Tag Archives: #science

Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up!

Happy Day Before Halloween, people!  Don’t forget to stock up on candy for trick or treaters, and oh yeah, please don’t copy any of these horrifying Peanuts Halloween costumes the Today show trotted out to remind us the true meaning of terror!  I mean…

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I seriously have this photo saved as “nightmare fuel” on my desktop.

If you’re some sort of masochist who wants to see ALL of the horrific Peanuts themed costumes, here, you sick bastard.

Need a palate cleanser after that?  Of course you do.  Here, look at this beautiful wolf, checking out a research camera in his habitat.

Also, here’s a fun story about a guy meeting his doppleganger, who was sitting in his seat on a plane.

Getting back on the Halloween related links though, here’s Popular Science nerding out on Halloween candy and what exactly is in it.  (The deconstructed Snickers still looks delicious to me, btw.)

Also, Buzzfeed has an article about what it’s like to be a Halloween costume model.

And finally, here’s the latest from Josh Sundquist, an awesome guy who lost his left leg to cancer as a child and who is now a motivational speaker and basically King of Halloween Costumes.

Happy Halloween weekend, all!  Try not to eat all of your candy before the trick or treaters arrive!  (I am going to buy candy I don’t really like to prevent that from happening to me.  Sorry kids, who will be getting Jolly Ranchers, World’s Worst Candy.)

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up!

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I begin this week’s internet round up with a question – how many tabs is too many tabs to be open on your computer at one time?  I have 16 right now.  Between 7-15 is relatively standard for me.  Is that too many?  Is it… CRAZILY too many?  Am I some sort of tab hoarder who can’t accept the fact that I’m never going to read that article about the guy who survived 8 Nazi death camps?  OR, should I actually read that article right now? And maybe you should too???  It is the weekend, after all, and what better time to get in our long read articles we haven’t found time for throughout the week.

So here, I have a few:

First, since I already mentioned it, the BBC article about a man who survived 8 separate Nazi concentration camps.

Also, from BBC, the story of the world’s youngest cryogenically frozen child.

I actually did get around to reading this one, about why white people won’t choose predominantly black schools, but I would like to read it again and share it with everyone I know because it is really, really good and important to think about.

And in my absolute favorite headline of the week, “Have we discovered megastructures built by aliens around a distant star?”  I don’t know, but that sounds freaking amazing!

But perhaps you’re looking for something a little lighter and more adorable than stories about the Holocaust and aliens who almost certainly could destroy us?  What about some photos of dogs flying through the air and looking hilarious then?

And with that, IT’S THE FREAKIN, WEEKEND, MAN.  (I don’t feel like I entirely pulled off the use of that phrase, but it’s Friday and I no longer care.)  Have a great one!  See you Monday!

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up!

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Oh good lord, guys.  I am embarrassed to admit how tired I have gotten and I’m only just about to start my 24th week of pregnancy.  :/  So um… only about 16 weeks and 1 day left!  S-I-G-H.  In related news, I have a newfound appreciation for the toughness of every woman who has ever been pregnant, especially those who work much more physical and demanding jobs than me!  But enough about my complaints – as for this weekend?  I just want to meld with my couch and relax.  I have been collecting some interesting or fun things I want to read during my couch blobbin’ – perhaps they may appeal to you too!

First, before I forget, an article about how our digital dependency is eroding human memory.  Or something.  I’ll probably have to read this again.

If you like adorable squirrel pics, this is definitely for you.  (If you think they look like rats but with cuter tails, avoid!)

Also, Halloween is practically upon us!  Here are some feminist costume ideas if you’re looking for some last minute options.  (My faves are 17 and 20!)

Oh, and speaking of the source of my complaints at the top of the blog, if you want an educational GIF (yes, that is a thing that exists!) about what happens to your internal organs during pregnancy, check it!  I keep watching this on a loop and crying out, “but no, my poor intestines/bladder/everything!”

