Friday, July 29, 2016

Have you had your Vitamin N today?

I just returned from a week long vacation to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. From a small beach along a mountain lake, to a stream with a chilly swimming hole, and narrow glacial caves to explore, I got a huge dose of Vitamin N last week. What's Vitamin N? Good old Mother Nature.

The older I get the more I appreciate nature. I can honestly say I never thought about it as a kid, we just played outside all the time. In my teens and 20's I went outside very rarely, but now find myself craving a bit of sky, the shade of a tree, or the sounds of nature. 

Nature provides so many health benefits. From lifting up your mood and encouraging physical activity, to decreasing stress, Vitamin N is something we all need. The National Wildlife Foundation has compiled some of the evidence on the health benefits of nature. Whether we're adults or children, we all need a dose of Vitamin N. If you're interested in reading more about the benefits of nature, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, has a new book out now - Vitamin N: the essential guide to a nature-rich life

How do you get your Vitamin N?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How DARPA is contributing to the quest for a Zika vaccine - and Spot, the coolest robot dog ever

At a recent visit to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago we saw an exhibit featuring DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) technology. It was fascinating to see the projects that are being dreamt up to support soldiers in the field. One highlight was seeing Spot, a robot built by Boston Scientifics. Spot can run along side soldiers and carry cargo up to 100 pounds. it is just one of a series of robots DARPA is researching for uses in the military. 

DARPA is involved in many health projects as well, including one to create antiviral drugs that co-evolve along with the viruses they are meant to attack: Prometheus, a new program will use biomarkers to try to predict which individuals will become contagious after being exposed to the flu:

While the health stuff is pretty cool and very important, it can't compete with watching Spot run. Truthfully it's a little unnerving.   

Monday, July 18, 2016

There's an infographic for that

Last week I confessed my love of infographics and learned that some of you folks feel the same way. 

What better way to celebrate libraries and infographics then to share a whole bunch of them with you? I'm using these as a refresher and springboard to start working on some projects that have fallen by the way side. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stuff mom never told you - Librarians part 2

Thanks to Jennifer Deal for this week's blog post idea. 


Travel farther down memory lane with part 2 of "Librarians", from Stuff Mom Never Told You. Sure we've all heard of Melvil Dewey, but what about Mary Wright PlummerMary Salome Cutler Fairchild, and Vivian Gordon Harsh

  • Part 2: Almost as soon as public libraries began flourishing, librarian quickly became one of the most female-dominated jobs in the country. Cristen and Caroline break down was being a librarian was really like back in the day and the badass women who've shaped these community centers of learning and culture - 
Vivian Gordon Harsh - first African American woman librarian at Chicago Public Library

Stuff mom never told you - Librarians part 1 (being a librarian was originally a man's job)

Thanks to Jennifer Deal for this week's blog post idea. 


"The library was where all the cool kids worked." Who doesn't want to listen to a podcast about that?

Check out part one of this two-part trip down library memory lane from "Stuff Mom Never Told You" a very funny, and slightly irreverent podcast with occasional salty language. I guarantee you will learn something new and have some laughs along the way. 

  • Part 1:  Being a librarian was originally a man's job. Then Melvil Dewey and his book-loving bros came along and changed all that. But while the feminization of librarianship offered new a new occupation for women, it was built on old ideas about female nature and its proper place - 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

How sex and gender influence health and disease - or why I love infographics

I have a confession to make: I LOVE infographics. Give me a paragraph about anything and if it's too long I might not read it too carefully. Give me an infographic about the exact same thing and I will pour over it. 

Today I was looking for a royalty-free infographic on the human body. After changing my search to look for inforgraphics from .gov sites I found the perfect one for my project: How SEX and GENDER Influence Health and Disease, from NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health. 

Did you know women have a harder time quitting smoking than men? We also are more likely to injure our knees playing sports due to our "knee and hip anatomy, imbalanced leg muscle strength, and looser tendons and ligaments." 

I'm headed back to find more infographics. To see all the .gov ones my search pulled up click here. I going to be busy for a while!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Why Some Indigenous Cultures May Not Have Back Pain

I heard this fascinating story on NPR this morning about back pain and the lack of it in some indigenous cultures. Poor posture, hunching over our keyboards, and other things like weaker abdominal muscles are all thought to play a role. 

Take a listen and see what you think: