Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations, world.
The arrival of a new U.S. president triggered jubilation Tuesday in a world made weary by warfare, recession and fear. Bulls and goats were slaughtered for feasts in Kenya, toasts were offered at black-tie balls in Europe, and shamans in Latin America chanted Barack Obama's name with reverence." (read article or view slideshow)
Everywhere I look, I see smiling faces. For the first time I can remember, the press is choosing flattering pictures of our President. My school even has a life size cardboard cut-out of Obama in the music room. (OK, so that's a little over the top.) I look forward to seeing what a strong leadership and, more importantly, a positive attitude can do for this country.

(a window a few blocks from my apartment in San Francisco.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

the elephant diet = no more jelly beans

According to A San Diego newspaper, Elephants at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park have lost a combined total of 11,314 pounds ever since zookeepers began a nutrition and exercise program for them in 2000. The article points out "that's nearly 5.7 tons among seven animals. "

Apparently, zoo keepers started to feed the elephants a number of smaller meals throughout the day, instead of three big meals. They also hid the food so that the animals would "work for it" and trained the animals to walk laps. And they cut out the elephants snacks, including jellybeans.

Mary, one of the Wild Animal Park's Asian elephants, lost weight but couldn't keep it off. Zookeepers didn't understand – until they discovered Mary was stealing food from her pachyderm pals.

Nature is cruel, it seems, even to elephants. The other pachyderms at the Wild Animal Park probably hate the aptly named Cha Cha. Like a supermodel, her trouble is keeping the weight on.

Zookeepers also changed the main ingredient of their elephant pellets to soy.

At the Wild Animal Park, the elephants do the equivalent of line drills in basketball. They've been trained to walk from Point A to Point B across the 3-acre enclosure, then back again.

For an added element of difficulty, zoo workers rake the packed soil so it requires more effort to walk. It's like running in the soft sand at the beach instead of at the waterline.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

ellen degeneres & a pool of cornstarch!

So, I get this newsletter from Steve Spangler Science and it listed the Best Videos from 2008. Apparently, he is always doing crazy things on the Ellen DeGeneres show. In February, he brought 2500 POUNDS of cornstarch and filled up a little pool of it.

My only issue with the experiment is that both he & Ellen claim that "no one has done this before." As many of you in my classes may have seen already, these guys were first to post their cornstarch antics!