Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Disappearing Lincolns Trick

This is what we do when we are bored on a Sunday . . . Malcolm the Magnificent conjures Lincoln statuettes from beyond!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Test Flight

This is what we do when we are bored on a Saturday . . .

Kentucky State Fair

Farmer Freddy . . . he isn't the same one as when Merkin was a boy.

Merkin was gonna get one, but the line was too long!

Dudeboy with Darwin at the Kentucky Secular Society booth.

Puke machine.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Backyard Bugs . . . Leafhopper Nymph

Adonis "Bug Boy" Gorr helped id this little critter that Dr. J found on one of the basil plants (she has a good eye, because he is hard to spot). It is a type of Leafhopper Nymph. One website states that, "Leafhoppers are one of the largest families of plant-feeding insects. There are more leafhopper species worldwide than all species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians combined."

Merkin's thumb for scale . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Caution . . . the Graphite Reactor

A few weeks ago, Charlie-Dog took us to where he works: the Graphite Reactor at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It's a very famous building where they made plutonium during the Manhattan Project. And I got to see the original document stating that the Graphite Reactor had reached critical. (Right now as I write this blog, I'm wearing the same shirt I wore on that day). He showed us his job site, his office, and the museum for the reactor. It was really fun and educational. Charlie-Dog has a very important job.

The world's first continuous operational reactor.

Enrico Fermi passed through these doors.

The platform that the manikins are standing on is actually an elevator which allowed the workers to push uranium slugs into the upper part of the loading face.

"I'm the operator with my pocket calculator . . . "

In addition to its role in the Manhattan Project, the graphite reactor was also first to generate electricity from nuclear energy.

"Critical reached" . . . November 4, 1943 at 5:00am.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dirty Water

Dudeboy just had a lesson in science about water treatment. He had to build a water filtration system simulating the water treatment plant processes of aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. Anyway, we were pleased with the results.

The mad scientist.

Cleaning the Dirty Water.

Glass 1 (on the left) is the dirty water before filtration.
Glass 2 (middle) is the dirty water after it was filtered and disinfected . . . I think the bleach is what caused the cloudiness.
Glass 3 (right) is the control. It is filtered tap water.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Backyard Bugs . . . Parasitized Tobacco Hornworm

Dr. J and Dudeboy found a parasitized tobacco hornworm (easily confused with the tomato hornworm. You have to count the lateral markings) on their tomato plant. The parasitic wasp cocoons are from the braconid wasp. Apparently there are 50,000 and 150,000 species of the braconid wasp. The white egg-looking things are actually the cocoons of the wasps. The eggs were laid inside the caterpillar where the larvae fed until they emerged to make their cocoons.

Follow this link to see a video of the wasps emerging from their cocoons.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Minister's Tree House, part 2

A video of our tour of the Minister's Tree House will be posted in the near future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Minister's Tree House, part 1

On the way to visit Aunt Pee and Uncle Charlie Dog (who live just outside of Wartburg!), we stopped by Crossville, Tennessee to see the Minister's Tree House. Reportedly, it is the largest tree house in the world. Great things happen when God tells crazy people to build things (think of the Kick Boodie For Jesus! amusement ride). This is the first of two photographic posts of our visit to the tree house. And when I have time, I'll edit and upload a video tour we shot as well. So, check back soon.

The bell tower. To ring the bell, one must climb a ladder . . . apparently not everyone felt inclined as I did.

Fullcourt sanctuary.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things . . . like tree houses.

God's word written in stone . . . er, wood.

Looking up at the maze.

Big Jesus and cross . . . look for Dr. J for scale. Photo was taken from the top.

Dudeboy giving two thumbs up at the the top.