Sunday, May 30, 2010

New friends, modelling, and a crazy adventure with an easy ending

This week, I really started to feel at home at UNESCO IHE. I met a lot of students because I went out to dinner at a scrumptious Ethiopian restaurant with a large group of them, and then of course meeting some people leads to meeting other people, and all of a sudden, I feel like not such a newcomer anymore.

I did some speciation modelling of the time zero in my experiments where I will add zinc to a Hoagland nutrient solution and then incubate the duckweed in the solution. The good news is that no precipitation occurs. Also when the solution is acidified, no precipitation occurs. This is good news. Yet it doesn't explain past results obtained where mass of the heavy metals was lost through the course of the experiments. What was happening in the past experiments? How can loss of mass be prevented in the current experiments?

I finally had the time to change the punctured tire on my bike, and Ivy and I went on a ride yesterday. It turned into quite the adventure. I kept telling myself that adventures are good for you, and I have not had an adventure in a long time.

It was a most gorgeous sunny day when we set off to Gouda, a town maybe 15 miles away by car (who knows really how far away by roundabout bike paths). We were passing houses right on the canal, cow pastures, birds singing in wetland areas, a traditional Dutch wooden windmill, and enjoying it all. Perhaps an hour or two into the ride, it started to look like rain. Sometime later, it began to sprinkle. This was all very well, and we kept riding because it seemed like the thing to do.

Another hour or so later, we were getting wet, and the temperature dropped. Wind, rain, cold, and we were also a little lost, even though we had two maps of the area. Luckily, the Dutch are very kind and also have good public transportation, so we stopped and got good directions to the nearest train station. While it may diminish the craziness of our adventure, the train was a welcome end to the adventure. Better luck next time in getting to Gouda!

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