Skip navigation

Tag Archives: science!

Let’s talk about mildew.  In particular, let’s talk about mildew as related to household items and cleaning.

Mildew is a superficial fungal growth on organic matter and also the resulting smell from said growth.  In a house, mildew can refer to many types of mold growth, but usually the mold has a flat growth habit.  These molds thrive in damp conditions or in areas with poor moisture control, e.g. a poorly ventilated bathroom.

Exposure to mold and mildew can cause various symptoms, such as nasal and sinus irritation, eye irritation, respiratory problems, skin irritation, and headaches.  It can be a trigger for asthma attacks in those suffering from asthma.

There are only three things are needed for a mold colony to establish itself: a food source, moisture, and time.

Time: mold can start growing within 24 hours from when growing conditions are met.

Moisture: mold needs moisture to help the decaying process caused by the mold.

Food source: This can be any organic matter.  Cellulose is common for indoor molds.  Besides the decorative indoor plants and fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, there are plenty of cellulose-based products in a home.  Lots of building materials are plant-based and thus contain cellulose, e.g. wood, paper, drywall, carpet, carpet padding.  Lots of textiles are made of plant-based materials and thus contain cellulose: e.g. curtains, couch upholstery.

But mold does not feed only on cellulose; a colony can from where there is any organic matter, e.g. dead skin cells, soap, cotton.  And here’s the whole reason for this post on mildew.  Think about the last three items I listed, dead skin cells, soap, and cotton.  Now think about how you often wonder why your bath towels start stinking it up after you use them a couple of times.  Think of all the dead skin cells you’re leaving behind on the towels along with the water.  Think about just how much laundry detergent you put in your washing machine to try and get rid of the smell.  Think about how disappointed and confused you were when your towels almost immediately started smelling like mildew again.

STOP USING SO MUCH LAUNDRY DETERGENT.  Yes, you’re washing away the dead skin cells on the towels, but you’re replacing it with a bunch of soap, which is also organic matter, which is a food source for mold.  Your washing machine has a set time and amount of water it will use to rinse the load.  If you use a metric crap ton of detergent on your towels, how do you expect to rinse all of that away with limited water and time?  When you accidentally use too much soap washing your hands, don’t you have to rinse longer?  SAME.  PRINCIPLE.

Follow the recommended guidelines for your preferred brand of laundry detergent and you won’t have nearly the same issues with mildewy towels.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by my pet peeve of people using too much laundry detergent.

Let’s talk about plasma TVs.  Or rather, let’s talk about plasma and then apply what we know about plasma to TVs.


noun \ˈplaz-mə\

: the watery part of blood that contains blood cells
: a substance that is similar to a gas but that can carry electricity

Think about that for a moment.  Plasma refers to the watery part of blood.

Aside, I am considered a universal donor for plasma because I have blood type AB+ (the fact that I am Rh+ doesn’t really matter with plasma donation actually, if you’re AB- you’re also considered a universal donor for plasma).  End aside.

Plasma can also refer to one of the four fundamental states of matter (the other three being solid, liquid, and gas).  The first three states of matter are easy enough to comprehend, we encounter these states regularly in our daily lives.  Want ice in your water?  Hey, that’s two states right there!  Burned by the steam when you foolishly decided to pry apart your pressure cooker?  There’s another state of matter!  Also, that was incredibly stupid.  There’s a release valve on your pressure cooker for a reason.  Learn to use it.

That fourth state of matter, plasma, is also crucial to our day to day living.  You might know it as the sun.  The sun consists mainly of plasma, i.e. this superheated gas wherein the molecules ionize.  So while plasma might be somewhat similar to the gaseous state, it has the extra fun times of responding to a magnetic field where it might do interesting stuff.

Now that we know a little about plasma, let’s think about plasma TVs.

Plamsa TVs are called such for a reason, right?  Surely they have something to do with plasma.  What if plasma TVs have to do with bodily fluids?  What if the Red Cross isn’t collecting your plasma for cancer and burn patients or even for vampires who (that?) are on diets but instead for the manufacture of plasma TVs?  Wouldn’t that be interesting?  And if you have a plasma TV, wouldn’t it be interesting to know that when you decide to get rid of it, you’d have to label it as medical waste?

Or what if plasma TVs involved energies like what are found on the sun?  Think about the power draw your plasma TV needs.  Maybe those dead pixels you see are really sun spots.  What if you get plasma arches?  That would be really interesting.  It’s 3D television!  Huzzah!

But actually, I looked up plasma TVs and here’s the definition…

: a type of visual display for computers, televisions, etc., that uses plasma with electrical charges between two sheets of glass and that produces pictures that are very clear and bright

So I only mentioned the sun early as an example of where you’d find plasma, the fourth state of matter.  But actually, you don’t need to look so far off.  Your average neon lights and even fluorescent lights are examples of plasma.  They work because whatever gas is trapped in the tube is ionized which then gives off a glow.  Gas.  Ionized.  Plasma.

Plasma TVs are made up of thousands of these tiny, tiny fluorescent bulbs.  It’s interesting…just not as interesting as a blood plasma TV.

Now…how about plasma rifles…?