My List of a Dozen Things Learned During 2021 (minus any Virology)
Here’s Hoping that 2022
is a Safe and Happy New Year.
As I prepare my annual ‘Dozen Things Learned’ list, I realized that once again I’ve forgotten to record many of the newly-discovered items this year. Still, it is amazing. If you keep your own list, you will find that looking back there’s a wide array of ideas or facts that demonstrate that even in ‘down’ years, we can learn a lot. Sadly, if you are like me, you may also learn you forgot a bunch of them already. [Don’t whisper “senior moment” to yourself.]
I will also take this New-Year opportunity to ask you to put AgingWithPizzazz on your resolution list, and share at least one of my blogs with friends, family or others (no matter how you do that sharing). And while it may defeat my purpose, I might link you to a previous post: Yay or Nay? — Should We Abandon New Year’s Resolutions? — Aging with Pizzazz (a quick look at both sides – the nay-sayers and yay-sayers). In the meantime, I hope at least one of my dozen is new to you too.
1. Glass in the Oven
I’ve read that glass may be a healthier option for cooking (people often worry about certain pan coatings). But I worried about glass in the oven if the temperatures were high. I also assumed the opposite of what I now know — what the science shows about the heat and length of cooking. When baking in glass or ceramic dishes, you can lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and foods will cook just as quickly. Thus, a good baking, health and modest energy-conserving tip.
2. Venus Variation
Two interesting points I didn’t know about Venus. First, the smaller planet spins in the opposite direction than the earth. And second, while the difference in an ‘Earth’ day can vary as much as 1 millisecond according to NASA, on Venus a day can vary by as much as 20 minutes! That might help some of us be on time more often.
3. Opah Fish
Opah is the “only known fully warm-blooded fish.” One was founded stranded off the northern Oregon coast, Sunset Beach, July 14, 2021. The Seaside Aquarium was called, but sadly, the fish was not living at the time. They kept it for research. No Opah had ever been seen that far north before.
It can grow to be 600 lbs. and 6 feet long. This one was 3 ½ feet and 100 lbs. It’s a deep-water predator and IMHO beautiful.
4. Exoplanet GJ 367b
Space is so amazing. You may have read about this one recently. Using the TESS telescope (which stares into one region of space for a long while), a new planet, around another star, was discovered and is considered relatively close to us (ah well, to be more accurate – 31 light years away). It’s incredibly “dense,” about the size of Mars and with “similarities” to Mercury, if you can consider daytime temps somewhere between 2,370 and 2,730-degrees Fahrenheit similar to Mercury at about Fahrenheit 800 degrees. Unlike our sun (most often classified as a yellow dwarf), the GJ367b planet quickly (every 8 hours) orbits a red dwarf, much hotter but half the mass of the Sun. This particular exoplanet (which simply means one outside our own solar system) has scientists excited about whether life is probable in that solar system. You can read more details in Science journal.
5. Our Health & Getting Rid of Bugs
Insect repellents can be controversial, and toxic. Being careful to avoid close exposure may be a long-term benefit to many of our bodily functions. Luckily, some bugs, like ants or mosquitos can be repelled with simple home products. Spraying vinegar along your baseboards will keep away the ants. Aside from furry creatures, cayenne pepper can also be used (near house cracks or entrances) to repeal an array of bugs, such as roaches, silverfish, ants and earwigs. And burning pieces of your backyard rosemary plant or sage over the coals of a barbecue (when weather permits) will send the mosquitos in another direction. Okay, so I couldn’t pass up depicting the ‘ugly’ of the group (an earwig) to encourage remembering this tip.
6. Ornamental Education
Does this sound like craft making? Not exactly. Or rather, not at all. “Ornamental” subjects would include the studies of Greek, Latin, Logic, Philosophy, etc. As someone who attended a northeast school with an historic sign touting the category, said to me “these are as opposed to the “useful” subjects like English Grammar, Math, Accounting, Surveying, Agriculture, Commercial law, Commerce, etc.” And if you, my reader, would like to add ‘crafts’ to that latter list (something I do NOT excel in) I think you’d have a good argument for “useful” as contrasted to our daily use of ornamental subjects.
