Two really cool things that got my curiosity going recently…
Pendulum Waves This I saw at the science centre in Newcastle in the ‘Do Try This At Home’ show using pots and pans. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever, ever seen! The whole audience was spellbound. I’ve made it a project to create one in the garden with tennis balls… Here is a video of the same experiment – keep watching!
Then searching around for instructions on how to set one up I saw that someone had created a pendulum wave with bowling balls – and hooked it up so the balls hit tubes and created sounds!! Brilliant!
Metronome Sways Chatting about the pendulum wave to my colleague Martyn, he told me about the metronome synchronisation experiment. This is super cool – metronomes placed on a foam platform and set off at random eventually end up ticking at the same time. Amazing. This led to all sorts of conversations with scientific family members about buildings and bridges… … Read more...
Since watching the beautiful and moving timelapse video put together with images from the International Space Station, I’ve become curious about everything Space Station! There are a number of different resources I’ve been using to find out about life on board the Space Station and also the support that it requires to function.
Twitter @Space_Station This is the Space Station’s Twitter account and my main source of info for all things Space Station. This account also retweets tweets from the astronauts on board so it’s a great place to start finding out about who is up there, what it looks like and the sorts of experiments and work they are doing right now.
Recently I’ve become completely fascinated by the website tweetping.net. Tweetping shows realtime Twitter activity from around the world in a beautiful way – when a Tweet goes out a little light appears on the map locating the place where the Tweet came from. The tweet lights start appearing when go to the website and it’s beautifully displayed. Here is an example taken after 15 minutes at lunchtime GMT…
I think the reason it fascinates me so much is because it makes me ask so many questions. It gets me curious! For example, does everyone in Japan and South East Asia use Twitter?! why do the lights coming from the USA seem to stop half way along? is that bright light to the right of the middle coming from Istanbul? do people use something else in China? is that Pretoria in South Africa? why is it brighter than Cape Town? does the brightness on the map reflect population size? is that why there are fewer lights in Australia? but then what about India? does it reflect the wealth of an area? connectivity? 4G? what does it look like at different times of the day?
It’s not got butter on it! It should be called ‘big-wing-fly’…
And so the conversation with 6-year-old continued, with much laughing over the name of the beautiful creature – the butterfly. So why is it called a butterfly? No one knew, but a quick look in the partner database (aka Google, thanks Peter) brought up a few suggestions:
because they would flutter around milk while it was being turned into butter
because witches that took on the shape of the ‘butterfly’ stole milk and butter
it was really called a ‘flutterby’ but that got mixed up
because the first butterfly to come out of hibernation (yes, this one hibernates) in the summer is the male brimstone butterfly and it is yellow, the colour of butter
There doesn’t seem to be any clear answer, all of these sound like they might be right – what do you think?… Read more...
Good question! I had no idea and could give no answer. A quick look at wikipedia, and we learned that the word ‘bus’ is the shortened form of the Latin word ‘omnibus‘.
One etymology (the study of the origin of words) holds that “omnibus” is derived from a hatter’s shop which was situated in front of one of the first bus stations in Nantes, France in 1823. “Omnes Omnibus” was a pun on the Latin sounding name of that hatter Omnès: omnes meaning “all” and omnibus means “for all” in Latin. Nantes citizens soon gave the nickname of Omnibus to the vehicle.
When motorised transport started replacing horse-drawn transport in 1905, a motorized omnibus was called an autobus, a term still used today. Wikipedia