Words for Nerds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am in the middle of completing this Python project here and I wanted to create a science-based version of the game Wordle. While looking for a list of words to use, I came across Words for Nerds by The Scientist AKA Science Wordle! I managed to guess today’s word in four tries…and I found it educational. I won’t spoil the world, but let’s just say that if it came up in trivia, I’d fail miserably.

The game is played the same way as the traditional Wordle. You have six attempts to guess a five-letter word. Correctly placed letters will be shown in green, letters that are misplaced will be in orange, and letters not in the word will be greyed out.

While the game is relatively simple to play, the website itself is cluttered and you have to keep scrolling up and down to see your guesses and they keyboard. In order to see both, I had to zoom out on the page in the web browser. Still, it’s a quick and easy way to build your science vocabulary and learn something new!

‘Nicotine-free’ vapes are highly addictive

‘Nicotine-free’ vapes are highly addictive

According to research and data provided by Inter Scientific, ‘nicotine-free’ vapes sold across stores in England and Wales contain addictive substances such as formaldehyde and acrolein.

Both of these substances have links to cancers. Inter Scientific analyzed 52 products and found that 73% were above the legal tank capacity of 2ml.

Almost half of the products had more than twice the legal capacity. In addition, eight of the vaping devices tested contained addictive substances even though they were marketed as being nicotine free. Some of these devices have 50% more than the legal limit (20mg/ml) of nicotine.

This is bad news for young people who use vaping devices regularly and believe that they are avoiding risk by going for nicotine-free products. Vape flavours are also adding to this risk by making it easy for users to inhale a large amount in a short period of time.

Once again, these findings prove that people using these devices need to be aware of what their inhaling. The government and medical industry also need to move quickly when it comes to regulating these devices in order to avoid an epidemic in the future.

Source: Some ‘nicotine-free’ vapes high in addictive substances, tests reveal

Further reading: The Big Question – 04 – Is vaping risk-free?

Merry Christmas! [+ free infographic]

I would like to wish all readers and followers a Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Christmas is always a very stressful period! It is easy for things to spiral and end up in disaster, but have no fear! Here are FIFTEEN tips for a less stressful Christmas!

I think the main one for me will be avoiding social media! It might make connecting with people difficult, but there’s always 26th December!


Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

Managing the Seemingly Inevitable Holiday Season Stress

The Big Question – 01 – Foil in the Microwave

In this new series, I will be examining the day-to-day questions in which the answer lies in science. You know, those questions that you get when something happens and you find yourself wondering why?

Today’s question is based on a little incident that happened to me recently. And, if I’m being honest, it’s not the first time.

The Big Question is…

Why does metal spark in the microwave?

white microwave with door open
it’s getting hot in here

I am sure most of us have been there. You forget yourself and the next thing you know, your microwave is giving you a mini fireworks display. I have decided to look into why this happens to ensure that it’s on my mind the next time I feel like warming up cold hotdogs wrapped up in foil.

As per How Stuff Works, it turns out its to do with how the microwave heats up the food. A microwave emits actual radio waves at a frequency of 2.4Ghz – and these waves are absorbed by water, fats and sugars and release heat, allowing the food to be warmed up. The waves are not absorbed by plastic, glass or ceramics – hence why you can heat food in these dishes. If you have ever heated something out of a packet, you’ll be familiar with instructions that say to use ‘non-metallic’ containers/bowls/plates.

This is because the radio waves emitted by the microwave are not absorbed by metal.

When they come into contact with small pieces of metal, like the edge of a piece of foil, an electrical current runs through and this is what ignites sparks. If the affected foil is attached to any form of paper, this can be what leads to fires.

Why does this happen?

Well, metals like aluminium foil tend to be flat and thin. When the food inside is heated, the water molecules evaporate into steam – releasing bursts of energy. With the food covered, there is nowhere for this energy to go and the foil itself becomes very hot. This can be very dangerous if the microwave is left unsupervised.

So, the lesson here is to always take precautions and ensure that foil is not used inside the microwave!

5 ways to reduce stress [infographic]

1. Make sure you get enough rest. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but ensuring you’re getting a good night’s sleep is vital. 

2. Eat healthy and balanced meals. It’s easy to fall into bad habits when stressed, but overeating junk food can make you feel worse.

3. Don’t pressure yourself. Try to set attainable goals by breaking down more significant goals. This will help you hit your targets more often. 

4. Get those feelings out. Talk to a trusted friend or put pen to paper. Keeping pent-up frustration locked away inside can lead to burnout or embarrassing outbursts. It’s always good to have an outlet. 

5. Do something that makes you happy. This can be picking up a hobby, listening to music, or watching your favourite show. Take time to do something purely for yourself. 

Writing = therapy (or 5 reasons why writing is good for you)

I have always enjoyed writing—whether it’s stories, poems, scripts, silly notes to myself, or pages and pages of unnecessary commentary on my favourite television shows. There is something about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) that soothes me. One of my goals is to journal more, but in an increasingly digital world, I can never find the time. Writing online in the form of digital diaries and blogs is a great way to keep up with journaling, but I much prefer looking at the clean-lined paper and messing it up with my chicken scrawl.

Continue reading

On This Day [June 3rd]

  • Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first wireless message from a photophone (a device that transmits sound on a beam of light).
  • Ed White became the first American to walk in space
  • Charles Richard Drew, an American physician and medical researcher who was instrumental in the preservation of blood plasma, was born.

Alexander Graham Bell Invented the Photophone June 3, 1880
Bell’s photophone
Medical Innovations: Charles Drew and Blood Banking
Today in Science – Jun 03

3 more podcasts to listen to

I admit it. I’ve been bitten by the podcast bug. Not only can they be informative, they’re a good way to kill time. I like to jokingly call them conversations I don’t need to participate in (#introvert). Finding a good podcast can be hit or miss, but there is something for everyone. It can be interesting to find polarising podcasts where people love or hate them – I’m usually in the latter category and have quit podcasts after five minutes (hey, life is too short!).

I last shared five science-related podcasts and I’m back again with more recommendations!

Each of these podcasts have one thing in common – I was completely mystified by the circumstances! Plus, I think the level of deception and obsessive behaviour is something that can affect any of us at any one time. Each situation comes with red flags that are ignored at some point (and that’s definitely a post for another time)! Continue reading