Sunday, June 16, 2013

Of Kudzu, Bath Salts and Zebra Mussels

We live in an apartment complex that boasts a saltwater pool. According to the signs, this allows them to use fewer chemicals to keep the pool sanitary, and the saltwater is better for our skin and hair. I'm also a girl who enjoys a nice, soaking bath. A dear friend recently gave me some lovely bath salts from Grand Turk Island, which make for a very relaxing soak. My question is, when I leave the tub, or we get out of the pool, is the water level diminished? Does all that salt make us retain water?

Can someone explain to me the toilet paper commercial I heard this week which claimed that "you use four times less...? Is that 1/4 as much? What does that mean?

My husband loves to watch the Do It Yourself channel "crash" shows. These are programs in which the TV stars stake out home improvement stores, find someone who has an ugly yard, bathroom or kitchen, and then the contractor/TV star goes to that home and redoes which ever room that particular one works on. My question...well, I guess I have two:
1. Where do they find all these beautiful people? None of these contractors look like normal people-they are all gorgeous, buff, charming and funny.
2. Sometimes when the contractors are talking to prospective crashees, they are often told, "Ohhhh, my yard is full of dead plants...." Well, if your yard is full of dead plants, why don't you pull them? The chances of meeting one of these guys at your local home improvement store is pretty slim, so instead of complaining about your yard-CLEAN IT!
Uh-oh...I just thought of a third question: The contractors often talk about doing these redecorations in a 'sustainable' or 'eco-friendly' way. But then they use woods such as "Brazilian Redwood." Is that sustainable? Is it okay with the Brazilians?

I have a question that most women MAY be able to relate to. We've all had jeans that come out of the dryer kind of tight, and then through the day they loosen up and can become a bit baggy. But why doesn't the waist band stretch out like the legs and bottom? Aren't they made of the same material?

There is a columnist that I enjoy named Dan Savage. He was the guest on Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Report" last week, and he made a comment that suddenly made me very confused as  to why so many republicans are upset about President Obama's "Affordable Care Act." As Mr. Savage pointed out, the original plan was devised by a conservative think tank called "The Heritage Foundation," and it was actually intended to force people to buy health insurance from their buddies, the insurance companies. Which is exactly what it turned out to be. I'm thinking it's only anathema to the right because Obama did it. If Romney had been elected president, and he had implemented the plan, the right would have been happy about it. And perhaps the left would have been as angry as they should be now that the real winners are big insurance, possibly the uninsured who get the government subsidies, and for everyone else, having health insurance through our companies means less and less.

Lastly, a couple of science questions. In watching some programs this week about what it would take to give humans a new planet to live on when we've damaged earth beyond repair, one theorist claimed that all we need to make Mars amenable to human life is start putting plants there. He said that the two things required for the advancement of life are liquid water and plants. Yes, these two things gave rise to the life we see on earth; the water gave rise to single celled life that evolved into plants, which then gave off the oxygen we needed to arise from the oceans. But why do we assume that it would take that very same chemical equation to create life elsewhere?

If this one is repetitive, I apologize, but I always get upset when humans talk about "invasive species." There is certainly no animal on earth that is more invasive than we are, and we tend to destroy everything we touch with our greed and shortsightedness. We are the only species that has adapted to survive in every single climate, and on every single continent. So the ability to travel from one ecosystem to another, create a niche, and out-compete whomever is already living there. It is what life does-it finds a place to survive and reproduce, and takes its place there. In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as an "invasive species." 

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