Monthly Archives: February 2011

Because they like us so much

Vivisection is the practice of surgically operating on animals while they are still alive, or more accurately, “performing invasive, intentionally mutilating or maiming surgeries on living animals.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds like animal cruelty to me.

Thomas Peter, Reuters

Last night I attended a lecture on the Ethics of Animal Experimentation, given by Dr. Lawrence Hansen, a professor of pathology at the University of California-San Diego. As a professor who works at an animal-research-intensive university, Dr. Hansen knows first-hand how cruelly animals can be treated in the research world, and he actually works to put an end to it. In fact, Dr. Hansen is also a proud member of PETA.

While Dr. Hansen had a lot of great points to make–most of them modeled off of this article that was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education–I was particularly intrigued by his mention of groupthink, which he claims, plays a large role in animal research.

In Dr. Hansen’s words, “groupthink is a mode of thought that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, where members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.”

Essentially, Dr. Hansens was contending that scientific researchers only view animals as a means to an end rather than as ends in their own right, as we consider ourselves. However, it is Dr. Hansen’s thought, and mine as well, that the ends cannot justify the means if the means include cruelty to animals.

Even if you aren’t animal-obsessed like I am, just consider this point:

“People have a natural empathy for their fellow primates because we recognize ourselves in them. Most of us also recognize a special bond with dogs and cats, after 10,000 years of selective breeding have produced companion animals hard-wired to love humans.”

How can you hurt someone who is hard-wired to love you?

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Bananarama wafer pudding

One of my favorite places to get recipes is from Hungry Girl, a free daily e-mail subscription service about healthy eating run by Lisa Lillien. Most of her recipes are super simple, and I love recipes that are easy to do and don’t take up a lot of time. This delicious banana pudding recipe is no exception. I made it on Monday and it was completely gone by Tuesday night.

To make, you will need:
2 cups cold skim milk
24 reduced fat Nilla wafers
2 medium-sized bananas, sliced
1 small pkg. (1 oz.) JELL-O sugar-free, fat-free instant vanilla pudding mix
Whipped cream to top (optional)

Combine pudding mix and milk in a bowl, beat together for two minutes or until well blended, and then set aside. In a glass bowl or casserole dish, arrange a layer of wafers and a layer of banana slices. Alternate wafers and banana slices until they are gone. Top with pudding, letting it seep into the wafer and banana layers. Refrigerate for two to three hours. Once it’s ready to serve, add whipped cream on top if desired.

See the full recipe here.

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I cannot love a cheesehead pharaoh

Living in Wisconsin when you’re from Illinois usually gets you a lot of grief. While I’m not sure I could ever call Wisconsin home, there are many things about this state that I’ve grown to love. I even loved receiving my first bobblehead at the Milwaukee Bucks game I attended on Saturday. And that’s saying a lot for a non-sports fan who had to endure a halftime tribute to the Green Bay Packers.

There is, however, one thing that I cannot love about this state: the newly elected Republican governor Scott Walker. Last week Walker proposed taking away most collective bargaining rights of public employees, without ever bothering to actually negotiate with any public-sector unions.

As a result, thousands from across the state swarmed the Capitol yesterday, urging Walker to kill the bill. Further still, all Madison public schools are closed today due to a district-wide teacher sickout.

Mark Kauzlarich/The Daily Cardinal

Here’s a great piece on how the proposed bill would affect at least one teacher in Wisconsin.

Even the Madison school board urged Walker to reconsider and one columnist from the Washington Post compared Walker to the former Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak, by calling him the ‘cheesehead pharaoh.’

So I guess the question is, what will make everyone happy?


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The most important conversation you’ll ever have

Like most people, I am not a fan of job interviews. They have the potential to be awkward, nerve-wracking and just plain filled with too much pressure.

As a result, since graduating in December, I’ve tried to become an interview expert, researching and reading up on all of the do’s and don’ts of a successful interview. So today I share with you three of my favorite resources to ensuring your interview is as winning as possible.

