Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The couch

Our couch is pretty magical. As you can barely see in this picture, it is green. We bought it second hand at the local Goodwill on Katie's birthday when we first moved here. It was the only present she got that day. Poor Katie. Don't worry -- we celebrated her birthday a few weeks later.

The reason I say our couch is magical is because I found a lot of magical things in it. These things belonged to the couch's previous owner, and I think they are pretty telling of that owner's personality. Here is an incomplete list of the things I pulled out of the couch:

  • A drum stick. Not like a chicken leg, but the wooden stick you hit a drum with.
  • An English 202 midterm exam. He got a 57%. Sad day for him. I know it's a "him" and not a "her" because his name was on the exam. But I won't tell you his name -- that would be a FERPA violation...I think. I felt kind of bad for him because his answers really were pretty terrible.
  • 3 saltine crackers. Intact. I think the fact that they were intact is what amazed me the most.
  • 14 cents (dime, penny, penny, penny, penny).
  • 3 ballpoint pens. All of them were out of ink.
I know there were some more random things we found in there, but they aren't coming to mind. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baking powder vs. baking soda

Katie put up a magazine holder in our bathroom a few weeks ago. We have issues of National Geographic, Popular Science, and Martha Stewart Living sitting in there right now. After reading every article in National Geographic and Popular Science twice, I decided to pick up Martha. I was bored, OK?

Anyway, I found a really interesting article! A reader asked if baking soda and baking powder are interchangeable.

Answer: no!I kind of had a hunch that this is true, but I didn't know why. Both baking soda and powder are leavening agents (meaning they make bubbles to make bread rise), but they use different methods.

Baking soda is used when you are making something that has an acidic ingredient, such as molasses or vinegar or chocolate. The soda (which is a base) reacts with the acid and makes carbon dioxide bubbles.

Baking powder is used for situations in which there are no acidic ingredients. The powder has an acid built right it: cream of tartar. So once baking powder gets wet, it starts making bubbles, as you can see from this, um, really cool video.

Most annoying song on most annoying instrument

[Video link]

Sunday, September 25, 2011


According to this study by Gallup, only 4 in 10 Americans say they believe in evolution, which is, in my opinion, a staggeringly low amount. I think this is because there is a common misconception that a belief in evolution means that you can't believe God.

I personally believe in evolution. And I strongly believe in God. And what's more, I don't think those two ideas contradict one another. You don't have to be an atheist to believe that evolution is real. In fact, I think looking at the intricities and beauties of science has strengthened by faith.

When I was at BYU, I came across many people who didn't believe in evolution. In each biology, chemistry and psychology class I took we discussed evolution and how it the basis for modern science and doesn't contradict true religion. These are the two main points that fellow class members brought up, arguing that evolution isn't necessarily true:

  1. Evolution is just a theory. While this is true, I think it is misunderstood. Theories are the strongest piece of evidence that science has to offer. Relativity is a theory. Plate tectonics is a theory. Germs are a theory. And all of these theories are used as if they are fact because they are the best models we have at the moment to define the world around us. 
  2. Evolution proves that God doesn't exist. This is not true. All evolution shows us is that species adapt to their surroundings. This happens because DNA mutates when species have offspring. Sometimes the change in genes makes them better adapted to their surroundings, and sometimes it makes them worse. The mutations that make the species better adapted gets passed on because they live long enough to have more kids. Their offspring carry the adapted gene and the species has evolved to a stronger species. That is all evolution is. 
I believe that there isn't a scientific truth and a religious truth. There is only truth. And we will one day everything will be understood completely. In the mean time, I applaud the scientific community for advancing the limit of what we know, while at the same time I cherish the simple truths the come directly from God.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Folding a fitted street

A few months ago, I was listening to a podcast by the guys at How To Do Everything (I think it was this one) and they had a part of the show that was called "Ask A Rocket Scientist." This is when they would ask a rocket scientists all the questions they didn't have time to answer themselves to get some quick answers.

One of the questions was this: How are you actually supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Magic squares

Have you ever heard of magic squares? These are squares with numbers in them, and if you add up the numbers in the columns or rows, they all add up to the same number.

In this example, all of the rows and columns add up to the number 15. There is a pretty simple pattern to use if you want to make one, although this pattern only works for boxes with an odd number of boxes in a row (3x3, 5x5, etc)

Read on to figure out how to make one after the jump.