Archive for September, 2012

UPG Salutes Legumes

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Yesterday we posted a quiz in which we asked you, Dear Reader, to identify an item as fruit, legume, or vegetable.

It is abundantly clear that legumes are far superior to other foods.  Here’s why.

1. Zucchini

What is this thing? Some sort of squash? It’s full of water and devoid of taste. You have to cover it in butter or oil in order to get any flavor (which will be the flavor of butter or oil).  And look at the shape — obviously the zucchini has no idea of what it’s trying to be.  Choose this one if you want to hedge your bets and end up with nothing.

2. Pumpkin

Yes, we feel all October-y when we look at this orange mass of food, but really it’s just another gourd.  Better for decoration than anything else.  And it’s obscenely obese.  Definitely not a legume.

3. Peas

Look at them, all snug in their pod, waiting for you to consume them.  Yet they are not victims!  Peas are a surprise in a package of green.  They are the epitome of green. Fresh and delightful.  They also make a great soup.  Legumes are the best.

4. Radish

Bitter, dirty, always climbing downward.  Only a vegetable would waste so much energy for so little gain.

5. Green bean

Aha — this fruit wants to trick you!  Bet you thought it was a vegetable.  WRONG!  And then, look at it, it’s got a pod, but what’s inside?  NOT PEAS.  What a disappointment.  Don’t fall for this mock pea.

6. Alfalfa

Cultivated since the 4th century, high in protein, calcium, minerals, and with tons of vitamins, alfalfa has also been a key ingredient in herbal medicines at least since the days of ancient Rome.  And look, the bees like it!  Ah, legumes, how we love ye.

7. Peanuts

Eat it plain?  Sure!  Dry roast it?  Yummy!  Cover it with salt?  Yesiree!  Hey, how bout we grind it up and make some kind of butter out of it?  An American classic!  I wonder if it goes good with chocolate.  Oh, yes, it’s GREAT with chocolate!  How about a savory sauce or curry?  YOU BETCHA!  The mighty peanut just goes to show you how utterly fantastic legumes are.  In a life full of uncertainties and emptiness, legumes can be your everything.

8. Bell peppers

Really?  Look at them.  Ubiquitous, full of seeds, and pretty blah.  Worms like them.  But they’ll eat anything.

9. Broccoli rabe

What is this again?  Some kind of broccoli?  But more bitter and Italian?  Way to sell it, non-legume.

10. Carrot

We already discussed the problems with roots when we commented on radishes.  Carrots dig even deeper, because they shun the light even more.

11. Porchetta sandwich

Eating legumes does not require that you sneak up on anything like some wannabe ninja assassin.  Also, meat is bad for you.  Especially if it has the feeling that you’re coming across the fields after it with the intent to do it harm.

Fruit, Legume, or Vegetable?

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
Many wise men and women, scientists, and philosophers spent time in the garden or orchard.  George Washington Carver.  Gregor Mendel.  Sir Isaac Newton.  Other cultivated people.  Test your vegetation knowledge with this quiz.  Are the following FRUIT, LEGUME, or VEGETABLE?
_______________________________________________________________________
1. Zucchini

2. Pumpkin

3. Peas

4. Radish

5. Green bean

6. Alfalfa

7. Peanuts

8. Bell peppers

9. Broccoli rabe

10. Carrot

11. Porchetta sandwich

ANSWERS:
1. fruit, 2. fruit, 3. legume, 4. vegetable, 5. fruit, 6. legume, 7. legume, 8. fruit, 9. vegetable, 10. vegetable, 11. what do you think?

Museums of Some Scientists: Glaring Omissions

Friday, September 21st, 2012

We recently posted a series of entries about museums dedicated to individual scientists.  But we haven’t been able to find a museum dedicated to Isaac Newton!  What’s up with that?  Where’s the museum to Archimedes or Euclid?  There’s a small museum as part of the Leibniz institute, but where’s the Enrico Fermi museum?  Darwin just gets a small museum at one of his homes?  That’s it?

Archimedes, Newton, Darwin, and Fermi. Four scientists in need of museums.

All of you science-lovers and museum-creators out there, please get on this.

 

Museums of Some Scientists: Freud

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Like Benjamin Franklin and Marie Curie, Sigmund Freud has two museums dedicated to him: his house and office in London, where he fled from the Nazis, and his home and office in Vienna, which the Nazis forced him to flee.  Thanks to that fleeing, London gets the better deal, including most of his collectibles and his analysis couch.

In Vienna you can visit the famous Berggasse location, gaze out the window Freud used to gaze out of, and soak up a touch of the fin du ciecle Viennese atmosphere.  But there’s very little belonging to Freud there, and you’re left with a reminder that the man who was later featured on the 50 Austrian Schilling note was ungraciously and humiliatingly kicked out of his home country and forced to live his final years in exile, away from his language, home, and culture.  Of course given what the Nazis did to the the members of Freud’s family who stayed in Austria, Freud got off exceptionally easy.

Freud’s house in Vienna. No couch here…

Freud lived the last year of his life in a house in a quiet London suburb.  Freud was really happy in this house with its large windows and garden.  It was much more pleasant than his relatively cramped apartment in Vienna.  Freud’s daughter Anna continued to live there until her death in 1982.  In 1986, it opened as the Freud Museum London, and contains, among Freud’s library and many Freud artifacts, his study, set up exactly the way it was during his lifetime.

Here it is — in London! 

Museums of Some Scientists: Franklin

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Benjamin Franklin was many things — a diplomat, a statesman, a newspaper man, a writer, and also a scientist.  The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is named after him, but like the Museo Galileo in its relationship to Galileo, this museum isn’t devoted to Franklin’s life and work, but is rather a general science museum named in his honor.  Unlike the Museo Galileo, however, the Franklin Institue doesn’t exhibit body parts of its namesake, but it does feature an oversized memorial statue.

Franklin does have two homes that have been turned into museums however.  Franklin Court in Philadelphia, the former site of one of his homes, is shared with the U.S. Postal Museum, and displays many of Franklin’s inventions.

Benjamin Franklin spent many years in Europe, and his house in London is his only still-existing home. This house is now a museum of the life and times of Franklin.  Part of the building is dedicated specifically to Franklin’s scientific work.

Franklin still has women waiting around for him at his house in London. Note the 18th century track lighting.

 

Museums of Some Scientists: Galileo

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

The Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy is a rare exception to museums dedicated to a scientist, because it’s not really a Galileo museum, but a science museum named after him.

But it rates a mention here, because rather than exhibiting items and artifacts from Galileo’s life, or showcasing is work and discoveries, it has taken on the odd mission of assembling as many of the great scientist’s body parts as possible.

Requilaries of Galileo include fingers and a molar.

Rather than documenting his life and work, this gives the Galileo Museum a rare position of serving as a kind of shrine to a scientist.  A bit more religious in tone than scientific.  But, this is Italy after all.

Museums of Some Scientists: Curie

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Welcome to a blog mini series we’ve named “Museums of Some Scientists.”

Usually, when we think of museums, we think of the places where we store scientific discoveries like dinosaur footprintsvaccinationsmeteorites or other glittery to not-so-glittery rocks, and ourselves.

But there are some scientists who are so famous or so important or so well-loved that people build museums to house their discoveries and artifacts from their lives.

Marie Curie rates museums in two countries.

There’s one in Paris, where, in true Napoleonic-code fashion, she has to share it with her husband.

And there’s one in Warsaw, located in the house where she was born.  Curie is probably Poland’s most famous scientist and although she lived most of her life in Paris, she never lost her cultural ties to her homeland.  She named one of the elements she discovered — polonium — after her home country.

Marie Curie remains a popular subject of exhibitions around the world on a regular basis. (Your humble PhLog writer once saw a very large Marie Curie exhibit in a Polish Museum housed in all places, Rapperswil, Switzerland.)  A a groundbreaking woman in science during a time when it was almost entirely a male-dominated field, she is often held up as an inspirational figure to women and science-lovers everywhere.  So she’s great museum material.