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Steven Spence
nerdy; stargazer; legend in my own mind; wannabe photographer, may post occasional spider pictures - you have been warned!
nerdy; stargazer; legend in my own mind; wannabe photographer, may post occasional spider pictures - you have been warned!

Steven's posts

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One of my ladybird beetle friends on the lavender outside my office window. It is overcast so the purple colors don't show up as well as they could.

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Still no rain but temps are down a bit and it is overcast. The roses like it.

I see plenty of bees in the lavender and will try to get some of them when the sun comes out again. I really need sunlight to bring out the colors and to be able to shoot fast enough to have sharp bee photos.

Have a great Sunday! 

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Fun in the kitchen, Ikea style.

Just a concept but a lot of fun imagining it. via +Bored Panda 

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Ada Hagan shares how bacteria steal iron during infections. It's a tactic used by anthrax but at least in mice if the siderophores used by the bacteria are blocked the mice can contain the disease. highly interesting.

Also, let's not deal with the whole spinach and iron thing here. That would be off-topic. Ada got it right that Popeye was after Vitamin A. If anyone wants to go down that rabbit hole (an "academic urban legend") please see this post:

+Kate Stone 

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Summer Salad Inspired by +Katherine Bond

You can view her original version here:

My take consists of:

"date tomatoes"
1 red bell pepper
1 cucumber (peeled skin because of a picky eater, but good with skin too)
half an onion (it was left over)
a handful of green onion bulbs (the greens were used in a soup)
1 medium can chickpeas - washed and drained
1 medium can black beans - washed and drained
1 medium can kidney beans - washed and drained
chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh "wild" parsely
chopped Feta cheese
some black olives

I made my own sauce :
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamico
3 tablespoons water
1 shot of leftover red wine
threw in some pinches of brown sugar
powdered garlic (I didn't have fresh and was too lazy to go to the store)
some dried rosemary
a spoonful of strawberry jam (fig preserves would have been best but didn't have any open, so I used what I had)
lime juice - liberally
freshly ground sea salt, chili flakes, and black pepper to taste

We'll see how folks like it. I think it will be a tasty alternative to a conventional lettuce salad on a hot summer evening. (fingers crossed)

Sorry - Google is too helpful and reverse sorted the pictures. sigh. Why can't I pick out which one is the album cover when posting like I could with Google in the old days? <old Steve shakes fist at sky and mumbles invectives>

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Cous-Cous for later today

Such a simple dish. Cous-Cous ~250g, boil ~300 g water, throw in bouillion then pour over the cous-cous. Let stand for about 10 min. In the meantime you can prepare whatever you want to add: mint, parsley, tomatoes, cashews, chopped dates, chopped figs, rainsins, almonds. There are so many variations possible. Most taste good to me but I have a picky eater in the family, so I kept this one simple. I just used fresh "wild" parsley and little "date tomatoes". One tip: make sure you have a sharp knife. It pays off with tomatoes. You want to slice and not push/mash when cutting them.

P.S. I forgot to mention I added lime juice. I like that tangy, citrusy flavor.

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Had a nice evening at a Bosnian restaurant this past week.

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Beware of Bucky

Early writings about it claim that its blossoms emitted an aroma reminiscent of the stench of "a thousand dead elephants rotting in the sun." While this is surely hyperbole, staffers have been waiting for many months to experience Bucky’s olfactory charms.

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Physics can be fun!

Read about the real forces involved and the fake forces too.

This centrifugal fictitious force is felt by anyone moving in circular motion. A common example is on spinning amusement park rides, which plaster us against the walls with nothing supporting us below. Although it feels like a force is pushing us into the wall, it’s really just the inertial motion from the circular path we take.

Thanks to +Jonathan Trinastic  and +Kate Stone  for a fun article dealing with an application of fundamental physics.

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Very exciting find and a good reason why the black market trade in amber from that and similar sites is of concern. Fortunately the scientist secured this specimen.

h/t to +Marko Bosscher and +Warren Lissel
99 million year old chick preserved in amber
The specimen is a enantiornite chick Perfectly preserved in two fragments of amber, originally forming a single block.
The chick preserves the skeleton of the skull, part of the presacral vertebral column, of the distal part of the wing and part of the leg. The amber has also retained traces of the soft parts of the body, in particular the shape of the neck, legs and tail.
It is even known the margin of the opening of the ear, bordered by thin filaments as in today's birds. Note the excellent preservation of the leg, with his feet still perfectly preserved at the level of the fingertips. I repeat: this fossil is 99 million years old!
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