For round 3, here are some more ways to squeeze a little science into your everyday life (without completely morphing into a geek):
READ: Take a look at The Best American Science Writing series. I recently received a 2009 copy, and marvelled at the wonderful writers who are contributing to science coverage. Its accessible, interesting, and well written (ie: I found the descriptions of topics both within and not within my field of work to be easily understood - the content is definitely geared toward non-scientists) - so check it out at your local library (or via Amazon.com, see link below).
DO: Use some science know-how to give your house a health-sweep. Do you have a healthy home? This week we'll start with the food you keep stocked in your kitchen (ALSO SEE the links at the end of this post for reputable sources of nutrition and food safety information):
1. The food in your kitchen:
Are your cupboards stocked with healthy essentials, so a quick stop at the store (or the co-op, or the farmer's market) for some fresh protein (fish, chicken, eggs) and produce (carrots, leeks, sprouts) would enable you to whip up a fast and healthy meal? Nutrition is a science, and nutrition professionals agree that our diets should include a variety of the three major food groups: lipids/fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. We also should consume a variety of foods in each of these categories so we obtain our requirements for macro- and micro-nutrients, essential for our body's health.
Aliquot's suggestions for some foods to keep on hand:
shelf-stable vegetable stock (or boullion cubes), a rainbow of dried herbs and spices (I especially favor ginger, cinnamon, tumeric (and other curry ingredients), paprika, thyme and rosemary - but, don't forget the basic S&P too: including some colorful peppercorns and a grinder, and maybe some interesting salts), condiments: mustard (I always have whole grain, dijon, and spicy English mustards at home), pickles (cucumbers and other pickled veggies), lemon and lime juices, fish sauce for southeast asian dishes, healthy oils (like olive, grapeseed, toasted sesame, and safflower for high heat), vinegars (champagne or white wine, apple cider, balsamic and rice varieties), low sodium soy sauce, worcestershire sauce; dried mushrooms, anchovy paste and tomato paste, long grain rice and other hearty grains and lentils (these are dry and a much healthier fillers for meals compared to white rice or pasta), nuts and dried berries (I like to throw some dried cranberries and marcona almonds into a salad), capers, maple syrup, honey and agave syrup for sweetening things like salad dressing, and a root pantry (or drawer) with shallots, garlic (I also keep a jar of chopped garlic in the fridge), onions and sweet potatoes.
WATCH: Find some inspiration to get outdoors by watching the BBC Earth videos (such as the popular Planet Earth series), or Sunrise Earth (four hours of sunrise in a gorgeous locale, compressed into a 1hr program, a great backdrop when you enjoy that leisurely weekend cup of coffee) on your cable's Discovery HD Theatre channel.
BBC Earch/Planet Earth: http://www.bbcearth.com/
Sunrise Earth: http://dhd.discovery.com/convergence/sunriseearth/sunriseearth.html
VISIT: Most major cities have planetariums, either stand-alone, at a science or natural history museum, or at a university. Use Google to find the closest to you, and bring your family or friends (or both!) to view a show. At the planetarium you can usually find out when the next event in the solar system will take place (eclipse, meteor shower), and how you might be able to view it outdoors.
Check out Wired magazine's fascinating series called Datastream. Examples include ascending or descending datapoints for diving speeds of birds, and sizes of celestial bodies:
LISTEN TO: a science podcast. Learn more about podcasts at http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/. These can be streamed on your laptop (headphones optional), or used on any MP3 device.
Some science choices:
- journals and magazines offer many podcasts including Science/AAAS and Scientific American
- Boston's Museum of Science podcasts:
- Naked Scientists
Why not ask a biomedical researcher one of those burning questions you've been saving up?? Aliquot is here to help - I spend some of my sparse free time creating this blog, and am happy to provide any info I can to help lift the veil from scientific work and scientific knowledge. Just post a question as a comment or PM, and I'll get back to you (and if I don't know the answer, I'll suggest good places to start looking!).
Amazon.com link for Best American Science Writing 2009: http://www.amazon.com/Best-American-Science-Writing-2009/dp/0061431664
Some great resources on Nutrition and Food Safety information; largely based on the science being done in these areas:
1. Nutrition.gov - general resource with links to other web resources
2. http://www.nutritiondata.com/ (source: USDA data) or http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
BOTH ARE searches for nutritional content of foods3. http://www.mypyramid.gov/ (for the most part the most recent government-recommended food pyramids are up-to-date with current nutrition research)
4. Medline's Nutrition site:
5. American Society for Nutrition:
6. Harvard School of Public Health - The Nutrition Source:
7. CDC Nutrition page:
8. American Dietetic Association:
9. Tufts Friedman School Nutrition Navigator:
10: Food safety sites:
(also see USDA, FDA, Medline)