The Best of My Blogging: Geekling's Guide to the Galaxy!

In time for the beginning of 2017, I launched a new site dedicated to STEM traveling with kids. When I'm not talking about worthy day trips and places to visit, I investigate fun facts about the world.

 
 

Where Does the Tar of Central California Beaches Come From?

Santa Barbara is a gorgeous little beachside town, one that I feel lucky to call home. But take a walk on our beaches and you'll likely take home a nasty surprise: tar.

Though tar can be found on beaches from Monterey to Los Angeles, you may have noticed it is especially bad in Santa Barbara county. Some may be surprised to learn that it seeps naturally from the ground, but even locals start to wonder how much of it is natural and how much of it is due to the various oil spill disasters.

 
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The Getty

The walkways and buildings' exterior are built with a form of limestone called travertine, all 1.2 million square feet (or 16,000 tons) of it imported from a town east of Rome in Italy. This simple fact is, in a way, pretty exciting. Travertine from that area was also quarried to build the Colosseum, the Collonade at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, and the dome of the St. Peter's Basilica designed by Michaelangelo. It's a connection to some pretty serious history!

 

 

The Best of My Blogging: Geekmom!

Joining the GeekMom blogging team in 2010 was one of the best decisions of my life. I have taken on many roles and responsibilities for them over the years, from writing to copyediting. I love sharing my passion for STEM and children's literature - or even better, the mashup of the two! - with our wonderfully geeky readers. Below and some of my favorite and most popular posts I've written for GeekMom over the years.

 
 

How Popular Programming Languages Got Their Names

Ever wondered why C++ ended up with two pluses instead of one? And why was C even named C? Did the creators of Java have a particular fixation with coffee? Does Python have anything to do with snakes? I was curious myself, so I dug around their history and found a few interesting stories. Read on to find out more! It's perfect fodder for your next party!

 
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How a Dragon Helped My 3-Year-Old Understand Internal Combustion Engines

One dragon I’ve emphasized from the start is the Hideous Zippleback, the two-headed dragon with an ingenious skill. I’ve had my daughter memorize “one head makes flammable gas, the other makes a spark, together they make fire!” I didn’t really understand why it was so important to me, but I made her repeat it even when she hardly had the words to say it. I had a gut feeling it would come in handy.

 
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The Soft Side of Endeavour: What Space Exploration Means to Me

While my in-laws were visiting us last month, we took them and our two kids to see Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. When I walked into the hangar and saw Endeavour, I got a little teary-eyed. I am not usually an emotional person, and certainly not one to attach meaning to objects, but Endeavour may always be the exception to my rule.

 
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Why I Stopped Reading Through Books I Don't Enjoy

Eventually you realize you've spent an obscene amount of time stuck on this book and you're at... 28%?! *sad trombone* At first you reason that maybe you've been too tired and stressed out to enjoy reading lately, but finally you figure it out: the book has failed you in the worst possible way. If it were wonderful, you'd be done with it already. If it were bad, you'd have had no problem quitting on it. But instead, it's just not bad.

So what do you do---do you keep reading it to the end anyway, or cut your loses and move on?