Posts Tagged ‘geeky science blogging’

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Where am I dining today?

December 10, 2018

Each year on December 10, Nobel laureates gather at Stockholm’s City Hall to feast. Receiving a Nobel prize, whether for literature, science, or advances toward world peace, comes with a significant monetary prize, as well as a gold medal bearing the face of Albert Nobel, the explosives tycoon whose will established the awards. But the Nobel banquet, which has been described as “the greatest dinner party on earth,” is its own reward. You might assume that the highlight is the laureates receiving their prizes. But the dessert course is equally climactic: It’s presented with grand sparklers and a parade. For decades, it featured official Nobel ice cream, too.

The very first Nobel banquet in 1901.
The very first Nobel banquet in 1901. Image provided by the Nobel Foundation

Nobel banquets have been held since 1901, and each year, the menu is exquisite. That’s to be expected: Some of the world’s most lauded people, not to mention Swedish royalty and dignitaries, are in attendance. In the first few years, the food was mostly French-style, the cuisine of the elite. Only later in the century did Swedish dishes and ingredients take center stage, with filet of sole being replaced by filet of reindeer. But until recently, there was one constant: For dessert, dozens of waiters descended the grand staircase with trays of Nobel ice cream and sparklers, a fitting accompaniment to the Nobel Prize’s explosive origins.

The Nobel banquet is always a sparkling affair.
The Nobel banquet is always a sparkling affair. Dan Lepp, © Nobel Media AB

The ice cream did vary from parade to parade. But starting in the 1970s, an ice cream bombe became standard (another strangely appropriate choice considering Albert Nobel’s career). This Nobel ice cream typically entailed layers of ice cream and fruit sorbet, decorated with spun sugar and an edible “N” for Nobel, and it was served every year at banquets until the early 2000s. Though the flavors could vary, from raspberry and vanilla to kiwi and passionfruit, Nobel ice cream became a tradition. One documenter of the Nobel banquets called changing the dessert “unthinkable.” But change it did.

At Bistro Nobel, you too can have dessert like a prizewinner.
At Bistro Nobel, you too can have dessert like a prizewinner.

After 1998, chefs tapped to make the Nobel meals were allowed to eschew tradition. According to Nobel Foundation representative Jonna Petterson, this “let a pastry chef create a new dessert for each year with a modern touch.” Since then, Nobel diners have enjoyed their coffee and special Nobel tea blend with ice cream-less desserts such as “Chocolate silhouette with nougat and sea buckthorn explosion.” Thankfully, the pyrotechnic parade continues to this day.

Though hundreds of guests enjoy the banquet each year, the rest of us can only hungrily watch. Even the menu is kept secret until December 10, supposedly to stop restaurants from throwing their own Nobel banquets on the same day. But below Stockholm’s City Hall, the restaurant Stadshuskällaren will sell customers Nobel banquet meals from any year, on any day other than December 10. Or, if you don’t have Nobel Prize money to drop on a lavish dinner, stop by the Nobel Museum. There, the Bistro Nobel serves Nobel ice cream: a berry and vanilla bombe, with spun sugar and a cloudberry, accompanied by one tiny, foil-wrapped Nobel medal, made of dark chocolate.

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What did I learn about jellyfish?

November 21, 2018
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What is freaking me out?

November 7, 2018

 

 

 

From wordlesstech

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Where have we traveled?

November 7, 2018

See the places that NASA has gone for 60 years. Colored by decade, the infographic tracks most of those journeys.

source Time

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Why am I saying, “The bowling ball or the feather?”

August 16, 2018
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Why am I glassy-eyed?

May 9, 2018

By day, Virgina-based glass artist Kiva Ford fabricates one-of-a-kind glass instruments designed for special applications in scientific laboratories. By night, he retires to his home art studio where he utilizes his vast skillset to create curious glass vessels, miniatures, goblets, and other unusual creations working entirely by hand. Ford says his artistic practice is heavily inspired by his interests in mythology, history, and science.

Ford’s artistic observations of the natural world have begun to merge directly with his scientific glassblowing abilities in a number of new hybrid pieces. In Metamorphosis and Metamorphosis II, we see the sequence of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly and an egg turning into a frog, all seamlessly encapsulated by handmade glass instruments, evoking the mystery of a ship in a bottle.

You can follow more of Ford’s work on Instagram and he sells hundreds of glass objects—mostly miniatures—through his Etsy shop.

from Colossal

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What am I sappy cat blogging, special edition

April 9, 2018

In the Rheology Bulletin, 83(2) July, 2014, M.A. Fardin from the University of Lyon conducted a study in which he explored the rheological nature of cats concluding that cats can be either liquid or solid depending on their container . . . as described in this excerpt.

a.
b.
c.
d.
FIG.1:(a) A cat appears as a solid material with a consistent shape rotating and bouncing, like Silly Putty on short timescales. We have De >>1 because the time of observation is under a second. (b)At longer timescales, a cat flows and fills an empty wineglass. In this case we have De <<1. In both cases, even if the samples are different, we can estimate the relaxation time to be in the range τ=1s to 1min. (c-d) For older cats, we can also introduce a characteristic time of expansion and distinguish between liquid (c) and gaseous (d) feline states.[(a)Courtesy of http://cat-bounce.com, (b) http://www.dweebist.com/2009/07/kitten-in-wine-glass/, (c) http://imgur.com/gallery/UuNSR, (d) http://imgur.com/s7JtV%5D
Rheology is, of course, the study of the flow of a material (in this case, cats).  The paper goes on the describe attributes such as the low affinity between cats and water surfaces, the spreading of a cat on a rough surface, and spontaneous rotation of a cat in cylindrical jar.
Fascinating.
see the full article here