesday, July 5 with a theme of "low fantasy." Come one, come all; bring your friends and your imagination.

Black raspberries are done fruiting. The first of the blackberries are ripe; I need to get out and start picking those. The shasta daisy and white echinacea are blooming in the white garden; the yucca has formed seedpods. Echinacea pupurea is blooming in the wildflower garden; gray-headed coneflower is finally forming petals on its heads. I've managed to dig out most of the gray-headed coneflower and a few echinacea plants that seeded themselves into the yard ... I think I've moved between one and two dozen of them by now. *gasp pant wheeze* Cleverly I have set most of the transplants toward the western edge of the prairie so they should naturally spread to the east. Also the wildflower garden has a pink poppy and several other small flowers blooming.

The blue bachelor's button is blooming in its pot in the blackberry patch. Too late to do the blackberry flowers any good, alas; patchy pollination again this year is leading to suboptimal berry set. I really need to find some brightly colored flowers that bloom at the same time as the blackberries, and establish a flower patch down there for pollinator signalling.

America Deports Immigrant Veterans

I was utterly appalled to discover that America sometimes deports immigrant veterans.  Sign a petition to stop this.  It's an absolute disgrace.  Anyone willing to risk their lives for their chosen country should be granted citizenship when they enlist.  *ponder*  Though this does rather demonstrate that the nation is often unworthy of what people sacrifice for its sake, and that better social contracts are on offer elsewhere.