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The cabbage stories - or how a science project blooms

by Alexandra in WMass Wed May 24th, 2006 at 06:06:46 PM EST

Of a wonder of life found at home (and the horror of what one spills down the throat every day) - promoted by DoDo

Now this is a half baked diary to be left simmering overnight and completed tomorrow. I'm following Izzy's lead and getting a head start on tomorrow given the time difference disadvantage we have.

Update [2006-5-20 8:18:28 by Alexandra in WMass]: After simmering overnight this diary is now blooming.

For starters let me introduce you to my cabbage.

This is a short story about unexpected surprises, misfortunes that turned out to be new opportunities, problems that uncovered new solutions and mistakes that were not so bad in the end. Obviously things don't always turn out that way but when they do it's a welcome suprise. A few months ago I got a big red cabbage and used ¼ of it to make a spicy salad. I put the leftover head of cabbage in the refrigerator loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. It got forgotten in the back on the bottom shelf for longer then I care to admit.

When I finally took the cabbage out it was still firm and at first glance looked ready to chop up into my next salad. That was wishful thinking. In reality it had become what in my family we call a science project. The kind that doesn’t require test tubes or other fancy equipment. The kind that is black and sometimes shades of blue and purple… My cabbage had started to mold but in the process it also started to spout.

Not willing to give up on the possibilities of turning a science project into a botanical one I planted my sprouting moldy cabbage. Believe it or not it grew!! And grew and grew…

And a few days ago it bloomed!!!

What about your misfortunes and mistakes? Did they ever bloom?

A promising start :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 07:29:46 AM EST
I had it all edited & ready to go a few minutes ago and lost it all. Too early for me to be blogging right now but I'll give it another try.
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 07:47:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow... wow...

Alexandra, you post diaries rarely, but then their beauty take my breath away!

I can't show up a home science project that is about such life, but as it happens, I did one a few weeks ago with my American cousin. He heard somewhere that Cola contains so aggressive chemicals that if you put a nail into a glass of it, it will disappear the next day. After it came up a few times, we thought we should test this scientifically! So we bought one Pepsi and one Coca Cola, filled two glasses half up, and put in two big nails.

No change was visible a day later.

Nor two days later, except the motor oil was off the nail.

We decided to not give up that easily: we now waited for a full week.

Now there was an effect. Both nails got somewhat corroded, but the one in Coca Cola got rough and black and left a thick residue behind at the bottom of the glass.

On the other hand, these were corrosive-resistant nails, maybe simple iron nails would have fared much worse.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 12:08:27 PM EST
;-) Glad you like it.

I think your experiment was too kind. Corrosive resistant nails are built to be tough so they definitely downplay the effect of these strange beverages.

The coca cola experiment I've heard of, but have not tested, is to pour it on a piece of raw meat and see how the meat corrodes. I gather it's rather impressive but that could just be rumors.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 12:59:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I got my next project...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 01:27:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make sure to report back on you findings.

Keep in mind photos are allowed but graphs may bring the wrath of the leader of our benevolent coup.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sat May 20th, 2006 at 04:50:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suggest a look here ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:24:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did that as a kid: two glasses, one with water, the other with coke. Put in each glass, two samples: one was ham, the other was streak.

Water glass, after a few days: water becomes whitish and stinks. The samples still have recognizably their original shape.

Coke glass, same time: the steak is spectacularly cut in very small chunks along the fibers of the muscle. The fat remains unchanged (mind to have some in your sample if you want to try it again). Can't remember what happened to the ham.

Last year, my wife and I went to a birth preparation session, and the anesthesist did tell the assistance that coke was basically the best and most potent drug ever designed, and he recommended it as the cure for virtually every possible mishap of an epidural. He also lamented that the coke sold in Europe has been getting soft of late with decoffeination, aspartame, all sorts filtering steps added, and Africa was the only place were they still dared to leave all the original ingredients in the beverage...

Personally, I've been running on heavy fuel (1 daily can of the most original coke I could find) for over 10 years now, so you should assume I'm dreadfully brain-damaged.

by Pierre on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 11:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not a handy-man, but since my teens I've used coca-cola to get rid of the rust on nails, screws or steel pins to be used in the sailboat. Dump the nails or screws in Cola for a week (like your experiment) and then polish them up a bit. Does wonders. I asked my chemistry teacher at the time, but I've lost the chemical formula. I thought the acidity had something to do with it...

