New Pages

 

The title means much more than it says.  This year marks many new and exciting pages added to our life adventure.  Career changes and educational goals are among the items getting upgrades this year.

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After completing my degree last year, I began looking at my own career change opportunities.  I applied for a position with IDEXX, and with the Clark County School District.  In the meantime, I have been quite busy working with the Training Team for our new LIMS as we roll it out to all IDEXX labs in the United States this year.  My love of teaching/training has been rekindled and I am now on a path that includes more education for me and my future students.

Northeastern University sent me a letter not too long ago, inviting me to return as a graduate student.  This letter came at just the right time, as I was considering what my plans were going to be for the upcoming school year.  I explored the program offerings, and selected the M.Ed., eLearning & Instructional Design program.  I am excited about the endless opportunities ahead of me…..

I have no segway for my next item:

I am thinking about adding more pages to this blog.  I keep thinking of great things to write about lately, but they are usually food or health related, and not necessarily scienctific in content.  Since I don’t write these right away, I have been forgetting them.  Bummer, I know.  Don’t be surprised if recipes start showing up somewhere around here. Our family has made drastic changes in our dining lifestyle, and we have reaped great rewards as a result.  I am starting to think I will enjoy sharing these ideas.

 

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Getting back in the swing…

Yes, it’s me.  I have not been hiding, well maybe.  I  took a break, and I am so glad that I made that decision.  I have allowed myself to rest my mind and enjoy life for a little while.

So, here I am, reflecting on the past year.  I graduated from College last year, started grad school, stopped grad school, started a new–but temporary–direction at work, and am now exploring expanding my career, and I have enrolled in graduate studies again.  This time around, I am attending the University that I wanted in the first place.

 

I am quite satisfied with the undergraduate education I received, and am confident in the Masters Degree I will earn there.  My program of study will be M. Ed., eLearning and Instructional Design. There is another story behind this decision….

Perhaps that story will be shared soon….

 

 

 

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#WTF has a new meaning today

In case you missed the fireworks show off the coast of Sri Lanka this morning, the big news is that a hunk of space junk collided with Earth after falling from its highly elliptical orbit.  The object was named WT1190F back in October.  Scientists from NASA, ESA, IAC, SETI, and others have been prepared to study the object as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

When WT1190F struck this atmosphere over the Indian Ocean around 6:20 Universal Time (12:20 a.m. CST) today , it broke apart into multiple fireballs against the blue sky. The object came down around 1:20 p.m. local time. Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA (credit: Universetoday.com)

When WT1190F struck this atmosphere over the Indian Ocean around 6:20 Universal Time (12:20 a.m. CST) today , it broke apart into multiple fireballs against the blue sky. The object came down around 1:20 p.m. local time. Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA
(credit: Universetoday.com)

Scientists aboard a flying observatory were able to capture some images of the object breaking apart as it entered the atmosphere. Check out more photos and facts here.  No aliens invading us.  No impending doom from asteroid impact.  However, this event has given scientists more data on how objects break apart upon collision with the Earth and its atmosphere.

Check out the intense camera getup  used for observing this treat in the skies:

SETI Institute “staring cameras” used for wide field observations of the re-entry. Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA

SETI Institute “staring cameras” used for wide field observations of the re-entry. Credit: IAC/UAE Space Agency/NASA/ESA

As it turns out, this hunk of junk is not the only object orbiting the Earth, aside from the satellites we purposefully send into orbit.  NASA states that there are more than 500,000 pieces of junk traveling around our planet, and at speeds up to 17,500 mph.  And our little #WTF is just one.  These objects provide something of an obstacle course for engineers and scientists when planning to launch missions into outer space.  More information can be found on NASA’s website, and this might be a fun topic to continue with more stories later on.  We will see.

Again I say: Eyes to the skies, folks.  It’s a great day to be an Earthling.

References:

Universtoday.com

NASA.gov

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Total Recall anyone? Nope. Not anytime soon.

Yeah, I know I used a 90’s movie to catch your attention.  And now we are all hearing Arnold say, “Get your ass to Mars!”

An artist's rendition of what Mars may have looked like with an Earth-like atmosphere.

An artist’s rendition of what Mars may have looked like with an Earth-like atmosphere. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Center.

