Monday, October 18, 2010

SS - 'Microscope Candy Image'

Feeling terribly random and bored (and a little hungry), I googled 'Microscope Candy Image' to see if anything interesting pops up.

That's when I found just how tasty tequila looks under a microscope:

I'd actually seen this post on Geekologie when it was first published, but I'd completely forgotten about it.

Take a look at the full post with more images here!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Of muffins and cake and melted plastic

A little over a week ago, I tried to bake a, um...well, something between a muffin and cake.  A muffake, if you will.  Or a caffin.  I say this, because I was actually following about three different recipes for muffins, and had no muffin pan to bake them in.  Yea, I probably should have thought it through, before starting off.

Anyhow, for someone who tries to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, this was quite a big deal!  I was inspired by a friend of mine who gave me a very delicious-looking banana-carrot-whole wheat muffin recipe (which I'll add at the end of this post). I just *had* to try it out!  There were two drawbacks to the recipe, though.  First off, I didn't have any carrots.  Secondly, it called for eggs, and I'm a vegetarian.

So, I turned to my ever helpful and loyal friend, Google, and came across an awesome site totally dedicated to eggless cooking: !  There were plenty of egg substitutes listed, out of which I only had bananas and yogurt.  I  referred to these two recipes:

The final product was a very dense (it hadn't risen at all), banana-nut-vanilla muffake.  Which, by the way, tasted delicious:

However, I *did* encounter a bit of trouble on the way!  Before you think I'm a complete idiot, let me tell you that I KNOW plastic and microwaves don't mix.  However,  our convection microwave came with a plastic box that was microwavable, and my husband somehow managed to use it to bake me a cake in August.  I figured that I could do it too!  Little did I know that he hadn't used the *baking* settings, he just used the normal microwave settings. (I still haven't figured out how he did it.)  

The result was this carcinogenic masterpiece:

At least I got something edible on my second try!

The recipe that inspired me to try my hand at baking:

For about 30 mini-muffins
1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 banana, mashed
a dash of lemon or lime juice
2 eggs
100 ml sugar 
250 ml whole wheat flour 
1.5 tsp baking powder
ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground (real) vanilla (or vanilla extract according to the taste)
75 ml milk
75 ml canola oil (or substitute with melted butter)

Heat oven to 200C/390F. Prepare a baking sheet with your muffin forms or a muffin pan.

Peel and grate the carrot, mash the banana and mix with the grated carrot. Add a dash of lemon juice to keep the banana from turning brown.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix eggs with sugar until foamy. Add a quarter of the flour mixture and half of the milk and mix carefully until smooth. Add another quarter of the flour mixture and rest of the milk. Repeat with half of oil + half of the remaining flour, until mixture is smooth. Fold in the banana-carrot mixture. Scoop a tablespoon of batter to each form, or until the forms are filled up to 3/4 of the height. Bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool, and frost with your favorite frosting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SS - Glimpse

"Sometimes we cannot help but to try and catch a glimpse of the otherside. Passing through the everyday spaces we inhibit, the door half opened always stirs up a sense of seduction and curiosity within us."

Doesn't it, though? 

I want one! This was created by designer Sarah Dayo.  Check out the rest of her awesome projects here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pencil Lead and Scotch Tape: The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics

In a world of 3 visible dimensions (up-down, left-right, back-forth), it's hard to conceive a material that is two dimensional.   And yet, that's exactly what led two Russian born scientists named Andre Geim (51) and Konstantin Novoselov (36) to this year's Nobel Prize in physics!  What they did was simple enough in theory:  they experimented on a layer of carbon, just one atom thick.  The layer had no depth, and so, it was only 2-D!  Even more interesting was just how they first succeeded in creating flakes of graphene: they peeled off piles of graphite in pencil lead using scotch tape!
Andre Geim (51) and Konstantin Novoselov (36) 

The fact that the layer of carbon - officially called 'graphene' - is 2-D, wasn't, of course, the reason these scientists received the Nobel.  The properties of graphene are astounding.  For one, it is incredibly strong.  As in, it is the thinnest, strongest material known to mankind.  If you want that in numbers, it is 100 times stronger than steel!  Experts say a sheet of graphene stretched over a coffee cup could support the weight of a truck bearing down on a pencil point. Not only is it strong, it's completely transparent and is the best known conductor of heat and electricity. 

No one really knows the extent of graphene's potential applications, but many expect it to replace silicon in the near future for making integrated circuits, (small chips with millions of transistors that are the backbone of all modern telecommunications).  Graphene transistors are expected to become much faster than today's silicon ones and yield more efficient computers.  It can also find applications in construction, given how strong it is.  No one knows for sure!

Graphene structure
 The actual structure of graphene is a honeycomb lattice, that is, the carbon atoms are arranged in a way that resembles a beehive.  You may be wondering how graphene has such phenomenal properties when the large amounts of carbon that we see around us all the time don't seem to.  The thing is, materials act drastically different on a really, really small scale (called the 'nano scale, which is of the order 10^-9 metres), and when they're arranged in certain patterns.  It's one of the beautiful things about the physics at a very small level, or, 'quantum physics'.

In the news:

Detailed description:
Wikipedia's Graphene Article

Images from The Times of India and Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

SS - Temple of the Leaf

Here is the first of what I hope will be many posts revolved around some of my favourite images on the web!  Rather than saving them in random folders that I'd eventually lose track of on my computer, I thought I'd compile them here.

This image is called "Temple of the Leaf," made by the digital artist Ryan Bliss, and is currently the desktop wallpaper of my computer at work.  His website, , is one of my favourites!
You can browse his free wallpaper gallery here.