A book about job searching you will actually want to read:
Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?: A Crash Course in Finding, Landing, and Keeping Your First Real Job by Ellen Gordon Reeves

This is by far, one of the best books I’ve ever purchased. It’s easy to read, easy to follow and actually makes sense. This review basically sums it up: “Ellen Reeves has entered the depths of young job-seekers’ minds, answering the questions most are afraid to put into words.” Click here to find this book on Amazon.

A little love from the New York Times:
Subtle Cues Can Tell an Interviewer ‘Pick Me’ by Phyllis Korkki

This article is from September ’09, but the content is definitely still applicable. Click here to make sure you’re making all the right moves.

The right answers to all those pesky questions:
How to answer the 64 toughest interview questions

The name says it all. From describing your strengths and weaknesses to explaining why the employer should hire you, you’ll get the answers you need, and more. Click here to read the answers.

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Five things I love about Valentine’s Day

I claim there ain’t
Another Saint
As great as Valentine.
-Ogden Nash

Some say Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a manufactured holiday. Did you know that this holiday alone will rack up close to $20 billion in sales? And they say we’re in a recession. Pssh.

But I say Valentine’s Day is all about the simple things. Here are five things I’m loving about today’s holiday:

1. Sweet treats that don’t even require any work – simply remove from box, place on cookie sheet, bake and enjoy!

2. My new Snoopy-themed lunch bag from my mom – perfect for sticking said cookies in!

3. A Charlie Brown Valentine – why stop with the lunch bag alone? Unlucky for me, I think I missed this year’s showing.

4. This book from Josh that I’ve been wanting for weeks – I can’t resist a good dog book, children’s version or not.

5. Getting valentines in the mail – who doesn’t love getting something in the mail?


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An egg-cellent choice

I’m not one who cooks often. I’m usually content making a turkey sandwich, eating pre-cooked rice out of a bag or going to Panera, which is just a five-minute walk away from my apartment.

This past Christmas, however, my family seemed intent on having me learn how to cook for myself and I received some fabulous new cookbooks as gifts. I haven’t used them a whole lot yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

The dish I made yesterday didn’t come from a cookbook, but it did come from a family friend who made this delish egg bake for my mom and I last weekend. It’s super simple to prepare and only takes about an hour to make, including prep and baking time. If you’re interested check out the recipe below.



You will need:

32 oz. cottage cheese (I like the Dean’s brand)
2 8-oz. bags of shredded cheese (I used cheddar and a mixed cheese bag, but you can choose whatever kind you like)
6 eggs
Veggies of your choice (I think broccoli, red pepper and onions are best, but spinach would be tasty as well)

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, and enjoy!


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Workout mania

Since graduating in December, my membership at the SERF (UW’s on-campus workout facility) promptly expired midway through January. At first, I was at a loss. Not only was the SERF just a five minute walk from my apartment, but I had finally worked up enough courage to do more than just the treadmill and the elliptical machine. I had finally ventured into the weight room and had become a regular at several of the group fitness classes.

With the mountain of snow and ice on the ground, and the temperatures barely hovering above double digits, the weather has not exactly been ideal for running and biking outside. Plus, my budget as of now won’t support a gym membership, at least not for a gym as nice as Lifetime Fitness back home.

So the answer was clear: exercise DVDs. I quickly invested in two five-pound and two eight-pound hand weights and decided that Jillian Michaels, the personal trainer from “The Biggest Loser”, would be my go-to girl. She’s had some controversy come her way and her voice can be slightly obnoxious most of the time, but so far her workouts are great. I now own four of her DVDs, and until I can stand to be outside for longer than 20 minutes, I think I’ll stick with her.

Here are the DVDs I’m currently using:

Jillian Michaels 6 Week Six-Pack

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred
Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism
Jillian Michaels: Shred-It With Weights


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