Stem Cell Halt

I was so excited by President Obamas reinstatement of federally funded stem cell research last year that, in a fit of passion, I almost threw myself into research full time to take advantage of the success. I know that research is not my destiny now, but the milestone in the blurring boundaries between science and politics gave me reassurance that maybe the guys running our country aren’t idiots after all. That is, until I read the news today: Court Halts Stem Cell Expansion.

WTF, seriously.

Do the courts want to push our country further and further behind Europe and Asian in science? Because they are sure doing a hell of a good job what with virtually eliminating caps on campaign fund raising and now this.

I’m too upset to do justice to this post now but I’ll add some thoughts in a few days when more on this court “halt” comes out.

-JS

I Am Archer

My father retired in November of 2007. Men that are used to working a lot need to be active. They need jobs, projects, yard work, things to fix, and people to worry about. My dad is very much one of these men. He went from working 50+ hours a week to sitting in a recliner watching Bloomberg and the Military Channel all day. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. The man grew up in the projects of East LA and has been working since he was 13– he deserves a break, but he was driving us all CRAZY. He was irritable from lack of motivation and all he did was wander around the house talking politics and religion at us. Summer of 2008, I suggested we start a father-daughter activity together. I did archery as a child, and he practiced in college, so we decided to pick it up again. Thus our new hobby was born.

It’s 2010 and I’m still shooting. My bow riser is a Hoyt and I have KAP limbs; both from this crazy German guy that owns an archery dealer in Orange County. It’s actually used but I’ve really attuned my form to the way it pulls. And my dad fletches our arrows. :) He’s gotten way more into this than I have just based on the amount of free time compared to me, but it has become kind of convenient as far as cost for parts goes. He has befriended a bunch of veteran archers: old Olympic champs, university champs, instructors, store owners, etc. This is a very poor quality picture of my bow, unstringed (ignore the clothing on my floor… I know I need to clean).

I now go about once a week if I’m lucky. I lead a pretty busy life these days as a student and volunteer pre-health intern at a hospital (that is for another post). But my bow is beautiful and fits me perfectly and I absolutely love archery. I’ve been a yogi for about 4 years now and am still incredibly passionate about that mind-body connection it brings, but archery makes me use completely different parts of my body and mind and I am a stronger person every time I shoot. The awareness and concentration a clean shot requires demands so much discipline. Your strength, agility, and breathing must all be synced to your form and focus on the target. The tiniest variation in form can send your arrow off by many inches.

I don’t have any target pictures to show because I shoot very inconsistently. Especially now since I don’t go to the range as often. I delete my pictures soon after I take them because I am embarrassed of all the outlying arrow holes!

If you haven’t tried archery, Bass Pro Shops usually have indoor ranges where you can try out bows. It’s not the same as being outside in the elements, but it’s still enjoyable.

People ask me a lot if I go hunting with my bow. I will say right now: never. I was vegetarian and am converting back for good reason. And if you DO hunt with a bow, or gun for that matter, you better eat and use every last part of that animal. Killing an animal for sport doesn’t have to be a waste, but it will be if you don’t thoroughly think through the ethics of hunting.

For now, that is one skill I’ve acquired. I have an interesting post to come on my new I-wanted-to-help-renovate-my-boyfriend’s-house-so-we-figured-everything-out-on-YouTube skills story. Until then.

-JS

Statistical Running Machine

So I was reading the most recent cover story in Wired Magazine and, like a lame consumer, was persuaded to begin using the Nike/Apple Nike+ system. I didn’t have high hopes, but it’s only $30 for a shoe sensor and iPod adapter so I figured it wasn’t a huge loss. Looking at the statistics it also has shown to be a great motivator to keep up a vigorous running schedule. Win, win, I thought. Guess what? I absolutely LOVE it. Probably the best $30 I spent this year. My mile time has gone down a minute in a week and a half simply because I am more aware of how long and far I’m running. I’m not a great judge of distances just by using my eyes and intuition so this little thing I stick in my iPod is fantastic for that. Just the concept of being aware has made me excited to run now, not that running was torturous before or anything…

I recommend to everyone: runner and prospective runners alike. Very easy way to data-fy your running routine! Check out the Nike+ website for all the details on everything it has to offer. Recording your run times is just the beginning.

If you have shoes that aren’t Nike+ ready the little sensor stays put in between the tongue and shoe laces and still seems to present accurate distance information. I tested it today on a track.

Happy running everyone!

-JS