Today is ‘celebrate your geekness’ day, a day that was created by Wellcats Holidasy as a day about being proud of what you do, who you are, and what you’re ‘obsessed’ with. I will freely admit that I’ve always been a ‘geek’, and I’ve been proud of being a geek. While I may seem ‘quiet’ and slightly ‘unsociable’, it is more of the fact that I’m wondering what I can add to the conversation. Depending on the topic, I may either be more of an active listener or an active participant. While I am a ‘geek’ on various subjects, I also admit that some areas I’m reconnecting to, so I may not be that big of a ‘geek’ in terms of random knowledge.
I like these five reasons from ‘a big think edge’ blog post back in 2018 on why one should embrace thier inner geek:
The term communicates that you are intelligent
You may be more socially competent and mature than the ‘cool kids’
As a geek, you are viewed in a increasingly positive way
You are technically savvy and an early adopter of new technologies
Geeks bring different perspectives and knowledge to the conversation
I agree with all of them, with the exception of number four–I really don’t care for updating/upgrading my electronics and such unless I either absolutely have to, or the update/upgrade has something really going for it.
So what are things that I consider myself a ‘geek’ about?
Hobbies such as:
Birds (and bird watching)
Reading (fiction, especially romance)
Knitting and other crafts
Being outdoors, gardening and nature
Learning, especially on topics related to:
What am I currently learning or teaching myself?
Python coding, cross-stitching, jewelry making, and brushing up on subjects such as intellectual protperty and clinical trials.
What are my end goals?
Continuous learning, finding harmony between ‘work’ and ‘everything else’, and bridging the communication gap beteen the scientific community and the general public.
What is one scientific topic that you wished was communicated better?
So today is National American Eagle Day or National Bald Eagle Day. This is the day that various organizations set aside to help raise awareness about our national symbol–the Bald Eagle.
The history behind the bald eagle being chosen for the national symbol is slightly humorous. In case you haven’t heard some of the history, here is a very condensed version:
Since most countries adopt an animal for their national symbol, the Continental Congress wanted to do so as well, but the first national seal was actually Lady Liberty holding a shield. Since that wasn’t what they wanted, they made inquires with others for thoughts and the first ‘choice/suggestion/selection’ was actually the golden eagle.
Again, the Continental Congress wasn’t happy with the suggestion–mainly because the golden eagle could also be found in Europe and therefore it wouldn’t do. They then looked to ‘native birds’ and decided on the bald eagle (though the turkey was also suggested as it was also ‘native’).
The bald eagle was ‘fierce-looking’ and the fledgling country thought it was a better representation of the country to the world–therefore it was selected. Even after the war was over, there was discussion on whether to keep the bald eagle as the emblem or think of a new one–Benjamin Franklin kept rooting for the turkey.
This story does raises a fairly good historical question–if we had managed to breakaway from England without war, what animal would have been chosen as the national symbol–would it still have been the eagle, or maybe the turkey, or maybe something else?
So that is the brief history behind how the bald eagle became our national bird and symbol.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t had really ‘clear skies’ over the past three hundred years.
By the 1950s both the bald eagle and the golden eagle were at risk of becoming extinct. This was due to a combination of over hunting (young bald eagles happen to look a lot like golden eagles, so they were often killed ‘by mistake’–hunters thought they were bagging young golden eagles), pesticide use (DTT poisoned fish led to eagles laying eggs with very thin shells, which ended up at times getting crushed from the parents sitting on them), and habitat loss.
Once DTT was banned, and the eagles placed on the endangered species list their populations started to make a recovery. In case of the bald eagle, they were downgraded from endangered to threatened in 1995, and then in 2007 they were removed entirely from both the endangered species and the threatened species lists as their populations had recovered enough. They’re usually under state protection these days.
Though in recent years, there had been a die off of bald eagles in the southeastern portion of the US, but that has finally been traced to a toxic algae bloom in the waters (something scientists are now keeping an eye on).
I enjoy catching site of the bald eagle as it soars over Boomer Lake throughout the year, and I also enjoyed watching the bald eagles up at Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota sit on top of the Norway pines as they watched the waters waiting for their next meal to come closer to the surface.
So while contemplating on how to really start stepping into the stretch, risk, and die zones more often–I decided to jump right into the ‘risk’ zone and created a personal board game.
I’m thinking of it as a mix of chutes-and-ladders, trivia pursuit, and life. Why these three? Well, there are squares to move forward or back a certain number of spots (or even boards), covers/reviews numerous subjects (though I do admit it does lack sports and entertainment), and it is never-ending (though even the game of life ended after awhile).
These are topics that I find interesting in the sciences and humanities (though some are missing), in addition to numerous personal development ideas and projects. I taped the two boards into a normal file folder so that I can folded it up and take it with me even on trips, without it getting damaged.
The goals for the game include:
Learning to turn some items (such as writing, learning programming, and refreshing a foreign language) into daily habits.
Learning more about various job directions (and how to possibly meld some of them together).
And finally: embracing the learner mindset in terms of both multiple science and non-science topics, by refreshing my knowledge of the topics and learning what is ‘new’ in the different fields.
I will accomplish these goals by becoming more proficient in time and project management as shown by creating/writing multiple styles of web content, increased traffic to the blog/website, posts written in additional languages, and an up-to-date GitHub account for example.
There are only a few rules for the game:
If I decide that I want to ‘jump/skip’ a square that I landed on, I have to answer the following questions first:
Why am I avoiding this topic/subject?
Where is this belief (or beliefs) coming from?
What can I do to slowly start in on the topic/subject?
Yes, ‘read’ is down quite often–but since I’m an impulsive book buyer, I have almost 300 non-fiction e-books that I’ve bought over the past five years that I haven’t read yet.
I also discovered that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was trying to ‘derail’ me from starting the game. How, you may ask? By trying to ‘convince’ me that I needed to have a list of topics on hand for anything that had ‘review’ with it on the board. After starting to make a list for both biochemistry and immunology, I realized what was happening.
I decided that I would then add the following ‘rules’:
After landing on a ‘review subject’ square, I would roll the dice again–this would give me a ‘time limit’ (in either hours or minutes) for coming up with a starting list of possible sub-topics to review.
This should be easy enough to do–Google ‘textbook of ‘x’ subject’ and you can usually find a link to at least one textbook that will let you look at the table of contents.
I will then roll the dice again, and the number will hopefully correlate to a topic number. If there is currently no topic to correlate the number to, I will roll until I get a number.
Then I will roll the dice a final time to come up with the ‘time frame’ for the assignment.
All squares will be landed on at one point or another, as there is no ‘end’ to the game. The time frame for each square will vary (even within the topic), and I should hopefully not be ‘sitting’ on a square for more than say three weeks (as that is how long it usually takes to make something a habit), though it may be shorter (as long as I have the topic worked into the weekly schedule and I now to move it over each week).
In terms of the reading squares–if the book doesn’t have any exercises/questions associated with the chapters, I’m going to give myself four to five (no more than six) days to read the book, and then additional two days (max) to write and post the book review to both the blog and possibly Amazon as well. If there are questions/assignments associated with the book then the time frame might go towards two or three weeks.
I started the game last night, and landed on a ‘read’ square. I rolled the dice again to determine the book to pick from the list, and it was ‘The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living’ by Meik Wiking. Since there doesn’t seem to be any exercises/questions associated with the book–I picked another book from the list to start once I have the book review for ‘Little Book of Hygge’ posted, and therefore I will probably rolling the dice for the ‘second’ move on the board around June 4th or so.
Well this post is a day late–while I had decided on the topic, I couldn’t quite decide on which exact pictures to share, so I decided I’d look through them again today and decided. So the pictures are all throwbacks to my trip to Boston last year.
Boston is one of my favorite places to visit—it has history, science, and numerous things to do; plus a semi-decent public transportation system. With it being one of the oldest cities on the east coast, one of my favorite things to do is walk the Freedom Trail (of course walking the whole thing depends largely on the weather for that day).
The Freedom Trail is a two and half mile path through the north end of Boston, that connects sixteen different historical sites and/or monuments. Most of the sites are free, though there are some that require an entrance fee (such as Paul Revere’s house, and one or two of the churches).
I find it fascinating and somewhat calming to walk through the old cemeteries and look at the different headstones that are still somewhat readable after a few hundred years. Some of the headstones you can’t read anything, but you still see some of the stone work that went into the headstones.
So when walking through Granary Burying Ground, you can see monuments to different historical figures such as:
I have other pictures of gravestones (from this graveyard and others) from when I lived in Boston (I would head to the north end almost every other weekend, and I did enjoy wandering through the cemetery and look at the headstones), that I’ll post within other topics as well over the next few weeks.