And in maybe the most exciting news, flights to Europe for less than $100 are coming soon!  Well, kinda soon!  2017!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  May it be filled with planning cheap trips to Europe and Halloween costume planning!  Or whatever!

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round up!

Hey, all!  Slightly later round up tonight because I had work drinks to attend this evening.  Or, in my case, being pregnant, some very intoxicating club soda with lime.  (PS – I MISS WINE. SIGH.)  Anyway, enough of my sad, alcohol free existence – let’s get to the weekly wrap up!

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One of the biggest stories of the week was the ridiculous, sad and embarrassing arrest of 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed for building a clock.  In order to maintain my going into the weekend optimism, I’m going to focus on the bright side – that Ahmed has received praise and invitations from no less than the White House, Google and Facebook, that this has shone a much needed spotlight on Islamophobia, and that he’s leaving his stupid high school for something (hopefully) better.  Needless to say, #IstandwithAhmed.

Anyway, in non crazy news, it’s going to be fall soon (ALLEGEDLY, anyway), and the onset of fall/winter weather means the possibility of rain!  Which means, you should probably buy this adorable doggie rain jacket like my friend Angie did, if your dog hates the rain as much as our doggies do.

I can’t tell if this is relaxing or anxiety producing, but I found this National Geographic short film on lava flow very mesmerizing.

One very unique way to save $$$ on a wedding photographer.

And in serious world news, the LA Times has an amazing, important article and photo series on the refugee crisis, particularly focused on those fleeing Syria.

(PS – If you’re looking for guidance donation wise, the International Rescue Committee is a very good organization and they were one of Google’s vetted partners during their campaign to match refugee crisis donations.  You can donate at this link.)

And finally, your moment of zen – the most chilled out donkey in the world.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  May you be as relaxed as a donkey in a hammock, and as unarrested as a budding young scientist!

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up

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Well, this weekly wrap up will be slightly more meditative and somber than most, since it’s the 14th anniversary of September 11th, but there’s also some very interesting and exciting science news to report this week, as well as some cute animals (as per usual) so let’s get to it!

(PS – I’m gonna get to the 9/11 related articles first, both out of respect and because I want you guys to start with the sad stuff and work your way up to the bears playing on a hammock.  Whoops, spoiler alert.  Anyway, here we go!)

First, with an article that made me blubber like an overgrown baby, we have the last known living 9/11 rescue dog celebrating her 16th birthday with a dream day in New York City.  (This is the adorable dog in the lead photo, btw.)

And with a major new addition to 9/11 memorials, there’s a brand new memorial to Flight 93 which just opened this week in Shanksville, PA, the crash site where all of those on board lost their lives.

Also, NYC was treated to a beautiful rainbow on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary.

Leaving the memorials behind, lets venture into straight up exciting news –  a brand new human species, homo naledi, was discovered in South Africa in the largest collection of fossils ever found in one place in Africa.

I would have loved to have been a fly shaped surveillance robot on the wall at this mysterious and cool DARPA conference called, Wait, What?

And though I love Elon Musk and look forward to everything he does in the future… I think he is way too close to becoming a super villain for us to give him nukes, even if he does want to use them to terraform Mars.  ALLEGEDLY.

Speaking of allegedly, I have this supposedly optimistic and cheerful article about the progress we’re making on climate change bookmarked to read this weekend.  (Color me skeptical, since literally every other article on climate change I’ve ever read shares the thesis of “Sorry, we’re all fucked and there’s nothing we can do about it now!”)  But here’s hoping!

Finally, here are some bears doing a very bad job of lounging in a hammock.

Oh, and in news no one but me cares about, A TOMATO IN MY BALCONY GARDEN IS TURNING RED!!!  SLOWLY!  IT’S KIND OF A YELLOWISH RED, BUT ANYWAY, THIS MEANS I CAN GARDEN, KIND OF, I THINK!