So, as it turns out,  plans to terraform Mars into a suitable habitat for humans may be a long time coming.  The latest information from NASA’s MAVEN mission has provided scientists with evidence that atmospheric CO2 left the red planet a long time ago, and isn’t coming back.

MAVEN, which is short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, was launched in November 2014 with the mission to study Mars from orbit.  The purpose behind the mission is to help determine what made the planet transform from a warm, wet world into the dry, desolate planet it is today.

We have learned that Mars’ poles hold some water and CO2 ice, and the crust of the planet is thought to hold some of the greenhouse gas, too.  However, it appears that after the planet lost its magnetic field about 4.2 billion years ago, the atmospheric CO2 was swept away in the transformation thereafter.  Solar winds may have scoured the surface, eliminating the atmosphere.

This is indeed sad news for generation of us who are hoping to see humanity colonize the red planet.  Terraforming the planet is still an innovation some are developing, and in the next few decades humans are expecting to set foot on Martian soil. And MAVEN is learning more about how fast gases are escaping Mars into the solar system, which could lead to innovations in future terraforming endeavors.  Who knows?

Eyes to the skies, people.

References:

Scientific American

NASA.gov/maven

Total Recall

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Weekend restoration…

This is not your typical weekend restoration project……

Our volunteer/stewardship group at Lovell Canyon.

Our volunteer/stewardship group at Lovell Canyon.

I have a wonderful wife!  She let me take her into the wilderness on our anniversary to help restore an illegal trespass into the Rainbow Mountains Wilderness area.  We worked with the Friends of Nevada Wilderness in Lovell Canyon.  Here is a link to some photos of our group and the work we did yesterday.  Have I mentioned how much I love Nevada wilderness????

Enjoy.

#volunteer

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ArcGIS is back in my life! 

  
This is my life these days…. 

For anyone who remembers hearing me whine about how hard the GIS course was, well guess what… I’m back. And now I am utilizing this for a plant ecology project. I should say that I am planning to use it. 
Today I am uninstalling the expired version of ArcGIS so that I can install the new trial version that I will use.  I obviously cannot afford to purchase the subscription but they offer a 60 day free trial, which is enough to get me through this current project.  

So, after a few more hours I will be designing the map that will help me randomly select survey plots within the study area I chose. My project will be performed at the Clark County Wetlands Park.  
Wish me luck. I’m going to need some. 

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National Public Lands Day, September 26, 2015

Couldn't be happier! I love doing this work!

Couldn’t be happier! I love doing this work!

National Public Lands Day, September 26, 2015!

Illegal trespass path. This is restoration work from previous group and before we began Saturday morning.

Illegal trespass path. This is restoration work from previous group and before we began Saturday morning.

The events of this past Saturday will go down in the annals of “time-well-spent” for this nerd!  I joined the Friends of Nevada Wilderness (FNW), along with several other lucky volunteers, at Mountain Springs Pass in order to restore an illegal trespass path near an ancient Native American archaeological site.

Located along Route 160, also known as Blue Diamond Road to Las Vegans, there is a spring not too far from the Spring Mountains summit.  This location was a stop along the Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, where travelers would stop to water and feed their pack animals (Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, 2010).  The area was home to lush meadows and hosted Native American peoples for many thousands of years, possibly as far back as 12,000 years ago (USDA).

The spring is still there today, although by appearances the untrained eye might not realize it.  It is no longer a flowing stream, but a seepage spring.  The water is present and can be located by observing the vegetation present.  Standing on the aquatic grasses and plants will reveal a ‘squishy’ or spongey texture to the ground beneath.

Spring

Spring

Located near the spring are several donut shaped structures, known as agave roasting pits.  These pits were used for roasting various foods, including agave.  The Native Americans are long gone, but there is still evidence of their lives in this area.  These sites are precious historical resources and must be protected from further vandalism and ruin.   There will never be any more of these archaeological sites, so preservation is of the utmost importance.

One of the ancient agave roasting pits used by Native Americans, very long ago.

One of the ancient agave roasting pits used by Native Americans, very long ago.

Our work on Saturday was performed with the intention of preventing trespassers from driving mechanical vehicles such as dirt bikes and ATVs through the protected area.  The illegal trespass path was restored with vertical and horizontal mulch.  We smoothed out the berms created by tires.  We removed litter.

