Do you ever feel so completely stupid that you just think, “I can’t live like this anymore?”
In related news: I can’t write. I mean, I can put words on paper (screen?) and have them sort of make sense. But I can’t make them pretty or make people want to read them or provide them with some sort of impactful experience upon completing one of my stories.
I’m an idiot.
I’m going to stop talking now.
I have come to the conclusion that I have the world’s ugliest legs. I mean, they get the job done, but holy hell they look like malformed parsnips.
Totally unrelated: I really like the word “scope.”
Ever wonder what the shiniest living material in the world is?
(Me neither, but aren’t you curious now?)
Well, apparently it’s this type of fruit that grows in the forests of central Africa. The plant, Pollia condensate, produces these iridescent berry-sized fruits in little clusters. And while iridescence is not too hard to find in the animal kingdom (jewel beetles, butterfly wings, the wings of some birds), its much rarer in the world of plants.
Investigation of the fruit at a microscopic level reveals that the outer part of it contains layers of thick-walled cells, each of which contains even more layers of cells and fibers. It is the distance between these layers combined with the angles of the fibers that amplify beams of light and create super strong colors. The technical term for this is “multilayer interface.”
But the coolest part of this whole thing is WHY scientists think these plants have such ostentatious fruit.
The fruit of the Pollia is of practically no nourishment—they’re dry, seed-filled husks. Thus, animals don’t naturally want to eat them. But Pollia tend to grow in the same region as the Psychotria peduncularis—a plant that also produces blue berries but whose berries ARE edible and ARE desirable by animals. So scientists who study the plants think that the Pollia evolved fruit that would imitate the look of the more desirable plant, thus tricking animals into eating them and thus spreading their seed around.
How freaking cool is that?
Theory: Cinnamon Toast Crunch is Cap’n Crunch’s estranged son who, rebelling aginst his father’s wishes that he join the Navy, took up a life of stripping. His real name’s like Gary or something and “Cinnamon Toast” is just his stage name.
I’d like to know how that went down when Cap’n Crunch found out.
Like one day The Cap’n comes home from a long day of Crunchatizing and finds li’l Gary taking off all his cinnamon in a bowl of milk to the tune of “You Sexy Thing.”
“Dad! I uh…what are you doing home so early?”
“Son, what are you doing?”
“Get out of the milk, son.”
“Get out of the milk.”
Today I present The Stages of Claudia’s Reaction to a Math Test
Right before the test: I freaking love calculus! I totally know this stuff.
Looking over the problems: LET’S DO THIS!
Doing the problems: What’s a plus sign?
Right after handing it in: Crap. That went badly.
10 minutes after handing it in: I suck I suck I suck I suck I suck
Rest of the day: WHY AM I SO BAD AT EVERYTHING I LOVE?
Next day: I’ve disappointed myself.
Following day: I’ve disappointed the gods of calculus.
Following day: I’ve disappointed everyone.
All next week: I am a worthless soul who can’t do anything right. Why do I even bother, it’s not like I’m smart enough for any of this. [insert obnoxious amount of pointless angst]
Getting the test back: Oh, an A. Okay.
This has seriously happened three times this semester. Still trying to shake that damn math test anxiety that’s been following me since high school.
The math part of my brain (that ITTY BITTY LITTLE TROOPER) is internalizing some substantial portion of this awesome stuff. Why can’t the rest of my brain figure that out?
I never have this problem with stats. More proof that at least for me, stats and math are quite different things.
I should just change my (semi-)weekly science blogs to “In This Blog Claudia Blah Blahs about a Mathematician” because that’s pretty much what I do weekly anyway.
(It’s ‘cause of that damn birthdays site, man.)
Today’s feature: John Napier of Scotland!
Yeah, he was a cool dude. Did some stuff, you know, just a few small things like DISCOVERING LOGARITHMS.
Napier studied math as a hobby (his main focus was theology) but, wisely, turned more towards math upon discovering logarithms and subsequently publishing a book about them in 1614. He created tons of calculating tables that were used to make calculations involving e much easier. He also invented an abacus-like device that could be used to quickly calculate products and quotients of numbers. This tool was called Napier’s bones because it involved the use of 10 long rods printed with numbers. The rods, back in the day, were made of ivory and thus looked like long bones.
He also did work with decimal notation, refining previous notational standards set in place by Simon Stevin.
Despite natural logs being my natural enemy (HA GET IT no seriously my brain cannot handle them), I’ve gotta admit that discovering freaking logarithms is pretty damn snazzy.
Not “discovering calculus” snazzy, but snazzy nonetheless.
Our final essay in English is a “larger world” essay, meaning that we have to write about something beyond ourselves but still relate it back to ourselves in some way or another.
(I think I’ve blogged about this before.)
Anyway, before today my choice was between the calculus controversy and anosmia.
Now I’ve added in Antarctica.
We had to do a short writing exercise about a childhood obsession. I picked Antarctica by mistake. I say “by mistake” because now that I’ve rambled on about it for only 5 pages I just want to keep going. Which wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that my copies for my workshop are due in a week.
I think I’ll just stick with the calculus controversy. It’ll give me an excuse to dive back into Philosophers at War.