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Erin Whittey
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Erin Whittey

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Spring has sprung! Went to the first Amherst Farmer's Market of the year, and picked these up.
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:-D
 
Neat sticker
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Tortellini with vegetables.
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Silly Minecraft games are silly.
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Erin Whittey

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Can I suggest this research as an Ignobel nominee? Makes you laugh and then makes you think, indeed.
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Just took my bicycle out for the first ride of the season. I am out of shape. I actually felt a little nauseated at the end, so pretty sure I pushed myself too hard even trying to take it fairly easy. It was one of those things where it was easier to push through it than to stop, rest, and get up the motivation to get back on. Maintain forward momentum.

I'm pondering whether that's an attitude towards exercise I should keep. It was very much encouraged in my old dojo, but that doesn't mean it's the best approach for me now. We were training hard four to six hours a week, finding and pushing our limits for strength, endurance, focus, precision. If that's what you're doing, then yeah, you work as hard as you're told to and you learn which physical discomforts are actual danger signs, and which are, to use Sensei's words, "weakness leaving the body."

But while pushing through those discomforts may be habit for me, doing it that way probably won't help my motivation to do it again next week, and the week after, and keep on doing it. And that's where the real gains are made with exercise; not a single, difficult session, but many sessions, over time.

So, pondering. And sipping some water until my stomach settles.
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Sometimes I get super excited about a new piece of research I see... and then realize that I'd have to write an entire article on the subject in order to explain why it's exciting to a lay audience. But let's attempt brevity.

Striae of Retzius are microscopic structures in tooth enamel. Enamel shows daily growth lines analogous to the annual rings on a tree, and can be used to track the life course of a mammal in much the same way as those growth rings. Striae of Retzius are regularly spaced lines that are darker and easier to count, generally representing 6-10 days of enamel growth; that number is very consistent within an individual, even though it varies between individuals.

You can do some amazing things with this knowledge; to give one example, we know that Neanderthal children developed faster than modern children because of these dental studies. Their first molars came in at closer to 4 years of age than 6.

One problem with this kind of study is that it's destructive; you need to section a tooth in order to count the lines. Fossil hominin teeth are a limited resource, and any given tooth is an irreplaceable part of the archaeological record.

This study seeks a way to get at some of the information available in those enamel growth lines using their relationship to perikymata. These are a surface feature; you may be able to see them on your own incisors in a mirror. They appear as very faint horizontal grooves. You may even see a few that are slightly darkened; these correlate with a stressor that happened when that bit of enamel was being laid down.

If perikymata can really be used to estimate some of the information we get from striae of Retzius, it would allow this kind of dental analysis on a lot more teeth without having to cut them up. Their could be a wealth of new data on growth and development of early humans waiting for us!

... yeah, that wasn't exactly brief.
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Why have I never made this before? My mother used to do white fish with cracker crumb topping all the time, but somehow I've never gotten around to it.
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... 

No, not a familiar feeling at all. Nope.
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Have her in circles
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I'm a graduate student in biological anthropology whose other interests include science fiction, board gaming, cooking, karate, webcomics, and telling people they're wrong.
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