From aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Chris Hadfield explains how to make a peanut butter tortilla in zero-gravity.
One of our favorite dress up games is playing Pirate. Pirates get all the cool sayings, like “Yo ho ho” and “ARRRR!” and “Scurvy knaves!” We didn’t realize scurvy was a “thing” until we saw this video on “Spongebob Squarepants”
Spots on your back and teeth falling out? Gross! And what’s that stuff about a lemon tree?
Turns out scurvy is a real disease, and spots on your skin and spongy gums (EWW!) are two of the symptoms. It happens when you don’t get enough vitamin C. Long ago pirates and other sailors who were at sea for long periods had to live off preserved foods like dried meats. They didn’t get many fruits and vegetables, and so they would develop the kinds of health problems like scurvy that happen when you don’t eat a variety of good healthy foods.
Scurvy is pretty rare in modern times. Eating a variety of fruits (especially citrus fruits like oranges and lemons) and vegetables helps, and so does taking a vitamin C supplement. Drink your orange juice and you won’t have to worry about being a “scurvy knave”!
After switching lunchboxes, we kind of forgot the old one for a while. And the half of a bagel with cream cheese that was inside. Oops.
Opening up the old lunchbox, we saw a lot of green fuzzy stuff—mold – had grown on the outside of the bagel.
What makes mold grow? What is mold, anyway?
Mold is a living microorganism that is part of the Fungi kingdom. Fungi aren’t plants, and they aren’t animals. Yeasts (used to make bread rise) and mushrooms are fungi, too. Fungi “eat” by releasing enzymes that break down their food into a form the fungi can absorb.
How did the mold get on the bagel? Mold reproduces by releasing tiny spores. These spores are so small that they can float in the air, from food source to food source. Mold grows well in moist conditions, which is why some foods, like fruit, attract it more than others. Molds come in many different colors, from black to blue to green.
Mold may look gross, it may be hard to clean up, and it may even cause allergies and breathing problems in some people, but mold isn’t all bad. There are quite a few medicines made from mold, including penicillin, which is used to treat illnesses like strep throat. Mold is even used to produce some kinds of food, like soy sauce and certain types of cheese. Fungi of all sorts are important in helping decompose (break down) organic matter.
Speaking of fungi, here’s an unscientific* joke for you:
Q: Why did all the girl mushrooms want to date the guy mushroom?
A. Because they knew that he was a fungi! (Get it? A fun guy!)
*This joke is unscientific because we know that fungi are asexual—there are no girl and no boy mushrooms!
We love the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It has a planetarium, an indoor rain forest, and a wonderful underground aquarium with fish from all over the world.
The living fish exhibits are terrific, but this display really got our attention.
It shows the contents of a tiger shark’s stomach. There are turtle shells, a shoe, a license plate, an unopened can of Spam (not that a shark could open a can of Spam if he tried), and even two Barbie dolls!
Most sharks go after food that is easiest to catch, like slow, weak or dying marine animals. Sharks use their teeth to grab and tear their prey, but they don’t chew it up and usually swallow it almost whole. Many species of shark are bottom feeders, meaning they literally scoop up food from the bottom of the ocean. According to Seaworld.org, tiger sharks are the “garbage cans of the sea” because they will eat whatever is available. From the looks of this picture, we’d say that was a good description!
This morning we made eggs for breakfast. We cracked them open and wondered, where did the chicks go?
The eggs you buy in the supermarket are unfertilized. That means a rooster has not fertilized the chicken’s eggs. Without fertilization, an egg will not produce a chick. What you see inside an egg are the yolk (the yellow part) and albumen (the egg white). The yolk and egg white provide nutrition for the chick when it is developing. This is different from the way human babies get nutrition when they’re developing in the womb. Human babies get their nutrition from an umbilical cord attached to their bellies.
That’s how you got your belly button!