Some of the work we did....

Minas from FNW demonstrating how to “plant” vertical mulch.

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Friends from UNLV planting their “masterpiece” vertical mulch.

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Illegal trespass restored!

Illegal trespass restored!

After a couple hours of very fulfilling work, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness folks fed us a great lunch—we actually dined right next to one of the agave roasting pits.  What an exciting time!  We dined in the same spot where Native Americans dined for thousands of years.

Ancient agave roasting pit. We ate lunch under the tree in the background (upper right corner).

Ancient agave roasting pit. We ate lunch under the tree in the background (upper right corner).

 

Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. (2010). Old Spanish Trail – Mountain Springs Pass. Retrieved from State Historic Preservation Office: shpo.nv.gov/historical-markers/142

USDA. (n.d.). Cultural Background of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. Retrieved from USDA.gov: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsm9_025922.pdf

 

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Busy, busy, busy…

busy bee studying -

Time management is usually one of my strong traits.  Not so during the past few weeks.  I have been busy, busy, busy and allowed myself to become a little overwhelmed for a moment.  Graduate school started on August 24, the same day as the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0.

The roller coaster that has been my life these past several weeks seems to be starting to reach an equilibrium state.  One thing that I find myself getting hung up on is that MSU’s weeks are not what I am conditioned to.  Normally I would expect the week to be Monday or Sunday through Friday or Saturday.  The weeks here start on Friday and go through Tuesday. What?!  I feel like I am in a constant state of flux since my normal work week has always been the traditional M-F or Sun-Sat.  But, all that said, things are coming together as I get accustomed to the new schedule.

Writing is now something I look forward to, but don’t really have much time for it seems.  I have managed to get a couple more articles written for MoldHealthReport.com, however.  The research is actually fun, but I like looking at microorganisms anyway.  (View the latest additions here:

What to do if you have mold in your home

How to clean up and prevent mold

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National Clean Energy Summit 8.0

CEP volunteers and Jarrett Clark, Program and Outreach Director, at CEP booth, NCES8.  Monday, August 24, 2015.

CEP volunteers and Jarrett Clark, Program and Outreach Director, at CEP booth, NCES8. Monday, August 24, 2015.

Monday, August 24, 2015.  I will have fond memories of this date for many years to come.  This was my first ever experience with the National Clean Energy Summit, which convenes annually in Las Vegas, NV.  This event is sponsored by several organizations, one of which is the Clean Energy Project of Nevada (CEP).   I happen to volunteer with CEP and was honored to work with them at NCES8 this year.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Senator Harry Reid and his staff, along with CEP, this year we were privileged to experience speeches and debates from many notable figures within the energy industry and closely related fields.  We welcomed  John Podesta and Ernest Moniz, who each gave compelling arguments for promoting clean energy.  To top off the event, we heard from the keynote speaker, none other than President Barack Obama.

Senator Reid introduces the panel discussion.

Senator Reid introduces the panel discussion.

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President Obama’s speech was nonetheless quite eloquent and compelling toward clean energy practices.  We can now “finally see what our clean energy future looks like” ~(POTUS).  It is imperative now more than ever before that we continue on the clean energy path.  We have solid foundations in place and infrastructure is transforming (however slowly, but transforming nonetheless) in order for the United States to remain on the clean energy path.

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Americans are now finding work in the renewable energy fields.  Solar alone now has 1000s of companies employing 10,000s of American workers.  Wind and geothermal are growing, also.

Homes and businesses are finding the benefits of clean energy–economic and environmental.  Utilities are working to offer financial incentives for going green, and converting to renewable energy sources.  It is an uphill battle in some areas, especially since energy providers may think they will lose money.  But for now, we the people can continue to support clean energy initiatives, even in our own homes and businesses.

For more information:

The Clean Energy Project of Nevada (CEP)

Senator Harry Reid

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Stachybotrys

Courtesy of nmsu.edu.

Image courtesy of nmsu.edu.

I have procured another great article for your perusal, which you can view here.   I have been researching mold over the past few weeks, and learning quite a bit.  Moldhealthreport.com has become quite the happening spot for great mold articles and information.  I will continue providing links here in the upcoming weeks when another articles are ready.

Stachybotrys is one mold that we should probably be taking seriously.  There will be more later on the subject…..

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