Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kicking Back

Looks like another week has come and gone as I watch the sands of summer run down the hourglass. It has been a pretty relaxing week for me. 

My class has started to work in one of the undergrad labs. We have been extracting dyes from plants.
Introduction to chromatography using ink, water, and a strip of paper.
Using a column to separate dye from spinach.
Beta carotene and chlorophyll extracted from spinach.
Notes from my video presentation on chromatography and how it was used in our experiment.
Apparatus used to extract oil from orange peels.
I took a detour earlier this week to crash some lab tours and explore campus. There's this nice pond with a bridge over it next to a library.
Yesterday, I got together with a couple of my friends to make some spam musubi. We used regular rice instead of sushi rice, so the rice had difficulty staying together, but it still tasted pretty good.
Spam musubi ingredients

This morning, I got up early to make some blueberry muffins.
Blueberry muffin batter
Crumble topping
Blueberry muffins
I am also in the middle of reading The Good Luck of Right Now and How to Read Literature like a Professor, so you might see me mention those books in the next post. Have a nice week.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer 2014

Hello there. Hope you're having a great summer. I'm just going to face it. I can't blog. However, I am still going to walk you through my summer through the photos I have taken.

So at the beginning of the summer, you may have remembered this photo I posted of my ambitious summer plans.
How have those plans gone? Well, not as planned. After my summer finally got rolling, I found myself straying further and further away from the path of productivity. Of the things that are shown above, I've done about four of them. I read Cosmos, worked on college applications, tried to study physics, and sort of went out.

What did I do instead? Well, I suppose my excuse for not achieving my goals is that the ??? turned into my main summer commitment. I began attending summer science classes. Yay. I'll try not to bore you with all the details, but here's a little timeline of what I have been doing.
This is liquid nitrogen turning into a gas as it reaches room temperature.
One of these is Gatorade and the other is a dye that I mixed to match the color of it.
This is a tiny flower that I photographed under a microscope.
This is a beaker of fruit flies in alcohol.

Okay, this was all funner than I make it sound. Actually, I've been having a really great time at this program. We've been going on lab tours, doing experiments, and even getting in some humanities lessons. I may elaborate later, but let's move on for now.

Besides playing with bugs and chemicals, I have also been doing some cooking and baking.
Cheese and Mushroom Omelette
Butter Cookies
This is kind of where my summer went, not to mention the anime I've been watching. The last portion of my time went to reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan. 
I have to admit that this is one of the best books I have ever read. It is an excellent combination of science, history, and philosophy. I found myself reading about everything from the self-destruction of mankind to pulsars and quasars to other dimensions to the search for life elsewhere in the universe to the Library of Alexandria. It reminded me why I first became interested in science and astronomy and showed me how science can cross disciplines. I must say that reading Cosmos and watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey were different experiences, but the effect was still the same. I am still in awe by what people have been able to accomplish over the years and what surprises this universe still holds. After reading this book, the history of mankind seems more remarkable. At times, it seemed a little more like science fiction than reality, but I suppose this world can be pretty crazy.

Overall, I suppose you could say that my real goal for the summer was to immerse myself in science. I wanted to love it and breathe it. In a way, I guess I could say mission accomplished.

Well, that's all for now. Back to you in the studio. I'll check back in soon. Have a nice weekend, folks!