Faith Goes A Long Way!

Editor’s Note: This post was written + drafted on 12/29/17. 

As we’re approaching the new year (totes writing this two days before with a plan to schedule this post a week or so after the first. #transparency) it’s human nature to reflect on the year we’re getting ready to part with. We all have our ways to go about it to let loose and reflect. I have learned a lot in 2017, pushed myself a lot, made great contributions, but I’ve also hurt a lot, misplaced part me of myself, and cried a lot. Yup, the emo train had a rest stop at my door. But, in the midst of it all, I was able to remain strong, hopeful, and comforted. He did it all, my Father, Jesus.

I am writing this post because of a) this is my blog & b) I will not hide whom I worship, love, embrace and live for. Truth be told, He’s had my back more than anyone I’ve met circa ’17. Through my defeats, failures, and cries, He remained with me and gave me comfort, like the Father, He is.

For the last two years, I’ve told myself that I would get started with She Reads Truth‘s Monthly Bible Studies but that totally failed. This year — hello 2018, I’m doing it. I have been following She Reads Truth for ages now, found via Instagram, and fell in love. Seeing how much we (account’s social engagements) all love Him, and stand forever merciful of His grace is pretty awesome. I know He’s looking down at us saying, “you da best!”. Writing this post totally holds me accountable for my actions, and I will not disappoint this time.

If you’ve heard about She Reads Truth, I’d love to hear more about your experience finding a community such as them. I also would love to know if you’ve done any of their study group. I’m kicking off my readings with Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom study which also happens to be free on the app, ladies! If you’ve already doing a plan or thinking about doing a plan, I’d love for us to “e-join”, and do this together, let me know!

I have a couple of plans on my queued list and this year I definitely aim focus and ground myself for learning the Word of God. I want to know more and become stronger in my walk.

I know what I’ve been through, and I know who’s always had my back, and that’s Jesus. ✌

** Featured image by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash **


Independent projects in large enrollment labs?

Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from John DeLong of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the first in a planned series of three. Thanks for taking the time John!


A fresh take on canned labs

Introductory science classes often have high enrollment, and so their associated labs must accommodate high student throughput. Not surprisingly, all of the introductory science labs I have taken and taught in my academic career have used canned labs. Students conduct activities or experiments with known outcomes, and by going through the activity and conducting an analysis, students ‘discover’ something we want them to know. As an instructor for the 200-level Ecology and Evolution class at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln for the last five years, I have tried to make sure our canned labs work reliably and generate the expected outcomes. Although there are two partially inquiry-based labs, the lab is still mostly canned. Most of the labs work, and the course has followed this format for many years.

About a year ago, however, we had a reliable lab go bad. Given our schedule, we needed the students to complete their assignments and move on. But asking students to do this had a profound effect on me. I felt as though I were completely lying to the students about how science works. Science does not follow the mantra of try something, fail, do something else. It follows a try something, fail, trouble shoot, try again mantra (at least up to a point). I felt that in addition to failing to teach the expected content, we gave students a false picture of how to do science and made the whole exercise rather pointless.

Bee enter bonnet

At this point, I had the crushing realization that maybe I have been teaching labs all wrong. Lecture is where we teach and learn content. Lab should be where we teach and learn process. We were mixing the two and failing to provide students with an authentic view of the scientific process. I began talking this problem up to anyone who would listen and planning a totally independent-projects based alternative lab. I got support from everyone I talked with – students, colleagues, and importantly, my department chair – and so this semester I am rolling out an independent-projects based lab for the Ecology and Evolution class. No canned labs. No recipes. For 108 students. With some students working in pairs, I am guessing we will have about 75 student-led, inquiry-based projects going at once. I am actually slightly worried about pulling this off, but everyone around me is so positive, I am tempted to think it will work.

Since I am bound to learn some hard lessons about trying to support so many independent projects at one time for mostly sophomore students who have always been told what to do in lab, I thought I would summarize the experience in a three-part blog. This first entry is being written in the first week of lab, before I’ve learned any hard lessons. The second entry will be during our spring break, and I will post one more at the end of the semester. I will try to reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what I failed to anticipate.

What exactly are we doing?

