So for a while I’ve been meaning to make a cake again. I decided on what we’d call “Studentenkuchen” – student cake  – back home. The name is analogous to “Studentenfutter” – student feed (like cat feed). Studentenfutter is a mix of nuts and raisins. It’s good for nibbles while studying and it contains proteins etc to replace the meat that students (apparently) can’t afford.

Studentenkuchen would be a cake you’d make for your student son (or daughter) when he’d go off to Uni again after visiting home. It uses nuts, chocolate etc because a) that’s calories the poor boy will surely need and b) against nuts contain proteins and stuff.


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xkcd 699

A brilliant webcomic I’m sure everyone knows. This little strip is worth having a laugh about if you’re one of those people who do indeed own their own labcoat but aren’t a doctor.


Dinosaurs in colour!

Recently, scientists have worked out which colour some feathered dinosaurs where! Pretty cool, huh?

Loads of people have blogged about this, among them Ed Yong (1, 2), Matthew Cobb from the Uni of Manchester(1, 2) and Jerry Coyne (1, 2). Basically they all blog about the same two articles but the points made at the end of Cobb-2 are quite interesting! So what if we know what colour dinosaurs were!?!

What’s you’re take on it?


Just another nifty picture

…taken where I go to Uni! A sparrowhawk with a kill, not for the easily offended!


Let me Google that for you

A site that let’s you make fun of anyone who asks stupid questions all the time. This is an example of what’d happen if someone would ask me where the ikea in Manchester is.

So, because I was incredibly busy yesterday, I had to postpone making pancakes until today. I have also not decided what I will give up for Lent yet. Can’t give up caffeine or facebook, suggestions welcome.

But now, without further ado, it’s pancake time!

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Using a standard muffin recipe, I made apple-cinnamon and apple-cinnamon-walnut-marzipan muffins today. For the walnut-marzipan ones I also added red food colouring so I would be able to tell which ones where which later when they’re all in a box together. Unfortunately that stained my hands pretty red but we all have to make sacrifices. The finished products are certainly worth it.


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The Amazing Horse Cover

For those that do not know of Weebl, check out his site here. He is the creator of the Badger song, the Narwhal song and a song about tigers in Kenya. I wasn’t a fan of the Amazing Horse untill I saw this cover which admittedly had it’s charm.


A Softer World 522

I am a fan of this webcomic and it’s even on my link-list to the left but this one is worth noticing because it really has a real life point. Something to keep in mind, methinks.


The (lack of) Science behind Westerns

A science post from my favourite science blog (check it out!!) that explains why the gunman who draws second always wins. And then it explains why the explanation isn’t really valid.


Tony the Fish

We were shown this last week in one of our lectures and since I have watched more and more Tim Minchin online.


In line with that, I’ll finish with a Douglas Adams quote:

“Is it not enough to see that the garden is beautiful without having to believe in fairies at the bottom of it?”

So, as usual I went hiking on Sunday. Also as usual, the day began pretty early compared to my normal student life where sleep patterns are pretty much non-existent. Fortunately, I had gone to bed early enough the pervious evening and was read to go.

Because I was so awake, I didn’t sleep for most the coach journey there and really appreciated the landscape on our way there. What had never really registered in my brain before is that we actually go past the ocean. For me, seaside and mountains have always been very separate and holidays would always be to either or destination. The combinations still feels exotic and exciting.

We got there and set off in mostly the usual combination with the odd person missing from our normal ensemble! They should regret not being there! The beginning of the  path (Miner’s track) was mostly flat(ish) and easy on a broad path. We kept to the front of the group with little effort. That was definitely a good feeling. The path was interrupted by the odd ascent but nothing worth writing home about!

Stopping for lunch by a partially frozen lake, we saw some seagulls standing on the thin ice! Sea gulls will feature again later. Lunch felt pretty early – normally we have lunch at the summit – but it was a good break before getting to the proper ascent.


