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Category Archives: Practical Lists

The ultimate packing list and travel-planning list for the travel nerd

 
Documents and Purse
Travel itineraries, confirmations for flight, hotel, car/transport, tickets/passes, conference info
Travel info: guidebooks, articles, directions/maps, language book
Phone and chargers (incl. car charger)
Laptop and chargers
Camera and chargers (and card reader and mini tripod and underwater cameras and extra battery)
Ipod, chargers, dock
Wallet, license, passport, money/cards
Notebook and pen
Books/magazines
keys
Medications, tissues, toiletry kit, lip gloss, moisturizer, mints/gum
sunglasses
Comfort/travel
Eyemask
Headphones
Neck pillow
Earplugs
Socks
Snacks/tea/water
Foreign travel: money belt, currency, extra meds, adapters, vaccinations, check credit cards, health insurance, passport, etc.
Day bag/backpack; purse
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A history of Food Blogs (and my 2 local favorites)

by Kristy

Great article on Saveur.com about the history of food blogging.  Did you know the term weblog was coined in 1997?  Me neither.

http://www.saveur.com/article/Kitchen/A-Brief-Food-Blog-Timeline

Two of my favorite local (Boston) food bloggers who were missing from the list:

1. Cheap Beets – a mostly vegetarian guide to eating well in the recession

2. The Food Monkey – Eat No Evil!

10 more great foodie sites:

1. Local Dirt

2. One Big Table

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My 3 favorite old fashioned typewriters

by Kristy

There is something about the sleek black metal, the over-sized upright frame, the click of the keys, and ding when you reach the end of a line….old fashioned typewriters may have been functionally superseded by computers, but their ergonomic and aesthetic functions will never be replaced.

My 3 favorite old fashioned typewriters

1. Underwood

upright and fabulous


The Underwood typewriter was first produced in 1895 by John Underwood, who was the son of a typewriter ribbon manufacturer These typewriters, including one my grandmother used to type up news stories for her local newspaper, dominated the market for decades, and are nearly worthless today, even as an antique.  But regardless of value, these typewriters are certainly handsome.

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Things we believe, despite mountains of data disproving them

by Kristy

Birthers believe that Obama wasn’t born in the US, Creationists believe in a divine story of why humans walk the Earth, conspiracy theorists conspire, psuedoscientific claims abound, alien watchers scope the skies, and people spend fortunes on psychic chat lines.  Why do we want to believe so badly, that we ignore the convincing evidence to the contrary?  Sure, this is a controversial topic, and my list could be a top 500 instead of a top 5, but here we go…

Top things we believe, despite mountains of data disproving them:

1. Psychics, Aura readers, Reiki practitioners and the like.  The most troubling aspect of these beliefs is the money they cost.  All these treatments are expensive (as are any “medical” treatments that may accompany them – see #5 below), and despite centuries trying to prove that the supernatural is super natural, there is not an inch of data to support it.  The most outrageous claim?  Psychic water, of course.  One interesting aspect of these examples is the phenomenon where people cling even tighter to beliefs when they are challenged, or when their doubts are raised.

2. Where are we in the solar system?  As the film “A Private Universe” uniquely displays, many intelligent children can’t wrap their minds around the solar system, how seasons occur, and what causes an eclipse. Is it a failure of the educational system?  A short-circuit in our cognition?  Or is it exemplary of our willingness to believe what is comfortable and easy, instead of what is real?

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Latin phrases I use in the lab, but could throw-around more in common conversation to sound like an Ass

by Kristy

Science and medicine are full of Latin phraseology.  Sure, I have to say these words on a day-to-day basis to communicate with my peers.  But to sound like a real Ass, I could also start throwing these around in general conversation:

1. A priori/a Posteriori/ad hoc

You think that shirt will look nice with those pants?  That is a priori knowledge, you better try it on first.

2. bona fide

That taxi driver was a bona fide jerk.

3. ad infinitum

I am going to listen to this album ad infinitum.

(see also: ad nauseum)

4. de facto

It may look like yellow syrup, but it is de facto cheese.


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5 Criteria for Play

by Kristy

All just fun and games.

We’ve all heard about dolphins romping in the wake of a boat, we’ve seen squirrels seem to chase each other in a game of tag – but when is animal play really playing?

Biopsychologist Gordon Burghardt has decided on these 5 criteria:

BURGHARDT’S FIVE CRITERIA FOR PLAY

1- Play is not fully functional in the form or context in which it is expressed.
2- Play is spontaneous, voluntary, and/or pleasurable, and is likely done for its own sake.
3- Play is incomplete, exaggerated, or precocious.
4- Play is repeated but not in exactly the same way every time, as are more serious behaviors.
5- Play is initiated when animals are well fed, healthy, and free from acute or chronic stressors.

 

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Batty about Bats – but even Batman can’t save them from White Nose

By Kristy

A white fungus is currently killing most of the bat population across the Eastern US.  Nobody understands why, or how, and there is uncertainty as to how this will affect our ecosystem.

For five years of my Ph.D., during 7 months out of the year, I would occasionally drive an hour from Boston to capture wild-caught bats at a barn on a rural farm.  A harp trap was set-up at the mouth of the barn, to catch the bats at ‘emergence’, or the time at dawn or dusk when these insectivorous bats arouse in order to feed on bugs.

When autumn approached and the bats were preparing for hibernation, they would migrate to caves in Vermont, and I would also drive there for 2 nights of bat-catching at dark, cold, mountain caves.  This meant carrying the trap up the mountain, along with our supplies and the bat hotel (the small wooden cubbies that house the bats in the close-quarters they prefer).

The flying devil, Myotis lucifugus

These bats are Myotis lucifugus, or little brown bats, named for their Lucifer-style devil ears.  Actually, the bats are quite adorable, quite smart, and are more closely related to humans than most other model research species.  They roost in these barns in maternal colonies, with only very few young males.  In the fall, the bats mate and then store sperm all through the winter, only fertilizing a single egg when spring comes.  This period of hibernation during the winter is extremely energy-intensive, requiring deposition of new fat stores, and making the seasonal hibernating bat a fascinating example of beneficial obesity in the animal kingdom.

Needless to say, I am fascinated by and adore all bats.

Not all people share this feeling.  Sure, Batman is a hero, but usually bats are the scary winged creatures of nightmares and horror movies.  My own husband ran to the car, rolled up the windows, and locked the doors, when I tried to get him to touch one of the bats I was holding at the barn one summer.

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