Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ninja Turtle Quiz

Can you match the turtle with the famous artist's work? Highlight the bottom area to see how you do!









1) C
2) A
3) D
4) B

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How do you pronounce Worcestershire?

Whenever I had to say "Worcestershire" I've always just kinds of mumbled something like "worsheshtsherhsher sauce." It turns out that that is the wrong way to say it. Go figure.

One day I sat down and looked at the label of our Lea & Perrins and tried to sound it out. Is is wor-chester-shire? Wor-sess-ter-shire? I really had no idea.

Finally I looked it up online and this is how you say it:


Crazy, huh? Just imagine saying "rooster" like a person with a speech impediment (I think it's called a derhotacism when you can't pronounce the letter r). Rooster, sure! Wooster, sure!

I think I will still sound like an idiot very amature if I tried to say this in real life. I have never heard anyone pronounce it this way. Now I will feel very self-conscious every time I ask for Worcestershire sauce. I have doomed myself to a life of permanent anxiety. Maybe I'll just live without it from now on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

STEM fields

I have been unsuccessfully trying to find a report that I read a while ago. Maybe you all can help. The report stated that there is a correlation between the amount of students majoring in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and the nations future economy (5 or 10 years out). This is pretty interesting. I think this is why the government is trying to get people interested in the sciences and technology with things like the SMART grant and whatnot. I saw that those countries who have the highest percentages of students majoring in those subjects are those countries that have the highest growth rate in their economy. These majors include ones like:
biology, chemistry, physics, agricultural science,
mathematics, statistics, computer science, actuarial science,
applied mathematics, biochemistry, computer engineering, mechanical engineering,
civil engineering, aerospace science, food science, computer security,
astrophysics, astronomy, nanotechnology, nuclear physics,
mathematical biology, operations research, bioinformatics, zoology,
psychophysics, neurobiology, biomechanics, epidemiology
acoustical engineering, geographic information systems, electrical engineering, and computer security

(List provided by the almighty Wikipedia)

Has anyone else heard of this?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alive on the inside

I went home teaching this morning and the message we shared was all about looking past outer appearances and appreciating and developing what is good on the inside.

I wholeheartedly agree with this, especially learning on Thursday that everything that you can actually see on the outside of a person is dead (except for the eyes). The skin cells and hair that we can see is just dead cells, ready to sluff off. It's interesting that people spend so much money and time on making sure that the dead part of our bodies looks nice. Maybe we should be more concerned with the condition of the living parts of our personage.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great Respect for Burn Victims

**Warning: some things described here are pretty graphic**

In my anatomy class we are talking about the integumentary system (skin, nails, hair, etc.). There is a lot of memorization involved. We got on a tangent about scars and plastic surgeons and how they have to know how and where to cut people so that as little scarring as possible will occur.

Scars are basically a great accumulation of collagen, which is very thick, very strong connective tissue. We then starting talking about burn victims. As far as I understand it, for third degree burn victims, all the top layers of skin are burned away and all that is left to grow back are the thick collagen layers. The problem is that the collagen doesn't allow for much circulation. Without blood circulation the burned area will become gangrenous and could cause death very soon. To account for this, doctors have to open up the wounds to allow for blood to reach the area.

Can you imagine this? The doctor has to go to the burn site and scrape and cut away the collagen. My teacher said that the tool they use resembles a cheese grater. Then the wound must be wrapped and let allowed to heal for a day. Then the same thing happens the next day. And then the next day. Each day, the doctor has to cut away to collagen. It reminds me of the story of Prometheus. Sometimes the pain can be so intense that the patient is put in a medically induced coma, but this is definitely not ideal because movement from the patient is required for proper healing. This treatment is usually done for months until the area is ready for a skin graft. I was looking at pictures of people undergoing this procedure, called escharotomy, and then I saw a picture of a little baby having to undergo this procedure. After that I couldn't look at any more pictures. That happens a lot to me now -- I am fascinated by medical procedures until I see babies having to undergo them.

