Thursday, May 26, 2016

Budding Geologist / Gemologist / Rockhound

Serena, you went to some rock & gem shows lately. Tell us about them! Any good finds?

A rock and gem show is a collection of stalls that professional gemologists and rockhounds alike set up to sell their goods. And it's not just about selling. There are many pieces that are just on display. I like this because you can have an interesting and exciting experience without having to buy anything.

I've seen ammonites twice as big as my head, an amethyst geode big enough for two kids to sit in, whole clusters of fossilized dinosaur eggs, and petrified wood bar tables. These can also be used as a kind of natural advertisement as well. For example, an ammonite specialist might put out his biggest ammonites on display to steer buyers to his stall.

I bought a large piece of malachite at the Abbotsford Gem and Mineral Show. It was a very good price and quite beautiful, and I believe that was a very good find indeed!

You also went "rockhounding" on two weekends. What exactly is rockhounding?

In my opinion, rockhounding is when people with a love for fossils, minerals, rocks and gemstones go to their local riverbank to try their luck at finding something! Sometimes you find the odd piece of petrified wood or agate, but sometimes rocks catch your eye simply because they are beautiful.

Did you find anything special in your rockhounding trips?

I did find a relatively large piece of petrified wood and some sort of agate/chalcedony/calcite on the same trip, which was quite exciting.

Do you consider yourself a gemologist or a geologist?

I'd say a geologist because my range of interests goes beyond gemstones. I love fossils, minerals and just plain old rocks!

Now that you have quite an expanded collection, can you tell us your favourite piece? What do you wish to collect next?

I really like my malachite; my tektites are interesting and so are my petrified woods. I would like to maybe try and collect an ammonite from a gem show, but I would like to find a fossil on a rockhounding trip too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cow Eyes?!

For this science experiment, mom & I bought some cow eyeballs from a butcher. I already studied the anatomy of an eye online, so this was an experiment to get a bit more physical! 

First we pulled away some of the meat and checked out the two eyeballs from the outside - gross! When we cut open the first eyeball, all the vitreous humour (the liquid that fills most of the eyeball) came spilling out onto the table. We turned the front half of the eye inside out and saw the iris, the pupil, and the cornea.  Interestingly, the cornea was very thick. It took me ten tries with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors to cut it fully in half! As we turned the front half of this eyeball inside out, the lens fell out with a sound like Jell-O falling off a spoon and hitting the floor - a clear BLOB!

The iris was very beautiful, but the lens was hilarious! Like a raw egg white, it oozed everywhere and was impossible to pick up! We placed the lens on top of a K we wrote on a piece of paper and the lens magnified it. We had fun trying to hold on to its slippery edges and look through it. Unfortunately, we bought the eyes frozen and not fresh, therefore making the lenses a little cloudy. The once-frozen state of the eyes became apparent when I found a bit of the lens that was still hard!

The vitreous humour was a blackish liquid that looked like muddy pond water and spilled everywhere! The retina was on the back of the eye and the point where the knife is at is the blind spot. The back of the eye is lined with photoreceptors called rods and cones. Rods are responsible for vision when there isn't much light, and cones help us see patterns and colours. The blind spot is the place where there are no rods or cones, because the optic nerve enters the eye there.
Everybody has a different blind spot, and you can find yours by doing this:

Take a sheet of paper, draw an X in the middle and a dot to the right, on the same line. Focus on the X and pull the sheet of paper closer to your face. At one point you will see the dot disappear. That's your blind spot!

All in all, the experiment was both yucky and fun! I liked handling the different parts of the eye (with gloves). It's a whole different experience seeing the parts of an eye on a computer and seeing them for real!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Flute Studies (Level 6)

Caprice in G Major
by Karl Joachim Anderson (1847-1909)

Study in C Minor
by Giuseppe Gariboldi (1833-1905)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Taekwondo Tournament

Serena won gold in the pattern category which is her strong suit. Sparring is on the opposite end and she'd not been able to make it on the podium in this category until this year - a hard earned bronze that's worth more than the gold!

The Demonstration Team put on a great performance at half time. The Star Wars Nunchuck piece was quite epic!