Monday, November 07, 2005

Welcome Back, Guthrie

Welcome back to the States, Guthrie! Rest up, and we'll be ready to hear stories you have to share with us about your adventures, reflections and more from your Trek Asia trip to Vietnam.

For more information about Guthrie's trip, go to his online TrekAsia journal at:

Again, welcome back! Hugs!

Friday, November 04, 2005

An Educational Sick Day

What an educational sick day so far. I've been watching the National Geographical Channel for few hours while resting on the couch. Each hour was devoted to a specific species or region.

I learned some new things about zebras and observed lions' interesting bite positions while attacking a zebra. It seems that when a pride takes down a zebra, there are always 2 lions head-by-head guaranteed at the zebra's butt, biting and... *ahem* *shuddering* I hypothesize that it is due to the massive buttock muscles which, when taken down, helps weaken the rear legs, forcing the zebra to succumb to the ground. Sad. Did you also know that zebras don't walk in circle-like groups while travelling? They line up like schoolchildren and are arranged according to hierarchy, led by the dominant male. It was touching to learn that the dominant male maintains close affectionate relationships with all its sons. The sons can leave or stay with the group as long as they want to. If not the leader's son, the male zebra would otherwise be forced to leave and join another group. Different groups do respect each other. When groups meet, the leaders meet and nuzzle affectionately and playfully. Aww!

During another hour, I learned that when a baby elephant dies, the entire group, especially the mother, actually cries - not from their eyes but from something between the eyes and ears, creating wet trails down the sides of their heads. This is brought on by stress and emotions. Elephants cry!!!

Ok, end of my excited nerd ramblings. I'm off to either take a nap or watch one of my roommates' netflix rentals - either Bride & Prejudice or Best in Show.

Yuckity Yuck!




That's how my day started. Make that early morning hours. Nauseous. Vomiting. Spikey fever. Stomach aches. Bleh.


Going back to bed soon. My cat seemed to know last night and curled up right next to my head all night. (I know that animals tend to know or sense things before they happen or are about to happen. Did she know last night?) This morning, she stayed with me in bed and was a little clingy which she does when I'm sick. Sweet cat. Now, she's all curled up on the couch sleeping soundly. I know that she'll follow me to bed when I get up from the computer to go to bed.

Got a mini-course at school tonight. I hope I feel well enough to go later tonight. It's tonight and all day tomorrow. I do not want to lose money after I already paid for the mini-course. Have champ interpreters for the course. I should go back to bed soon and keep on resting and hopefully feel better as the day goes on.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ready to Be 30?

Ready to be 30 years old? I sure am. This is from an article posted somewhere on Netscape. Have fun learning about yourselves.


You Won't Believe What Happens at Age 30

The new age of adulthood: 30. Our extended adolescence has really, well, extended. But according to Josh Albertson, Lockhart Steele, and Jonathan Van Gieson, authors of the new "Book of Ages 30," life begins at 30. Thirty is cool. Party on, dude!

That should be good news to the 3,789,800 Americans who will turn 30 this year. Unlike their parents, today's thirtysomethings think of this milestone as a new beginning and not an end. Priorities shift. New things become important. Uh oh. You're adulthood is showing.

"When we started writing this book, I really didn't feel like there was a whole lot of buzz about being 30," Albertson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Now there is a lot of talk of 30 being the new 21. People are looking at it as the beginning of adulthood. I think people put off growing up for longer. Sometimes people look up when they're 30 and sort of wonder where they are and what they've done."

So who are America's thirtysomethings and what do they have to look forward to? "Book of Ages 30" has an interesting take on it:

How Old IS 30?
If you're 30, you're old--specifically, you're older than 42 percent of all Americans. But you're not alone. Fifteen percent of Americans are also in their 30s.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Being 30
If you're 30, you've already lost 10 percent of your muscle mass. You're likely to be in debt to the tune of $20,000. But the good news is that you're also likely to be having sex 2.24 times a week.

While 81 percent of women and 71 percent of men have been married by their early 30s, there are plenty who are still virgins after their 30th birthday: 1 in 33 men and 1 in 25 women.

Your Good Looks
Men at 30 are on average 5' 10.2" tall and weigh 174 pounds, while 30-year-old women are 5' 4.6" tall and weigh 130 pounds.

Let's Talk Money
The median income for 30-year-old men is $30,510, while the median income for 30-year-old women is $21,473. On average, 30 year olds have held 7.5 jobs. They have a 24 percent chance of being promoted in the next year.

Career Peaks and Valleys
J.K. Rowling published the first volume in the "Harry Potter" series just before she turned 32. By 30, Harrison Ford went from being a carpenter to an actor in "American Graffiti," and back to being a carpenter. Remember Mr. T? At age 30, in case you wondered, he was about to play the villain in "Rocky III." When they were 30, no one other than their family and friends knew who Oprah Winfrey or Jane Austen were.

No More Naps
You're less likely to fall asleep at your desk than those young twentysomething whippersnappers down the hallway. Just over half of 18- to 29-year-olds report substantial daytime sleepiness, compared with 33 percent of the over-30 crowd.

Don't Shoot!
Nearly half, 45 percent, of all thirtysomethings own a firearm. In fact, more people in their 30s own firearms than do people in any other decade of their lives.

Lesbian Version: Mathematics & Arithmetic

Got this from a friend. Some might find this amusing while others find this offensive or stereotypical. While reading this, I was wondering, "What would a lesbian version of this look like?" Interesting what roles gender plays in this. Suggestions, anyone?

