So apparently I'm wrong- a tuber is a type of vegetable, or at least part of vegetable. The girlfriend wins. However, I refer readers to this Yahoo answers page which states that a "potato is a tuber vegetable, though in Germany, it is not considered as a vegetable because of its rich content of carbohydrate". And the Germans are never wrong.
So today the girlfriend and I had a debate over whether the humble potato was a vegetable or not. I, schooled in such matters, knew it was not a vegetable but a tuber, a sort of swollen root thing. But then was posed the question- what are other examples of tubers?
After doing some investigating I discovered that there are two types of tubers- root and stem. "Stem tubers form from underground stems known as rhizomes" whereas "root tubers are formed when sections of the root swell and bud" (link). The potato is a stem tuber, and an example of the root tuber is a dahlia. Other tuber examples include anemones, caladiums, oxalis, sweet potatoes and the yuca, also known as 'manioc' and 'cassava'. The yam (another tuber) is completely unrelated to the sweet potato, despite the fact that they are often confused.
Before I get any stick, yes, what the hell was I doing. This was my second trip to the Mecca; in my defence, I only go very rarely with a friend on a sort of jokey whim. And also, I now have the pleasure of checking off one of my things to do in life list- I won! Only a small prize for getting two lines, but it's not the money that I'm really pleased with. I did notice some things whilst frantically ticking off my numbers:
1) Scarily, pretty much all the bingo players are pensioners. They seem to go alone and are very aggressive. One barked at my friend as he tried to pick up a pen- she thought he was stealing it.
2) The Mecca bingo jingles are unbelievably annoying. I found the lyrics on this site- check this out:
So the other day I was speaking to a dental student who drunkenly claimed that a tube of fluorinated toothpaste could be fatal if consumed all at once. I was dubious, but I've been doing some research. Now I can't be bothered to go trawling through the journals, but wikipedia states that there is a recorded case of some poor bloke dying from 4g of NaF. Taking the average weight of a man to be 85kg, this works out at about 47mg NaF/kg body weight. I also found this page, which reckons a fatal dose is 5mg F/kg. However, I'm ignoring it as it looks to be one of those conspiracy sites (I mean, who calls a site the Fluoride Action Network?). As such, I can't be arsed to work out what that'd be in NaF/kg.
Now, I have in front of me 100ml of Colgate. On the ingredients, it says it's 0.32% NaF, which works out at 0.32mg. So, your 85kg chappy would have to eat 12500 tubes of Colgate to die- that's 1250 litres!
But think of the children! A newborn baby weighing 3.5kg would only have to consume 157.5mg NaF to be in trouble- that's 492 tubes. Which is still 49 litres.
Given the many reported cases of fluoride poisoning, I must have gone wrong somewhere. Any help?
But, but, but I want it. Yes, I know the olympics are over (well, except for the paralympics, in which the mighty Team GB seems to be cleaning up, by the way), but these are just bling-tastic. I'm keeping my ebay eyes peeled. I would go for the silver pair as they're a little less ostentatious.
So the other night I saw 'Equilibrium', an futuristic action thriller with Christian Bale in it. Recently a lot of my friends have been raving about Batman, so I thought I'd give it a chance.
It was rubbish, frankly. The plot goes something like this: post WW3, humanity is under the control of a leader who believes that the elimination of emotions is a justifiable action to prevent war. To such extent, the population are compulsorily doped up on some drug to kill their feelings and the uber police (including Bale) goes round destroying all forms of art. Naturally, there is a resistance which get killed in fairly brutal way.
My problem with the film was that it was a hollywood-ified '1984' i.e. dumbed down with inflated violence. The resistance were labelled 'sense offenders' instead of 'thought criminals' and the drug might as well have been called soma. Secondly, It basically ran in the same vein as 'The Da Vinci Code' in making more peoples' brains mushy- it was trying to dress up an action flick into something smarter. Admittedly the fight scenes were pretty awesome, apparently drawing on a form of martial art called 'Gun Kata'. Bale, who plays gun master 'cleric' John Preston, is responsible for 118 out of 236 deaths in the film (half as many as he should have been in my opinion). Thirdly, I didn't think the acting was that great. I mean, I know it's hard to connect with an audience if you're portraying someone who's emotionless, but I seem to remember Preston's partner Brandt smiling during the inevitable fight to the death near the end, suggesting he's enjoying the fight. This kind of lapse happened a lot during the film which kind of ruins any credibility it builds up.
