Category Archives: Cool Things

More Micro Photography

I try to mostly stick to homeschool related postings, but it’s hard. Sometimes the line blurs. Today I saw something so fabulous my mind keeps coming back to it and so, I have to share here. Plus, it is educational after all, even if it’s not about homeschooling.

From –  The Big Picture. Nikon Small World Photomicrography

Can you believe these are Mosquito Larvae! I just came in from mucking around in a local conservation area and I can confirm there is nothing beautiful about mosquitos when they are bitting every 5 seconds. But holy cow those babies are gorgeous!

And this. Graphite-bearing granulite. So perfectly abstract. I would hang this on my wall. Actually the colors would even work in our living room.

See many, many more at the Nikon Smallworld photo gallery. I think I’m going to be staring at these for a while.

Creative, Problem Solving Animals

It wasn’t all that long ago, we believed humans were the only animal species to use tools. Jane Goodall’s study of chimpanzee societies in the 1970’s proved that primates use tools, problem solve, and engage in many other “human” traits. Scientists have since taken more time to observe animals in their habitats and found that tool use is hardly limited to primates. This morning I read an article about a newly released video that shows a fish using a rock to open up a mollusk shell by throwing the shell against the rock repeatedly. Amazing!

Show this video to your children. I hope they are as amazed as my children and I were. For me, it’s humbling to remember that no matter how different humans seem from other animals, we are surprisingly similar in some really basic but perhaps unexpected ways.

Poppy Microphotography

After learning that we have poppies I ran across these amazing microscope photos at Microscopy–UK. I really love close-up photography and the abstractly beautiful images it can create. Even more amazing once you realize that you are looking at the teeny, tiny hairs of a poppy stigma along with tiny spheres of pollen.

Here’s a rather common flower, a childhood favorite. Do you recognize it?

Now? Do you like butter?

There are many more microscopic views of flowers and crystals. The virtual “Micropolitian Museum” looks like an interesting resource for learning about microscopic beasties or just marveling at the diversity of life on our planet. I’m off to explore some more!

Wordless Wednesday—Breakfast for Mom!

If you saw this on FB yesterday I apologize for the repeat. It was too awesome to NOT post to my blog too. But then, you might like the whole story below.

My Breakfast

Yet again I can’t manage to post an actual “wordless” Wordless Wednesday. Too bad.

Yesterday morning I could hear from my room on the first floor that the kids were up to something conspiratorial. JD would come to the door, peek in and then holler “Oh good, she’s still asleep!”  I was laying in bed cracking up listening to them while pretending to be asleep.

“Let’s make fruit salad. What should we put it in it?” From my food experimenter JD “Onion! We have onion!” and later “lettuce, we can put lettuce in it!” and finally “sour cream, mom loves sour cream!”

Thankfully a more cautious EJ was there to temper JD’s exuberance and their fruit salad contained orange slices (with peel), apple slices, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts (a bit weird in fruit salad).

They made my morning Chai Latte. Couldn’t decide what kind of toast I would want so made one slice of wheat, one white. Couldn’t decide on the topping: butter, peanut butter, nutella, and finally decided on gobs and gobs of grape jelly. All rounded out with a YoKids Strawberry-Vanilla yogurt. They even went outside to fetch the newspaper!

It was the best breakfast I’ve ever had!


At least that’s how I think it would be spelled.

Sometimes my kids surprise me. This morning JD was dancing  around with a scrap of construction paper singing “Okehoma, Okehoma, Okehoma.” Wondering why on earth he was singing about something that sounded vaguely Japanese. He said “mom, it looks like the state of Okehoma!”  Oh, of course it does, and that’s exactly something I would expect a five year old to know! [not]

The sad thing was, I had to consult our map the the U.S. to see if he was right, and darn it all if he wasn’t. That paper was shaped just like Oklahoma.

I entered the 21st century a few weeks ago and got an iPhone. It has become the daily siren call for my kids. “Mom, can I play your iPhone?” Well, with games like “Stack The States” by Dan Russell-Pinson, how can I say no. EJ is learning the states, their geographic location in the U.S. (because mean mommy makes him look them up on the map) and JD, who mostly guesses is obviously picking up state names and shape. Available also is “Stack the Countries” which I’m holding off getting until they’ve exhausted Stack the States.

Of course as much as they are enjoying educational games, they are also enjoying “Plants Vs. Zombies” and Lego’s “Ninjago Spinjitzu.”  I suppose those could be educational, if they had to become ninjas to fight off brain eating zombies. Right?

New Symphony of Science Video

I really enjoy the way they put these videos together. This one is about the human brain and as usual they’ve chosen some great quotes.

No longer at the mercy of the reptile brain we can change ourselves. Think of the possibilities!
-Carl Sagan

How Far Away Is The Moon, Really?

It’s so hard even for us grown-ups to conceptualize how ginormous space is. Sometimes I wonder what kids think. Certainly they know they can’t just reach out and touch the moon, but is it possible for them to truly understand how far away even just our own moon is?

Via Bad Astronomy