I imagine that this would feel like torture. Literal torture. I can't even imagine how painful this would be. Some burn victims have most of their body covered by the burns. One thing is for sure: I will definitely think differently about burn victims from now on.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Most Beautiful Song Ever

As Katie could probably tell you, I have been listening to this song for the past two days now. I can't seem to get it out of my head. I hear myself humming it all of the time. I am sure it was divinely inspired. Don't you just love the cello?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thymus and SIDS

After writing about cadavers yesterday, I was reminded of this story that I heard from ... somewhere. I can't remember where I heard this. I'll try to relate this story as far as I can remember.

Up until about 1930, experts believed that SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, was caused by an enlarged thymus.The thymus is near the base of the neck. The doctors who did an autopsy on the infant noticed that each babies' thymus was larger than that which was considered normal. They thought that by having a large thymus the infant's thymus may have pinched off the trachea while sleeping and the baby would have suffocated to death.

In fact, the common treatment for preventing SIDS at that time was to have your baby's throats irradiated. The stress caused by the radiation made the thymus shrink, reducing the risk of thymus-induced suffocation. Every concerned parent would have done this for their child because you couldn't tell if your child had a large thymus until it's too late.

There was a problem, though. The thymus doesn't play any role in SIDS. How did doctors get this so wrong? It goes back to the days when medical students would take bodies from the graveyards to dissect and inspect. The families of the dead didn't like this, of course, so medical schools made arraignments with poor houses so that the schools will get all the dead bodies that died in the poor houses. The bodies dissected from the poor houses became the text book standards used for years to come. The problem with this is that people who lived in poor houses lived very stressful lives, and the stress they experienced made their thymuses smaller! The doctors assumed (incorrectly) that the small, stressed-out thymus size was the normal size, so when the autopsies were performed on the SIDS infants, the doctors thought that their healthy thymuses were too big!

This is a really unfortunate accident that caused over 30,000 cases of thyroid cancer from children having their throats exposed to high doses of radiation. It makes you wonder if there is something that we're doing now that we'll regret later.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


In my anatomy class we are going to be working with cadavers. I am both nervous and very excited about this. I have never seen a dead body up close; I really don't know how I will react. I don't have any problem with seeing surgery or blood or anything -- in fact, I thought that Katie's C-Section was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. The anatomy professor said that she picked up a new cadaver last week and that her name is Kitty. Her advanced biology class will actually do the dissection with the bone saw and all, but we get to inspect and memorize the parts of her body. Our lab midterm actually consists of us coming to the cadaver lab and seeing the cadaver with little flags on the body, and us having to name the different flagged parts.

Has anyone else taken anatomy? How did you do with the cadavers?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Prosopagnosia is the medical term for being face blind. This is an extremely interesting condition in which a person lacks the ability to recognize faces. I heard about this today in a Radio Lab episode. It seems all of the really interesting things that I learn about are from that show.

Anyway, being "face blind" means that you can't recognize people's faces. In extreme cases this can be as severe as not recognizing your own mother. If you were face blind, you could only recognize people by their hair style, or their voice, or if they always wore some identifying mark. It kind of reminds me of the boy from the Life of Pi not being able to recognize that plain faced man.

One of the most interesting thing about prosopagnosia is how pervasive it is. Some people estimate that as much as 3% of the population suffers from this condition. Three percent! That's so many! I think people are just embarrassed by not being able to recognize others that they try to hide this problem.

If you want to test yourself to see if you actually are face blind, you can take this free test. I took the first test which tested your ability to recognize unfamiliar faces. It was pretty difficult, but I am happy to report that I got 71 of the 72 questions right.

How did you do?

