Sunday, January 23, 2011


I am a huge nerd. Which is why I feel comfortable admitting that I really missed learning, like not just learning what Kate Hudson's baby daddy is named, but real, educational setting learning. I've been out of school for almost two and a half years, and now I am leaping back into the void of college to get my second bachelor's, this time in SCIENCE. Every few hours I realize this and just start laughing maniacally. Because really who would have thought?

Sure I'm mostly just taking community college gen-ed classes before I get into the real nursing stuff, and yes there are a number of occasions where I read my fellow classmates message board posts and weep for the future of America (Sorry not only am I nerd, I'm also kind of snob, but really can't these people write one sentence, ONE SENTENCE, where they punctuate and capitalize and spell any word, any tiny, little word even close to correctly? For Lord's sake they're being graded. I can't even imagine what their email, text and facebook posts look like. And realizing that those things probably comprise the bulk of their writing I again want to weep for the future of America). But I digress. In spite of that, in spite of the mind numbing levels of impenetrability in college bureaucracy I've encountered (I basically had to promise away my first born child to J. Sarge to get in state tuition), in spite of dealing with book prices, lines for student IDs, navigating Blackboard for the first time in my life (I realize now I basically went to College of Charleston in the stone age, we might as well have been carving our essays into large rocks). In spite of ALL of this, I really like learning again. It's kind of neat.

And since the second best thing about learning (after personal enrichment of course) is to show off obnoxiously all that you've learned, here are the greatest things I learned this week:

1) On nutrition labels, they list the ingredients in descending order of weight in the product. This might be obvious to everyone in American but me, but WOW. That is a revelation. My grocery store strips are going to be completely upended now. Before I was all about calories and saturated fat. But now I'm going to look at those ingredients and if sugar or hypothemasitane (I made that up), comes first, then that product will not find its way into my cart.

2) Babies are born with like 2 billion neurons and synapses, which is way more than an adult needs. And so the way biology and development deals with that is by "pruning" the synapses. So basically to really oversimplify, the nerve cells that the baby uses will stay and the ones they don't use at all will just die. Isn't that the craziest thing you've ever heard? It's even crazier to think that this means that caregivers of babies have a huge role in which neurons will be kept. So if you just leave your baby in a box and don't hug it or play with it, that baby's brain will suck as an adult and it will be all your fault. I know a lot of people parent that way so I just thought I'd do a little service announcement for the betterment of mankind. Words of wisdom from Dr. Liz. You're welcome.

3) Scientists think that the reason babies have the startle reflex and jerk out their arms and legs if someone stops supporting their heads (btw, don't try this at home, support your baby's head) is from our evolutionary monkey cousins who are carried around on their mama's backs when they're little. The monkeys have that instinct so they don't fall of the mama's back and get left behind in the jungle. Babies don't really have to worry about that, but they're babies, so they don't know.

Ah, real knowledge. I really hope my brain isn't too full of inane details about the Kardashian sisters to fit anything actually informative and substantial.

We shall see when exam time rolls around.

I may not have missed that part as much.

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