Tag Archives: forest

OMG I Love Science!

That’s strange but it’s the main thought I had after what was the most action-packed weekend I had in a very long time. Well, when I say action, I don’t mean, like, Die Hard movie kind of action, just that I didn’t spend it all reading or in front of the computer. Just so you don’t get the wrong idea.

On Saturday, I went to Stockholm. We saw a couple of museums and the Royal Castle. First, we went to see the Vasa, a very unlucky ship which sank like 20 minutes into her first journey and was fished out some 300 years later and which has her own museum now. The tour guide gave quite a lot of scientific background information on why the ship is in such a good condition and how they’re preserving it. It made me smile when the guide mentioned that they used poly-ethylene-glicol (PEG) to cover the ship to preserve it because it’s also used a lot in cell culture related applications – it’s a very good cell-repelant (if you don’t want cells to grow in certain areas of a substrate, you cover them with PEG). Yay, science, figuring out many uses for the same stuff.

But that wasn’t the most exciting science-y thing of the day. Next, we went to the Nobel Museum. It actually seemed a bit of a let-down at first, especially right after the Vasa Museum which had lots of cool stuff, like skeletons – it had actual skeletons of a few people who were on the Vasa on that ill-fated journey. I like to look at skeletons. And mummies. But we’re at the Nobel Museum now. It doesn’t have that much stuff, but if you have time to hang out you can watch some short films about various Nobel laureates (I kinda wish I decided to stay there longer and to see some more of those). But the part where I geeked out most was this temporary photo exhibition: they had invited a number of previous Nobel winners to sketch the stuff they were given the Prize for and then they took pictures of the scientists holding their sketches. The first picture we saw was of Peter Agre and his sketch of an aquaporin (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2003), and I was like, OMG we actually studied this in class! We went on and before I knew it, by every other sketch I was excitedly launching into explanations of how telomerases work (Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2009), why a little worm Caenorhabditis elegans (it helped folks get Nobel Prizes on 3 separate occasions) is often used in genetic experiments or why someone got a Nobel for extracting the stuff that makes jellyfish glow green (a.k.a. the green fluorescent protein). I did, however, have to admit defeat to nuclear magnetic resonance (actually 2 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry: 1991 to Richard R. Ernst and 2002 to Kurt Wüthrich) – even after covering it in 3 or so different classes, I still don’t get it. I just hope my friend didn’t get too fed up with me talking about that stuff so much, I was just so excited. This field trip made me realise once again just how much I love science and talking about science. Perhaps this science teacher idea isn’t so bad, after all; if only teenagers weren’t so scary.

The Royal Castle wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Nobel Museum, though I did like the royal shinies in the cellar and the guide actually made it rather interesting, by sharing facts like this: the old wooden castle burned down in the 16th or 17th century and the only person who died in the fire was actually killed by a book that someone threw out of the window trying to save it from the fire. Afterwards, we actually saw a couple of those books and it was suddenly clear that it was very easy to die from getting hit with such a book.

On Sunday, along with a few other people I went to partake in a traditional summer activity of my native country – berry and mushroom gathering in the woods around this town. Gosh, I love these woods so much! They’re just beautiful! Moss-covered huge boulders sprinkled among the trees, blueberries and old trees. I didn’t do so much actual gathering, I like the hiking and berry eating parts better.

Not feeling like moving much today,

Noodle.

Noodle’s Journey: In Search of the Elusive Lake

This week was pretty uneventful for the most part. I had few close encounters with specimens of local fauna. Taking a walk in a park, I ran into a squirrel I had a bit of a staring match with. Then there was this rabbit which didn‘t know traffic rules and even though it was turning left and I was riding my bike straight, I had to let it pass. I also took a couple walks and rides along the river which seems to run into two opposite directions – I‘m still trying to figure out how that works, and along those trips there were multiple sightings of ducks, once in an absent-minded state I walked so close past one that half a meter to the right and I would‘ve stepped on it. But it didn‘t even make a sound or move. I did, however, step on some duck poop, which is like the only problem this beautiful town seems to have. Oh well, can‘t have anything too perfect, and it‘s all part of the beautiful life cycles, and stuff.

And then the Epic Journey of Saturday afternoon happened. I had finally procured a bike in the beginning of the week, so I was able to go further away than on foot. A new friend and I decided to ride our bikes and see a lake a little out of town. It looked pretty straightforward on the map – after we left town, we just had to ride straight until we bumped into the lake. Only, when we got to the place from which we only had to ride straight, there was no road going straight. There were a few small forest paths leading in different directions, though, so we chose one and off we went. Only it ended in a dead-end, so we had to make a turn. Then we made more turns trying to get back on track. We stumbled upon the local crematorium. That was interesting. I had never seen a crematorium before. That was a good point to get our bearings, since it was marked on the map and everything. However, yet again, the map and the physical reality of roads didn‘t agree. We rode into the forest again. Took some turns here and there. And… suddenly found ourselves facing the crematorium again. It threatened to start raining. That would be a cool premise for a horror movie – two girls riding their bikes in the rain past an abandoned crematorium (the real creamatorium clearly wasn‘t abandoned, but that wouldn‘t make a good horror film premise).

We decided to backtrack our journey a bit further back to try and find the right road. We successfully back-tracked and chose another forest path. Only, after some time of battling rocky muddy narrow paths, we ended up on the same field where we started. Then we laughed about it for a couple of minutes and decided to try for the last time. We rode through the forest again, then through a sort of clump of perfect little houses in the forest (if I could pick anywhere on Earth to live, I‘d pick a house there… or a little town Gmunden in Austria, it has a lake surrounded by mountains). And then as it looked as though we bumped into another deadend, we actually bumped into the elusive lake. And then it started to rain in earnest.

We rode around looking for the lake for 2 hours. It took probably a good half hour to get back.

But seriously, this place has most beautiful forests. They’re like the Forbidden Forest and the forest of Lothlorien with a hint of Fangorn all in one.

I can’t believe I was able to move at all on Sunday,

Noodle.