Monthly Archives: July 2013


Caffeine has been my friend of late (see below).  I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since I posted here.  We had a week with Mac working an on-site freelance job and my mom minding the kids (seriously households with two working parents, how the hell do you do it?).  We had weekends away to visit family.  Lots of stuff going on, but it’s mainly the science’s fault.

I’ve been swamped at work- not only with my actual research, mentoring a summer intern, helping a new post-doc get settled, but with a bunch of outreach activities.  The company has a summer volunteer initiative to promote STEM education, and I was tapped to be the ‘lead volunteer’- which means I have to do it all with only the help of a ‘communications’ intern.  We had off-site events, on-site events, exhausting events, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, I’m tired just thinking about it.

Thankfully, the last event was yesterday, a STEM camp with 140 kids grades 1 to 5.  I enjoy doing the outreach, but the prep and the execution of these events has left me soooo burned out and tired. My intern presents at lab meeting tomorrow and a company-wide meeting (of which he was chosen as just 5 out of 80) on Friday and then he’s finished for the summer. My Research Associate gets married on Saturday and jets off on her honeymoon for a few weeks.  I’m hoping a week in Maine will bring me back to my normal (exhausted, but not burned out) and I will return to work with no RA, no intern, no STEM outreach- at least for a few weeks.  Sounds relaxing.

In the meantime, here’s a really beautiful pseudocolored image of caffeine, my friend and constant companion.

Source, Wellcome Trust via IFLS

Source, Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy at Wellcome Collection via IFLS


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Wordless Wednesday: Swamped

Apologies for the radio silence.  I’ve been swamped.  Mac is free-lancing this week, on-site in NJ, my mom is watching the kids, and I’ve been planning a slew of STEM outreach events through work- several of which are this week.  It leaves little time for anything else.

Thus, here’s a picture of what I spent yesterday doing- looking at all kind of stuff under the microscope at the local Boys & Girls Club.


As you can see, I brought stuff like hydrangeas, carrots, tomatoes, spinach leaves, sand, sugar, tea, coffee, and even a few slides with sections of mouse colon. However, the favorites were- ear wax, cheek swabs, hairs, saliva, greasy fingerprints- middle school kids are gross!

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More coffee and the Brain

Saw this today on IFLS and thought I’d share.

Source:  PhD Comics

Source: PhD Comics

I love coffee.  I seem to post about it a lot.

And so you don’t have to clicky, click in case your clicking finger is jittery from too much coffee, here’s the video…

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Caramel Pretzel Blondies

If you’re looking for a dessert to bring to a 4th of July picnic this weekend, might I suggest these Caramel Pretzel Blondies?

Yum.  That's a layer of caramel in there!

Yum. That’s a layer of caramel in there!

Sweet and salty, chewy with a pretzel crunch, these things are AWESOME!

It’s not my recipe and I didn’t make any changes to it, so I don’t want to reproduce it.  You can find the recipe here.

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Happy 4th of July!

May we all remember the ideals on which our nation was founded and strive to make them a reality.

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Wordless Wednesday: Phases of the (Oreo Cookie) Moon

Again, like with plate tectonics, I wish we had learned about the phases of the moon this way in science class!

Credit:  Science Bob (Source)

Credit: Science Bob (Source)

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How fireworks work

On Friday we went to see some fireworks.  It was not fun.

The location was in a valley, meaning we were trapped with very loud booms (and echoes).  We were also, unknowingly, right under them.  So, ash was raining down and a big hunk of charred firework paper wrapping landed right on Mabel’s head.

From the time of the first test to the grand finally, Mabel had her ears covered and head tucked down, cowering on Mac’s lap asking when it would be over.  Nemo clung to me with my shirt balled up in his fists, eyes shut tight, tensing every time I moved.

So, they didn’t really enjoy it.

First Fireworks!

Mabel at her First Fireworks! (over the Hudson, set off miles from our vantage point, and hence not very loud).

On the ride home, Mabel kept asking why they were so loud and I tried explaining they were an explosion and being so near to them made it really loud.  We suggested ear muffs, but she refused saying, “I don’t like to feel it in my heart.”  Which I take to mean the concussion of the explosion also bothers her.

She has since asked us repeatedly to take her to ‘quiet fireworks.’  Unfortunately, this year, we won’t be home for the actual 4th and won’t be able to watch from the vantage point we did the last 2 years- where we were miles away from where the fireworks were set off.  Our only other chance to see any fireworks will be in the Catskills, where we’re in an even smaller valley and the fireworks are just as loud and just as close.

If only she were old enough to read this article- Science of Summer:  How Do Fireworks Work?

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Your brain on coffee

The other day my IRL friend Christi (who also happens to have a blog at Three Mugs To The Wind) posted a link to this piece in from the New York Times Well Blog:  This Is Your Brain on Coffee.

Grab a cup of java and check it out for a short read on all the wonderful things coffee does for your brain.

It reminded me of this infographic which I’ve shared before, here.

I have documented my coffee habit, scientifically proven to be common among scientists, add in parenting two small humans, and I am reliant.

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