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STEM Tuesday: GENE by Siddhartha Mukherjee

I heard this on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”  Actually, I heard bits of it on two separate trips. It’s one of those broadcasts that fascinated me so, I had to find it on the internet and listen again.

Siddhartha won the Pulitzer Prize in General Non-fiction for The Emperor of all Maladies:  A Biography of Cancer in 2011.  He’s like the Carl Sagan of medicine.  He explains things in a way that both simplifies and enthralls.

First a little biography on Siddhartha:  He’s an oncologist and a cancer researcher.  He has a PhD from Stanford University of Oxford where he studied cancer-causing viruses and he’s a graduate of Harvard Medical School.  Siddhartha works on discovering new treatments for cancer using innovative biological methods.

Clicking on this photo will direct you to Amazon.

“Fresh Air” talked to him about his new book The Gene:  An Intimate History.  I took notes from the 45-minute podcast to create my post. Although this new book has a strong cancer component, it encompasses much more.

According to Siddhartha, the “Centerpiece of the book is that biology is not destiny. But some aspects of biology and some aspects of destiny are commanded very strongly by genes.”

STEM Tuesday: Aging Stinks (NaPoWriMo)

Old People Smell Stink Stank Stunk! Getting older Has an odor. Stink Stank Stunk! It’s not as unpleasant, As pesky adolenscents. Stink Stank Stunk! My brother Frank said to Mom, “Why don’t you smell like old people?”  Mom, after all, is 87. Mom just laughed. Yes, old people really do smell old. It’s a dull, kind of sweet stink, sometimes described as a musty green smell. Just like everyone else,  chemicals from the skin glands get broken down into small odorous molecules.  But, as we age, more 2-nonenal gets created, giving us what’s been identified as an “old smell.” The “old…

STEM Tuesday: Heirloom Weeds

OMGoodness.  I almost forgot about Poetry Month.  Here it is and I missed 4 days already. I planned to share some info about genetic research of cannabis.  I never knew the innate difficulties scientists have mapping plant genomes. It’s partly because plants can’t run away or hide as a defense mechanism. So, instead they have different genes, duplicate genes that can be used in times of stress.  I never knew that since 1993, the THC in some strains of cannabis went from 3% to 37%. Scientists are busy working on what characteristics of which strains prevent nausea, enhance appetite, suppress…

STEM Tuesday:

In January, I heard that France made “doggy-bags” mandatory. No, the French are not compelled to take their leftovers home, but now restauranteurs must give doggy-bags if requested.  Apparently, the French consider it gauche to take leftovers home. It’s, in part, because food waste is gaining world-wide attention. It’s become an “international emergency.” Here’s NPR’s Morning Edition excerpt, if you’d like to take a listen. In August 2015, I posted Waste Not Want Not on my STEM Tuesday post. Guess what?  This months issue of National Geographic has an article with the very same title. That’s enough food to feed the…

STEM Tuesday: Gratitude is Good for Your Heart

(Yesterday, as I drove CoCo to work, I listened to my favorite radio station, WBEZ. The mellow voice of Bob Edwards introduce It was Gratitude Monday, and the week of Thanksgiving, so of course I listened up. Paul Mills, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, already knew that gratitude helps fend off depression.  He wondered if it could make a difference in physical health.  So he decided to do a study.  A much more rigorous study than the one I did with the “miracle” face cream. Mills recruited a…

STEM Tuesday: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

I’m always on the look out for the next-best cleaning product.  Oh, I have such a multitude of cleaning supplies.  So organized into caddies!  I can take them from room to room, adding to my efficiency. If only I liked to clean as much as I like things to be clean. I think I might like shopping even less than cleaning.  Lucky for me, CoCo works as a courtesy clerk at our local grocery store. She’s the one who turned me on to Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  They really do work like magic; especially on painted walls.  They even get…

I’ll have a little STEM with my GlitterFlopS

glitterflops - 1

Thanks to my Texan friend and BAM roommate, Pam Lutrell, and the folks at WearUsOut, I got this pair of GlitterflopS.  Aren’t they gorgeous? Each pair gets hand assembled in Texas and includes real Swarovski Crystals.  You can’t see it here, but when I walk, I make my very own moving disco ball of colored lights, when the sun reflects off the crystals.  Fun! Is that saddle leather used for the straps? Indeed, yes.

That’s all wonderful. It’s great to be stylish, but the best part is the feel.  The footbeds are “high density” memory foam.  The moment I stepped into these sweet GlitterflopS, comfort nestled all around my feet.

So what exactly is high density memory foam?

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