Sunday, September 19, 2010

Triboluminescence in essence

Yesterday as I was carelessly blogging about our wedding party, I wrote that the deer jumped through the yard sipping ginger concoctions and eating smoked swordfish. A dear reader remarked that we feed our deer well in Ann Arbor. Indeed we do but the ginger drinks were not for them. Ms. Pedantic, where have you gone? This was my name back in the lab where one of my secondary functions was to proof read others reports but Ms. Pedantic, heal thyself! Can I blame chemobrain for this? Steve has pointed out that this was not the first time I have written so inanely. Apparently I do on a fairly regular basis. Tant pis!

When one breaks down a crystal structure mechanically, small amounts of electrical charge are given off in the form of light. Presumably the Ute Indians were the first people to put this into action by placing small quartz crystals in a translucent hide, shaking the crystals thus making the first light stick. Triboluminescence is in the Girl Scout leaders bag o'tricks to amuse children though I don't think they ever call it that. Their name: the Sparkle Walk. While camping  and on a night hike, you stop the girls, tell them to turn off their flashlights, and you pass out wintergreen lifesavers. You tell them not to eat them until you tell them too. They are to face their buddies and bite into the candy with their mouths open while their buddy observes sparks of light. Cool!

My co-workers had not heard of this despite being scientists. I must demonstrate of course. But where ?  We go into a janitor closet and stand there for awhile for our eyes to adjust to the darkness and then we bite on the candy. But right as we are getting started, a janitor opens the closet and finds me with 3 men.

You don't need to tell me nothing!
But I was just showing them triboluminescence!

Colors are changing here. In the cool, fresh air, I ran for a long time and then went to lunch with Josh. One of his friends resurfaced after ignoring phone calls for the past few years. His mom just was diagnosed with a distal recurrence of BC. Cancer, cancer everywhere!

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