Continuing on the Coca Cola... When I was researching my graduation project, I hit on some research which investigated how to reduce the acidity in coca cola without altering the taste. This in continuing rumors that consumation of heavily acid foods could induce osteoporosis. I've not found conclusive research on that subject - but it has been convincingly shown that people with a higher acidity in their blood have a higher rate of bone turn-over and have an increased chance on developing osteoporosis.

Coca Cola should be kept on the top shelf amidst bottles holding amonia and chlorides, not on the bottom one...

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 04:04:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Raw meat:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

The experiment starts:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 04:47:33 AM EST
Scary!... Here are both:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

Here is a side view of what became of 1 dl Coca Cola and a piece of raw meat:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

Here is a view from above of what became of 1 dl Pepsi Cola and another piece of raw meat:

Image Hosting by PicsPlace.to

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 10:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OH Scary indeed!! Imagine your poor stomach dealing with all that acid etc...

Dodo you should now add experimental scientist and lab technician to your list of ET titles. Thanks for sharing the results.

by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 10:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i thought the acid test of cola was to submerge a tooth in it, and see if there was anything left in the morning...

....heads off to snopes....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 08:18:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
an unusual marinade. I can see you have just invented Extreme Cooking. Suggest it to a TV network - they're always looking for new formats, And the cringe factor could appeal to the jaded palettes of the endorphin-soaked couch potatoes. I'm surprised they haven't come up with a Firing Squad theme yet. It would be a bog standard quiz show with the contestants blindfolded and lined up against a wall.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 04:18:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good grief, the meat looks half cooked now. I wonder about the acidity; would it change over time? Since if it does, it could begin to slow down the fuzzy reaction at the start...

Props to you for starting off a Sunday Science! I love it. Melo should do the teeth next week...

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 08:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

you keep your teeth in the fridge?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 10:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, the black stuff in the cola or its suspensor reacted with haemoglobin or something else in the meat.

Coca Cola spinmeister's reply: "Actually, this test shows how meat attacks cola! Water is nicely separated out, the rest can be excreted!!!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 10:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this science trend continues, I just like to give an advance caution to leave alone testing Twinkies. It has been done. All of it. And I mean, all of it.

The Twinkies Project.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 09:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speculation on coca cola contents: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_formula
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 11:17:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo, you forgot the control... Soda water? Orange juice? Wine?

I think Coca Cola makes a lot out of all the mysteries and urban legends surrounding their sugared, carbonated water... It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't have a secret sub-section of their marketing department dreaming these stories up and leaking them out ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i've been putting off reading this diary because i was thinking it might be some drearily relevant piece about histology of cabbage proteins, and their significance to eu-us relations in a post-foucalt paradigm.

hard up for new diaries...tribbers sleeping off their mad paris getaways.... in i plunge, and find a reflection of my own continuing fridge bacteriology saga...

but beautifully photographed and rigourously documented!

aah, the variety of information at this site...

maybe time for a webcam in the freezer, and some blow-by-blow analysis of pea consolidation and chaos theory....

alexandra....have you looked behind your fridge?

tune in next week for the cliff-hanger sequel!

walking brussel sprouts!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 21st, 2006 at 08:16:21 PM EST
I haven't found out if my saga blooms - still have to wait and see. Last week I found some old lemongrass in the fridge with roots. So planted it - if it blooms I will post a picture.

Nice diary - touches right to the heart of everyday isssues :-)

by Fran on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 02:07:22 AM EST
(1) I have found that celery crowns can be planted (once you've cut the tasty celery stalks off) and will resprout.  Haven't yet grown any full sized celery yet, but will let y'all know.

(2) if your old fridge veggies try to sprout this seems like pretty good evidence that they have not been irradiated :-)  also evidence of the sheer bloody persistence of life, which I find kind of comforting.

(3) there's a probably apocryphal story about Coca Cola.  it's about a guy who calls the Coke dealer and complain that his bottle of cola has a mouse in it.  "a dead mouse, that's right mister, and I'm going to sue the Coke company over this disgusting experience!"  "Ummm wait a moment," says the voice on the other end of the phone, "may I put you on hold while I check with our technical people?  ... [long pause] ... Sir?  I'm afraid you must be mistaken, sir.  our chemists agree that if there had been a mouse in the bottle when it left the plant, it would certainly have been completely dissolved and undetectable by the time the bottle reached the consumer."

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 02:47:00 AM EST
(1) I'll have to try that next time I have celery left overs
(2) agree 100%
(3) LOL!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 11:29:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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