Using simple items you have in your bathroom and kitchen, you can extract DNA from fruits like bananas, kiwi or strawberries. Read more
Nothing is more fun that making a Naked Egg. Find out how to make one, or two or three! Read more
A cow eye is very similar to a human eye. What better way to understand how your eye works than to take apart a cow eye? Check this out!
A pig’s heart and lung set, called “the pluck”, is an amazing tool to explore two critical systems in our bodies that allow us all to breathe and live! Read more
We are celebrating Chemistry Week with all sorts of activities you need to check out!
During the month of October visitors will be able to dissect an actual cow eye in the science studio at Imagination Station. This is an amazing experience that you have to check out. Learn more in the video below or in this recent Toledo Blade article about our Spooky Science event. Read more
Let me set this up for you … it’s Labor day weekend and you’ve fired up the grill with some burgers, brats, or whatever grilled goodness you can think of. You head inside and grab the bag-o-buns and (gulp) notice a few small greenish spots on the surface.
While no one is looking you face the critical decision, do you pluck off the little green spots and serve the buns up, or is it time to head to the store for a fresh set? It’s a hard call, but keep this in mind – the colorful spots you see on food are just the surface spores that allow the mold to reproduce. Just like plants, mold has roots below the surface that can travel deep into the food.
Because the colorful spores on the surface of your food are just part of the mold, scraping or cutting this part off of your bread or bagel won’t save you from eating a mouthful of fungus. While you probably won’t die from eating fungus, keep in mind that foods that are moldy may also have invisible bacteria growing along with the mold.
Most molds are harmless, but some are dangerous. Some contain mycotoxins. These are poisonous substances produced by certain molds found primarily in grain and nut crops, but are also known to be on celery, grape juice, apples, and other produce. These substances are often contained in and around the threads that burrow into the food and can cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems.
Are any food molds beneficial?
Yes, molds are used to make certain kinds of cheeses and can be on the surface of cheese or be developed internally. Blue veined cheese such as Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are created by the introduction of P. roqueforti or Penicillium roqueforti spores. Cheeses such as Brie and Camembert have white surface molds. Other cheeses have both an internal and a surface mold. The molds used to manufacture these cheeses are safe to eat.
What to do if you see mold on your food?
The USDA has a nice chart about how to deal with various foods that are moldy. Check it out for all the details. It breaks down into the two obvious options – Don’t Eat vs. Eat.
Don’t Eat – throw these out if you see mold
- Luncheon meats, bacon, or hot dogs, Cooked leftover meat and poultry, Cooked casseroles, Cooked grain and pasta, Soft cheese
- (such as cottage, cream cheese, Neufchatel, chevre, Bel Paese, etc.) Crumbled, shredded, and sliced cheeses (all types), Yogurt and sour cream, Peanut butter, legumes and nuts, Bread and baked goods.
- Jams and jellies (The mold could be producing a mycotoxin. Microbiologists recommend against scooping out the mold and using the remaining condiment.)
- Cheese made with mold (such as Roquefort, blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Brie, Camembert)
Eat – after cutting off the mold
- Hard salami and dry-cured country hams (Eat them. Scrub mold off surface. It is normal for these shelf-stable products to have surface mold.)
- Firm fruits and vegetables (such as cabbage, bell peppers, carrots, etc.) as well as hard cheeses are OK to eat if you remove the mold. Cut off at least 1 inch around and below the mold spot. Keep the knife out of the mold itself so it will not cross-contaminate other parts of the produce.
Remember while you’re preparing all this food, removing mold, etc. that you should be washing your hands and food prep surfaces often. Check out what can be growing in and around the surfaces of your house in this Imagine It! video segment. In short, avoid the molds and wash your hands – often!
Seriously, just watch the video. It is amazing!. If you don’t get chills within the first 15 seconds of this video, well, I don’t know, but you should! If you don’t you’ve gotten too jaded by CGI effects in movies. This is so amazing because it’s a REAL LIVING CREATURE!
The journal Perception reports on an interesting visual effect called the “Flashed Face Distortion Effect.” Apparently an undergraduate student was working on setting up an experiment that required a series of faces all scaled in such a way that the eyes of each image aligned. As he flipped through the images, he noticed that some of the faces began to appear distorted in unusual ways. Researchers are now working on experiments to shed more light on exactly what is happening in the visual processing system to create the effect. Read more
Every wonder why dad constantly gets lost while mom always knows where she is? It may have little to do with reading a map and more to do with genetics. Butterflies and other animals use the magnetic field of the earth to navigate, and humans may have this gene as well. Read more
A “naked egg” is an egg that has no shell. Let me say that again, an egg with no shell. This is not something you normally run across and even when I show a naked egg to someone they often just don’t get the idea that the shell is gone – yet the egg stays intact. You might want to check out the anatomy of an egg to get an idea what we are dealing with. Read more
I’ve been poking around the internet and books for some cool experiments and information about eggs in general. I came across this really nice breakdown of the various parts of a chicken egg over at edinformatics.com and have duplicated the information below. I’ve always wondered what those white stringy things (Chalaza) are in my eggs when I make an omelet and now I know not only their name, but also what their function is inside the eggs!
We have just passed through the 2011 peak flu season according to Google flu trends as well as the Center for Disease Control. This reminded me that washing your hands is one of the simplest things anyone can do to stop the spread of disease. It’s also one of those things that most people don’t do as often as they should. I thought it would be interesting to test some common surfaces around an office for bacteria. Even better would be to test some spots at abc13 – the host of our Imagine It segments. What do you think would have the highest bacterial count – the toilet seat or the microwave start button? Read more
This Sunday you may just need a break from the day-long preshow coverage of Superbowl 45. So grab the kids, or just yourself and a bowl of chips, and have some fun learning a little bit of the science behind all those tackles, passes and touchdowns – it’s a great learning lesson. Read more
If you are anything like me then you love to watch science fiction thriller movies. In my opinion the best movies are the ones that use creatures that resemble actual animals. Read more
Slime mold is… how can I describe it? It is just plain awesome! It is something that seems to be almost out of this world. So with Halloween coming up it seems like a perfect organism to discuss. Imagination Station has an activity called Slime that is also perfect for Halloween Read more
I have to admit, I am in love with Shark Week! I watch it every year and I always learn something new about sharks. I have been fascinated by animals, fish, insects and anything else I could collect, look at or read about since I was a child. Shark Week feeds my need for information about sharks in an easy way (TV). But when it is over I find myself wanting to know more about these amazing cartilaginous fish. This is what inspired me to write this and I hope that you too can visit these sites and learn even more about sharks. Read more