Category Archives: Potpourri

Who Said the Following, and When?

“The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should  be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance of foreign lands should be curtailed lest the Republic become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

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Some Such Scientists Are Among Us?

The scientist was in his laboratory experimenting with flies. He was interested in the reaction time of a fly responding to a sharp noise.

He placed a fly on the table, turned on his automatic test equipment that would start very precise timing the moment he clapped his hands, and was ready. He stood behind the fly, clapped his hands and the fly took off in about 0.1 seconds, one fourth of a human’s reaction time. He then tried different angles of his hands and other combinations for position and noise; still 0.1 seconds. He dutifully recorded his findings.

Next he pulled off a leg, then two legs, etc. and still the fly would take off as quickly.

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Jacaranda Time in San Diego

May is, indeed, Jacaranda time in San Diego. The beautiful blooms of the Jacaranda tree begin to show in early May and the full explosion of blue/purple/violet color continues throughout the month, after which the green growth takes over from the fallen blossoms that make a temporary carpet under the tree. The tree’s “leaves” are reminiscent of the mimosa which has a similar shade of green and shape.

The picture above is very much like the tree in the small park near our home and where dog-walkers, including me and my dog Genji, gather during the late afternoon walks. Continue reading

African Bees, Alkali Bees, Pear “Bees”

African Bees

In the late 1980’s I was working with Howard Kerr, an engineer with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a project associated with neutral particle beams for defense against enemy missiles. I learned that he was a bee keeper, had about 150 hives that he hired out to orchards and farmers for pollination, and he sold good honey. From then on until we moved from Oak Ridge we bought his honey.

Doing our working and traveling together we talked a lot about bees, in particular about African Bees, because at that time they were being tracked moving north from Mexico. There was quite a lot of concern about them being so aggressive compared to the domestic or European bees.

Howard was asked to work with the USDA, since he headed up a bee keepers association in Tennessee, and he traveled to Mexico and Central America to track and become more familiar with the African bees. Continue reading

Your Wine is Radioactive – Do You Know Why?

Did you know that alcohol made from petroleum is chemically identical to that made from natural substances such as grapes and grains? But the US Government regulations say that alcohol used for human consumption must be made only from the natural substances, although the taste and safety is matched by that from petroleum. So how does  the government enforce this regulation?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has only one reliable test; check for radioactivity. Continue reading