Ahem.  Sorry for the all caps news about my balcony garden, but hopefully the other links were more informative or enjoyable.  😉  Have a wonderful weekend, all!

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Cute of the Week – SUPERSIZED edition

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Today, you guys.  Today was a rough, exhausting day, full of working late, acid reflux and fatigue.  But instead of talking any more about that, I want some cute and I’m going to need a lot of it.  So, in UNPRECEDENTED, EARTH SHATTERING NEWS – today is a supersized cute of the week with as much adorable as I can find.

FEAST YOUR EYES:

First, thanks to scientists around the world, we know now about new cute animals we may have overlooked thus far, thanks to a Cute Off that went viral.  (My fave may be the super weird tardigrades, which look like some sort of Star Wars alien.)

If you haven’t seen this little wiener dog have a mad cap taste of freedom in a baseball stadium, you owe it to yourself to watch this.

This is the best cute kid video I’ve ever seen, and it’s so perfectly short.  It is the length that all you tube videos should be!

And in a similar manner to how I vainly fought against the tide of a trying day, this little ADORABLE AS HELL beagle tries his best to keep an automatic window from going up.  (Spoiler alert – he does not win.)

Finally, this is the top image when I google searched “this cute animal will cheer you up.”  It did work, though now I want two baby kittens more than anything in the world, so I think I’ll call it a draw.

Anyway, we did it.  Hump day is over.  I hope yours was better than mine, but regardless we move forward, toward Thursday, Friday, and to the sweet, sweet weekend beyond!

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Mean Maureen’s Online Book Club – the Martian

Hi, all, happy Sunday!  Sorry I’m posting this so late, but my husband and I spent the entire day at Ikea, then desperately trying to leave Ikea, then cursing loudly while putting together furniture from Ikea!  (SIDE NOTE – HOW ARE WE NOT DONE MOVING YET???  It’s been approximately 27 years, I think, that this process has been going on.)  But anyway, the end is finally in sight (I PRAY) and my husband and I spent a whole day in the bowels of Ikea and are not yet divorced, so I’m going to call it a good day.

Enough preamble though – speaking of someone who did NOT have a good day, and in fact, probably the worst day of his entire life, meet Mark Watney:

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Mark is the protagonist of the Martian, a guy with a lot of intelligence, wit, and maybe the worst luck in the known universe.  In this excellent novel by Andy Weir, Mark is an astronaut on the third manned mission to Mars (Ares 3), and as he and the rest of his team are evacuating to abort the mission due to an extremely powerful dust storm, he gets speared with an antenna, blown out of sight and left for dead, despite his team’s best efforts to save him.  The only thing is, he ISN’T dead (otherwise this would be a very short novel) but he doesn’t regain consciousness until after his team has left the planet, and the communications system is broken, so he can’t exactly have them turn around and get him.

So, Mark finds himself utterly alone on Mars, with about a year’s worth of rations, about FOUR years from when the next team is planning to come back to the planet.  The rest of the book has to do with him fighting to survive in one of the most hostile environments imaginable, against incredible odds.

I’m going to stop right here, now that the basic set up is out of the way, and strongly recommend that if you haven’t read this book and are planning to see the movie,  you stop reading right now.  This is a very entertaining book, and unless they screw it up royally, it’s going to be a wonderful movie.  I mean, it’s just dying to be a movie.  All of the stakes and various points of extreme jeopardy that Mark runs into are great and they’ll be even better on the big screen as surprises.  So seriously, heed my warning, you’ll have an awesome time in the theater!

But for those of us who have already read the book, let’s plow ahead.  Okay, I obviously enjoyed this book.  As someone with an interest in science, but no formal background in it, it was super fun to watch a protagonist repeatedly save his own life thanks to nothing but science and math.  (Okay, and a helluva lot more optimism than I would have been capable of mustering up in such a dire situation.)

