Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sleeping less and eating more

Do you stay up late at night?

I do at times, and that tends to be when I sabotage a whole day of healthy eating. Turns out I am not alone. Enough people see and feel the effects of late-night snacking to inspire researchers to study it scientifically.

midnight + full fridge = trouble
photo credit: Details

Friday, July 26, 2013

Frog shelter

Amphibians are amazing in their ability to spend their early lives in water and adult lives on land. Even though frogs live half their lives in water, apparently, sometimes rain is just too much, even for frogs.

wonderful 2-inch frog shelters itself from the rain in Jember, East Java in Indonesia
photo: Penkdix Palme, submitted to National Geographic

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

There I was, muscles tense, stomach in knots, palms sweaty, hyper-aware of my surroundings and wishing I were anywhere else at the moment. There was a lion not 30 feet away, staring right at me.

It's all true...except the lion.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fittest dog ever?

As part of a series on animals thriving in human-dominated landscapes (think crows or raccoons in the northern hemisphere, and dogs pretty much everywhere), I had to do another on dogs because this is the smartest / best-trained one ever.

Humans and dogs go way back, and a new study suggests that several of our genes and dogs' genes have evolved in parallel, perhaps due to living in crowded conditions that would favor survival and reproduction of dogs that were more docile, cute, and affectionate. And probably smart as well, as you can see here:

This dog is super fit in more ways than one. We were happy when our dogs would sit or stay for a few seconds! Jumping on cue was out of the question.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

The SuperTracker - a free online fitness resource

SuperTracker can help you plan, analyze, and track your diet and physical activity.I just learned about SuperTracker, a free online food and physical activity tracker developed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which allows you to plan, analyze, and track your food intake, your weight, and your physical activity.

It's actually been around for over a year (I'm really behind the curve here!) and has registered over 2,500,000 users.

You don't need to register to just check food nutrition information or calories burned by a particular workout, but you do if you want it to remember your history and track your progress over time. Fair enough.

USDA's SuperTracker home page

Once you sign up, you add a brief profile containing your height, weight, age and your daily physical activity level, all of which is used to determine your suggested calorie limits. Then you can start adding in foods eaten and exercise completed. No cheating.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Have a seat (then get up soon after!)

It's been awhile since my last post, with no good enough excuse, other than preparing for, attending, and presenting at a conference - the annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Whoo-hoo!

Botanists use Facebook to help identify those many
mysterious tropical plants.  photo: ATBC
What happens when you stick 900 tropical biologists into a big meeting?

A lot of talking about science, cool findings and great photos of tropical species and ecosystems, but also on the loss of said species and ecosystems to the ever-increasing expansion of human activities, and the effect of that loss on other species and ecosystems.

Also too few talks proposing how we might stop this downward cycle, but that's another story.

There were 6 concurrent sessions at this conference (how to choose?), and I gave a talk at just 1 of them. Which means I and all the other participants spent a lot of the time sitting.

A good amount of research suggests that sitting is the new smoking. Not quite that bad, maybe, but various medical studies have linked sitting for long periods with a series of potential health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Here's what I've found on this outstanding (haha) issue: