Archive for April, 2012:
Many of us use paper napkins at dinner. (I have kids and pets, and would love to switch to cloth, but it hasn’t happened yet.) I also can’t leave napkins out in a holder on the table because of the pets, so we keep ours in the cabinet. However, doing this leads to the napkins getting folded over and scrunched up. So the trick is to turn the packaging into a dispenser . . .
Like many people, I have a soft spot for baby animals. I have a soft spot for big animals, too, so the saying “don’t get a kitten unless you want a cat” doesn’t stop me from getting another pet.
Unfortunately, as a biologist, I don’t limit my pet desires to the domestic. On my current wish list is: a baby goat, a baby flamingo, a baby giraffe and a baby polar bear. I HAVE thought about having adult versions of these creatures living at my house with me, and this DOES stop me from getting a goat. But when I think of having an adult flamingo in my yard, I think ‘that would be crazy cool’ and ‘well, I can’t just have ONE. I’d need at least a handful.’
How great would it be to look out your window and see a giraffe in your yard? I think that would be awesome. No amount of ‘logical thinking’ stops me from believing it’s okay to have a pet giraffe. I have several acres. My whole family is good with animals. I think it makes perfect sense to have a pet giraffe.
The Mega Millions Multi-State Lotto just hit 356 million dollars. Winning the Lotto is a hope held by many Americans. It appears to be the path to instant wealth and a better life. But let’s pause for a moment and look at the numbers.
Some analysts state that as many as 98% of Lotto winners declare bankruptcy within 2 years. The majority of past winners report that they are no longer speaking to friends and family and many are treated for depression.
Lots of Lotto winners suffer from what I refer to as “Graceland Syndrome”. If you’ve ever been to Graceland, you can see what happens when people without a sense of money get some. Knick knacks. Everywhere. Rather than better quality stuff, just more cheap stuff. An apparent inability to say ‘no’.
This is really simple, but a great trick. When you put a straw in your soda, you may have noticed the straw always rises, making it really difficult to use. This is usually considered to be because of the carbonation bubbles attaching to the straw and lifting it.
By the time Sis and I had pulled into Tucson (driving from Nashville), we were punchy to say the least. We had taken a route through Phoenix where we stopped at a Coffee Bean and found out that you can now get a Mocha Iced Blended in the ungodly size of 32 ounces. They really should just ask you, ‘Would you like that small, large or diabetes sized?’ Though we tried to drink the whole things, we just couldn’t. Honestly, just lifting a cup that size was problematic – they didn’t even fit in the cup holders.
So you can see that we were high on sugar, hope and the lingering smell of Oklahoma when we passed “Calle Sin Nombre”. For those of you who passed high school Spanish class, this is clearly ‘Street With No Name’. We laughed at the irony of this being posted on the standard green street sign, as it obviously WAS the name of the street.
We were still laughing as we drove past “Agua Verde”. ‘Green Water’? Is this really something you want? Was the author or town developer making a statement about this street? Should you avoid it? We didn’t know.
But, being clearly ridiculous, we started making up our own street names. We wondered what you could get away with if you simply named it in Spanish. (Think back to the movie L.A. Story, where everyone wants a seat at the new French restaurant “Li-Di-Oh”. When they arrive you see the name is actually “L’Idiot”.)
You may have seen this ‘news article’ online a few weeks ago: Men pay more attention to a woman’s hair than her curves. Very few things actually get me to click links these days, but this one did, just because of its absurdity. Who are these ‘men’? I asked myself.
Sure enough, the opening line of the ‘article’ was “In a recent study conducted by Pantene . . .” For those of you who don’t know, Pantene makes shampoo. I read no further, and remained peeved that I had fallen prey to the link. I even complained to a friend that I had done it and he replied that he had too. Only he had followed the link thinking ‘that must have been conducted by some hair product company!’ I was not so smart.
Back when I was an undergrad, my professors always asked me ‘who did the study?’ and I always thought ‘what a stupid question. It’s science, it doesn’t matter.’ But as a grad student I learned that (lo, and behold!) they were right. It does matter.
The graduate lab I worked in had some serious flaws. First, they mocked me for doing my standard deviation math by hand; they had all plugged the data into the computer. I should have gotten the last laugh when I said, “But yours is wrong.” It was, in fact, so wrong that anyone who understood what a standard deviation represented would have seen that theirs was obviously off. But I didn’t get the last laugh: instead, I nearly cried and spent some time perturbed. I would have been perturbed about it longer, but this was thwarted by my professor who asked me to include inadmissible data in the results because it helped support her point.