A Few of my Favorite Things

Today I just want to highlight a couple of my favorite things for you.  They’re totally unrelated, just things I was reminded today that I really like, and wanted to share.

First, if you’re watching the olympics, biathlon is awesome.  I was a competetive rifle shooter for many years, and tried cross country skiing a few times.  I often thought about trying to put the two together.  The problem was that I was really terrible at cross country skiing, and it would have been prohibitively expensive to combine two sports that tend to require custom, costly equipment.  A special biathlon rifle and a nice set of cross country equipment really add up.

I did get to try a summer biathlon once, though, which is running and shooting.  It was a lot of fun, and made me realize that trying to hold still and shoot while breathing really hard is not easy.  So I have tremendous respect for biathletes.  When I was in high school, there were only two places in the U.S. even set up for doing a biathlon, and it’s never been a big sport here.  We certainly don’t contend for medals on the global stage in this sport.  That’s really too bad, because it’s a cool sport, and a useful life skill.  With all this crazy weather this winter, I bet some of the people stranded without power or transportation are thinking the ability to ski out and shoot a rabbit or deer for dinner might be pretty darned useful.  Or, you know, it would also be a great survival skill in case of nuclear winter.  Bottom line, biathlon is fantastic.

Photo from BBC Sport’s Sochi 2014: Guide to Biathlon

Second, if you are on facebook at all you have probably seen plenty of shared posts from a great lady who runs “I f***ing Love Science.”  I was always torn about re-posting these posts because she puts up such amazing content, but I really don’t like to share things with the f-word in them. Profanity is something discouraged in my profession, I think it sounds dumb when there are so many other great words to use, and I have a toddler so really try not to ever use profanity at home (I admit, I do slip sometimes).  That said, I was really excited to find out she has a sister page, “Science Is Awesome.”  This site doesn’t have everything that the main page does, but it has most of the good stuff, and all of the kid-friendly stuff.  I highly recommend you check it out – she has a knack for finding the most exciting new things in science and talking about them in a very accessible-to-everyone way.

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