Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fallen Monarchs

This is my favorite painting right now. It's called "Fallen Monarchs" and it's by William Bliss Baker, who was part of the Hudson River School. He painted this back in the late 1800's and it now sits in the BYU Museum of Art. I walked by the museum this morning while I was tending Olivia while Katie was teaching a sewing class at home, and I just had to see it again. I'm pretty sure it's Olivia's favorite painting, too. The colors are a lot more vibrant in real life. I really like how it shows both life and death and how the living need the dead to grow. This painting was selected as one of the thirty best American paintings of all time back in 1887.

If I could own one painting, this would be it. Maybe I will buy it if I get super rich.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Seizures are scary

While I was working on a computer in the No-Shhh!-Zone of the library yesterday, the man sitting right next to me had a seizure. He was an overweight guy, probably in his 40's. I thought at first he was just leaning back to stretch, but then he was leaning back, looking at the ceiling, and his body was rigid and shaking all over. He fell out of his chair and hit his head hard on the ground. He started to foam at the mouth and his lips were turning blue. At this moment I realized that everyone around him was just staring and nobody was doing anything. I jumped out of my chair and yelled that someone should call 911. I really didn't know what to do. I heard that you might need to stick something in his mouth, but that didn't seem like a good idea. His face was turning a deep purple now and the white foam was thick in his mouth. I turned him over to his side with the help of another guy (which was no easy task) and he started to cough up a lot of junk. Then he urinated on himself. A girl ran up and said that she was an EMT. She said to roll him over to his other side. I guess you can breathe a lot easier when you are lying on your left side than your right side. It makes sense. I just learned in my anatomy lab that your right lung is bigger (the heart takes up room on the left side) so if you are lying on your left side, your big, right lung can do most of breathing. The man was breathing heavy but still wasn't focusing his eyes on anything. Some people searched his wallet to figure out what his name was. One guy said, "I think his name is David." Another said, "I think it's Curtis." Still another said, "Is his name Craig?" I'm not sure why he had so many ID's. Maybe he was a con-artist or something. Anyway, I had to leave to go to work, but when I walked by that area all that was left was a yellow custodial sign saying "WET FLOOR."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Voyager Golden Record

Back in 1977, the Voyager spacecraft was sent out into the great unknown with a golden sound record. It's traveling at about 38,000 mph away from Earth. What's on this record? Carl Sagan and other scientists gathered sounds of nature (ocean, thunder, wind), greetings in fifty-five human languages and some greetings in non-human languages (humpback whales, birds). They recorded sounds of heart beats and brain activity and musical pieces by Bach, Beethoven, and Chuck Berry. They have even recorded images and photographs in analog form. These images are pictures of humans, bugs, plants, food, and buildings. They have images of written words. I have no idea how aliens or future human civilizations-- are supposed to decode these things. NASA was kind enough to include instructions on how to work a record player. I think I would probably need instructions, too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plural of octopus

Octopuses? Octopi? Have this age old question finally answered by an editor at Merriam-Webster.

All I know is that I am going to sound like a freaking genius when I say octopedes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Most Expensive Liquids

I read about this a while ago, but I thought about it again because we bought some ink for our new printer. Did you know that computer ink is one of the most expensive liquids in existence? Check this graph out that I got from this website. Also, notice how expensive oil is in comparison to the rest of them.

Makes you kind of happy that HP doesn't have a gas station, doesn't it?

I read on another site that scorpion venom is the most expensive fluid in existence. One gallon of that stuff could cost you $38,858,5007.46, according to this site. I wonder what scorpion venom is used for?

Monday, July 26, 2010


756,864,000 seconds
151,372,800 breaths
148,920,000 blinks
35,040 dreams
21,024,000 swallows
5,480 pounds of food
78,840 hours of sleep
131,400 hours awake
50 inches grown

Insides of Watermelon

Have you ever looked at the inside of a watermelon? The seeds are actually in a pattern. The come off of one of six swirly thingies. You can see it on the MRI of a watermelon. It's pretty amazing.

