GEEKING OUT ON: The Universe

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As I’ve mentioned before, I really REALLY love space. One of the things that makes me love my apartment so much is that from the living room couch, and from lying down in bed, I can see the stars at night.

My good friend showed me this the other night, and I am almost convinced that I could live in a bomb shelter as long as I had access to this:

“Microsoft WorldWide Telescope
Immerse yourself in a seamless beautiful environment.

From web to desktop to full dome planetarium, WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables you to explore the universe, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world and combining it with 3D navigation. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky. You can research and import your own data and visualize it, then create a tour to share with others.

A web-based version of WorldWide Telescope is also available. This version enables seamless, guided explorations of the universe from within a web browser on PC and Intel Mac OS X by using the power of HTML5.”



You can customize views, visit all the panorama shots of mars in high detail (AND EVEN 3D if you have red/blue glasses)!

3D Stereo Image of MARS

It can be a little confusing, so I found this tutorial video to help you navigate through the awesomeness of this better. I highly suggest downloading it directly if you have a Windows interface. It runs smooth and fast and is gorgeous.

For those of you who may not have grown up in a scientific household, here is a nice graphical representation of the timeline of the entire known universe (you know, just in case you thought your MAYBE 100 years on this earth means anything):

timeline of the known universe





Once again on a Saturday  – thinking of changing the name – but nothing trivia-wise rhymes with Saturday. This is VERY nerdy – apologies!

This week I’m playing with THEMES. This week:



Did You Know:


(click image to enlarge)

The HOMUNCULUS is an area in your brain where your physical body, and the amount of sensory and motor/movemnt attention paid to each area by the brain, are mapped out.

In the image above, the left side represents the Somatosensory Strip (or the Sensory side) of the homunculus, and modulates signals within the post-central gyrus (specific region of the brain) coming from the thalamus (which relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex of your brain), and the size of the body parts drawn on the outside represents the amount of brain energy and physical amount of cerebral cortex tissue used to sense them. Therefore, the disproportioned body image corresponds to how much innervation that body part has in the brain, not to the area of brain used to control the body parts (density, not area – so hard to explain! sorry!).

The right side of the image above represents the Motor Strip (or the Movement side) of the homunculus, and refers to signals within the precentral gyrus (specific area of brain more towards the front of the body than the above area), coming from the premotor area of the frontal lobes, and, once again, the size of the body parts on the outside of the illustration corresponds to the amount of brain energy and physical amount of cerebral tissue (or density of nerve tissue) dedicated to that part of the body.

If you have ever taken a First Aid course done by a Kinesiologist or other Health-Sciences-background instructor, they will tell you to pinch toes, fingers, and cheeks of someone who is passed-out to try and rouse them, because, as you can see above, a lot of brain energy is used to send signals to the brain, maybe enough to wake an unconscious person.

In school, our AWESOME teacher, Michael Bard, did a demonstration of “2-point discrimination” tests to blindfolded students. A student was blindfolded, then Mr Bard used either one or two pencils (about 1/2″ apart), and touched the pencils to the students arm asking “one pencil or two”, then proceeded on hands, back, knee, cheek and fingertips. For example’s sake, let’s say Mr. Bard used two pencils the whole time, most students would only feel one point of touch on the back, knee, and outer arm (where there is less innervation), while feeling two on the hands, fingertips and cheek (because of the dense innervation). The test shows that your brain can determine fine points of touch more accurately in areas of the body with more homunculus attention! Try it yourself!


Mnemonic (sort of):  

When I was in school, I really sucked at exams, I knew my stuff, but had so much anxiety I second guessed everything (with varying results). Dermatomes, and Myotomes were really hard for me. This diagram will help visualize some of what I say next:



“A dermatome is an area of the skin supplied by nerve fibers originating from a single dorsal nerve root.”   Dermatomes are named according to the spinal nerve which supplies them. The dermatomes form into bands around the trunk but in the limbs their organisation is more complex as a result of the dermatomes being “pulled out” as the limb buds form and develop into the limbs during embryological development.

Each muscle in the body is supplied by a particular level or segment of the spinal cord (Cranial 1-8, Thoracic 1-12, Lumbar 1-5, Sacral 1-5) and by its corresponding spinal nerve. The muscle, and its nerve make up a myotome. This is approximately the same for every person and are as follows:

  • C3,4 and 5 supply the diaphragm (the large muscle between the chest and the belly that we use to breathe).
  • C5 also supplies the shoulder muscles and the muscle that we use to bend our elbow .
  • C6 is for bending the wrist back.
  • C7 is for straightening the elbow.
  • C8 bends the fingers.
  • T1 spreads the fingers.
  • T1 –T12 supplies the chest wall & abdominal muscles.
  • L2 bends the hip.
  • L3 straightens the knee.
  • L4 pulls the foot up.
  • L5 wiggles the toes.
  • S1 pulls the foot down.
  • S3,4 and 5 supply the bladder. bowel and sex organs and the anal and other pelvic muscles.”

As you can imagine, remembering all of that was a bit hard for a frazzled mind, so it was suggested that I look up physical ways of remembering all of this and stumbled upon this project done by kids in high school – to this day it is how I remember Dermatomes and Myotomes.