Mathematics & Arithmetic

Romance Mathematics

Smart man + smart woman = romance

Smart man + dumb woman = affair

Dumb man + smart woman = marriage

Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy


Smart boss + smart employee = profit

Smart boss + dumb employee = production

Dumb boss + smart employee = promotion

Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime


A man will pay $20 for a $10 item he needs.

A woman will pay $10 for a $20 item that she doesn't need.


A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.

To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.


Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.


A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.


A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next." They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

News Flash???

Why do they need to write up an article about something we might as well have already known all along since precivilization times.... that honesty and ethics are not politicians' strengths or part of their dictionary.

Congress Gets Poor Marks on Honesty, Ethics

WASHINGTON (Oct. 29) - Only one-third of Americans give Congress good ratings for its ethics and honesty, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that found more evidence of the public's longstanding disdain for the legislative branch of government.

Investigations of two top congressional leaders have drawn more attention to Congress' low standings, though analysts say other factors such as the Iraq war and gas prices are likely contributors to the dip this year in Congress' ratings.

Almost half in the poll, 45 percent, give Congress poor marks for its honesty and ethics, and 21 percent said congressional ethics were neither good nor poor.

Congressional ethics have been in the spotlight recently with the probe of stock sales by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the indictment of Texas Rep. Tom DeLay, former House majority leader, on charges of violating campaign finance laws. DeLay recently notified House officials that he has failed to disclose all contributions to his legal defense fund.

"Public opinion about Congress is at low ebb," said John Hibbing, a University of Nebraska professor and a co-author of "Congress as Public Enemy." But Hibbing said he doubts that recent news about Frist and DeLay are big factors.

"Congress always lags behind the other two institutions of government and most other institutions," he said. "People don't really like to hear about conflict about important decisions."

Just over a third in the poll, 35 percent, approve of the way Congress is handling its job - down from 44 percent in February, according to the poll of 1,000 adults taken Oct. 3-5. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Recent polling has shown public regard for Republican leaders in Congress has dipped during the past year, but Democrats are down as well.

"We have the best Congress money can buy," said Greg Goldstein, a salesman from New York City who is a political independent. "The entire political-economic system is very money-driven."

Republican pollster Ed Goeas said recently that it's lucky for the GOP that voters won't be focused on elections for another 10 months. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to take a positive view of the honesty and ethics of Congress.

"I hear so many people talking about how dishonest they are, but I have a hard time believing they're as bad as people say," said Krista Gneiting, a Republican from Caldwell, Idaho. "I have not heard much specifically about Bill Frist and Tom DeLay."

10/29/05 04:26 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

For the Nerds in Us...

For the nerds in us who enjoy articles like these... there is so much we do not know and also assume about other living creatures on earth. Just because we do not see, hear, taste, smell or feel something while observing, interacting or reading about such creatures does not mean these do not exist in their worlds. We merely do not know because... as in this article... they might communicate and hear on levels that we simply cannot hear/speak.


Mice Take a Page From Birds' Songbook
Study Suggests Males Sing During Courtship

APResearchers were surprised to find patterns in the twitterings of mice.

They Sing -- but Who Listens?

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 1) - Songbirds may be the Sinatras of the animal world, but male mice can carry a tune too, say Washington University researchers who were surprised by what they heard.

Scientists have known for decades that male lab mice produce high-frequency sounds - undetectable by human ears - when they pick up the scent of a female mouse. This high-pitched babble is presumably for courtship, although scientists are not certain.

But it turns out those sounds are more complex and interesting than previously thought.

"It soon became ... apparent that these vocalizations were not random twitterings but songs," said researcher Timothy Holy. "There was a pattern to them. They sounded a lot like bird songs."

To make their point, the researchers provided audio recordings of the sounds, which have been modified for human ears. The recordings do indeed sound birdlike.

The findings by the researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are published online Tuesday in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.

If the analysis by the researchers is confirmed, mice can be added to the short list of creatures that sing in the presence of the opposite sex, including songbirds, humpback whales, porpoises, insects and, possibly, bats.

"There was joy in this discovery," Holy said. "We didn't expect it."

The finding opens the possibility of using mice to study and develop treatments for autism and other communication disorders, said Holy, the lead author and assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the university's medical school.

Bird song, how it is perceived and learned, is used to understand how the human brain works. But some questions might be posed better with mice, for experimental convenience, he said.

If it is true that the male mice are producing songs, it raises questions about how their sounds develop and whether mice - like birds - are able to learn new sounds, said animal communication expert Peter Marler, a behavioral neurobiologist at University of California, Davis.

He said "extraordinarily little" is known about how the human brain helps people learn to speak.

"We don't know even where to look in the (human) brain," he said. "If it were to turn out that (mice) songs are learned, and that parts of the brain are involved in learning, that might open a new area of investigation."

Marler said the only mammals known to learn new sounds are whales and porpoises, and "they're not exactly ideal for study."

Holy and co-author Zhongsheng Guo were studying the brain response in male mice to chemical signals emitted by female mice. The mice sounds were not audible to humans without technical amplification. Initially, researchers recorded the sounds with a microphone, stored them in a computer and converted them to an image.

Later, they developed a way to hear the sounds by recording them on tape and reconstructing them four octaves lower. Holy said the mice sounds met two key criteria for song - distinct syllables and recurring themes, "like the melodic hook in a catchy tune."

He said their finding is not just perception, but a "very careful quantitative analysis of sounds."

Holy said adult bird songs are much more practiced, predictable and refined than those of mice, but even birds don't start out as great singers. They learn.

11/01/05 14:17 EST

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.


Interesting... I think I'm starting to get bored with

You Are 31 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sabine!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you, Dearest Sabine Hava!

Happy Birthday to you!

Awww, have a wonderful 7 month-old birthday! :)

Auntie Sarah