Monday, June 21, 2010

School again

I thought I would have a longer break, but school is starting up again. I'm only taking three classes for Summer Term, which are:
  1. Construction Safety
  2. Statistics
  3. Human Anatomy
I think I am most excited about anatomy. I really, really liked my physiology class that I took last year (I wrote about that class here, here, and here.) I'm hoping I will like this class as much. Anatomy and physiology are pretty similar, so I've heard.

I had a fabulous weekend without having to worry about homework or studying, and I didn't have any stake meetings that I had to go to, either. My goal now is to pass all of my classes until I graduate next April. Now I can say that I only have two full semesters left here at BYU. Woo hoo!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!








I love you, Katie! Hope you have a great birthday.

Post #253 ...

... will be a lame one.


I'm just enjoying the weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I took the OAT this morning. It went really well, actually. I would talk about the things that I was tested on, but I was sworn to secrecy. My score exceeded my expectations, so that's always nice. Hopefully it's good enough to be in the range for scholarships. The most stressful part is after you complete the exam and before you press the "submit" button. My hands were really sweaty and my stomach turned over about infinity times. And then all of that stress just popped like a balloon. Anyway, I'm am exhausted from studying, so I'm going to enjoy this well-deserved weekend of a vacation until Summer Term starts next week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Serving Suggestion

Going along with yesterday's theme of reading packaging, I found this little gem the other day.

Seems pretty normal, right? These taste pretty good, except that they dry your mouth out pretty quickly. When I was looking at the cover I noticed something funny in the bottom right corner.

A scoop of peanuts? OK, I guess that kind of makes sense, but you can totally tell that it's photoshopped. Were they trying to copy Raisin Bran? Also, I like how tiny the scoop is in comparison with the granola bar. Imagine how huge those granola bars would be if this picture was actually proportional.

Then I noticed the itty-bitty writing next to that scoopful of peanuts.

Serving suggestion? They really suggest eating a handful of peanuts to go along with the peanut butter granola bar? I guess there really isn't anything better than the raw ingredients to go along with the granola bar.

If this is true I guess the Oats 'N' Honey granola bar would go great with a handful of raw oats with honey on top ... yummy. Although I can think of one situation in which the side dish is mainly the same thing as the main dish: pizza and cheesy bread with marinara sauce. Isn't bread sticks with marinara sauce the same thing as pizza, just without the toppings?

Cereal Boxes Contain Test Answers

I finished my finals today, so now the only test I have left is the monster Optometry Test on Friday. I took another practice test today and have improved some more from last week, so that helps out my self-confidence.

Anyway, I was reading the cereal box while eating breakfast last Saturday. This cereal box is pretty boring actually. Cap'n Crunch is way more exciting, but I decided to read boring Cracklin' Oat Bran anyway. It's kind of like reading the back of shampoo bottles in the shower. You have to re-read them, even though you've read them a bazillion times before.

I got so bored that I decided to read the nutritional label.

Anyway, after reading that I took a practice test and one of the questions was this:

26. Which of the following foods contains the greatest amount of energy/gram?
A. Sugar
B. Starch
C. Fat
D. Protein
E. Vitamins

My initial feeling was "D. Protein" but then I remembered the cereal box.

And thanks to Cracklin' Oat Bran, I knew that "C. Fat" was the right answer. I know that I definitely wouldn't have been reading the nutritional information if I had Cap'n Crunch in front of me. I guess I can be grateful now for boring cereal boxes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Can Caterpillars Hear?

One of the High Counselors in our Stake that I was talking to recently was a science teacher at a High School nearby and is now studying bugs. One of the things he studied was whether caterpillars could hear any noises. It didn't look that caterpillars had ears, so he decided to do a test. He had a little sound generator and would test different frequencies and see if he could notice any reaction from the caterpillars. For most frequencies there wasn't any reaction, but there was a narrow band of frequencies that agitated the caterpillars quite a bit. The interesting thing is that these frequencies were very low. He thought about this and tested different things in nature that make that low frequency, and he found that that frequency is created when birds flap their wings! Makes sense, doesn't it? A caterpillar can hear when a bird is flying overhead and duck under a leaf or something.

