SiS Link of the Day: The Science of Dyeing Easter Eggs

Happy Easter to all who are celebrating! I was dyeing Easter eggs with friends yesterday and decided to write a post about it. When I got home, I started researching the chemistry behind the process, only to find that Visual News beat me to the punch (complete with illustrations far beyond my capabilities). Check it out here!


I knew from a young age that we had chemistry together…

…or at least that we took chemistry together. It’s the SigFig’s 30th birthday, and, while we’ve only been dating for a few years, we’ve actually known each other since high school. We took a handful of classes together, one of which was chemistry, and his milestone birthday has me feeling nostalgic.

One of the first labs we did in our chem class was the classic separation lab. You start with a mixture of substances such as salt, iron filings, and sand, then plan and execute a procedure to separate the substances. It was really a lab preparedness warmup: the activity helped students learn about lab safety and how to develop and follow procedures. In retrospect, I’d classify it as more of an engineering activity than a scientific investigation.

The primary difference between science and engineering is that the goal of science is to answer questions (What does the structure of an atom look like?), while the goal of engineering is to solve problems (How can airplanes become more fuel efficient?). There’s definitely a lot of overlap, and progress in one field is frequently dependent upon progress in the other. Scientists use tools that engineers build, and engineers use scientific discoveries to build new things.

The SigFig became an engineer, so I guess something from that class stuck with him. (Besides me, of course.)

You are probably consuming 1000x more calories than you think you are…

…or, why capitalization is important.

I got laid off last week, and, as a not-entirely-recommended coping mechanism, I spent about 30 hours consuming nothing but Drumstick ice cream cones, sour cream and onion potato chips, and carbonated raspberry lemonade. I shudder to think of the Calorie count, let alone the calorie count…and yes, there’s a difference. Continue reading

NPH, scotch, and seventh-grade science…

…also, Science in Suburbia is not responsible if you start burning things after reading this post.

I don’t always watch television, but when I do, it’s usually a game show, a cooking show, Mythbusters, or anything with Neil Patrick Harris in it. So imagine my elation when I learned that Neil Patrick Harris and his better half, David Burtka, were judges on the latest Iron Chef. I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two in my time (though that consumption has dropped precipitously as I’ve reached my later twenties), so I was only further excited to see that the secret ingredient was scotch. Continue reading