Monday, May 31, 2010

Goats in Trees

Go read this HowStuffWorks article about Morocco's Tree Goat population. No, that's not a new species of goat - these goats will simply climb up trees to eat the leaves if there's nothing to eat on the ground.

Having owned goats, I can say that a) they are excellent (and adorable) climbers and b) they are very, very determined.

Morocco, you better find a secondary food source for these goats or you really will be in trouble!

Man Walks Home with Artificial Heart

In other (more serious) happy news, a man has successfully left a hospital with a fully artificial heart. He must wear a backpack containing a pressurizing machine at all times, but he can finally leave the hospital after almost two years!

I'm so happy for him. What an incredibly difficult journey that must have been. I can only imagine how happy he is to have at least some part of his life back. Congratulations, Okeke, and thank you, Science, for helping us all out.

Up, "UP" and Away!

A few days ago, Jonathan Trappe became the first man to successfully replicate a sequence in a Pixar movie in the real world. He used balloons to float across the English Channel!

Of course, he wasn't lifting a house (which even Pixar admits would have taken hundreds of thousands more balloons than they felt like animating), but still - he floated over the English Channel with balloons!

Overall, I'd say this went a lot better than the time Trip Hortin bought an island and tried to lure superheroes there, and much, much better than the time Louis BonMarche tried to run a restaurant using rats as chefs.

Congrats, Jonathan! Now will you please find me a Kevin?

Goodbye, Liz!

Good luck! NYC will miss you! And here you go, a special goodbye chocolate lab puppy courtesy of the Daily Puppy.

Four Horsemen, Anyone?

So this happened.

Looks like the Gates of Hell were in Guatemala all along. Who knew?

Groovin' with Ken!

A funny break from vacation photos: Groovin' with Ken!

Thanks, Pixar!

San Diego Seals! Out in the Wild

We saw seals hanging out on the beach in San Diego and sea lions hanging out by a pier in San Francisco. We also saw a couple of sea lions doing something in the water that looked like slow-motion playing which they may have wanted to do in private, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately for them, right above them was the window looking out of a great vegetarian restaurant we ate at called Greens, so we saw the whole thing (though not the "whole thing", if you know what I mean - phew). For obvious reasons, I did not take pictures of that.

Things I learned about seals: they are fat, lazy, and adorably inept at getting onto land.

PS. That squirrel was seriously pissed off about something. Probably that the seals were getting all the attention.

The San Diego Zoo!

We saw a bunch of great stuff there. Some highlights: the weird yak-looking animal I had never seen before (and forgot the name of), wombats are the size of mini-horses, and when polar bears eat from their trainers they look and act like giant puppies. Oh, and those two meerkats are about to battle it out. The one looking at us has no idea what's about to happen.

More Botanical Gardens!

They were so pretty. We saw 32 lizards, probably 10 hummingbirds, and 3 GIANT frogs!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

San Diego is So Pretty!

Some pretty flower pictures I took at the San Diego Botanical Gardens. Why don't I live there??

I Heart Parks + Rec

This made my day.

WHY did you push P+R to midseason, NBC? WHY!?!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good Idea! Ban Retail Puppy Sales

More and more cities are trying to ban "companion animal" sales in retail stores. Hooray!

I remember when our local pet stores back in Dallas closed. I didn't know why, and at first I was upset about it. Over the years, though, I realized just how much the pet stores beget puppy mills and vice versa. The only safe way to buy a pet is through a shelter or through a good breeder, like the one who bred Sunny!

I don't know why the pet stores in Dallas closed. My hope is that so many people bought their pets at more reputable locations that they were forced to close. My guess is that they got priced out of their rent. Either way, I'm happy they're no longer there. But getting rid of pet sales in pet stores in New York? That'll be a whole other problem.

Shout out to Liz for giving me the head's up about this article!

Another Reason Why the FDA Should be Better, Faster, and Stronger

So many drug and food recalls. It's times like these that make me believe that they should fund the FDA as much as the Pentagon. Also, you can never trust big business - whether it's what we're supposed to take when we're sick or what we're supposed to eat to keep us healthy.

Blerg. But at least we can look at that adorable Poodle, right?

Poodles: Best Breed or Bestest Breed?

Once again, proof that Poodles (and Poodle mixes) are the happiest and adorbest of all the puppies.

The Saddest Thing You Will Read Today: The Loris Loss

Lorisiformes and lemuriformes are two of my favorite infraorder of primates. They're only found on Madagascar. They look and act like nothing else on Earth. They're totes adorbs. Plus, they have one of the wackiest names and one which is the most similar to the Seussian Lorax.

That's why it's so terrible that - in true Lorax form - they're going extinct because of poaching for medicine (they use their tears in love potions! It's terrible!) and habitat destruction. Boo.

PS. Other adorable animal that are in the Lorisisforme infraorder? Galagos.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Future is Now

At least according to this totally insane scuba helmet. Come on - a screen that shows all sorts of important info like oxygen toxicity AND what kind of underwater creatures you're looking at? Seriously? It's like right out of a Sci-Fi movie. Or at least Speed Racer. Ok, it definitely looks like a helmet from Speed Racer.

PS. Sorry for the onslaught of posts. I'm just making up for vacation! So just keep going. I think I've posted something like 10x today and it's before 2 PM. Expect more... many more posts today and tomorrow.

I Want to Bike to There

How does this super awesome bike-desk designed by Rizki Tarisa not exist yet? You bike, you power your laptop, and you save the environment at the same time? Yes, please!

I know that, if produced, it will cost the same as the downpayment on a house, but I'm super willing to spend for that kind of awesomeness.

Readers, this is my version of iPad lust.

Clearly, I Should Have Been a Goat Farmer

Because, apparently, then I would already have a house and a buttload of savings.

Then again, I do really, really love a good fancy dinner now and then, and going to movies, and having a computer, and buying treats... How did this girl get through high school without spending any money?

Also, is the house worth $40K or does she have a mortgage? Because if the house is worth $40K and it ain't that bad, I'm going to move to Greenfield, Ohio and live like a queen!

Also, goats are adorbs.

Why Not Drill a Relief Well First?

Sometimes Marshall Brain just seems smarter than my life.

Read his blog post about drilling a relief well along with any underwater oil wells so that disasters like the Deepwater Horizons spill don't ever happen again. It just makes sense. Like, stupid sense. Like, how did the oil companies not think of this first sense.

Of course, people like Marshall Brain are too smart and too environmentally-friendly to work for an oil company, so that could be why.

Recycle Butts

Cigarette butts, that is.

The above NY Times article details a new proposal by NY Assemblyman Michael DemDekker (awesome last name, if only he was Dan DemDekker) that would, as he says, create jobs and help the environment. Apparently, cigarette butts aren't just annoying pieces of trash on the street - they're filled with toxins and poisons that can kill fish and pollute our drinking and ground water. LAME.

But if we recycle them, we can turn them into art, adhesives, cloth, and even patches that can fix steel tubing and pipes and whatnot. Neat!

So why not? Well, it sounds like it will cost some money (the job creation bit), but maybe they can take that money from the cigarette companies? Of course, Big Tobacco will try to kill the program if that happens... but maybe we can try it!

Good luck, DemDekker! We're all pulling for you!


Not my favorite class of animal (let's just put it this way - we skipped the aviary at the San Diego Zoo, and that was only thing we skipped. Well, that and the reptile room, but only because we've been to the reptile room in Dallas and New York and Pittsburgh about a million times).

But I'm still upset that this bird, the Alaorta Grebe (which sounds like an awesome Swedish band), is extinct. And, of course, it's extinct because of deforestation and predatory, invasive, non-native species. I know it's not that pretty, but it's still really weird and cool looking! Honestly, most animals are really weird and cool looking - especially the endangered ones. Come on, world, can't we get it together and stop killing everything?

[Image thanks to BBC]

Speaking of Drugs...

Turns out some people don't need 'em! I'm super jealous, but also super stoked that there may be a way to "induce immune tolerance" of transplanted kidneys, thereby allowing people to lower their immunosuppression drug use or stop it altogether.

Of course, any findings probably won't be put to use for another ten years, but there's always hope!

Drugs are Bad

Ugh. Drugs are the worst! Of course, they keep me alive, so they're the best. But they're also killing me! It's a pretty unfortunate cycle.

1. Taking 20+ pills a day gives me heartburn (also, some of my pills' side effects include heartburn)
2. I take Prevacid (a proton-pump inhibitor) 3x a week to control the acid.
3. Proton-pump inhibitors cause an increased fracture risk with long-term use (1 year+, which is how long I have been taking heartburn meds)
4. Prednisone, one of my drugs that causes the heartburn, also causes increased fracture risk, which was made evident this past February when we checked my bone density and realized my spine has turned into a pliable mush.
5. I'm already at an increased fracture risk for having kidney disease and transplant surgery, with the hope that I would get better now that I'm on a low-dose of prednisone and that my new kidney is working.

So essentially, a drug I take to save my life has already given me a nasty side effect which is increased by a drug I take to counteract another nasty side effect.

Therefore, drugs are bad. But I still have to take them. Ugh.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted!

Hey Readers!

My boyfriend and I are off on vacation this week, so I'm taking a little break from ol' Artful Stew to rest and relax. No worries, I'll pump you guys up with articles and stories and good ol' Stewy goodness when I return.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shout Out: Hilary Vreeland - Holistic Health Coach Extraordinaire

Hey Readers!

My friend Hilary Vreeland is an amazing holistic health and weight loss coach. She's super fun and nice and really good at her job. Believe me, I've had her sweet weight-losing treats before - THEY'RE INCREDIBLE. When you see her, ask her about the chocolate truffle treats she makes. You will not regret it.

So if you're in the New York area and have been wondering how to eat healthy in this wacky world we live in (frankly, who isn't? I feel like I have a reasonable grasp of what's good/bad for me but I know I've had trouble actually obtaining and consistently eating the good foods), go see Hilary! She's awesome.

Oh, and in case you didn't see the link at the top, here is her website. Go to there!

"Real World" Judges

As I was (begrudgingly) reading this Politico article on Elena Kagan's "real world" experience and what that means, I came across this line:

Obama’s allies also view the “real world” test as something other than a literal requirement that judges have worked as short-order cooks or professional football players. - Ben Smith

Yes, because being a professional football player really counts as "real world" experience.

Clearly, everyone's views of the "real world" are different. My personal view of the "real world" is living in an apartment with seven strangers who all happen to fit into distinct stereotypes and argue back and forth all the time while being constantly videotaped and broadcast on MTV.

But that's just me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Surgical Robots will Cut You Up

Looks like the future is NOW! Or at least a few years away. This surgical robot could be used to remove cancers, perform heart surgery, and overall make surgeries less invasive and therefore much safer.

But really, do you want a robot operating on you? Then again, do you want a human operating on you? Both are imperfect in very different ways. Therefore, I suggest not getting surgery at all. That's the best deal around.

Because the answer to the question, of course, is "The only winning move is not to play."

And yes, I did just see War Games for the first time last week. Don't judge me.

Poodles: Best Breed or Bestest Breed?

All I'm saying is, there's a reason why everybody loves mixing poodles with other breeds - they turn out even more adorabler than before! And also hypoallergenic!

Case in point (of the day): Bella, the adorable Maltese-Poodle mix, courtesy of the Daily Puppy.

Nate's Cartoons is Back!

Back from vacation before going on vacation once more, Nate's Cartoons is back for four rocking days!

So drink up the humor juices, Readers, because they'll be gone before you know it.

...And then back again until at least July, that is.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Glad I Turn My Computer Off At Night!

Otherwise I'd feel even worse than I already do about all of my electricity use, conveniently condensed in this giant infographic.

I Hate Judges that Suck

Case in point* - siding with a giant corporation which is suing a documentary filmmaker for the rights to all of his footage - all 600 hours - including private, confidential interviews with employees.

Basically, this judge is ruling that a documentary filmmaker is lower than a journalist, so he is not protected like one.

The ramifications from this case alone are huge. The director was making a documentary about Chevron and all its evils and now Chevron will have all the ammo in the world to fire however many employees spoke against it or file lawsuits against anyone who they think defamed them. Worst of all, it will get them a way to fight the lawsuit against them that the whole documentary covered.

In the future, the ramifications are even worse. With this case as precedent, all documentary filmmakers will be subject to similar lawsuits from similar corporations they try to expose. It defeats the whole point of this type of documentary filmmaking.

There is hope for an appeal, but this all looks very troublesome to me.

Cast NOT in point - whoever Obama picks to fill Justice Stevens' Supreme Court Justice seat. At least, I hope not!

*Thanks to Brendon at "My Five Year Plan" for pointing this out!