Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New quiz, old quiz, poisons, sunflower explosion, & chemical mystery


This morning's relentless mantra:
Malacothamnus, malacothamnus, malacothamnus, malacothamnus...

Apparently, drinking coffee in a relaxed fashion, listening to birdies cheerfully greet the sun, is not enough. I must have a look-this-up-or-I-will-annoy-you-to-death vocabulary alarm in my brain.

So, that's the new quiz: what is malacothamnus (without looking it up)?

Per usual, creative I-have-no-idea guesses are appreciated, as well as studly-spot-on-I-totally-know-this answers. =)

I looked it up, and now I understand why my brain sent me this, given what I saw yesterday...


Courtesy of Merriam-Webster

toxophilite: a person fond of or expert at archery

— toxophilite adjective
— tox·oph·i·ly noun

Greek toxon bow, arrow + philos dear, loving
First Known Use: 1794


The file name for this shot is in German, but includes "Tibetexpedition_Volksfest_Bogunschu" So, I'm thinking it's a folk festival including (or all about??) Tibetan folks, and it's an archery (Bogunschu) competition or demonstration.

In other words, that place was likely rich in toxophilites, in both senses of the word. =)

There are lots of things I love about this photograph, but one is comparing where he is looking vs. where his arrow is pointed; he is accounting for gravity. So cool.

Maybe during my new archery adventures, I'll start to get a feel for that sort of adjustment.

And I want one of those things for my thumb--I'm guessing it helps hold the string until you are ready to let loose.

I discovered this word because I actually wondered if there were some cool archery-specific terms. It just seemed like there had to be. And, apparently, there are. =)


Correct Answers
The answer that made me, biology-chick, swoon (and laugh), was from Snail:
"Something to do with archery? Amirite? I'm trotting this out because the archerfish here are in the genus Toxotes and that's close enough for me. (The common mangrove species is Toxotes jaculatrix. I have no opinion about that name.)"

And from CP: delightfully, pointedly vague =) :
"Does it have something to do with a person who launches pointy things with a bent stick and some string (more or less)?"

Delightful Guesses

Mainly mongoose: "This one's new to me. My guess: a toxophilite is a person who's irresistably drawn to things that are harmful (e.g. snake enthusiasts)."

Jodi: "Someone who willingly imbibes poisons, but really, only a little at a time. 'I'll have an Amanita Lite, please-- I'm on a diet.' "

=) See why I LOVE my blog readers? =)

And I agree, toxophilite sounds like someone who dearly loves poisons.

Speaking of...


The new book I'm currently reading
made our friends nervous when they saw I was reading it,
'cause they love my husband.

The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum.

It's not what you think. =)

The subtitle explains it: Murder and the
Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.

Photo from Amazon.com.
btw, I bought it, so this is not a paid-by-freebie-book review.
In fact, it's not a review at all.

It's a super interesting mix of evil doers, chemical and biological/medical invention to try and foil them, and the interplay of historical happenstance.

And there are practical, take-home lessons, like "Never, ever drink wood alcohol."



I steamed a batch of just-picked green beans last night.
Left the lid on the pot overnight.
And this is what I found this morning.

Why is it this amazing shade of orange??

If you know, feel free to share.
I bet my mom (chemist) knows...


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