Saturday, July 08, 2006

Garden :: Paradise for Psammophiles

"ape di sabbia " photograph by pixy1 >>

Perspicacious visitors to MoD will have noticed that I’ve become perhaps a little pre-occupied with the Museum’s surrounding. Some bolshy members of staff have even been muttering – when they thought that I couldn’t hear, the sneaks – that I have been neglecting both the exhibits inside MoD and my search for the Skin Armour. But what you all don’t perhaps realise, is that it is the approach to a Museum – or, for that matter, any other public institution – that sets the tone of the entire visit. I have often worried that MoDs environs were less impressive than they could be, but now I have finally got access to what I need to make them all that they should be.


Finally, I have found* a place to turn to for all my particulate information needs, and in the process discovered an entire community of like-minded individuals. The International Sand Collectors Society is THE source for anything that a reasonable person would need to know about sand. This includes a useful measurement guide so that you don’t confuse your boulders with your stones or your sand with your silt. And endlessly fascinating facts about sand such as the effects of abrasion on the shape of the grain, the endless variety in particulate shapes including the astonishingly beautiful star-shaped grains from Tonga, and the proper lingo to use, for example:

“Particles, which are tabular or shaped like a disk, are said to be oblate. Equdimensional particles are called equant. Elongated and somewhat flattened particles are bladed. Rod-shaped particles are prolate.”
It is also full of endless useful helpful hints. E.g. their tip for distinguishing carbonate sands from quartz sands: add a drop of household white vinegar or a mild acid such as muriatic acid to a small amount of sand; if the sample contains calcium carbonate, the grains will react by forming bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Sand Picture Gallery >>

Discovering the World Grain by Grain >>

* Okay already! So I wasn't unassisted... I followed Barista's David Tiley there as part of our surveillence of his obnoxious parasite, the Goblin Snorri.


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