7. Earth Overshoot Day
This is NOT another space exploration. It’s more in the political realm. Last year (2021) Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 29th, the date when humanity consumed more natural or ecological resources than our planet can renew in a given year.
Goal? Move the date – at least a bit each year. You can explore your own personal solutions to #MoveTheDate.
8. Mosquitos’ Sex Preference
Mosquitos really do prefer some people – and it’s based on the critter’s sex. Evidently, female mosquitos, (the only ones who bite, as they need nutrition in our blood for egg development) have several preferences. They like people with greater bacteria on their feet, those who expel more carbon dioxide, and those of us with Type-O blood. Think of it like pheromones that play a role in our own attraction to one person over others. According to Timothy C. Winegard (The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator), these females have influenced a myriad of human historical events.
My 2020 list included “Fika,” a Swedish word which describes the coffee/pastry break in the middle of the day, shared with others for your mental health. Keeping to Scandinavia, Tansmor is a Danish word. (Notice I spelled it differently here? Evidently, it’s allowed with the ‘d’ or not.) Technically it means “tooth butter.” Possibly a situation that can arise during Fika, it indicates a time when there is so much butter on your bread that you can see the bitemarks after digging in.
10. Sloth Scoop
I admit that I am crazy for sloths. Jumped on the bandwagon, I guess. I can’t look at them without smiling. But only this year did I really pay attention to the difference between 2-toed and 3-toed sloths. Interestingly enough, it’s odd nomenclature since BOTH have 3 toes, but 2-toed sloths have only 2 ‘fingers.’ 3-toed are more susceptible to exotic pet trade unfortunately, because they are “so cute” many folks want one. [I sympathize with the desire, but more with the sloth.] 3-toed are slower, more docile and can spend a whole day barely Moving at all. In large populations the 3-toed have a 1:1 ratio of male to female; but the ratio of 2-toed is 11 females to 1 male. The 2-toed sloths are also more defensive and could bite. The two-toed variety have arms and legs about the same size, while 3-toed have much longer arms than legs. These differences are chalked up to evolution in different areas.
11. A New Type of Supernova
One more fun space fact. Giant explosions (supernovas) that happen when a sun/star dies are supposedly visible halfway across our universe as they are THAT bright. Now scientists have evidence that a different type of supernova exists. “The star’s core … collapses, setting off an explosion of the surrounding layers and leaving behind a neutron star slightly more massive than the sun.” One of these elusive “electron-capture supernova[s]” has been found. See Nature Astronomy, June 2021: The electron-capture origin of supernova 2018zd | Nature Astronomy
12. Medicine for the Spirit – Music
Most of us easily relate to music medicine – the healing properties of music – and how it can truly lift the soul. Strangely, for someone who was once a music teacher, a performer, and later a music therapist, I have managed to become unconnected to recent popular music. I have to look up videos when I hear about groups such as BTS, Moroon-5, or the Pentatonics. Once in a while I pick up something from Steven Colbert, SNL or PBS NewsHour. The latter turned me on to Brandi Carlile, evidently a very well-known artist nominated for 5 Grammys, including in 2021 for Right On Time: (1) Brandi Carlile – Right On Time (Official Video) – Bing video. You can see an interview of the American roots and country music “star” with Jeffrey Brown from the NewsHour CANVAS series. [Grammy nominee Brandi Carlile on her comeuppance and the industry barriers she still faces | PBS NewsHour. ‘ You can also check out her 2019 performance of The Joke: (1) Brandi Carlile – The Joke (LIVE at the 61st GRAMMYs) – Bing video . But (like so many) as a lover of the late-Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah, I am sharing her unique rendition of it from the Newport Folk Festival more than a decade ago.
Title Pic: Geralt: stickies: 2768204 and Adult Learning 2706977 via Pixabay. (Never stop learning pic)
Opah fish picture courtesy: TiffanyBoothe/SeasideAquarium
Sloths: gray up-close: “Sloth in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica by szwerink is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0, tree climbing: “Sloth (Bradypus variegatus), Costa Rica by Constanza S. Mora is licensed under CC BY 2.0; brown, “Sloth byproyectoasis is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
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