I guess I still think about it because it's pretty amazing to be able to find order and beauty when you don't really expect it. The seeds and spirals comply with the golden mean. There is three-point symmetry in the watermelon. It just seems like God put these interesting gems of beauty all around us, just waiting to be discovered.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bechdel Test

I read about this test the other day. It was made by Alison Bechdel back in the 80's, I think. The test is pretty simple. It tests movies on three criteria:
1) there have to be at least two women in the movie
2) who talk to each other and
3) the women have to talk about something other than a man.

It's amazing to see all the movies that fail to pass this test. You can see a whole list here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hidden Word

Can you spot the word hidden in the tangles? Scroll down to see the answer.

Can you see it now? Once you have seen it, you will see it automatically from now on. Thanks for the link, Kathy! If you want to see more optical illusions and puzzles, look here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My triplets

I had a dream last night that I had triplet boys. Guess what their names were.

Malleus, Incus, and Stapes.

I think I have been studying anatomy too much.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reversible Poetry

I think this is pretty cool. Read it forward, then read it backwards. It tells two different stories.

Lost Generation
By Jonathan Reed
I am part of a lost generation
and I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this may be a shock but
“Happiness comes from within.”
is a lie, and
“Money will make me happy.”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
they are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
but this will not be true in my era
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now, I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope.
And all of this will come true unless we choose to reverse it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Advice about Girls

My Construction Safety professor is really funny. He just finished his Masters and will be heading off to get his Ph.D. this fall. He's not much older than the people in our class. Anyway, he gave some useful interesting advice about girls and dating. I'm not sure how true it is, but Katie was nodding her head while I was telling her what I learned today.
  1. Girls talk about guys who stand out. Don't try to blend in at Stake Dances. Be the guy who wears bright yellow pants and huge sunglasses. (Remember, this is his advice, not mine. When I told Katie this she said, "Sure, they get talked about more, but that's because they're weird.")
  2. Blonde girls love sour candy.
  3. If you give a girl some gummy bears and a rose, she'll fall in love with you. Guaranteed.
 So, take that for what it's worth.

Monday, July 19, 2010

MRI of food

This blog is awesome. They took food and took an MRI from it. I love the way mushrooms and broccoli look. Have a look at it. Really.

Smell and Taste

I used to think that these two senses were connected. I thought that if you lost your sense of smell, you would also lose your sense of taste. That's not true. They are totally different nerves. The reason why people think that is because a lot of us don't use our sense of taste that much. We mostly just use our sense of smell. Our sense of smell is just so powerful.

The nerves for smelling come out of the brain and head toward the forehead and stop just above the nasal cavity, and then the tips of the nerves dangle through the bone separating the brain from the nose. They kind of look like toothbrush bristles. People who have had heavy whiplash (car accident victims, football players, headbangers, etc.) are likely to lose their sense of smell because the little bristles going through the skull get ripped off and the sense is gone forever.

At least they can still taste food, though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

So sleepy...

...too sleepy to write anything. Ungh.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Spice Commercial

This was produced by students here at the BYU Library. It's pretty great. You should see all of the Old Spice commercials first, though. I actually walked by while they were filming it, and one of the people asked me if I wanted to be in it, but I had to study for the OAT. Too bad--I could have been famous yet again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blind Spot

Did you know that you have a blind spot? Try it out yourself. Here's what you do:

1. Cover your left eye
2. Look at the cross
3. Move your head forward and back until the dot disappears. For most people, that point is about a foot away from the screen, but everyone's eyes are different.

The reason why we have a blind spot is because that is where the optic nerve connects to the retina. Pretty awesome, huh? We don't really notice it because the blind spot is in the opposite location on the other eye.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Five Tastes

When I was in the first grade I remember being taught that there are four tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. I also was taught that each taste corresponded to a different section of the tongue. These are both false. Well, mostly.

The "different sections of the tongue for different tastes" idea is pretty much false. Also, there are different parts of the tongue that have more sensitive taste buds. There are some large taste buds near the back of the tongue that most people don't even use. Those taste buds are more sensitive to flavors than the others. If you talk to a professional food taster, they would tell you that they slowly chew and swish the food around to make sure those buds in the back are coated.

Anyway, back to the flavors. There are now five official tastes that we can experience.

The fifth one is umami.