During the ascent we started to cross snowy patches more and more. At one point we tried to avoid a snowy patch (though Lord knows why! We just followed our amazing leader (-: ) and were climbing up the grassy slope next to it, when the earth beneath me gave way. Should’ve known that wet earth isn’t really very stable! No harm done, I continued along the snowy path unharmed.

Eventually we met another group that had taken a different path up to there and overtook them. From then on, we seemed to have a race with them (once again, reasons unknown) and we definitely won!


From here on two, the serious snow started. With Snowdon looming over us and a (steep!) slope going down on our other side, we trudged on. I’d never done any hiking under anything resembling winter conditions before and was surprised at how difficult snow can make it. Using muscles I’d not realised where usable and with the constant fear of falling to the bottom, we had the bad luck of this being the moment the weather chose to go mean and cloudy. I did not appreciate not seeing more than snow before me and the drop downwards on my side! Luckily it cleared up by the time we reached the top.

There we only had to follow the ridge to the actual summit. We passed a few groups of people preparing to abseil down the side of the mountain. The top was cold and the actual steps of to the summit were icy and quite scary! Again, sea gulls had made their way here despite the icy conditions!


After a stop we all got cold – this was the first time I put a jacket on for the whole day! – and we moved on down, using the Llanberis path.


The decent was snowy in places and while the mantra “JUST GLIDE” is definitely fun, it did nothing to stop me falling over so often I lost count. It’s kind of embarrassing when your body occasionally just decides to sit down and everyone asks you if you’re alright – Yes, just taking a break, thanks!

All in all, the decent was easy but long and by the end we were all tired. Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful and the sunshine lasted. In Llanberis, we had a very nice hot chocolate in a café. Unfortunately, the hike hadn’t tired me out quite enough to stop me from being very awake and slightly hyperactive during the coach ride home but at least I had a very nice Sub to look forward to. Yum.


A short note before the end: This time I managed to track the path we took using my gps but I’m still using pretty googlemap images edited in paint because I still can’t get free mps into mapsource. 😦

Also, if you spot any inaccuracies etc just send me an email/etc and I’ll correct it!

And finally a few more pics taken during the day:

101_2074The beginning of the day.



Snowdon, seen from where we had lunch.


101_2098 View during the decent.

Once again, I baked bread. This time was so much more succesful than last time because my bread rose magnificently without any extra yeast.


101_2065 101_2066

Before and after rising


101_2067 101_2072

The finished product

I was browsing the internet as you do when I came across this wonderful site full of lists, some more amusing than others although all are worth a read. I was horrified that baby birds aren’t actually rejected by their mothers after being touched!


Reading this, I thought that I myself should add a more or less weekly post to my blog highlighting the wonders of the internet. So here it is, The Weird and Wonderful, Part 1.


1 – Penis removal

The case that amused me most, was that of a man who had had not one penis removal but two! Can you imagine? The poor bloke.


2 – Buried Alive

Luckily these days this isn’t really too much of an issue but back in the days it was. Read for horrifying stories of people buried alive, only one of which survived the ordeal.


3 – Strange Births

Stranger than Virgin Mary, these are all true and very odd! I pity the parents in most cases and the children in some.


4 – Places with morbid names

This is only on the list because I’ve been to the last of these and definitely agree with the name.


The Great Rift – Africa’s Wild Heart


I’ll admit, I’ve been going on about this program a lot. There’s a reason for this though. Not only do I love Africa but this series shows the amazing beauty of the area so well and explains how it was made. The ecology is amazing.

Even if you’re not an animal or Africa freak, watch it for the shear beauty of it.


How Earth Made Us

Deep EarthWaterWind

This series shows how forces on earth, like volcanic forces, water and wind, have shaped human history. I found the episode on wind to be particularly fascinating in it’s explanation on the colonization of the outer islands of eastern Asia (Polynesia).

This is part of human history that seldom gets explained. Science geek that I am, I love the combination of science and history.


The Real Winnie Mandela

Once again, something about Africa. While everyone knows about Nelson Mandela, the story of his wife who continued the fight against the apartheid while he was in prison is less well known.

I admire the way she didn’t give up when her husband was send to prison and despite the controversy around her character, I can see the difficulty of remaining calm and peaceful in the face of the injustice of the apartheid.


My Child won’t speak

I first started watching this because I was bored and was soon reeled in by it. I’d never really thought about selective mutism before and I guess you learn something new everyday!


Natural World

Prairie Dogs – Talk of the Town

While I’m not really a major fan of this series, I was recommended this program and indeed it was very interesting. It is based on the idea that Prairie Dogs show a complex language to warn each other to predators and also exhibit learning.

I liked the way, the experiments were shown (to some extend).


And lastly, don’t forget to watch Legally Blond! 🙂

Yesterdays hike was soooo exciting! We took the train and that is to say something for me, considering that I haven’t taken the train in some 4 or 5 years in any country and have never been on a train in this country.

The first train we boarded to take us to the small village of Hope (train station not on map below) reminded me strongly of one of those trains in India which are overcrowded, dirty and dark.

After we made it safely to Hope train station, we walked to Hope village. These were the few blissful moments when I took out my camera and snapped away at everything and everyone. Then the batteries were empty but not before I managed to capture the church clock to document that it was indeed only five minutes to twelve when we started our hike.

101_2063The picture also captures the sunshine and just generally wonderfully nice weather, despite the miserable lighting and contrast. I enjoyed the opportunity to soak up some sunshine and synthesise some much needed vitamin D despite the bitter cold.

We made our way through some fields to the top of the mountain-y bit. There we finally had lunch at just after 1pm. It was much needed and some of our number had long been complaining that in their hung-over state exercise and hunger did not go well together.

Lunch time did not last too long as we started to feel the cold on the windy mountain top so we set of again along the ridge. This was the most pleasant part of the day in my opinion. Not to much up-hill or down-hill parts and lots of time to enjoy the weather. I do go on about the weather a lot, don’t I? Well, it was the first hike I’ve been on in Britain that could boast this nice weather. And seriously, when do you ever get nice weather in Manchester. That the sun is still shining today is a miracle.


It was also along this path along the ridge that I decided to sit down in some snow while being outraged about the fact that I will have Uni on Fridays. A moment that at least cause much amusement.

At some point the group split into several groups. Those that wanted to go to the pub right now, those that would carry on a bit further and those that felt the need to walk the “bit further” at greater speed and possible extend the “further” part of it. It was decided that we wouldn’t offend anyone by calling them “slow” therefore the groups where named “pub”, “fast” and “faster”. We were informed that this was much like condoms coming in “large” “extra-large” and “fucking ginourmous”. I shall not comment on that analogy.

I sensibly stayed in the “fast” group and we made our way further along and down to Edale. The way down was marked by the path being covered in a sheet of ice which ended up with not only me falling this time. Geteiltes Leid ist halbes Leid, as the Germans would say. I suspect this fall might have resulted in a nasty bruise though, but I haven’t had the courage to check yet.

In Edale, we crossed the whole village seeing fascinating sights, such a dog cut out from a hedge and a small village school with a chessboard on the wall. The pub we’d trekked all this way to get to was closed. We had to make our way back to the other pub. This last leg of our journey was much enhanced by a constant stream of “Are we there yet?”

When we finally made it to the pub, it was full. Being hardcore, we sat outside for a while until most of our number decided that standing inside was better than sitting outside, despite my protests.

Indeed it turned out that I was right. When we made our way to the station the temperature difference from pub to outside was even greater than perceived before and we stood shivering while we waited for the train to arrive.

The train that finally did arrive was shinier and lighter than the previous one although the doors made a horrible squeaking noise when opening and closing which prevented me and others from having a successful nap. Instead we sat and ate what was probably (perhaps, maybe) my last bag of Haribo for the next 30 days.

All in all, a very successful day.