Red cabbage explosion


In today’s physics experiment, we have learned that a glass bowl filled with red cabbage does not survive a fall from 1.5 metres (5 feet). The bowl shatters on impact and shard of glass are launched into every corner of the room. Most of the cabbage remains near the site of impact, but some pieces may end up a couple of metres away.


Next time, I’ll have to hold on better to whatever I’m trying to put into my microwave. Having the bowl of cabbage explode on the floor was definitely fun, but it creates an awful mess.

Canal car

IMG_4529As I got home from baseball practice tonight, I was surprised to find a rather large crowd gathered in my street, pretty much right in front of my house. Parked amongst the people were two tow trucks, a police motorcycle and a van from the fire brigade. Before I could get worried, though, I noticed the collective attention was focused on the canal across the street from my neighbours’ place. A car had gotten into the canal from the other side and had floated over to my side before settling on the bottom. The two truck people and some divers from the fire brigade were just busy pulling it out again.

No one was inside when the car went down. Most likely the owner had forgotten to apply the hand brake, or it had somehow failed. The parking spaces across the canal face the water, are slightly slanted, and there’s no fence or anything. Gravity, apparently, was happy to do the rest.

The owner watched quietly as his vehicle slowly resurfaced and was lifted onto one of the tow trucks. He didn’t seem too upset at his loss. In fact, when one of the onlookers thanked him for letting something happen on an otherwise quiet night, he managed to maintain a sense of humour. I hope someone also thanked him for a reminder to us all to always check the hand brake when parking on an inclination.

Air show

Today, right after lunch, I was busy as usual working on my paper. I heard some noise so I glanced out the window to see some eight military helicopters passing by. The group consisted of two Chinook heavy transporters, some Apache fighters and a few I didn’t recognize. Kind of weird, but not too much so.

Half a minute later, another three pretty non-descript helicopters passed by. Must be a shortage of helicopters somewhere south of Leiden. Or perhaps not… Following the helicopters were several groups of airplanes, ranging from a pair of small jets to a formation of six small fighters to a single tanker craft.

Some searching on the internet revealed the reason for all of this: today is the second Dutch war veteran’s day and one of the afternoon’s highlights is an air show in The Hague, some fifteen kilometers south of Leiden. Some more searching also brought up a list of aircraft showing up:

Lockheed Martin F-16AM (fighter jet)
Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules (four-engine turboprop cargo craft)
Boeing CH-47 D Chinook (twin-rotor heavy-lift helicopter)
Boeing AH-64D Apache (attack helicopter)
Aerospatiale Alouette III (light utility helicopter)
Westland Lynx SH14D (another utility helicopter)
McDonnell Douglas KDC-10 (air-to-air tanker craft)
Gulfstream Aerospace Gulfstream IV (passenger jet)
Fokker F50 (small turboprop airliner)
Pilatus PC-7 (training and aerobatics craft)
Beechcraft Beech-18 (twin-engine propellor craft)
North American B-25 Mitchell (twin-engine bomber)
Supermarine Spitfire MK.IX (World War II fighter)
Noorduyn AT-16ND Harvard IIB (World War II training craft)

At least, these are the models that were scheduled to show up. I didn’t see all of them, but there was one propellor airplane that passed out of sight (the B-25?), and others may have as well. The ones I did see included a couple of Chinooks and Apaches, the KDC-10 tanker, the Gulfstream IV jet, a squadron of PC-7s and/or one of Beech-18s, probably some Alouettes and Lynxes, and maybe a few Spitfires. As a bonus, later I also saw a pair of helicopters (Alouettes or Lynxes) engaged in aerobatics. All in all, a nice change of pace from the usual afternoon work!