Candy. You know you love it. It’s terrible for you, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT. It fills your mouth with joy. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and it has been making kids happy and dentists sad for a long, long time.
According to the dictionary, candy is a confection that features sugar as the main ingredient. Popular kinds of candy are chocolate, gum, and lollipops. BUT YOU KNOW ALL THIS ALREADY.
But what don’t you know about candy?
Did you know that the very first official candy was created between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE (that means 2,500 years ago!) when people in Southeast Asia boiled sugarcane juice to create pieces of delicious sweet sugar? I did not know until this very moment. That is called research, my friends.
Did you know that once upon a time, candy was considered MEDICINE!? As in something you would eat to calm a bellyache or make your sore throat feel better? That, my friends, is what we call the good old days.
For a long time, only rich people could afford candy, but then, in the early 1800’s, sugar became easier to get ahold of and machines were invented that could make candy much more quickly and cheaply. At which point, someone invented the candy store! And so children, who had been stockpiling pennies for a long time without anything delicious to spend them on, started trading those worthless copper disks for sweet delicious delight.
At this point, all the dentists got together and cried for the sake of everyone’s teeth before realizing that the development was actually rather good for business.
And that is the brief and utterly incomplete history of candy. Just know this: if you like candy, you are lucky to be living in a time in history when it is easy to get. If you don’t like candy, you should probably check to make sure you are an actual kid and not a robot cyborg.
But here is my true confession: I don’t really like candy. It’s just to0 sweet. I prefer a nice ripe peach.
That’s quite enough for today. There will be more about candy to come. For now, I leave you with this delightful video of a man making cotton candy while dancing on a beach. The internet is a miraculous place. Though, I advise you not go there unattended.
In parting, here’s a little quiz: write a comment on this post with all the kinds of candy you can think of and then let us know your very favorite kind.
So, the mystery has been solved! That piece of “trash” we found up in Alaska was a weather balloon!
Thank you Kirstin, for your extensive research involving (gasp!) PDFs. We’re not actually sure whether it was used for “turbulence soundings” but details, details! Email me directly to collect your free book!
And, while we’re at it, I’d say Conrad’s very educated guess of a “submarine on the bottom and a cruise ship in the top” is actually not too far off, if you think of the stratosphere as the ocean. So email me, Conrad, and I’ll send you a free book too!
Thank you both for your excellent sleuthing/guessing!
It turns out that the MYSTERIOUS styrofoam box and the MYSTERIOUS wires were part of the “RADIOSONDE,” which still sounds mysterious but which is actually a small kind of computer that measures different things as the weather balloon travels up into the sky. It sends this information back to earth with a radio signal, and then scientists use the information to figure out what the weather is going to be like.
The “secret message” is just a return bag with directions to put the radiosonde in:
and some information to fill out so that the scientists know where the weather balloon was found:
It sounds like the scientists hope the radiosonde is in good enough condition that they can reuse it. I’m not so sure. This one looked PRETTY rusty.
But we packed it up anyway and mailed it last week – and included a note asking for any more details. We promise to share them when we get them!
And hey – let us know if you know any interesting facts about weather balloons or have done any balloon launches yourselves! Maybe you’ve even found a weather balloon? Email me HERE or post on the Bobbledy Books Facebook page! And stay tuned for more interesting stuff about weather balloons!
I’ve put together a little rocket activity page based on the auction illustration that I did for the theme of the month. I thought it might be fun to see what the astronaut discovers on the surface of the moon, and to hear what he has to say about it.
When I think of rockets, I think of climbing into one and launching off into outer space. Well, would you believe that rockets were invented around NINE HUNDRED years ago???
This isn’t to say that people were exploring space that long ago. No, the science that eventually got us into space started out just being used in fireworks, in China. Gunpowder was invented in China 1,200 years ago and was burned (in the form of fireworks) to scare away evil spirits.
From then, it took around three hundred years for people to figure out that fireworks could be turned into small rockets. And one of the most powerful emperors of all time used those rockets to fight his enemies and conquer all kinds of people. His name was Genghis Khan, and don’t let his jolly little smile fool you.
But it wasn’t until about 90 years ago that a scientist named Robert Goddard started thinking rockets might be able to go into space. People thought he was CRAZY, and they nicknamed him “Moony” and made fun of him all the time in the newspapers.
It turns out he was right, so the moral of the story is: “Don’t stop believing in space travel just because people give you a silly nickname.”
I think of shooting off into space to explore new worlds. I think of seeing the earth from space and floating in zero gravity. I think of stepping onto the moon and taking giant leaps into the air.
When I was a kid, I used to think being an astronaut would be really cool. Now that I’m a grown-up, I think it’s terrifying. I wonder what happened to me since then that made me such a wimp?
Maybe it was that I watched the video below. It’s amazing and gives me chills, but boy howdy, once that countdown begins, you can’t really say, “Oh, man, never mind! I didn’t actually want to go to space today!”
Have a look and a listen – the sound of the blastoff is amazing!
What do you think of when you think of rockets? Do you know any interesting facts about rockets? Do you like to draw rockets (like Kato does)? Share what you’ve got in the comments or write me an email or post it on the Bobbledy Facebook page. Anyone who contributes gets a chance to win a free book or CD from our shop this month!
I bring you today the second installment of the recently relaunched original illustration auction—along with some process pics that show you how it came to be.
First, Robbi drew a sketch. I don’t have a picture of it. You’ll just have to take it on faith. Next she traced the sketch with pen and ink.
But she was not happy with the mermaid’s face. As much as it resembled the sketch, it did not inspire delight. Robbi demands to be inspired and delighted at least seven times a day, and I am capable of inspiring and/or delighting only six times daily. And so, taking matters into her own hands, she cranked out another drawing, this time with a more delightful face.
To this drawing, she added gouache skin tones. And rosy red lips.
And then she painted the arm/fin things, adding just a bit of blue.
And then the gorgeous green hair. And the shiny iridescent scales. I wish you were here in the barn at this moment to see them with your own eyes. The camera does not do them justice. They sparkle. It is delightful. And inspiring.
Then Robbi added some color to the water, to the rocks, to the seaweed and the kelp. She wondered if the scene were complete.
But then she remembered the eyes. Though tiny and seemingly insignificant, the eyes make all the difference. Just a dab of white (especially against a colored background as this is) cause the eyes to pop, inviting us into that window to a mermaid’s soul. A place you want to visit, I assure you.
And then, with some degree of trepidation and against all better judgment, Robbi painted in the watery background and painted in a wash of lighter sky. She worried it would ruin the piece.
But I don’t think it did. Not at all.
If you find yourself delighted and/or inspired, this piece is open for the bidding over on Ebay until 10:00pm on Sunday, May 24.