Looked Over


Hair
November 18, 2010, 11:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ya know, for a species that is mostly naked, we sure do spend a lot of time obsessing over the small amount of hair that we do have. I wonder how many thousands of dollars the average person spends in their lifetime on hair-care products and salon visits. Evolutionary biologists think that the reason why we have so little hair is because we as a species evolved in Africa where it was very hot and it was advantageous to go the naked way of the elephant and the rhino. We also have sweat glands covering our entire body where most animals can only sweat in one or two places. That’s useful! Anyway, back to hair. Those little guys are pretty intense. In the “bulb” of your hair is a whole bunch of stem cells that is always trying to make more hair and heal your wounds. They make the hair out of keratin which is the same stuff that is in horns, nails, claws, beaks, turtle shells, feathers and hoofs. That’s pretty versatile stuff! Basically, sheep’s wool is made of the same basic stuff as Rhinoceros horns. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that hair is all kinds of cool. With that being said, I’m going to go shave most of mine off because I look like a caveman muppet and I have to look presentable for Thanksgiving. Oh social norms. Once again, you are getting in the way of my keratin growth!

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The 6300 Block of Lancaster Ave
November 17, 2010, 10:04 am
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For about 2 weeks out of the year, the 6300 block of Lancaster Ave. is the most amazing stretch of road in Philly. I have no idea what kind of trees are planted here, but they all turn this mesmerizing shade of bright yellow. I tried to take a picture of it with my cell phone, but it doesn’t capture a tenth of the beauty that is there. I bike through this part just as I’m leaving the city and arriving at seminary, and it always feels like I’m going through some kind of magical portal to another world. That other world is really just Wynnewood and it’s not very magical at all, but that’s just how it seeeeeeeeems. There’s an episode of Man vs. Wild where Bear Grylls comes across this beautiful flower in the middle of the jungle and says something to the effect of, “This flower is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. There are no people out here for miles and miles. This flower isn’t beautiful so that people can appreciate it. It can’t help but be beautiful. It’s beautiful just for the sake of its creator”. That’s kind of how I feel about this block. The trees don’t care that I’m there. They aren’t putting on a show or anything. They are just beautiful because that’s exactly how they were created. So if you have a spare moment in the next week, go take a drive up Lancaster Ave. and check out the magic that I’m talking about.



Carbon
November 16, 2010, 12:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I say the word “carbon”, what do you think of first?  Carbon paper? Your super-light fixed gear hipster bike? Burnt toast? Han Solo being frozen in Carbonite? If you guessed any of these things, you are right! All of these things have carbon in them. In fact, your entire body is made of chains of carbon. Not only that, but every living thing that you see if made of carbon. This stuff is awesome. It makes these super-strong, stable chemical bonds that allow for mind-bogglingly (is that even a word?) complex organisms. If it weren’t for carbon and its gluey self, then life as we know it would not be possible. That’s not even the most awesome part about carbon either. Do you have any idea where carbon comes from? SUPERNOVAS! A star has to become incredibly massive in order to start producing carbon, and then when it EXPLODES with more force than is humanly conceivable, it sends all the carbon that it has rocketing into the empty void of space. That’s right. The stuff that you are made of was created when gigantic stars exploded millions of light-years farther away than humans will ever visit. Our carbon has come a LONG way to make it to a place where it can start thinking about where it came from. To quote Astrophysicist (and Akinola impersonator) Neil Degrasse Tyson, “I know that the molecules in my body are traceable to phenomenon in the cosmos. It makes me want to grab people in the street, and say ‘HAVE YOU HEARD THIS?!'”



Microwaves
November 15, 2010, 2:58 pm
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Oh man. A couple of months ago, our microwave broke, and I swear I saw my life flash before my eyes. All the sudden, half the things I normally make were basically impossible. I pulled a frozen burrito out of the freezer and the directions were to either microwave for 30 seconds or heat in an oven for 25 minutes. It might sound melodramatic, but those 25 minutes were TERRIBLE. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known a world without microwave ovens, and I’m glad that I haven’t. Normal ovens use heat from fire or coils to heat the food you put in. The heat basically makes the molecules in the food move faster which is what heat is. A microwave oven uses microwave radiation to excite all of the molecules in the food at the same time. That is just too cool. I will never take my microwave and its amazing food heating magic for granted again. THANK YOU SCIENCE FOR MAKING MY LIFE WONDERFUL ONCE AGAIN!



Wake Up, Sleeper!
November 9, 2010, 10:16 pm
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My original plan for this blog was to post every day for an entire year, but things changed when my computer broke and my fiance’s dad had a heart attack. That’s what happens when you make plans. Yeesh.

Things are still pretty hectic with school, but if I can’t take 15 minutes out of my day to notice how amazing the world is, then my priorities are messed up. I’m going to get some entires lined up in the queue, so prepare for daily updates again starting on Monday. See ya then!



Postage Stamps
September 14, 2010, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This one goes out to my dad who has been telling me this for years…

Every time the price of postage goes up, people have a hissy fit and get all reminiscent for the olden days when they could send a letter for a nickel or some craziness. Have you ever just stopped to think how crazy it is that stamps are only 42 cents? Imagine this conversation if you will…

Person 1: Hey, I wrote this letter that I want my friend that is 3,000 miles away to read. If I give you 42 cents, would you take it to him please?
Person 2: You MUST be crazy!

Of course no one in their right mind would deliver something to California for 42 cents, but that’s all it takes to send whatever you want (under a certain weight of course) in just 3 days or so. It’s hard to find any hyperbolic language that helps to accentuate how crazy that sounds because it is so crazy on its own! It kind of makes me want to put something in an envelope just to do it. So if you want to share in how awesome this is, you should send me a letter!



Glasses
September 10, 2010, 5:57 pm
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I feel like I often overlook my glasses because, by design, I see right through them. I tend to only notice things that don’t work, so I take things like glasses for granted. The lenses within my eyes are out of focus because I’m stupid and I spent many hundreds of hours in college on my laptop and watching TV in the dark. Apparently that’s not good for you. Oops. So the doctors made theses two curved pieces of glass that do the opposite of what my eyes are doing now, and now I can see! How cool is that? I may get annoyed pretty often with them because they are always getting smudged, scratched, and falling off my face, but I would be completely lost without them. Literally. I would be lost because I cannot read street signs without them and I would end up  curled up in a ball somewhere sucking my thumb. So thank God today for these pieces of glass that sit on my face. I would hug them but that would smudge them. I’ll settle for a heartfelt “thank you, kind sir”.