So now he knew that they could hear -- the next part was to determine how they could hear.  One of his students or a college of his noticed that the little hairs on the caterpillar's back are perfectly spaced. They also noticed that the spacing was just the right length to be able to pick up those low frequencies. They hypothesized that the hairs on the caterpillar's back acted like the little hairs in our ear, making the caterpillar act like a walking ear drum. To test this out, they shaved the hairs off a caterpillar and noticed that it didn't react anymore to the low frequency sound. This is so cool!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Snap Expressions

I heard about this when I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I think there was a Radio Lab episode about this, too. Basically, it is almost impossible to hide your true emotions. How you really feel will always show on your face for a fraction of a second, whether you like it or not. It's a pretty useful skill to be able to see these snap expressions to tell what people really feel like when you're talking to them.

Take a test HERE to see how well you do.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Training Fleas

When I was on my mission, my mission president told us about training fleas. When you want to train fleas, you put them in a jar. The fleas will try to jump out of the jar, so you put a lid on it. The fleas will bump up against the lid for a while and after a while they will stop hitting the top the lid. You can unscrew the lid and the fleas won't jump out anymore. Their muscles haven't changed--they have just set a mental block on what they think they can do.

(Just ignore the fact that this is a PlayStation commercial)

I think we are capable of amazing things and that we just limit ourselves. We just need the proper perspective to see that we have such an enormous potential.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cloth diapers aren't better for the environment

I heard about this the other day from listening to news archives from 2008. I always thought that using cloth diapers was better for the environment than using disposable diapers. A UK government report found that the opposite was true, so they buried the findings of the report because they were embarrassing.

The study found that using cloth "nappies" had a higher carbon footprint unless parents went to extreme measures to launder them. Such extreme measures include drying the diapers on a clothes line all year long (this includes the winter), keeping the diapers for years to use on at least three children, and not washing them at a temperature higher than 60 C (140 F).

Check out the article on the report HERE.

My main question is this: how come I haven't heard about this until now? This study was done two years ago. I guess there are other factors to consider besides the environmental impact when decided between cloth and disposable diapers. We have never used reusable diapers on our baby. I think I would be interested in knowing what the cost difference would be. I really like the convenience of disposable diapers. That would be something I would miss if we switched to cloth.

Anyone have a strong opinion for cloth or disposable diapers?


I took another full-length practice test today and improved quite a bit from last time. I guess studying does pay off. I actually got a perfect score on the Reading Comprehension section. That boosted my ego quite a bit. Hopefully I can maintain the score I'm at by next week...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Biological immortality

While studying last night, I came across an interesting animal. I was studying the circulatory systems of various animals and came across cnidarians, specifically hydra. They look like this:

They are teenie-tiny water creatures (meaning only a few millimeters long)  and they can do some pretty amazing things. For one thing, they can regenerate any appendages that are lost. It would be as if someone cut off your arm and then you could grow it back. How awesome would that be? Not that I have ever lost an arm or anything...

However, the most amazing thing about them is that they appear to be biologically immortal. Meaning that they don't age. If left on their own, they could live basically forever ... or so some scientists believe. Being biologically immortal isn't the same as never dieing; they can still die if you squish them or if they get eaten.

Cells tend to die off because they are either programmed to die (called apoptosis) or the DNA becomes riddled with too many mistakes through either faulty copying or outside influences. These things can be prevented by having the right "stuff" in the cell to go back through the DNA and correct the mistakes, which hydra and other things (like cancer cells) apparently have.

I read that a biologically immortal human being would statistically only live to be around 1200 years old before he/she would die from some sort of accident, like being hit by a car. Perhaps this can explain the long lives of Adam and Methuselah? Maybe our cell make-up changed way-back-when so that the repair system didn't work as efficiently, thus reducing our life span.