Never heard of it? Me neither. Apparently, it's the savory, meaty, brothy flavor that MSG brings out. Umami is Japanese for "good flavor" or "good taste."


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Skydiving from space

I heard about this on the news a few weeks ago, and then I read about it again today. This crazy guy named Felix Baumgartner is planing on making the breaking the record for highest elevation of skydive and will actually break the sound barrier. He'll be jumping from 3 miles up. That is the point that is considered the boundry of space.You can actually see the curvature of the earth from that point. When you look up, you see the black immense of space above you. It's really high up. (The picture above isn't that high). They don't really know what happens to a human body when it breaks the speed of sound. I'm not sure when he is planning on jumping -- the article just said "later this year." I wonder how long he'll actually be in the air?

Read the article for yourself here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Growing back some eyes

My mom sent me a newspaper clipping from the Washington Post that was really interesting. It was about a group of researchers in Italy who restored sight in blind eyes by implanting the patients' own stem cells in the dysfunctional eye. Can you imagine how cool it would be to be able to grow back your eye? How amazing is that?! And it's extremely successful, too. The Italian researchers tried this on 107 patients over the past decade, and the treatment worked completely in 82 of the patients.

This is what they do: they find someone who is blind in just one eye and didn't become blind through macular degeneration or nerve damage. Mostly the people became blind through chemical burns or heavy-duty cleaners. Then they take some healthy tissue from the good eye and transplant it to the bad eye, and the stem cells grow and divide and fix the bad eye.

It really sounds like something from a science fiction movie. Stem cell research is so amazing. I'm certain that it is going to play a huge role in future medical procedures.

You can read the Washington Post article here.

Robot Voices!

I have been looking for a text-to-voice generator for a while now, and now I have found one! It's so funny. You can choose from about 15 different voices. Check it out here!

Now, if I can only get me a copy of the Lewis Family Tragedy...

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Y3oo9 3f346 9h3. 8 y903 697 yqe q t99e Wq574eqy. 3hu96 5y3 233i3he!

The first person to figure out what it says wins all the money in the world. FYI, it has nothing to do with ovaltine.

(Hint: look at your keyboard)

Friday, July 9, 2010


I got in a bike accident yesterday. I was riding my bike to campus and some EFY kids jumped in front of me and I swerved and flipped off my bike. I hit head first, but luckily I was wearing my helmet. I skidded up my elbow, hip, knee, and shin. For decency's sake, I decided to only take pictures of my elbow. Ha. On a side note, I hope that it'll leave a cool scar. Does anyone else always hope that after you get injured? I think to myself, "This hurts really bad, but, hey, maybe it'll leave a big scar or something." It's the closest thing I'll ever have to a tattoo.Also, I hyper-extended the tendon to my big toe. (It's called the extensor hallucis longus, if you wanted to know. Oh, the useful things you learn in anatomy.)

I thought I might have broken my toe because it was hurting so bad. They took an x-ray and saw it was just strained. So now I'm on crutches for a couple of days. I've never used crutches before. My shoulders are super tired now. I feel like Weaky Kneaky (that's the opposite of Evil Knievel). 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nerdy Love Poem

Roses are red
Violets are blue
All my base
Are belong to you

My Spam Subject Lines

Sometimes I really enjoy reading my spam. It makes me laugh to think that some people actually fall for it. Here are the headlines of the spam in my inbox: 

1) FROM THE MONITORING TEAM (EFCC AND FBI) BE WARNED.  My favorite quote from the email is "Motto: No body is above the LAW!"

2) FBI ALERT ON YOUR FUNDS[CODE:210]];;;}<<<<<<<<   Apparently this is from Robert Mueller himself. And he wants me to send him $150.000 USD. Yes, there are 3 zeros after the decimal point. His hand must have freaked out while typing the closing bracket. Perfectly normal to overlook that.

3) Buy Adobe and Windows Mac Soft Ware !  You can always tell that it's spam when there are weird spaces between words and punctuation.

I'm pretty sure that "No body is above the LAW!" is going to be my personal motto from now on. Thank you, Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri, for your inspiration.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bullet Hole Statistics

I have been studying for my statistics exam today and I remembered my professor telling us this story on the first or second day of class to try to motivate more students to switch their major to statistics. She told us how statistics can be used in many different fields and has even been used as a military advantage during war time.

