Death Valley is the lowest, hotest and driest place in North America. With an average rain fall total of less than two inches and temperatures over 100 degrees between April and October this is undisputable. The highest recorded ground temperature was 201 degrees Fahrenheit with an air temperature of 128 degrees in July of 1972. Temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees in the summer months. There are four mountain ranges that block the mositure from the ocean from reaching Death Valley. Despite being so dry and hot it is home to 51 species of mammals, 307 bird species, 36 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians and five species of fish. When I start to complain about the heat this summer I will just have to remind myself, "At least I'm not in Death Valley!"
Did you know that the 1st Saturday in May is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY?! That's right, Super Fans! You can get one free comic book from participating comic book retailers.
Check with your favorite comic book shop to see if they are participating this year!
Sophronia is a trial to her family, always up to some mischief or another. Her mother has made the decision to send her off to finishing school but all is not as it seems. The quote from the cover says it all: "It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time." Etiguette & Espionage is filled with lots of non-stop action and good snarky dialogue.
Ah, prom. Regardless of how one feels about it, it's hard to deny prom's significance as a cultural touchstone. This teen rite of passage has inspired drama in countless books, tv shows, and films. In honor of prom season, here are my three favorite movie prom scenes.
1. Pretty in Pink (1986)
I know I'm displaying my ancientness by listing this one, but it's hard to beat. Heroine Andie shows up at the prom alone (in a daring homemade dress), after being humiliated by the rich snobs at school. I won't spoil the ending, but it's a happy one.
2. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
The romance between bad boy Patrick Verona and shrew Kat Stratford hits a high point when he hires her favorite band to perform at their prom. Meanwhile, Kat's younger sister, Bianca, gets memorable revenge on the movie's villain.
3. Carrie (1976)
Telekinesis comes in handy for high school outcast Carrie White, who gets even more memorable revenge on her classmates after she's the victim of a cruel prom prank. Be warned: this horror classic definitely earned its "R" rating.
This weekend is the grand opening of the light rail West Rail Line. There are lots of festivities going on to celebrate. Here is some of the science behind the commuter train. The train is a "bi-directional, six-axle, high-floor single articulated light rail vehicle constructed of low alloy high tensile (LAHT) steel," according to the RDT website. What does this really mean? The trains are made out of a type of steel that is strongerand more resistant to corrosion. The carbon content is required to be between .05% and .25% and the steel may contain other elements such as: manganese, copper, niobium, nitrogen, nickel, vanadium, chromium, titanium, calcium and titanium. The trains run off an AC-IGBT system. This is a motor with a controlled amount of voltage from the DC electricity of the tracks to the AC current needed for running the four motors in each car of the train.
Maybe RTD can model the next phase of train development off the Eco-Ride train in Japan. Like a rollercoaster this train runs by turning potential energy into kinetic energy. Hang onto your lunch! Read more about the Eco-Train in the online database Science Reference Center.
Boarding schools have always been good settings for coming-of-age stories (A Separate Peace, anyone?) but I've seen a lot more of them lately. Here are four great realistic YA novels set in boarding schools.
Looking for Alaska by John Green: Miles Halter makes new friends and pulls pranks during his first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama, but his experience is dominated by Alaska Young, the beautiful, self-destructive girl who lives down the hall.
The Secret to Lying by Todd Mitchell: When he's accepted at an academy for gifted and talented students, 15-year-old James decides to leave his boring past behind and creates a new persona, but his lies lead to increasingly reckless behavior.
Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard: Alex, a junior at a boys boarding school in 1982, feels devastated and guilty when he fails to save a friend from accidental drowning. The truth about what happened at the river is revealed through Alex's journal and poems
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan: Tim, a young albino, transfers to an elite prep school and falls for the most popular girl. She's into Tim, too, but her social status would be threatened if anyone knew about their secret relationship.
Isaac has his bar mitzvah in two weeks and is wholly unprepared for it. It doesn't help that he saw his buddy Eric puke his guts out at his just a few days ago. When Isaac's parents go out of town unexpectedly, Isaac's brother Josh (or Super Jew as some call him) decides it's time to make Isaac a man. Josh is super athletic and home for awhile after he left Columbia University under mysterious circumstances. He puts Isaac on a vision quest that includes a myriad of tasks both mundane and creative. This quest with Josh has Isaac investigating a number of age old questions, like where to look at a strip club and what do you do in a bar fight, to name a few.
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me a lot of a Chris Crutcher's (who I LOVE) work. This title would definitely be a read alike to some of his work or something like Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.This book had everything: it was hilarious and heartbreaking with some really engaging characters and some true soul searching. Rubens is apparently a former Daily Show writer and it shows.
What happens when you try to wring out a washcloth in space? Personally, I had never thought about it. Luckily for me, someone else did and now we have this cool video of an astronaut from the Canadian Space Agency testing exactly that:
Follow the Canadian Space Agency on YouTube for more awesome space experiments.