Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Guest Post: Dr. WaMu, Resident Hydrologist.

Hello there! It's me, Dr. WaMu. It's been a long while since anyone wrote about me and my exploits.  Lots of water has flown under the bridge, and in that time, I have acquired a PhD in Hydrology and now work as Senior Resident Hydrologist at my home.
I am all grown up now and very serious

Let me first inform you, I am no more the "little kid" that my Mom wrote about way back when. (See [1] for more information). So don't go expecting any cutesy/humorous stories about me in this post. I am too grown up for such trivia. I take my profession very seriously. It's my life's ambition to get a Nature paper out on the structure and properties of water. That veritable fascinating compound, that life giving force, the thing that shimmers in the light and slips and slithers all about you enticingly.

OK, so I get a little lyrical about my life's passion, but you would too, if you have spent all your life studying it like I have. If you think everything that needs to be discovered about water has already been discovered, I must regretfully inform you that you must needs get back to your research. One of these days my discoveries will lead to a Nobel prize in Physics, just you wait.

Dr. WaMu displays his water divining methods at his laboratory

My human guardian is very encouraging of my interests. (I still need a human guardian because I have no opposable thumbs, not because I am young). The other day, she even bought me a special translucent square beaker and filled it all with water. In fact, it was a special device that allowed water to fall from one part to another and purified it in the process. I think she called it "filter". I was fascinated by it. I mean it's great to have water, but to have running water that is pure, that's just a hydrologist's dream!

I got to experimenting with the thing as soon as she brought it home. I patted the thing experimentally. Lo and behold, the water played inside with me. So I patted it some more with the other paw and it correspondingly sloshed on the other side. So far, so good. It was behaving as the laws of Physics would dictate.

But I had to study it more. I wanted to see how far up the wall of the "filter" I could make my water climb before gravity took over. So, I whacked it hard. The water made some serious waves. I got all excited, so WHAM! I went on the other side. All on a sudden I had the most beautiful Milikan's oil drop-like experiment in front of me (See [2] for the Milikan's oil-drop experiment. Except I didn't have any fancy electrodes and I am not all that interested in oil. So make adjustments to your imaginations accordingly). The whole equipment slid off the lab desk (which for some reason the human companion refers to as "kitchen island") and made a lovely arc through the air. I watched very carefully as the water made neat little drops in the air as it dislodged itself from the main body of the so called filter. I wish I had a high speed camera to record it for posterity. No matter. I have a photographic memory. That will do for now, until I get enough funding to acquire an actual camera like that. And may be another chunk of money to get myself some opposable thumbs (you can't always depend on the humans to do your bidding, see?).

Oh and in case you are wondering, that piece of equipment was deemed unusable after I was done with my experiment. I think it was all worth it in the name of Science. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that my human caretaker does not quite view it that way. She made quite the pouty face when she absorbed all the water up into a dirty rag before I could take my final readings. Sacrilege!

After that incident though she never really bought me another one of those beakers. Instead she got something that fixes straight to the tap. It's not such a good equipment, in my opinion, since you really can't observe the water in its "element" as it were. I have tried telling her that, but she insists that the filter was not meant for me at all in the first place. Phbbt! Yeah, right!

She is always buying me stuff, but for some reason she does not want to let on that she cares about my work. For instance, sometime in Spring, she got me this other lovely glass thing (I love all transparent/translucent things, but most of all I love water) and then filled it with water. Why would she do that, if it was not for me? Then she put some interesting things in it that she got from the garden. So, I now use this new equipment for my surface tension experiments. I tear off some of the interesting things from the garden and then drop it into the water to observe its behavior. Fascinating stuff. I could work all day with equipment like this. I am very dedicated to my Science like that.

Glass beaker with interesting things from the garden
Anyhow, that's it for now. I have to rush off and work on my paper. It's a publish or perish world out here!

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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Coconut Milk, Chia Seeds Vegan "Paal Paayasam"

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If you are trying to do away with dairy and reducing your grain consumption; but you still want a paal paayasam (Southern Indian milk-rice pudding) fix, this is a recipe for you.

Stuff you need:

3/4 of a can Coconut milk, rich creamy (not the stuff you get in cartons).
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cardamom pod
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the real stuff not fake)
Stevia to taste (remember stevia is pretty sweet, so taste as you add).

What to do:

Take a clean glass bottle with a lid
Pour the coconut milk into the bottle
Add the chia seeds a little at a time and stir around. (They tend to clump easily. If this happens, you can fish the clumps out and break them up with a spoon).
Break the cardamom pod and crush the cardamom "seeds"
Add the teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture.
Add this to the bottle.
Add stevia to taste
Close the lid and shake well. Really well.
Check to see if you have chia seed clumps.
Put it in the fridge for about two hours.
Enjoy your "paal payasam"!
Garnish with cashews, almonds, coconut flakes or saffron.

So next festival that calls for paal paayasam, you have a healthy option!
No pictures, sorry. Apparently I have exceeded Google's quota on pictures. So unless I figure out how to link pictures from a Flickr account, there will be no pictures in this blog!


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.