Tuesday, June 18, 2013

National Geographic photos to brighten up your week

In the name of inspiring good will toward all creatures, as well as high productivity at work, here is one of many gorgeous fun photos from National Geographic's photo contest. Happy Tuesday!

a fennec, or desert fox, highly adapted to its sandy desert environment:
fluffy sandy-colored fur deflects heat, kidneys adapted to low-water conditions,
and of course those crazy ears help it release heat and can hear prey moving underground! 

Click here for a compilation of 35 superb wildlife photos from the collection and here to see all the entries (wildlife, scenes, people, etc) at NatGeo. Warning: great photos, so could occupy you for a few minutes...

Monday, June 17, 2013

High heel hangover

Just in time for wedding, graduation, and prom celebrations...
run for it
image: StyleBistro

In cities across the globe, women love their high heels, or at least recognize their style. They are the fashion designer's dream and the medical doctor's nightmare.

Wearing high heels is also a great example of sexual selection -- a behavior that has become common to attract the opposite sex or compete with others of your own sex, not to enhance survival.

Au contraire, it's actually bad for your feet, ankles, knees, and back. And that's just from walking in them successfully.

It doesn't consider injury due to greater-than-normal falling, tripping, or injury due to inability to walk naturally or run away from a threat...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers for fitness

Like Moms, Dads are super important for the fitness of every animal!

Sandhill crane feeds a chick
image: nigel from vancouver, Canada, Wikimedia

Whether you are a chick waiting for a meal, a penguin that hatches from an egg after weeks under protective feathers, a wolf pup grateful for protection at the den, or a grown-up human having a heart-to-heart about Life, Dads are key to our fitness, and, in fact, our very existence.

Some risk their own fitness for that of their young:

most extreme dad?  image: Hammacher
carrying tadpoles
image: Christian Fischer, Wikimedia
Mr. Ostrich enjoying Serengeti with the kids
other ratites such as cassowaries do the same
like father, like son   image: EssentialBaby

Even the many Dads in nature that just impregnate a female and head off to find another are, of course, a critical part of the Life equation, and they worked hard to impress her.

It's Fathers Day in the USA, so I wanted to wish a Happy Day to my Dad, the other Dads I know, and all the hardworking Dads out there. This video is for you!

It's a Dad's Life -- you can also view it here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

How and why to take a rest day

There is an expression among triathletes: “Either you rest now (when you choose to) or you rest later (when your body makes you because you are injured).”

This may be obvious to reluctant exercisers, who work out gently, when they find time, follow a similar routine each time, and avoid pain and injury by not pushing themselves to exertion. You are why Zumba exists.

Driven types, on the other hand (and you know who you are) work out religiously and super intensively with the fear that easing up or taking time off will harm performance.

Many know the reality that getting enough rest after a hard workout is crucial to consistent high-level performance, yet may still feel guilty about taking a day off.

If you fall into either of these two categories, read on for information on why and how rest days following intensive workouts make you stronger in the end.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A cute and curious undersea predator

I don't post much on underwater critters, but I should!  The adaptations of marine fish, corals, invertebrates, and mammals to living underwater are both astounding and foreign to us land dwellers.

I'll start with cute. It's so easy to love this sweet photo of a seal in a kelp forest! Seals, as well as fellow mammals sea lions, grey whales, and sea otters, eat fish and crustaceans living in the kelp, which can grow up to 100 feet (30m) tall!!  It really is a forest, and it both feeds and protects many marine species.

a harbor seal peers out of a kelp forest near San Diego, California
photo: Kyle McBurnie

This was the overall winner of the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science 2013 underwater photography contest. The winners in the various individual categories are also lovely - have a look at them here.

And while we are talking about cute and seals...

a baby loggerhead turtle breathes on its way out to sea
photo: Ben Hicks, National Geographic
not something I've ever considered, but I could be convinced!
Anyone else?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Mediterranean Diet never includes gelato!

If you explore the components of various healthful diets, you will certainly find the Mediterranean Diet among them. Greens, vegetables, beans & pulses, nuts, citrus fruits, fish, pasta, and olive oil are well-known staples of Mediterranean cuisine. All that sunshine and temperate weather encourage gardens and lots of fresh produce.