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I have two ideas for today and they both have to do with fat.

First, did anyone read the Weekend Fun for making cheese? One of the cautions was to watch out because the milk can suddenly bubble up and over the pan when heating. I have had that experience a couple of times. I began to wonder why milk would act this way whereas water does not.

The answer goes back to the fact that oil and fat float on water. While heating, the milk fat forms a layer at the surface, repressing the activity of the liquid underneath. At boiling temperatures the fat layer splits all of a sudden, allowing the liquid underneath to roil up violently. Soymilk, with added oils, can have the same reaction.

How would you test this idea? I would suggest seeing whether heating nonfat milk had the same reaction. Then add oil to nonfat milk and do the test again. What happens? Do you have any other ideas?

The next part has to do with another kind of fat. Take a look at this article on how the species of bacteria in your gut during early childhood may determine whether you are obese later on.

I knew a little about how important gut microorganisms are in other creatures. My favorite critters, the insects, have many bacteria and/or protozoa inside them performing all sorts of roles. For example, termites can't really digest the wood they eat. They carry tiny organisms inside that are able to digest wood. Without them, the termites would starve.

Obviously we have a lot to learn about our own relationships with microorganisms.

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When I saw the little bee checking out me and my camera, I wondered what he saw. I did a little looking around the Internet and found a cool website by Andy Giger that gives our best guess for what a bee sees when it looks at an object. Since he says the images are available for downloading, here is what the bee might see when it looks at my face.

The images are black and white because bees see color differently than we do. They do not see red (one reason so many bird flowers are red) and they see colors in the ultraviolet range which we can't see. If I was wearing red lipstick, the bee would have probably seen something closer to black or dark gray.bee eye view

bee in airThis morning I took a few minutes from my daily grind to take a few photographs. The garden is in full bloom and a loud buzzing attracted me to the side garden. Here is what I found. Do you know what it is?

This tiny bee is known as a digger bee. The flower it is visiting is a penstemon. Digger bees are fun to watch because they are cute and furry. This one was definitely aware of me. It came over and checked me out a couple of times. I wonder what I looked like to it?

If you are interested in bees, you should check out my lesson plans titled "Africanized Honey Bees on the Move." Some of the lessons have information about solitary bees such as this one.