Monthly Archives: January 2013

I know exactly what you are!

A new, and scientifically accurate take on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

If I didn’t sing to Mabel in the dark, just before bedtime, I would totally print this out and teach her this version.

Source:  Don't remember where I found this.  If you know to whom it should be attributed, please comment and let me know!

Source: Don’t remember where I found this. If you know to whom it should be attributed, please comment and let me know!



Filed under #scimom, Mabel, Mother, Scientist

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday: Fibonacci is everywhere

When I saw this on IFLS, I thought, “Wow.”

Source:  IFLS

Source: IFLS

Left is an embryo (probably human, but not necessarily since we mammals tend to look a lot alike during our embryonic development, see just how much alike here).

In the center is the Fibonacci spiral, which appears everywhere- music, nature, mathematics.  It’s quite fascinating where the pattern can be found.  To learn more about it, see here.

On the right is a galaxy?  Nebula?  I’m not sure exactly what- the image didn’t include a description.  If you know, please comment.

Humans are great at recognizing patterns.  Do you see the pattern above?  How all three have the same shape?  Like that of a nautilus?

What does it mean that this spiral is found everywhere, that the math is so elegant?  Not for me to say, but it’s pretty awe inspiring nonetheless.


Filed under Scientist, Wordless Wednesday

Working: Do not disturb the dog, vest on= at work

I don’t like to be disturbed when I’m working.  I’m guessing you don’t either.

Now imagine you were a service dog and someone was relying on you for their safety and freedom.  How bad would it be for you do get distracted?

The Norwegian Association of the Blind put out this public service announcement to give people an idea of just how preposterous it would be if they distracted other humans the way they distract service dogs.  The ad itself is hilarious, and you will laugh out loud if you watch it.

Don’t interact with service dogs when they are working.  As the ad says vest on= at work!

I raised three puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind when I was in high school.  We worked really hard with the puppies from the time they were very young to teach them how to ignore distractions.  It’s amazing what these dogs could do.  That said, they have an important job- and they are better at it when they can focus!

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You really DO just wanna smush those cheeks.

You know how you see a baby, a cute one, as seen below, and say something like, “I just wanna eat you up!” Or, “I just wanna smush those chubby cheeks!” Or, “I’m gonna hug you and squeeze you!”  Maybe you grit your teeth when you say it and try not to pinch/squish/nibble so hard it actually hurts the cute little baby?

Mabel fighting the urge to squish that chubby cheek.

Mabel fighting the urge to squish that chubby cheek.

Yeah?  Feel like a weirdo?  Wonder why you have the urge to mash a small baby’s delicate parts?  Well, wonder no more!

Presenting their findings at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference on Jan. 18, researchers linked cuteness with aggressive tendencies and labeled the behavior “cute aggression,” LiveScience reported from the event.

Oriana Aragon and Rebecca Dyer, graduate psychology students at Yale University, led the research that found a connection between photos of adorable pets and the desire to squish or squeeze the fluffy critters, the way a grandmother might squeeze a baby’s cheeks.

“It’s everywhere,” Aragon told The Huffington Post, citing examples of Google’s auto-complete for the search phrase “so cute I could…”

“So cute I could… die, eat you up, kill you, maul you,” Aragon continued. “It’s just all this violence.”

While the Filipino word “gigil” describes the urge to pinch something because it is cute, Aragon told HuffPost there is no English equivalent. Source:  Huffington Post

Read more about how Aragon and Dyer conducted the study, what motivated them, and more here.

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Filed under #scimom, Mother, Scientist

Mabel Turns Three!

A few weeks ago Mabel turned three!  I failed to note it on the blog until now because our house has been plagued by illness.

As it turned out, we were lucky to be able to have her birthday party because she had been sick the week prior and got sick again the night after her party.  Wouldn’t you know, she’s sick again now.  Pretty much every other week since mid-December she’s been sick, with Nemo following the same pattern a few days behind.  The joys of having a pre-schooler.  I’m basically paying for her to go to preschool one day a week to pick up a new germ, bring it home, and then be out the rest of the week.

Anyway, the party was a lot of fun and that means it was a huge success.

This year we kept it small, with just a few (about 6 plus some younger siblings) local friends from the library, her pre-school class, etc.  I didn’t want to do anything too involved, and since Mabel loves helping me in the kitchen, we decided upon a ‘decorate your own cupcake’ party.

While it may look like it was a lot of work, it wasn’t.

Irene 3 bday mcphd

Mabel’s Third Birthday- aprons found here, chef hats found here.

We held it on a Saturday afternoon, 1-3pm so we didn’t have to serve a meal (just snacks and cupcakes).  I baked the cupcakes (with Mabel’s help) the morning of the party- using boxed cake mix.  The toppings included icing from a jar (mixed with food coloring) in disposable piping bags, sprinkles, and mini-M&Ms.  I put all the toppings in these snack cups without the lids.  I had other, nicer bowls, but with tile floors I didn’t want anything breakable, and the handles made it much easier for the little kids.  Also, I had some extra batter, so I made a couple pans of mini-cupcakes, which turned out to be a good idea because some kids wanted to decorate over and over again, and the bite-sized cupcakes were better than multiple regular cupcakes!

For party decor, I recycled the banner and pom I made for Mabel’s first birthday again this year, and got napkins, plates, and a disposable tablecloth at Walmart.

For (very functional) party favors, I ordered these aprons and these disposable and adjustable chef’s hats from Amazon.  Mabel was the only kid that refused to wear a hat, but otherwise the hats and aprons were a hit and kept everyone clean.  The disposable tablecloth made cleaning up really easy- just cleared the table and gathered up all the mess in the tablecloth and put it in the trash.  I was actually really surprised how little mess was made.

This was so easy, and the kids had so much fun doing it, that I’m wondering if I can just do this every year.


Filed under Mabel, Mother

Crowd-sourcing signs for science.

I Tweeted about this the other day, but it was awesome enough it deserved a post!

A new spin on crowd-sourcing science:  coming up with signs for science terms so the deaf can communicate science!!!

Pushing Science’s Limits in Sign Language Lexicon appeared in the New York Times last month.  I missed it, but my mom saw it and told me to look for it.  I love it!


Covalent Bond, Mass, and Organism. Science in Sign. Source: NYTimes.

Several groups are turning to crowd-sourcing to come up with signs for science terms- and save those using sign language spelling out all the complicated words that my computer’s Spell Check doesn’t know.

Wanna know the sign for “Chromosome”?  Click here.

Wanna suggest some signs?  Check out the ASL-STEM Forum here!

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Wordless(ish) Wednesday: The Scientist’s Manifesto?

Saw this on I F**cking Love Science and it resonated with me.

I’m not sure I would consider it this scientist’s manifesto, but it does certainly speak to me.


The Scientist’s Manifesto. Source: IFLS

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Filed under Scientist, Wordless Wednesday