Feb 19, 2009

Link to whale evolution from land to sea was found in Pakistan

I was watching Morphed on National Geographic TV this evening. It's a 3 part series about evolution, strategically timed with Darwin's 200th birthday anniversary. I wasn't shocked to learn that whales evolved from land animals, given that they breathe air and are warm blooded mammals. But I was certainly surprised to learn that the missing links between whales and their land ancestors were found in Pakistan in the 80's, by a University of Michigan Paleontologist, Philip D. Gingerich. That animal is actually called a Pakicetus, believe it or not, named after the country itself. Pretty cool. This is what they were supposed to look like...

Anyway, Dr. Gingerich has visited Pakistan quite often over the past few years, collaborating with research faculty and publishing papers with them. His website has some pictures and details about their excursions in Pakistan. Plus, who doesn't like hearing about their country in a good light, especially one linked with a scientific breakthrough.

Feb 10, 2009

What? Blowing your nose is bad for you!

Apparently so...

Blowing one's nose to try and relieve nasal congestion, actually seems to increase and prolong congestion. This is according to a University of Virginia study reported in the NYTimes. They report:

Coughing and sneezing generated little if any pressure in the nasal cavities. But nose blowing generated enormous pressure — “equivalent to a person’s diastolic blood pressure reading,” Dr. Hendley said — and propelled mucus into the sinuses every time. Dr. Hendley said it was unclear whether this was harmful, but added that during sickness it could shoot viruses or bacteria into the sinuses, and possibly cause further infection.

So what are we to do?

The proper method is to blow one nostril at a time and to take decongestants, said Dr. Anil Kumar Lalwani, chairman of the department of otolaryngology at the New York University Langone Medical Center. This prevents a buildup of excess pressure.

Rutgers football ranked #1 in Big East and #25 overall

In an early, early (and very early) preseason ranking of all the college football programs in the country, ESPN has ranked Rutgers in the top 25, (no. 25 actually) and more importantly, the top team in the Big East.

Last year's disappointing 1-5 start is obviously not ringing in any one's minds because of the way Rutgers finished the season...with 7 straight wins, including a bowl game. I don't think we're better than West Virginia consistently just yet, but it's nice to see Rutgers getting some love. Last year, even though we lost to Pitt and WV, we were achingly close to turning the horrible start to the season around by beating them. The games were hard-fought and at that moment, I knew Rutgers would be able to compete with them on the same level in the future. In fact, last year, Scouts.com had our incoming class of 2009 ranked as high as #17, so things are looking up. Unfortunately, the incoming class is ranked #30 now, since a bunch of punks decided not to come to Rutgers. Anyway, I'm sure these rankings will change over the next 6 months, and Rutgers will undoubtedly be in and out of the top 25.

However, at the end of the day, I'm excited for 2009 and I think most of the Rutgers community can feel that change is in the air. With all the drama last year regarding the AD's firing, the stadium money, the horrible 1-5 start, and the 'under the table' payments to Schiano, we are ready to move on. And nothing helps cure some drama better than winning some games.