19 March 2014

March Maddness... Mammal style! (plus my love of Walter)

If you have been following my exploits on Twitter lately, you will have seen a lot with the hashag of #2014MMM.  What is this you might ask?  Well it is nothing more than the epic battle royale of the mammals of the world tournament style.


(image from http://bit.ly/1g1zpeD)

Tonight was the Sweet Sixteen round and it got intense, polar bear fighting the dwarf sperm whale (and losing because of climate change) and our plucky "little" Paraceratherium named Walter (because do you want to keep trying to spell that quickly while tweeting?)  Walter was a tiny 16 feet tall weighing in at a measly 18 tons.  Although he lived during the Oligocene epoch (23 million years ago) he has captured our hearts, because, well look at that mug, he's adorable!!!


(image from  http://www.arcadiastreet.com/cgvistas/earth/04_cenozoic/earth_04_cenozoic_2000.htm)

For more information, or to relive the events you can read about it here http://bit.ly/1g1zpeD.  Elite eight starts at 8:00 pm tomorrow night and you can follow along with the hashtag #2014MMM or follow the color commentary from @Mammals_Suck@labroides, or @KristiLewton.

Tomorrow's bouts include:
Hyena vs. Musk Oxen
Binturong vs. Babirusa
Mastadon vs. Paraceratherium (Walter)
Orca vs. Oceanic White Tip Shark

Trust me you'll love it.  The coverage is great, and you'll learn some stuff too!  And don't worry, we are all looking forward to 2015's March Madness Tournament (at least the mammalian one, not the basketball one).

11 March 2014

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be."

I was thinking about that quote on Sunday while I was watching Cosmos and participating in a live tweet session during the show.

The quote is from Douglas Adams, in his book The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.  In the book, one of the main characters, Dirk Gently is explaining his rather unique way of navigating -- namely following someone who looks as if they know where they are going.

I always knew I wanted to do something in science.  In elementary school I wanted to be a marine biologist because I loved dolphins and whales.  Then I decided that I wanted to go into aerospace engineering -- I loved building rockets and I loved everything having to do with flight.

The thing that I remember most though was that during middle school, I didn't have teachers that helped me to foster this love in science and flight.  I was laughed off rather than supported, and slowly, I changed my mind about what I wanted to be.

I think that this always stuck in the back of my mind and maybe this is one of the reasons that I became a teacher, to make sure that no one else was made to feel the way that I was.

Getting back to Cosmos.  The thing that I loved reading during the show and afterwards, was how many kids were excited and inspired by the show.  Especially young girls.  Twitter was full of parents sharing their stories, and even, one adorable video of a two and a half year old going CRAZY over the Moon, the Sun, Jupiter, and anything else that she saw.  I also have an amazing friend, Steph, who recorded the show so that she could watch it with her daughters since it was on too late for them.

In closing, all I can say is "go get them girls, and boys, and kids at heart."  Follow your dreams, no matter how big and lofty they are.