Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Impromptu Duet

A friend of mine (thanks Joey!) shared this video and it is just too good not to post and share here...
Fran & Marlo Cowan (married 62 years) playing impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic. He turned 90 in February. The song is Old Grey Bonnet

Monday, February 22, 2010

Save Squiggy!


It was a fine Spring morning. The air was losing the cold sting of winter, little green shoots of grass were beginning to appear in the pasture, and bright rays from the sun warmed my skin.
Really a nice day for a walk.
The cows had not been seen in the pasture for a day or two so I decided to put on my boots and stroll down to see what they could be doing at the bottom of their hill. As I came along the fence, I saw the two cows curled up near the pond. When I approached they both got to their feet. Yet something looked a little funny. One the cow's belts seemed a little off for some reason.
I watched as the "glitch" moved and there, along side his mama, was a new little calf. He had been right in line with his mom, his belt lining up to her belt.
Here was our first calf. We had brought the two cows home to our pasture the previous summer and had anxiously awaited Spring to see if we would indeed have calves.
He seemed so tiny, not much bigger than my corgi and certainly smaller than our German Shepard. He was a bit wobbly on his legs but took a few steps. I just stood and watched for a while, amazed with this new little life born in our pasture.
Squiggy is a calf from our cow named Shirley. She is a very gentle, calm cow.
The next month Squiggy got a cousin named Smudge. Smudge was born from our cow Laverne who is much more high-strung and nervous. While Squiggy took on Shirley's gentle nature, Smudge picked up his mother's nervousness and has been a bit of a problem in our pasture as he has grown bigger. Smudge has been good steak and roast material for a while now.
Squiggy, on the other hand, has become quite used to us and comes to the fence so we can hand feed him and pet him on the nose.
In the Spring of last year, Squiggy got a little sister named Elvis. Smudge immediately was jealous and would try to stomp on the new little calf. Squiggy would always come to the rescue of his little sister and drive Smudge away. To this day you will find little Elvis tagging along Squiggy and he watches over her and protects her.
Squiggy has been such a pleasant friend to have in our pasture. He follows the kids around. Squiggy ruins every game of hide-and-seek the kids try to play because he stands right outside of their hiding place and moos. They can find no way to get him to leave. He eats his treats right from our hands. When David feeds the horses, Squiggy is right there nibbling on David's coat or rubbing against him.

But.

There comes a time in the lives of steers out here when they go to meet the butcher. My husband can see no sense in having an 800lb "pet" in the pasture that just consumes and gives nothing in return. He set up an appointment for both Smudge and Squiggy to go meet the butcher.

The kids and I have been brainstorming ways to save Squiggy. Originally we thought we might just spray-paint Squiggy's belt black and run him into our neighbor's pasture to live with his herd. Then we saw our neighbor separating his herd and loading his steers into the trailer bound for the butcher's shop. So much for Operation Black Belt!
Our next plan was Operation Liberate Squiggy. We thought we might just go animal-rights-activist style and open the gate to let Squiggy run away. Only we found out that cows don't get very far because they stop to eat really often. Also, the countryside here is full of nice farmers who like to introduce steers to the butcher. So that plan went to the scrap heap as well.It is rather difficult to find a closet big enough to hide an 800lb animal in.
We've worked on teaching Squiggy to climb trees but that was rather unsuccessful as well. However, the doctors do assure us that Joe is going to be o.k., though a bit flat perhaps. If you'd like to visit Joe at the hospital he is in rooms 23 through 26.

We have finally decided that a social "moo-ment" might be the only way to go. It is time to appeal to my husband's good heart. We know that deep down inside he really does not want Squiggy to meet the butcher either. We need you all to help us let him know that Squiggy really doesn't have to meet the butcher.

We are launching Operation Save Squiggy. Sound off and let us know what you think. You can post your comments here or send messages to Save_Squiggy@yahoo.com
If we can get enough signatures then Squiggy will be able to remain a happy pet in our fields to grow old under the blue sunny skies living his days out frolicking in green pastures and playing in the ponds. We are appealing to you now for your support.

Help us Save Squiggy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunrise on a Rampage

Paradox Solved

Joe theorizes that Schrodinger just didn't know about zombies. Say hello to the father of quantum zombies...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cool Science Fair Idea

For anyone with a project coming up or if you just have a lot of time on your hands...

SCHRODINGER'S CAT BOX

A fun project is the Schrodinger's Cat Box. You need a mild source of
radioactivity (I use scrapings from old "luminous" watches I get at flea
markets). I make a box out of plywood except that two sides are small
celled Nomex honeycomb (<.125") cut to three inch thickness. One honeycomb
side is covered with onion skin paper and the other is left open. A strong
light is positioned outside the open celled honeycomb wall and is directed
into the box. The radioactive scrapings are smeared across the light lens
with a bit of glue. Inside the box I put the sensor to a Geiger counter
(borrow one from your local high school). The counter is connected to a
fast relay which, when closed by an alpha particle from the scrapings,
lights the light. Now, a small, live animal (cat) is placed into the box.
One stands behind the onion skin paper side of the box and plugs in the
Geiger Counter. With no light the alpha particles are few and are not
sufficient to turn on the light. The light is switched the first time with
a switch which is in parallel with the relay. Instantly you can see the
shadow of the animal on the onion skin paper. Then, as the cat moves, the
light and rush of alpha particles turn the light on and off, strobe like,
and you can see that sometimes the animal is not there, or some part of him
is gone! It's quantum uncertainty can be measured. It proves that there
are two states for the animal (and everything else) -- existence and
non-existence. No harm comes to the animal, by the way.