Nature’s Fastest Marathon Runner

Some animals are good at running, us humans being one of them. But most animals while they can run fast they often don’t run far. Or if they run far, they don’t run fast. One exception outside of humans is the ostrich. The ostrich can run up to 43 mph at their fastest. When they run further than 20 miles, their average speed drops to 30 mph. The average stride of an ostrich is 10 to 16 feet, one of the longest of any bird not to mention animal.

The African ostrich is the fastest, clocking speeds between 60 to 70 km per hour which allows this species to finish a full marathon in about 40 minutes rather than the two plus hours needed by a human. So how do ostriches compare to humans?

http://www.scienceinschool.org/2011/issue21/ostrich

When compared to humans, ostriches have the majority of their musculature located very high on the thigh bone and hip, whereas the lower swinging elements of their legs are moved by long, mass-reducing tendons. Tendons are very light and aid in long steps along with increased step frequency. Just don’t think that tendons make these birds tender. They tend to run when they feel threatened, but are known to attack when needed especially when there’s an egg involved. (largest egg = tastiest egg)

Random Jen fact: I did an entire school project on ostriches in 3rd grade and absolutely loved it. What’s your favorite animal? What’s your favorite running animal? Did you even consider the ostrich a runner before this post?

Wonder Woman

I saw Wonder Woman last night and it was amazing. It went beyond my expectations and I can now finally say there is a good female superhero movie in the comic-book movie world. While her costume may have become more brassy, her character stayed on cue with maybe a little more feminine power and strength added.

Gal Gadot did a wonderful job portraying Wonder Woman. She was more than just a sexy woman in a skimpy outfit. I liked how she wasn’t fully aware of her gender and therefore didn’t let it hold her back. She was stubborn in what she wanted to accomplish and never gave up on her dreams and desires no matter how bleak the outlook was. The movie had funny moments and slow moments, but overall was well directed by Patty Jenkins. I’m hoping the DC and Marvel Universes take note that a woman directed the first good female superhero movie.

Have you seen Wonder Woman yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It is a great movie, especially for the younger female audience. It is rated PG-13, so the entire family can see it! Well, teenagers and older I suppose. Who’s your favorite superhero? What’s your favorite superhero movie? Let me know what you thought of the movie in the comments!

Panda Planner

It’s been just about a month since I bought and started using my Panda Planner and I have noticed quite a few differences in my life. When I chose to order the planner, I was feeling a little stuck in life. Also, I noticed that while I was getting a lot done, I was forgetting little things on my to-do list, like call the power company before they turn the power off on me. Details..

While having a to-do list that isn’t just in my head likely would have helped, I chose to take a giant leap and purchase a life planner not only for my to-do list but also to keep track of my projects and life goals. After much review and a few suggestions, I settled on the Panda planner and went with the standard version to give it a try. At first I wasn’t even sure what to write in this thing, but after watching the Youtube videos and messing around a bit, I found the planner to be very helpful to my life.

The planner is broken down into three sections: Monthly, Weekly, and Daily sections. The monthly section is more of an overall month by month planner, nice to put in big events or other things you need to note.

The weekly section helps you summarize the previous week and plan for the upcoming week. I try to do this every Sunday, but sometimes don’t get to it until Monday since my weekends tend to get busy. Even so, it helps give me perspective on how much I’m doing and how I can improve. I like reflecting and seeing the progress I’m making in multiple areas of my life. Sometimes the progress is slow-moving but that only helps fuel me to work harder and focus more on those areas.

Then my favorite section is the daily section since that is where I get to write the most. I only fill these out on weekdays, so Mondays through Fridays. Weekends I tend to split my time between work and fun (plus exercise of course) so I don’t really write my daily plan for Saturdays and Sundays. This way I don’t get overwhelmed with my to-do list and goals. I think it’s healthy to have goals, but sometimes I can go overboard with the goals and start ignoring the less serious side of life. While I enjoy adulting, I also enjoy acting like a kid from time to time. And once in awhile, I do actually relax.

This planner has helped catapult me into my life and propel me forward with my goals. While I’m still working on making progress in many areas of my life, I feel much more organized and successful with the planner and the ability to write and keep track of all my ideas and action items.

What do you do to stay organized? What are your goals in life and are you working towards them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy

I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy on the Disney channel. It was a combination of this show, my middle school science teacher (Ms. Jen Baum), and my first pets (hamster & dog) that contributed to my passion for science and animals. I have fond memories of Bill Nye and his quirky ways of explaining different topics of science. Each episode added to my knowledge base. As I grew, so did my interest and intrigue in science and the way the world worked. The most interesting topics to me centralized around biology and animal science, which led me down the path to obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a Chemistry minor. And eventually a Master’s degree in Biology.

And now, somehow Bill Nye has gotten even better with age. (also he looks nearly the same to me: does this guy age?) Watching and listening to him and Bernie Sanders brings hope to my heart. Hope for our future and our planet that I’ve developed a deep love for. I love listening to Bill Nye and his viewpoints since they are still just as relevant, if not more so now than they were back in the 90’s when I watched him on Disney. Another nice thing is that now he’s free to say what he really thinks, and doesn’t have to hold anything back due to his audience being children. Also, I’m older and can understand more in regards to what he’s saying.

He has a new show Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix that I recently started watching. While I don’t know what the show will bring to me, I look forward to learning more about science, our world, and beyond. And I hope that in addition to learning, that it brings back happy memories from my childhood growing up with Bill Nye the Science Guy.

What are your thoughts on Bill Nye? Did you watch his show in the 90s? Have you seen his new show? Do you have any qualms about Bill and his opinions? Do you even science, bro?

AP Biology Exam buzz

The AP Biology Exam was given yesterday and there was a buzz about a portion of the exam that was about bees and caffeine. Students were told to study the typical biology topics: cells, DNA, natural selection, etc. They weren’t expecting a section about bees and caffeine. This of course peaked my interest, so I decided to look up information about bees and coffee.

Did you know caffeine in nectar is a common thing? Up to 55 percent of flowering plants are estimated to have caffeinated nectar. With this knowledge, there have been studies done on the effects of caffeine on bees. Bees are like people, they love caffeine and will seek it out. They dance up a storm, which they do when they find high quality nectar. But the caffeinated nectar isn’t nutritionally better than the plain nectar. According to Dr. Margaret Couvillon, caffeine causes the bee to overestimate the quality of the nectar. For the plants, the caffeine helps since more bee visits means more pollen carried around and better chances of reproduction. But caffeine doesn’t seem to offer much to the bees other than a nice buzz.

Bees may actually miss out on other sources that are as good or better because of the caffeine-laced nectar being available. Bees and flowers have a very long-standing, ancient relationship. But, as with many partnerships, the interests don’t always align. Some bees chew at the base of a flower to get nectar without having to load themselves up with pollen that they have to carry around as they fly. “There’s always a little arms race going on.” And in the grand scheme of things, this race may be a temporary one.

Source: New York Times, Twitter (links above).

Stepping out of your world

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Disney songs and they’ve gotten me thinking about stepping out of the only world you know. The one you grow up in. Like Ariel in the sea, or Moana on an island.

 

Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Bright young women sick of swimming
Ready to stand

Image result for moana how far i'll go

I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try
Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I can not go, where I long to be

A theme I’ve noticed with these Disney stories is the idea of trying to honor your family, traditions, and everything else despite your heart telling you there’s more to life than what’s around you. This is a very common theme throughout many Disney stories (Mulan, Pocahontas, Aladdin, Tangled, etc). I think it’s a great message, to follow your heart. But our roots will always be where we find our support from. It’s hard to go out there by yourself without your family there to support you. People do it all the time, but it isn’t easy. I’ve been blessed to have a supportive family, no matter the choices I’ve made in life. Now that I’m older, I find myself on my own for the most part.

While this is freeing, it is also a little scary to be on my own. Sometimes I wish my dad would call me up and check in on me, make sure I’m okay. But I know that I am okay, and my dad is okay too. And because of his awesomeness, I’ve turned into the person I am today.

Take a moment and step out of your comfort zone. Reach for the stars. The sky’s the limit. Follow your heart.

You never know which way the river will bend.

Recentering your focus

Yesterday I met with a new student who wants to improve his ACT score in order to hopefully get a scholarship for college. While we discussed ACT strategy and how to improve his score, we also discussed his goals in regards to college, studying, career and beyond. While the ACT score is important to a certain point, I greatly enjoy helping my students think about the future and broaden their ideas to incorporate more than just what school they want to go to or what major they want to study. While these things are important, it’s good to focus on the overall picture of their future. Where do they see themselves after college? What are they passionate about? In my opinion, at the end of the day, life and career are about passion. I greatly enjoy tutoring and helping others. I find joy in my everyday. I hope to help my students find that same joy in pursuing their passions.

I hope to help my students center their focus on what drives them to be the best they can be.