This Day In History:

Sir James Young Simpson,  born June 7, 1811 (died 6 May 1870) was a Scottish obstetrician, who discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for general medical use. He is also responsible for the medical forceps that we know and still use today.  Sir Simpson was also an early advocator of the use of midwives!

Also today, In 1967, the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic opened in San Francisco. According to Wikipedia, due to the many youth descending on the city, many were in need of substance abuse treat ment, mental health services and various medical attention. The clinic was t he model for the modern form of free-clinics that we still have today. Today, the clinic focuses on medical assistance, substance abuse treatment, psychiatric services for those in the prison system, and “Rock Medicine” on-site medical services for public events/concerts.

(not body related, but, an incredible body on this lady!)

 MANY of you will know who Aisha Tyler is, but, if you’ve been living under a rock, you may, at the very least, recognize her from her 90’s role on Friends as Charlie Wheeler, Ross’s Palaeontologist love interest, Joey’s girlfriend, then Ross’s girlfriend, or more recently her voice as Lana Kane on Archer.
Many others of us know her from her delivery of UbiSoft’s presentation at last year’s E3, or her Stand-Up comedy, recurring CSI roles, podcast, guest-starring roles, podcast guest spots, co-host of The Talk, and now she is set to host the return of Who’s Line Is It Anyway?!
Aisha and her husband also brew their own beer! Though she has said she doesn’t have as much time for it now as she did in her 20s and 30s.
She is a huge gamer, and especially HALO player, and provided the voice for a very minor role female trooper character in the video HALO REACH as well as also providing the voice of Commander Walker as part of downloadable content for Gears of War 3.
Here is her talking about why she doesn’t think kids are in the cards for her:

FUN FACT FRIDAY (once again on Saturday – sorry!)

YAY WEEKEND! I know that, once again, I’m posting this late 😡 and it pisses me off more than anyone else, I promise. I’ve never ever been good at deadlines.
*writes in imaginary notebook “Task 102: MUST WORK ON DEADLINES”*


Did You Know:

If any of you have taken certain levels of biology (or seen the awesome episode of The Simpsons “Weekend At Burnsies”) you know that groups of animals have official group names. For example, the image above stating a PARLIAMENT of owls, and in the aforementioned episode Homer Simpson gets his eyes pecked out by a MURDER of crows. There are some funny names for groups of animals:
(credit to podcast Good Job Brain for tipping me on to this!)

a DESCENT of woodpeckers
a BOUQUET of pheasants
a CAST of falcons
a WAKE of buzzards
a WISDOM of wombats
a CONVOCATION of eagles
an INTRUSION of cockroaches (yup)
a BASK of crocodiles (on land) or a FLOAT of crocodiles (on water)
a MISCHIEF of mice
a RHUMBA of rattlesnakes

Oh and there are so many more out there! Who knows what’s going to come up in pub trivia!



This is for you math students out there! I am slowly teaching myself math online, and freaking Trigonometry, man. Sucks. Hopefully this will be as useful to you as it has been for me (so far).
Two Old Angels Skipped Over Heaven Carrying Ancient Harps”

Used in math to remember the equations for Tangent, Sine, and Cosine.
O stands for opposite, A stands for adjacent, and H stands for hypotenuse.
Tangent = Opposite/Adjacent; (Two Old Angels)
Sine = Opposite/Hypotenuse; (Skipped Over Heaven)
Cosine = Adjacent/Hypotenuse. (carrying Ancient Harps)

This Day In History:

1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament (Big Ben and his bells), starts keeping time.
1911 – The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast, IE.
1927 – The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line (number: 15,007,003).
1929 – The first Mickey Mouse “talkie” is released titled “The Karnival Kid” (below)
1998 – Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, leaves The Spice Girls band.


be47c511-e41f-42a5-8694-58948bdb24b3_300_JadenSmith1_052913Apparently Jaden Smith is not afraid to let his geek flag fly! This past week he was spotted shopping at Gelson’s Market in Los Angeles in FULL IRON MAN COSTUME! ❤ What’s even better (or, at least, kinda tongue-in-cheek-funny)? He was shopping with Kylie Jenner (of the Kardashian family) – I wonder if she was impressed or pissed off at his shopping attire – I know I’d be impressed!





Thanks for stopping by lovelies! ❤

Fun Fact Friday!




In an effort to keep my pub trivia mind sharp, I’m implementing Fun Fact Fridays!

Did you know?
* “Natural Flavouring” in foodstuffs with Raspberry, Strawberry, or Vanilla is usually castoreum, “from the North American and European Beaver… the yellowish secretion of the castor sac in combination with the beaver’s urine, used during scent marking of territory.”

* To remember the life cycle of cells: Idiot, Pass MAnother Tequila (Interphase, Prophase, Metaphase, Anaphase, Telophase)

On This Day In History
* 1978 – Charlie Chaplin’s body, grave-robbed eleven days earlier, found! LINK

Nerd Alert!
* Gamer, David Race completed a PERFECT game of Pac-Man in 3 hours, 33 minutes and 1.40 seconds achieving the maximum possible score of 3,333,360 points using an original Pac-Man machine.