But the fight scenes were awesome.
One of my as yet unrevealed hobbies is that I'm quite a keen amateur homebrewer. This isn't simply the illegal teenage dark cupboard turbo yeast and orange juice experiment (as I'm sure you've guessed, I have a story about that), but I do it a bit more properly with sterilised plastic kegs and beer kits.
My latest brew was some Brupaks San Fransisco steam beer- not one I've ever tried before but it looks good. Apparently, this is America's only indigenous beer style and is a warm bottom fermenting cross between a lager and an ale. I've primed my bottles with some sugar and have just finished decanting it from the keg. It should be fizzy in a week or so. I can't wait. For more information on steam beer, see this article (admittedly probably only interesting to homebrewers!).
...is a google search which yields many pages of goodness. I was actually looking for a picture I saw in a newspaper somewhere which had an image of Her Majesty the Queen in a fried egg. During my travels I came across the museum of food anomalies which is the best use of time I have ever seen. Most of the exhibits require a fair stretch of the imagination but still, some are fairly amusing. The best lookalike foods I found were a Jesus crisp and a North Carolina piece of bacon. Apparently these fetch good money on ebay. Note to self: I must be more vigilant when rifling through a pack of Walkers.
Incidentally (while I'm on the 'Neighbours' front), how awesome is Dr. Karl Kennedy? Over the years he's been a gynaecologist, psychiatrist, GP, oncologist, general surgeon and counsellor off the top of my head. Before we know it he'll be able to shoot lasers from his eyes and breathe fire. All hail!
Well, I don't really know. What I do know, however, is that I love New Scientist's 'Last Word' column.
I am ashamed to admit that I started reading New Scientist purely for the purpose of having something to talk about in university interviews. I know, I know- expand your horizons, don't be in a bubble, diversity, blah blah blah. It's not that I didn't think I'd enjoy it. It's more that (dare I admit it?) I'd have rather spent my time doing something else. Watching 'Neighbours' springs to mind (although that hasn't been the same since it moved to Channel 5). Yes, it was pure intellectual laziness.
However, after I started, I couldn't get enough (well, except for the stupid Physics articles hypothesizing about something small bouncing into something smaller making an anti-explosion in a galaxy far, far away). Now I'm at Uni, the NS has fallen by the wayside. I could blame student fiscal cutbacks or a busy timetable, but really, it's just the laziness creeping back in. Thinking back on it, I can't actually remember much about the individual articles except for the second from back page, for there lay my favourite part- the 'Last Word'.
For the uninitiated (or equally lazy), people would send in everyday questions to this column and others would send in answers. The questions could be mundane (inquiries about different types of rain, the methodology of chlorine in swimming pools and what causes discolouration on heated iron spring to mind) but, more often than not, were fairly entertaining. My all time favourite remains 'how fat would you have to be to be bulletproof?' The answer suggested is a belly 60cm thick, which would give an approximate overall body weight of 650kg (theorised in another solution).
I was amazed to discover this page, which gives a much more plausible 72cm of belly fat. I finally have a valid reason to give up sport, open another beer and go and order that pizza. Well, what with all the stabbings and all, better safe than sorry.
Well hello there. Welcome to Cult Potato. You lucky, lucky person. That's right, you! You are reading my inaugural post- and already I'm boring you. So, on then...
I guess the first thing you're wondering is why is it called 'Cult Potato'? Well, in short, I needed a blog name and saw a t-shirt with it on- it had a good logo (which I nabbed) and everything. In my defence I'm not usually that unoriginal and it pretty much summed up everything I'm about nicely. So first things first, I'm a bit of a geek. Not the acned warlock level 5 let's go hack an iPhone type geek, but more of a cryptic solving trainer loving internet junkie type geek. Secondly, I like to think I "don't believe the hype" but I still follow it (but let's be honest, I probably do get sucked in now and then). Thirdly, I have way too much time on my hands. Actually, I probably shouldn't; I am a medical student with lots of busywork I should be doing all the time, but I like to put things off until exam season- that way the rest of the year's more fun.
So, in short, I'm pretty much hoping to mould the Cult Potato into an amalgamation of the nerdy, cool, and some interesting science stuff (but not too much of that). I hope you like.