Can you imagine what life would be like if everyone lived to be over 1000 years old? Henry IV of the Holy Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, and Christopher Columbus would probably be still alive. Well, probably not Genghis Khan. I'm pretty sure he didn't die of natural causes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Il colore fa la differenza

First of all, I felt more motivated to study today. I had a good solid block of time where I memorized hormones of the pituitary gland, cell germ layers, and the structures of plant stems. Then, later this evening, I studied thermodynamics and Newtonian motion. Good stuff. I feel like I'm making good progress. Plus, I found another legit OAT practice test online, so that's always a plus. I can't think of a better way to spend 4 1/2 hours of my time.

Have I mentioned before how awesome Radio Lab is? I used to listen to an episode almost every day at work, but then I had to scale back because I didn't want to run out of episodes to listen to. I try to limit myself to two a week.

I listened to the episode about placebos, which was really interesting. I think one of the more interesting points was how the color of the placebo pill makes a difference. For instance, when given a placebo sleeping pill, the people given a blue pill sleep longer and more deeply than those given a red pill. This has been tested again and again with people around the world and it holds true wherever it was tested.

Except for one place.

And that place is Italy.

Weird, huh? When given a blue pill, the men sleep more fitfully than the men given a red pill. Can you think of why? THIS should give you a hint. Scientists believe that soccer is such a huge part of the male Italian's life that even seeing something blue evokes the emotions associated with watching an intense match. The team's name is even Azzuri, which is Italian for light blue, or azure. Their subconscious minds are going wild with memories of calcio that they can't easily drift off to sleep. I think it's funny that this is only associated with men, though. The same scientists hypothesized that women sleep more soundly in Italy with the blue pill because the color blue reminds them of the Virgin Mary, which brought feelings of peace and comfort.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Study depression

Have you ever taken a pre-test, studied for hours, taken a post-test, and then found that you've done worse on the post-test than the pre-test? It's as if it would have been better not to have studied at all...

If you can't tell, this is what happened tonight. 10 days to go...

Monday, June 7, 2010

First book report

I ordered a replacement book for the library today. It brought back so many memories because it was the book for which I wrote my first book report. I remember it was in the first grade and the book was Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!  Have you ever read the book? It's all about the narrator being impatient with poor Marvin, asking and pleading with him to leave and listing all the various ways he may vacate the premises (helicopter, stilts, etc.). I remember making a diorama of the book by making Marvin K. out of purple clay and putting him in a shoebox.

Did you know that Dr. Seuss viewed this book as a political novel. I guess Mr. Mooney represents Richard Nixon. The book was published a few months after the whole Watergate scandal. Here I quote from Wikipedia:
[W]hen Seuss was challenged by political columnist Art Buchwald for never having written a political book, Seuss took a copy of the book and crossed out "Marvin K. Mooney" and wrote in "Richard M. Nixon." Buchwald was so delighted that with Seuss' consent he printed the text as his column for July 30, 1974. Nixon resigned nine days later on August 9th.
Anyway, I got an A+ on my book report. I think my teacher gave everyone an A+ if they tried to do anything. I also remember feeling really sad for Marvin K. Mooney because he was asked to leave.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Slo-Mo Video

I love the one where the guy is drinking from the water bottle.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Today's post will be quick. I took a practice OAT test today. I improved from last time, which is good! I still have a ways to go before I'm at the level I want to be at, but it's nice to have some improvement. Ummm ... well, that's all for now. Hopefully you won't get a lame post tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Red Hand of Ulster

I was reading my assignment for my surveying class yesterday at a computer in the library. The girl sitting across from me was working on something about heraldry with a guy from her class. It was pretty quiet where I was sitting, so I could overhear their whole conversation. Anyway, she pulled up her family crest, which was the O'Neill family crest. It looked something like this:

The guy sitting next to her why her crest had a red hand in it, and she told this story (I'll be paraphrasing here):

There were two brothers racing toward Ireland. They might have been princes from England. I'm not sure. All I know is that they were from the O'Neill clan. Anyway, they heard about how beautiful Northern Ireland (Ulster) was and the wanted to take it over. They decided to have a race and the first person to touch land would become the ruler of Ulster and the other one would have to return home. The race was pretty close. When the brothers were close to the shore, the one who was losing saw that the other would win. In desperation, he cut off his hand and threw it to shore! By doing so, he was the first one to "touch land" and became the ruler of Ulster. The hand in the crest is red because the hand was probably really bloody.