The lab is broken into three sections: 1) sampling and statistics (3 weeks), 2) mini-projects (3 weeks), and 3) independent projects (8 weeks). Each activity will require the students to decide what to sample, what questions to ask, and how to do it. Even for learning how to do descriptive statistics, the students will go outside, wander around, pick a population of plants (it’s winter, so it’ll be stems, seeds, etc.) and figure out how to sample it. We have some stats we want them to learn how to run, but they will do it using the data they choose to collect. In the mini and independent projects, they will formulate a hypothesis and test it. The mini-project will be just that – mini and not too concerned with biological concepts. The independent project will focus on something biologically interesting but doable. The bar for ‘interesting’ is that they use some content from lecture to motivate their hypothesis. They have 8 weeks, so they have time to try something, fail, trouble shoot, and try again. They will present their projects to their sections and write a scientific paper.

Grading this thing

Grades are forefront in students’ minds, so we do need to grade in a way that doesn’t cause undue stress. I think getting this right is key to getting student buy-in for the new lab approach. In this lab, the grades will reflect student willingness to engage in the scientific process. A portion of the grade will come from achieving benchmarks. For example, when the TA says a student has proposed an interesting hypothesis, they have earned the ‘hypothesis’ points and, regardless of how the rest of the project goes, they won’t lose them. I hope this frees the students to focus on the process and not worry about their grades so much. Finally, students will not be expected to write a well-thought out scientific paper on their first attempt. Instead, they will revise their papers based on TA feedback, and the thoroughness of their revision will determine the grade on the paper.

The end result

Will this approach be better than what we did before? I think so. I plan to conduct some exit interviews to document student perceptions. If all goes well, at the end of this, students will come out the other side with an authentic scientific experience, a more positive view of science, and a good foundation for whatever comes next.

Ecological diversity metrics can teach us how to feed the world well

For the latest post in our Functional traits in agroecology series, Stephen Wood (The Nature Conservancy, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies) highlights the importance of considering social and human, as well as ecological traits in agricultural systems. The full article, Nutritional functional trait diversity of crops in south-eastern Senegal is a part of a […]

Toxic Release Totals Continue to Decline

Analysis of data from the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to show a downward statewide in toxic pollutants entering Kentucky’s environment. With continued reduction in reported releases, the potential impact on communities that may be disproportionately impacted has also decreased. The Kentucky DEP conducted an analysis of reporting …

Continue reading Toxic Release Totals Continue to Decline

Self-Love Wednesday: TV & Chill!


noun   ˌself-ˈləv 
  • the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being, especially an excessive regard for one’s own advantage.


Here I am in bed finally with a Hulu trial and happily starting to binge watch the last season of The Mindy Project. I have been watching this show since day one, and even though I’m sad that it’s ending, I feel good knowing it’s not the end to come from Mindy Kaling. Plus, this season takes on a lot of great references from today’s events!

Girlfriend, that glass of wine is totally worth it,🍷 but now let’s add a show to it. It’s time to take a few hours off to yourself with a show! Here I am 3 episodes in, fully committed, and happy to know that this is the only thing my mind can deal with. I’m not thinking about tomorrow’s workload, or what I’m going to have for lunch — that’s a thing.

Your mind deserves a time-out away from solving algorithms — the world, throwing boss meetings and feeding your neighbor’s cat. Laughter is medicine, and so is TV. I like to indulge in romantic comedies, with a strong female role! Love is real, but I love myself first so I binge-watch.

Alright, let’s wrap up this post before the last advertisement ends #noshame. Now find yourself a show to unwind with for the next 30 mins or 3 hours! 💆 Bake yourself a cake like I did, eat half of it without a guilt, and unwind 📺/🎬!

What’s in your queue? I’d love to hear your picks!



How diverse are Dynamic Ecology commenters?

This came up in a recent comment thread, and I decided it was interesting enough to post on. What’s the demographic profile of our commenters? How diverse are they, compared to our readership? And do the demographics of people who comment about our posts on Twitter differ from the demographics of the people who comment here? If so, is there any sign that that’s because some groups of people (students? women? people who disagree with our posts?) are more comfortable commenting on Twitter than in our comment threads?

Attention conservation notice: navel-gazing post, probably of greatest interest to other bloggers.

Last month, I went back through the most recent 200 non-trackback comments by someone other than Meghan, Brian, or me, and compiled the following data: commenter gender (m/f; evaluated by name, and photo if available; a gender binary is not ideal but the best I can do), employment (grad student, postdoc, prof, other; ID’d by googling), country (ID’d by geolocating IP addresses), and total number of comments ever made (all time, not just within the most recent 200 comments). Then, because those 200 comments didn’t cover any posts by Meghan, or any posts on gender and equity issues, I also went back and compiled the same data for all the commenters on Meghan’s 10 most recent posts, and for 5 recent-ish posts on gender and equity issues. Two of those 5 were by Meghan and were among her 10 recent posts; 2 were by me and 1 was by guest poster Gina Baucom. Finally, earlier this month, I went through our Twitter notifications and did some searches (to look for subtweets), and compiled data on the gender and employment of the most recent 51 people to discuss our posts on Twitter. I didn’t count anyone who merely rephrased the post title or main conclusion along with tweeting a link to the post, but I did count all other comments even if they were quite brief (brief for tweets, I mean). Those 51 people’s tweets about our posts were made from Dec. 8, 2017 – Jan. 9, 2018, so overlapped a lot in time with the most recent 200 comment data.

For reference, here’s a demographic profile of our regular readers, from a reader survey we did last year that got almost 400 responses:

  • 32% grad students, 26% postdocs, 26% faculty, 16% other.
  • 58% men, 42% women, <1% non-binary or not disclosed.
  • 50% from the US, 10% Canada, 7% UK, rest from elsewhere. That matches where our pageviews come from, so our survey respondents were geographically representative of all readers.

Demographics of the commenters who made 200 recent comments:

  • 54 commenters
  • 67% of those 54 were men, 26% women, remainder unknown gender
  • 17% grad students, 13% postdocs, 37% profs (the majority of them senior profs), 19% other or unknown. Aside: from context, I suspect several of the unknowns are grad students.
  • 44% US, 15% Canada, 9% UK, remainder from elsewhere
  • Most of these 54 commenters have only ever commented once. The 7 all-time most active commenters among these 54 are all men, 6/7 are profs, and 2/7 have their own blogs.

Demographics of the commenters on 10 recent posts by Meghan:

  • 47 commenters, most of whom commented on only 1 of the 10 posts
  • 57% men, 32% women, 11% unknown
  • 11% grad students, 13% postdocs, 42% profs, the remainder other or unidentified
  • 60% US, 15% Canada, remainder from elsewhere

Demographics of the commenters on 5 recent posts on gender and equity issues:

  • 60 commenters
  • 45% women, 42% men, remainder unknown
  • 12% grad students, 8% postdocs, 23% profs, remainder unidentified or other
  • 72% US, 8% Australia, 7% Canada, remainder from elsewhere

Demographics of people who’ve recently discussed our posts on Twitter:

  • 51 people or organizations
  • 61% men, 35% women, 4% organizations
  • 9% grad students, 27% postdocs, 45% profs, 14% other or unknown employment, 4% organizations

Summary and comments:

  • The overall picture is that the demography of our commenters skews a bit more male than our readership (which itself skews a bit male), and substantially more senior than our readership.
  • Commenter demography changes when there’s a strong correlation between interest in the post topic and some dimension of commenter demography. Posts on gender and equity issues draw a more gender-balanced and US-skewed mix of commenters compared to posts on other topics (not mostly women, though, contrary to some speculation in the comment thread linked to at the beginning of this post). As another (anecdotal) example, it looks like our recent series of guest posts on doing ecology in developing countries had an unusually high proportion of commenters from developing countries.
  • That posts on gender and equity issues draw a very US-skewed commentariat is the  only surprise in this dataset for me. Curious to hear thoughts on this, especially from non-US readers, and from folks who participate in or follow online discussions of gender and equity issues in other venues.
  • The identity of the post author doesn’t affect the demographic mix of our commenters. It’s post topic that matters, not who wrote the post. This lines up with our anecdotal experience and survey data. Meghan, Brian, and I all have had the experience of being complimented for a post someone else wrote; some readers don’t notice who writes which post. And from survey data, we know that very few of our readers have favorite post authors, as opposed to favorite topics.
  • Most commenters only ever comment once or twice. If you weighted commenters by the number of comments they leave, you’d increase the skew towards male profs a bit, because our most active repeat commenters are mostly male profs. But this additional skew wouldn’t be huge, because no one commenter makes more than a few percent of all our comments.
  • Twitter commenters are not more diverse on the dimensions considered than people who comment here, contrary to a (plausible!) hypothesis proposed by some commenters in that old comment thread linked to at the start of the post. Indeed, if anything it looks like Twitter commenters might skew even a bit more senior than commenters here. I didn’t quantify geographic diversity of our Twitter commenters, but offhand it looked roughly similar to that of our commenters here.
  • I didn’t quantify this, but just anecdotally the vast majority of Twitter comments about our posts were positive–expressing agreement with the post, and/or adding additional thoughts. The majority of the small number of people disagreeing with our posts on Twitter were male profs. This is a very small sample of disagreement, obviously, so I wouldn’t make much of it. But for what little it’s worth, I don’t see any hint that Twitter commenters are more likely than our commenters to disagree with our posts (which as an aside is slightly contrary to what I’d have expected). And I don’t see any hint that Twitter commenters who disagree with our posts differ demographically from all Twitter commenters on our posts, or from our commenters here.
  • I have no idea about the demography of people who share and/or discuss our posts on Facebook.
  • The demographics of people who retweet and/or like us on Twitter, without commenting, might well differ from those of our Twitter commenters. Or not; I don’t know.
  • The data on our Twitter commenters didn’t cover a time period in which we posted about gender and equity issues. I suspect that if it had, we’d have found less male skew, or maybe even gender balance or a skew towards women.
  • The sample sizes here are modest, so keep that in mind. But I don’t see any reason to think that these samples are massively unrepresentative.
  • We love our commenters, they’re fantastic, we enjoy their comments and learn a lot from them. We wish we had even more and more diverse commenters, but I’m not sure there’s much we can do to encourage that beyond what we already do (moderating comments, treating commenters respectfully, blocking the IP address of anyone who makes really inappropriate comments, etc.). There’s no evidence that we’d increase the diversity of our commenters by switching all discussion of our posts to Twitter (and no one’s suggested we should). Further, we know from reader surveys, and from anecdotal evidence, that people’s reasons for not commenting are mostly beyond our control. Many readers don’t feel they have anything to add. Many have a policy never to write anything on the internet. Some find it a pain to type on their phones. Some prefer Twitter to blog comment threads, for various reasons. Etc. Probably the only thing we could do to attract a different mix of commenters is post on a different mix of topics. But we’re not perfect, and so we welcome suggestions on how we can encourage a large and diverse commentariat.
  • The demographic mix of our blog commenters, and the very similar demographic mix of people who comment on our posts on Twitter, might well not match the demographic mix of people with whom any particular Twitter user exchanges tweets most often. “People who comment on Dynamic Ecology posts on Twitter” probably comprise a non-random subset of all Twitter users, and of all Twitter users with whom any given Twitter user exchanges tweets regularly.
  • I don’t know if these results generalize to other blogs.
  • Let me conclude by thanking the many folks who participated in the excellent comment thread linked to at the start of this post for raising some important and interesting questions and inspiring me to compile some data addressing them.


Diabetes – metformin – insulin THE FAKE SCIENCE 4

Overweight woman eating fast food.

As we continue debunking the fake science of medicine in regards to the fortune that doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are making on the account of the human suffering through the perpetual never-ending system of permanent medication, diabetes is the jewel.

I would estimate that more than 90% of the diabetes is caused by the insulin resistance. Only very small percentage of diabetes is caused by the actual destruction of the pancreas and although it has not been “scientifically” proven, from my experience the damage was done by the new versions of a strong antibiotic overuse in children. I am sure that the same can happen to adults as well.

Is there really any difference between diabetes 1 and diabetes 2?

As I had mentioned, in most cases there is no difference at all. Diabetes 1, is just a severe version of diabetes 2.

If you notice that you are becoming thirsty more than usual and that you urinate a lot, this could be the first sign of elevated sugar in your blood.

After analysing your blood sugar, if elevated level of sugar is encountered, doctors will diagnose you with diabetes.

If the level of sugar is just elevated doctors will prescribe poisons that inhibit (suppress) the glucose production in your body. If the pill you have been given is satisfactorily controlling the level of your blood sugar by suppressing its production, you will be prescribed this pills and use them as long as they do their job. Eventually, the pills will fail and the doctor will put you on insulin. Now you will stay on the insulin to the end of your life as your body continues to decay. Your blood circulation will become compromised, you will lose sexual appetite and if you are a male you will become impotent, you will start losing your eyesight and most likely develop a foot gangrene. An amputation will follow. Probably the first thing to be taken away from you are your toes, then foot then the leg. Soon after the other leg will go as well and then your life.

The proud doctor who was in charge of your health will make sure that you know how he was able to extend your life and did the best in given situation but: did he???

close up of patient and doctor taking notes. vivid tone on sunset.

This is a million dollar question and the billion dollar answer is BULSHIT.

Excuse me for being harsh but in this situation of lie and deceit, this is the most appropriate term.

Why do I say a lie and a deceit?

The doctor never made an attempt to heal your body. All he did was to drug you with poisons that eventually after many years of suffering, cost you your life.

Let me walk you through the process in as a simple way as possible.

