You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2005.

Hi all.

Gonna disappear for a while again. Meanwhile, if you have any burning questions, go ahead and ask me, I’ll answer them when i can. Also, if you are an aspiring writer and wants to contribute to this little blog, you are most welcomed to. Just let me know ‘kay?

Till I come back, See you all soon!

Ever wondered how the phrase ‘Rule of the thumb’ came about?

Perhaps many of you have heard of the claim that the phrase was derived from an old English law which stated that a man could not beat his wife with anything wider than his thumb. I, for one, have heard that story often enough.

Well, for those who had believed it to be the truth, it’s time I debunked this urban myth.

A quick check is all it takes to dismiss this interesting but false theory. I came across a wonderful site that helps get our facts right. Let’s see what this site has to say:

“The real explanation of ‘rule of thumb’ is that it derives from wood workers… who knew their trade so well they rarely or never fell back on the use of such things as rulers. instead, they would measure things by, for example, the length of their thumbs.

The author pointed out that,

“That the phrase did not even originate in legal practice could have been ascertained by any fact-checker who took the trouble to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary, which notes that the term has been used metaphorically for at least three hundred years to refer to any method of measurement or technique of estimation derived from experience rather than science.

In fact,

“British law since the 1700s and our American laws predating the Revolution prohibit wife beating, though there have been periods and places in which the prohibition was only indifferently enforced.”

Apparently, there never was a law that states that a man can beat his wife whether or not the instrument used was bigger or smaller than his thumb. It was then suggested that perhaps this myth was brought about because of this particular quote:

“In America, early settlers held European attitudes towards women. Our law, based upon the old English common-law doctrines, explicitly permitted wife-beating for correctional purposes. However, certain restrictions did exist and the general trend in the young states was toward declaring wife-beating illegal. For instance, the common-law doctrine had been modified to allow the husband ‘the right to whip his wife provided that he used a switch no bigger than his thumb’ — a rule of thumb, so to speak”

—Del Martin, Battered Wives Volcano Press, 1976, page 31.

If anyone’s interested to know more, they can visit this wiki site.

Today’s topic is on a pesky little buzzing creature that suck ur blood – the mosquito!

Mosquito is a spanish word which means ‘little fly’ and its use dates back to 1583.

Perhaps most of you already know that only female mosquitoes suck blood, male ones don’t. Thus, only the female mosquito has mouth parts suited for that purpose. But why is it only female mosquitoes bite other animals for blood?

Well, mosquitoes don’t suck blood for food. Their food is actually the nectar of plants. Instead, their reason for sucking blood is because they need the protein that can be found in blood to lay their eggs.

For the past few days, I’ve had access to a lab equipped with a microscope. Since this lab also happen to have plenty of mosquitoes, it was easy to obtain a mosquito for observation. A friend asked, which one is the mouth? Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell. Nonetheless, here are some photos of parts of the pesky little thing for your viewing pleasures:

Image hosted by
The wing~

Image hosted by
The feelers~

Actually, the pictures are rather pretty aren’t they? As for the mouth, since I cant find it using the microscope, I went to look for a photo online.

This, my friends, is what a mosquito’s mouth looks like:

Image hosted by
note: this is a false color image taken by Kevin Mackenzie using a SEM .

Shocking? My immediate reaction to the photo was to exclaim “OMG. IT HAS A TONGUE!!!!” (Well, it actually isn’t really a tongue. But it sure looks like it right?)

If you are interested to know how the mosquito sucks blood, click here.

By the way, I realised this post doesnt have much information in it… But then again, I just wanted to show you readers that picture I found of the mosquito mouth because it grossed me out. =p (hope you people still liked the post despite the lower standards. *sheepish smile*)

Before I continue, let me say what that long title translates as: “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.”

A friend of mine asked me, so why does wind extinguish small fires (as of birthday candles) but build up bigger ones?

Well, he actually knows the answer but just wanted to test me. Luckily, I managed to find the answer. muahahaha. I win! *clears throat and gives victory sign* ^^

Ok, the answer to that question is:

Fire requires 3 conditions to exist – (1) Fuel, (2) oxygen and (3) minimum ignition temperature.

When we want to extinguish a fire, all we have to do is deprive the fire of at least one out of these three conditions.

Wind brings a fire more oxygen and at the same time, it also reduces the temperature of the fire.

In the case of a small fire, a sufficiently large wind can reduce the temperature low enough to go below the minimum ignition temperature required for the fire to continue burning. This meant that condition 3 cannot be satisfied. Thus, in small fires, wind serves the role of an extinguisher.

In the case of the birthday candle, the act of blowing it also removes the vaporised wax around the flame (thus removing its fuel source). So by blowing at a birthday candle, a person can effectively remove two conditions for the candle to remain lit.

In the case of a large fire, the temperature is much too high for the wind to cool it to a temperature level below that of the minimum ignition temperature. So all it does is feed the fire with more oxygen. Therefore, instead of extinguishing big fires, wind enkindles them.

There. Problem solved.

But there’s alot more questions you can ask regarding this issue.
Questions like:
How do trick birthday candles work?
How does a fire storm work?

Keep on asking folks!

Let’s see now, the last post was… *gasp* nearly one month ago! Where have I been?!?

Sorry about the prolong absence folks, I know you guys missed me. I’ve been busy =p=p But hey, I havent ran out of ideas yet and since I’ve got such a huge backlog of posts waiting to be published, I think I shall just type all of them in advance and post them one per day for the next few days. ^^ Sounds exciting isn’t it?

Can’t wait? Read on then!