The guy asked the girl if that story is true, and she kind of laughed and said, "probably not." I'm guessing that at least PART of the story has to be true. Most legends are based on some sort of fact. If anyone knows anything else about this legend, let me know. All I know is what I overheard.

Why do kangaroos have a pouch?

While studying some flashcards for the OAT, I came across a question I didn't know. I can't remember how the question was exactly worded, but it went something like:

True or False: Marsupials have placentas.

Pretty straightforward question, but I had no idea whether it's true or false. Well, it turns out that they don't have any placentas. Isn't that weird? They give birth to teenie-weenie marsupial babies after all the nutrients on the egg have been used up. Once born, the teenie-weenie babies have to crawl up to their mommy's pouch, where they stay until they're fully developed. The babies are so tiny when they're born. They're pretty much like helpless embryos. It's a miracle that they even make it.

Check out this amazing video.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sample OAT questions

The OAT is coming up and I'm hitting the books pretty hard, studying and memorizing as much as I can. Here are some sample questions. See how you do. (The answers are in white near the bottom.)

1. Jim can fill a pool carrying buckets of water in 30 minutes. Sue can do the same job in 45 minutes. Tony can do the same job in 1 ½ hours. How quickly can all three fill the pool together?
A. 12 minutes
B. 15 minutes
C. 21 minutes
D. 23 minutes
E. 28 minutes

2. The innermost layer of a blood vessel is lined with _______ ______ cells
A. Simple squamous
B. Stratified squamous
C. Simple cuboidal epithelium
D. Stratified cuboidal epithelium

3. A ray of light strikes a plane mirror at an angle of incidence equal to 35 degrees. The angle between the incidence ray and the reflected ray is ___.
A. 45 degrees
B. 60 degrees
C. 70 degrees
D. 80 degrees

4. During fractional distillation, hydrocarbons are separated according to their
A. Boiling points
B. Melting points
C. Triple points
D. Saturation points

5. Juxtaglomerular cells combine with _______ cells to form the juxtagomerular apparatus in the kidney.
A. Macula densa
B. Renal pelvis
C. Nephron
D. Renal sinus

I got these test questions from this website.  The answers are below. How did you do?

1. B
2. A 
3. C 
4. A 
5. A

Lookin' Good

A retail store in the UK did a study on the time men and women spend getting ready for the day. As you probably already know, women take a lot more time than men to get ready in the morning. But did you know that the time spent getting ready decreases as the week progresses?

The study showed that women take about 1 hour and 15 minutes getting ready for the day on Monday (this includes showering, choosing an outfit, doing hair, etc.), 40 minutes getting ready on Tuesday, and less and less each day until Friday, where women spend only 19 minutes on average getting ready for the day.

This is also true for men, but the time falls more dramatically. Men spend 28 minutes on Monday, 14 minutes on Tuesday, and 11 minutes for the rest of the week.

I can't even imagine spending over an hour getting ready for the day. This is my getting-ready routine: showering, shaving, putting on deodorant, and putting on the clothes that are on the top in my drawer. I don't think it's any different on Monday or Friday. And I'm pretty sure it always takes me 16 minutes. Not that I've timed it or anything.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No More Chemistry!

This is just an announcement to the world that I am DONE with chemistry forever. I finished my final and all of my assignments for Chem 353, the last chemistry class that I have to take.

Let me just say that I'm not going to miss it very much.