Chemistry

Hot! Capsaicin, Chili Peppers, and Jalapeño Jelly

Hot! Capsaicin, Chili Peppers, and Jalapeño Jelly

This post was inspired by a recent series of photos taken by Surly Amy of peppers she is growing at her home. The heat in peppers is an evolved mechanism that discourages mammals and other animals from eating the pepper and thus destroying the seeds. When we eat chili peppers, a compound called capsaicin triggers the receptors in our pain neurons. As Barb Stuckey writes in Taste What You’re ... »

What does 200 calories look like?

What does 200 calories look like?

There’s a pretty cool post over on Wise Geek of photos of 200 Calories’ worth of different foods, arranged in order by weight from least Calorie dense (you need a lot of it to get to 200 Calories) to most Calorie dense (just a little goes a long way). It’s pretty interesting to see the range of quantities, and there are some counter intuitive examples–for instance, Coca Col... »

The Cueva Ruso Cocktail

The Cueva Ruso Cocktail

As part of our fundraiser for SkepchickCON, I auctioned off three original cocktails. The follow post is for one of the winners, Data Jack. Thank for your generous contribution! The Cueva Ruso (“Russian Cave” in Spanish) features homemade horchata and cinnamon vodka. Horchata is a beverage found all around the globe, but this version is similar to what you would find in Mexico and is m... »

Spider Silk Transhumanism

Spider Silk Transhumanism

This artist “fused” spider silk and human skin cells to make a material that can kind of, sort of, deflect a bullet. The statement is (supposed to be) one on transhumanism and technology: if we have the technology to make our skin as strong as a bullet-proof vest, what becomes of safety? What becomes of humanity? Of course, I’m not much of an artist, but I do know a thing or two ... »

Baking Gluten-Free Bread, Part 2

Baking Gluten-Free Bread, Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the science of baking and what it means for gluten-free bread. Today, I’ll share some experiences of actually baking the stuff! This post was generously sponsored by Donnie as part of the SkepchickCON 2013 fundraiser. Thank you, Donnie! I tried two different bread recipes from the blog Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. The first was a recipe for French bread that did not ... »

Baking Gluten-Free Bread, Part 1

Baking Gluten-Free Bread, Part 1

I think we can all agree that bread (and its many cousins like pizza dough and bagels) is pretty delicious and amazing. Consequently, people who avoid gluten in their diets can miss out on some pretty tasty foods. But this does not have to be so! This post was generously sponsored by Donnie as part of the SkepchickCON 2013 fundraiser. Thank you, Donnie! While I’m not going to get into the sc... »

Bare Paint: Conductive Paint

Bare Paint: Conductive Paint

Bare Paint is the result of collaboration between artists and engineers at the Royal College of Art in London. While the idea of conductive paint is not new, this product is the first meant for home users and is non-toxic and easy to use. With it, you can turn pretty much any surface into a circuit board, including skin. It’s a great compliment to a Makey Makey! Be sure to check out the vide... »

The Physics and Chemistry of Emulsions and Blender Mayonnaise

The Physics and Chemistry of Emulsions and Blender Mayonnaise

I am a big fan of mayonnaise. I like it on my fries, on my burgers, and combined with different ingredients to create a variety of amazing sauces. Even if you don’t like mayo, I think you should agree with me that there is something magical about how egg yolk and oil blended together in just the right way can result in something with a texture so different from either base ingredient. And if... »

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