Once we start ingesting dietary (cooked or processed) carbohydrates, glucose becomes available for absorption and enters the blood.

Our body cannot explain how did the glucose found itself in the blood. Normally a stress is necessary for this to happen since the stress hormones are necessary to break the glucose – protein connection within the glycogen to release the glucose and make it available as an energy source.

Now as elevated levels of glucose are circulating in the blood pancreas is commissioned to produce extra insulin and release it into the blood. Without this insulin, our cells will not allow the glucose to enter and they would not use it as the fuel. Unfortunately, the insulin is an irritant and through the irritation forces the cells of our body to accept the glucose.

As we eat dietary carbohydrates daily, we are overproducing the insulin daily and our cells do not like it. The increased production of insulin stimulates increased production of the GLUT. GLUT is the sugar-transporting mechanism. As the levels of GLUT increase so does increase the sugar absorption and more and more sugar (glucose and fructose) finds its way into the blood.

Little by little the amount of the sugar becomes too high for the cells to burn so the liver starts to convert it into a fat, triglyceride.

As the levels of the absorbed glucose and fructose continue to increase the liver’s fat production exceeds the rate of the triglyceride release and deposition into the adipose tissue. This is the reason why the liver becomes loaded with fat. We call this a fatty liver syndrome.

As the levels of blood insulin rise so does the cellular irritation. To protect themselves from the insulin irritation the cells demand increased levels of cholesterol which they need so that they can thicken their membranes and protect themselves from the irritating insulin.

In time the cellular membrane becomes so thick that even the maximal levels of insulin that the body can produce are not strong enough to irritate the cells an force them to accept the glucose.

The blood level of sugar rises above the allowable limit and diuretic effect is put into the motion.

We start urinating the sugar out of our body. For this process, a lot of water is needed so our blood becomes dehydrated and we feel dry and thirsty.

The elevated levels of sugar can be found in the blood exam.

Diabetes Mellitus 2 was born.

Here I had explained several problems that occur because we ingest dietary glucose. You can clearly see that diabetes does not trigger circulatory problems and does not cause the fatty liver syndrome. They all come at the same time as the result of the wrong diet.

Here also you can clearly see that the heroic doctor did nothing to help the body.

Personalized Insulin Vials

By giving a poison it prevented you from using the good sugar your body makes and forces you to accept the toxic glucose from plants which should never find itself in your body, to begin with.

As your “savior” prescribes you the poison that prevents you from synthesizing glucose he instructs you to make sure that you eat a small amount of dietary carbohydrates through several meals daily.

It is just a matter of time when the cellular resistance to insulin surpasses the production capabilities of your pancreas and the diabetes Mellitus 1 is born.

Now the inhibition of glucose production is not sufficient and insulin has to be injected since the only elevated amount of insulin can breach the cellular resistance to insulin.

Ever increasing levels of insulin create increasing cellular demand for the cholesterol as the cells continue to make their membranes denser. Now even water has difficulty to enter the cell and the blood circulation becomes more and more compromised as the blood vessels stiffen.

Not only the blood vessels become affected. All cells of our body will experience this problem including our eyes and nerves. This means that the brain will show difficulties in hormone creation and its function overall will be compromised.

So, in which way did your good doctor help you exactly?

All that your doctor had to do is to instruct you not to eat dietary carbohydrates. By him failing to do so, he compromised your health and put your life in danger.

Instead, as the real culprit the glucose, is allowed to continue to invade your blood, your entire body is suffering. Doctors are cashing in by selling tons of medicinal poisons, the pharmaceutical industry is getting rich and we the people are paying for it with our hard earned money and life.

Diabetes is not a disease. It is a state of toxicity caused by glucose from the dietary carbohydrates and sugars. Doctors are allowing for this poisoning to continue while telling you how it is impossible to cure diabetes and daily consumption of toxic drugs and insulin is necessary to control it.

This is the ultimate fake science we are dearly paying for not just with our hard earned cash but also with our lives as the end result of the doctor’s care is certain death.

So if you have elevated sugar or diabetes 1 and 2, do not fall for the doctors narrative. You can easily heal but not by following the instruction of the certified health “expert” we call the doctor.

Follow “The Self Healers Protocol” or give me a shout and I will lead you to health.

Love and light to us all.



Winter Squash & Red Bean Mole

This is an another amazing vegetarian chili variation. Hearty too. It was especially wonderful for me as well because it incorporated a lot of flavors typically used in a traditional Mexican mole, one of my absolute loves. This recipe was adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant that … Continue reading