In fact, I’d say this book (and movie) should be the ad campaign for science and math in general.  (Do they have ad campaigns for school subjects?  Seems like they probably do these days.)  Anyway, I’m going to give this book to all of my future children, with the grim warning – hey Junior, if you don’t know your math and your science YOU WILL TOTALLY DIE ON MARS, OKAY???  (Something I won’t tell future children – I would have died at literally every perilous juncture in this story.)

Anyway, enough about my poor chances of survival on Mars – onto other stuff I liked about the book!   It was super interesting to read a behind the scenes NASA type story that seemed very convincing as a layperson.  (I’d have to verify with someone who actually has an aeronautics background, but it seemed legit to me!)  Though it did spark me to research some of NASA’s real fatal disasters and man do I not recommend that!  (Especially Apollo 1, which Mark’s character references in the book.  So, so horrible.)  But honestly – it was just great fun to read a gripping, well paced story populated by so many incredibly smart people in an interesting universe.  I mean, that ticks a lot of What Do You Want in a Book? boxes, for me.

Stylistically, I also enjoyed the diary format for Mark’s part of the story.  Diaries in books can be gimmicky, but I thought it really worked with the plot and also made all the science and math much more easily digested than if it had been written differently.  Toward the end, every time it left Matt’s diary and went into the omniscient narrator explaining what was happening to him, I was afraid he was going to die.

Side note – I would have been so pissed if he died.  I mean, even if that was probably the most statistically likely outcome at, well, every point in the story, if he had just, like, driven into the dust storm and slowly starved to death as his potatoes and solar cells dwindled, I would have showed up at Andy Weir’s house with protest signs.  I mean AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH???  But luckily, that didn’t happen.  However unlikely, Mark survived in an explosive (literally) and triumphant ending that was tension filled with right until the very end, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The only criticism I have of the book is that I feel like, for a story set with one guy alone for much of the book, we baaaaaarely scratch the surface of his thoughts, other than him working out his immediate survival.  And I mean, him working out his survival such a crazy situation is plenty entertaining, especially coupled with some of the smartest minds on Earth trying to bring him home at the same time.  But when I say we barely scratch the surface of his thoughts I mean that for a man, presumably in his 30’s at least, with some life experience behind him, he never turns his thoughts to former loves or close friends, outside of the flight crew he was with and some incredibly generic and very fleeting thoughts of his parents.  You would imagine a guy with literally nothing to do but think for well over a year, would have… well, a more developed inner universe, especially since this diary might well be the only thing of him that survives.

I feel like with a touch more inclusion of Mark’s thoughts this could have been elevated from Incredibly Entertaining Book to Incredible Piece of Literature.  Not to be all highfalutin, mentioning the difference between art and entertainment here, but I think if it came down to it, I would classify this as very high quality entertainment, but not quite literature.  I mean, I will definitely read whatever Andy Weir has coming out next, but I think he’s more of a spinner of yarns rather than a writer with big ideas and deep insight into the human condition.  Because if he’d had ’em, we probably would have heard at least some of them with a man stranded with only his thoughts for a year and a half on Mars, alone.

That said, a.) I could be wrong and am eager to read more of his work and b.) he tells a REALLY entertaining tale.  And again, the Martian was just made to be a movie.  A thrilling movie!  It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I thought wow, this could be a movie as is.  Don’t change anything, just have someone write it down in script format and there you go!  (Also, funnily enough, while reading, I found myself hearing Mark Watney’s diary in Matt Damon’s voice, and it really worked, so I think they did a great job with casting.)

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, those of you who have read the Martian!  Did you love it as well?  Do you think the movie will be any good?  Are you excited to see it, even though you know everything that happens?  (I seriously think going into it without knowing anything would be so awesome and I’m kind of jealous of people in that situation.)  Do you think my thought on this book being really high quality entertainment instead of art holds water or am I the wrongest wrong that ever wronged?  Let me know!  And let me know if you have any suggestions for the next Mean Maureen’s Online Book Club, to be reviewed/discussed October 1st!

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