Janice Boekhoff

Fun Science Fact

In case you missed it, the European Space Agency made history this week. On Wednesday, Philae, a robot probe launched by the satellite Rosetta, stuck a two-point landing after bouncing twice on the comet 67P, coming to rest about 1 km from its intended landing site.

Unfortunately, Philae should have made a three-point landing. The robot is resting on only two of its legs and scientists believe it’s tucked up against the wall of a cliff. This position means Philae’s power cells won’t get enough sunlight to completely charge its battery. It’s projected to run out of charge on Saturday, unless scientists can figure out a way to move it more into the open. What a sad thing for the robot to end its ten-year journey this way.

Researchers hope to find out more about the early history of our solar system by analyzing the data Philae sends back, but the data may be limited based on Philae’s position. Even so, I’m looking forward to their reports. I always love to learn more about how God made such a glorious universe. The earth and the heavens declare His name.

Reference: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30034060

Photo Credit: N02/14546108143/”>theglobalpanorama via photopin cc

Self-watering Plant


The desert rhubarb plant was uniquely designed by God to thrive in a desert environment. In the Negev Desert of Isreal, one of the driest places on earth, the average annual rainfall is 3 inches. So, the desert rhubarb can’t rely on rainfall. Instead, it uses a channeling system to irrigate itself.

The leaves of the plant are waxy to promote water flow and heavily grooved with miniature peaks and valleys to channel dew or any rainfall into the root system. In fact, the plant collects 16 times more water during a rain than other plants. Just look at the tiny mountain range on those leaves. If you were an ant, it would be like crossing the Alps.

Many desert dwellers have hoped to harvest precious water in the same way—from the dew that collects each night. Perhaps understanding how God designed the desert rhubarb will help scientists to create “smart materials” that can do just that.


Reference:   De Young, Don. July-Sept. 2011. Three-Foot Oasis. Answers, p. 40.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclam/4499594902/”>flora.cyclam</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>


I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

If God told you before you began your life that you would have the special ability to heal the sick, to know what people were thinking and to influence people like no one else had, what would you say? I’d probably say, sign me up.

But then, what if God told you all this would come with a huge price tag—your life. I might still say yes. I mean, everybody has to die sometime, right?

Then, what if God dropped the biggest bombshell of all and told you that you would give your life in the most painful way possible to benefit the same people who would spit on you as you died.

Would you do it?

Jesus did.

At times, I’m consumed by one question: Why would God leave all of heaven’s glory just to come down here to live and die as a man?

It reminds me of the movie Aladdin (I know I’m dating myself here). But in the movie the genie is subservient to his master and he’s trapped in the lamp. The genie tells Aladdin he has “phenomenal cosmic power, but itty bitty living space.” That’s what God did for us. He took His greatness and wrapped it in this tiny, frail package.

When we come back to the question why, the Bible gives us only one answer—you, and me, and my next door neighbor, and the homeless guy on the street, and the rock star on TV. Our creator came here for us.

How can we feel insecure and unlovable when God demonstrated His love for us so clearly? Even if no one else on Earth shows us love, God already gave his life for us.

Dear Lord, remind us that love is not a feeling, it’s an action. And You coming here was the ultimate act of love for Your children. If You love us so dearly, how can we not love ourselves and others in the same way? Help us to live out Your love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact


I love volcanoes! In fact, all three of the books I’ve written have a volcanologist (volcano geologist) in there somewhere. What draws me to them? It must be the primordial earth-generating thing or maybe it’s a danger thing. Aren’t we all attracted to the extreme places on our planet? Or maybe it’s just me.

Now, I can add one more dangerous thing about volcanoes to my list (as if gigantic explosions and fast flowing molten rock weren’t enough).


Volcanic lightning, or ‘dirty thunderstorms’, occur during powerful eruptions when ash and dust are ejected into the air in a great cloud. These particles carry strong electrical charges, which generate enormous lightning bolts that flash through the churning ash clouds.

I believe this picture is computer generated, but the actual pictures of volcanic lightning are just as spectacular. To see some, click here.

Reference: http://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/lightning-and-lava/ss-BBaYZIY?ocid=eie9hp#image=1

Photo Credit: ID 27558491 © Satori13 | Dreamstime.com

New Theory on King Tut’s Demise


When I was younger I had a fascination with all things Egyptian. Gods and goddesses, golden headdresses, Pharaohs and mummies, not to mention a language made entirely of pictures. What’s not to love?

I promised myself I would learn hieroglyphics one day, although that day never came. In college, I studied archaeology and my love of all things ancient continued to grow.

Of all the fascinating things about Egypt, the story of King Tut has captured the public imagination the most. A boy king, killed before he hit the prime of life (at age 19) whose death is still a mystery. In fact, archaeologists are constantly re-examining his remains to come up with new theories as to why he might have died.

Some think he was murdered by enemies (maybe even his sister), others think he died of an infection, and a select few think he was crushed by a hippo. Recently, a new theory has been proposed by Egyptologist Chris Naunton—perhaps King Tut was struck by a chariot.

Naunton took all the x-rays of King Tut’s body that were taken in the last 90 years and compiled them into a single large image using equipment at a special forensics lab. The image showed Tut’s mummy was missing eight ribs from the left side of his body, part of the left side of the pelvis and the heart. Since the heart is usually mummified with the body, Naunton presumed the organ and the other missing parts were so damaged they were left out during mummification. So, his team of researchers started looking for a cause of death that would inflict that kind of damage and only to the left side of a person’s body.

They quickly decided a chariot was the most likely candidate, but a simple fall wouldn’t produce enough force or favor injury on the left side. However, a test drive of a replica chariot showed that if King Tut had fallen out of his chariot and then been struck by the wheel of another chariot on his left side, the damage would be nearly identical.

Did King Tut die in a chariot accident? Maybe, but without historical documentation we can never be certain. Only the one true God knows for sure.

Fun Activity: If you would like to spell your name in hieroglyphics, click here.


Reference: Petit, Zachary. September 2014. Crash Test Mummy. National Geographic Kids, p. 20.

Photo Credit: ID 36111796 © Neil Harrison | Dreamstime.com

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