During World War II, a statistician (whose name I forgot) was hired by the military to determine where more armor should be put on the plane. The statistician checked out the planes that returned from combat and saw where the most bullet holes were. Then, after mapping that out, he decided to put more armor where there WERE NOT any bullet holes.  Can you guess why?

Because this is where the planes where shot that didn't return home.

Very clever, no?

Anatomy Notes

This is what I've been working on this evening. I've got a test tomorrow, so I thought that I would just draw the muscles to help me remember them. I would just go to the cadaver lab, but it was closed today because of the holiday. I must say that I am pretty proud of the drawings, except for the one in the top right corner of the page. That guy looks like some tribal warrior or something (it was the first one I drew). I think I improved over time. The flash was on, so the contrast isn't that great. Oh well.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Art of Jim Denevan

I love this stuff. He draws all of this with sticks and brooms and it all gets washed or blown away the next day. At least he has photographs of it. Check out his website here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

i.e. versus e.g.

I really didn't know there was a difference between i.e. and e.g. before today. Turns out that there is. I.e. is Latin for id et and e.g. is Latin for exempli gratia. So, you use i.e. when you want to say "in other words" and you use e.g. when you want to say "for example."

I = in other words and E = example.

If you said "I really like playing board games (i.e. Settlers of Catan and Risk)," that would mean "I like to play only Settlers of Catan and Risk." If you said "(e.g. Settlers of Catan and Risk)" that would mean "I like to play games like Settlers of Catan and Risk."

You can read more about this at this website. I am sure that I've made this mistake many times before.

Friday, July 2, 2010


You know that infants aren't supposed to eat honey, right? It's because of botulism, a toxin released by the bacteria called Clostridium botulism. It's a spore that is very hard to kill and is found in honey. It can also be found in some sausages, too. What the toxin does is paralyze the muscles it comes in contact with. Babies don't have enough of an immune system to combat it, so if they get this toxin in their system, they could die from having their diaphragm being paralyzed. According to Wikipedia, it is the most toxic substance known. This toxin basically is the reverse of the tetanus toxin, which causes all the muscles in the body to clench (like lockjaw).

A disturbing thing with botulism is that the FDA said in 2002 that it's OK for a doctor to inject it in your face. The toxin then paralyzes certain muscle groups in the face so that the skin will sag in a certain way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. That is what botox is. "Botox" is just short for botulism toxin.

Pretty sick. Although this doesn't compare with supermodels and actresses getting their bottom two ribs removed to get a skinnier waist. That is the most disturbing thing I have heard of people doing to their bodies for fashion.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Meeting the Cadavers

Today was the first time I saw the cadavers up close. I was hoping that I would feel some strong emotion of some sort, but I really didn't feel anything. There was a girl next to me who started crying but then composed herself, and a guy standing near the back looked really pale. The cadaver didn't really look like a person to me, although one of the cadavers still had his mustache on. The left the skin on the upper lip and around the fingers. It was pretty gross looking. However I think I am more worried about memorizing the names of the muscles in the forearm than being creeped out by a dead body .

My professor told us about the history of the cadavers. The person who wants to donate their body to science has to get in contact with the University of Utah while they are still living and put their express desire to donate their body in their will. Once they are dead, the family still has to give permission for the body to be donated. They can veto what was written in the will. The University of Utah then ships the bodies to different universities in this western United States region. After two years of students studying and poking around in their bodies, everything is cremated and returned to the family.

Every year on the Friday before Memorial Day, a service is held at the Salt Lake Cemetery in honor of those individuals who donated their bodies to science. At that service, the family members of those people who donated their bodies speak about the lives and accomplishments of those individuals. My professor goes to these services each year and she said it is one of the most spiritual experiences she has. She can actually recognize some of the family members from studying the facial muscles of the cadavers for so long. One of the cadavers was a stay-at-home mom of 12 kids. Another one was a carpenter. One was a 97 year-old grandma (her muscles are very tiny). One was a huge, muscular black man (his muscles are really easy to differentiate). I guess I was a little surprised to see that normal, everyday people donate their bodies. I thought that only scientists would want to do that.