On the Elusive Megamouth Shark

It’s not often we see one of these. Each time is an occasion.

Shark Devocean

On the morning of the 28th of January in Barangay Marigondon, Philippines, local residents discovered a mysterious shark washed up on their coastline caught in fishing nets. After contacting local authorities, it was confirmed to be the ever elusive megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios. This is, by my records, only the 60th confirmed documentation of this enigmatic shark. Whilst detailed information on this species is still lacking, some biological information is known about this shark:  check out my 12 brain fondling facts here

But what have we learnt about this shark since its last sighting back in July of 2014.

[EDIT]: The original upload of the photo was by Rosalina Sariola of Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines (as credited under the photo and hyperlinked). Please see their Facebook page for more videos and photos of the event. All other pictures used are credited to the photographer and also hyperlinked to…

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PhsyTEC: Changing STEM Education

The development of science courses and teachers in high school and college is approaching a level commensurate with its increasing significance in a technology-reliant world. This is promising news for those keeping track of higher education statistics that show a decline in the number of students ready for college level science courses after graduating high school. It is hoped that students both in undergraduate and graduate studies will be offered the opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge bases through increased funding for the abovementioned curricula, and general encouragement at home and at school to continue their education.

In 2014, the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) expressed its disappointment and proposed goals for improvement concerning the educational and pedagogical preparedness of the average physics teacher. The program asks schools to review candidates for teaching positions with more scrutiny and selectivity, seeking to raise the standard of teaching in high schools where educators were found lacking subject-specific backgrounds and experience lecturing on relevant material. The coalition’s proposal also included hiring more teachers in attempt to make the number of teachers more moderately proportional to the rising number of students taking STEM courses. A concurrent effort is to urge women specifically to express interest in STEM fields where they represent an underwhelming 28% of the workforce. This is compared with the near 50% they represent in the workforce as a whole. As women establish themselves as equally competent candidates in fields that were historically associated with men, workplace equality may be in the cards.

PhysTEC’s project is already showing positive results. Although the coalition stated that its low budget could better provide “bootstrapping a nascent physics teacher education program rather than long-term funding,” a review of the outcomes showed that most programs managed to reach higher productivity levels among better trained teachers, and receive continued funding after PhysTEC’s grants ended. This surge in grants offered to STEM course funding has extended the number of opportunities available to both men and women in a field that faced an unfortunate decline in enthusiasm. (1)(3)

In the larger picture, the shifting increase in focus on science-based subjects may be especially inviting news to women who are seeing a rise in earnings. The Huffington Post states “there has never been a better time for women to break into the field” of STEM careers (science, technology, engineering, maths) noting that they bring in 33% more than their non-STEM counterparts. (2)


Sources used:

  1. American Physical Society. “Creating sustainable STEM teacher programs.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724144259.htm>.

(2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/women-in-stem_n_6802006.html

(3) http://www.phystec.org/solicitation/media/recruitingGrantsRFP.pdf

(4) https://www.nms.org/AboutNMSI/TheSTEMCrisis/STEMEducationStatistics.aspx

(5) http://www.jenjenson.com/courses/gendertech/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/boysandmachines.pdf

baked banana bites to go

These would be nice party treats too!

Gully Creek Cottage

What to do with your banana fana? Or over ripened bananas???  How about some delicious and healthy mini baked banana bites!


 Baked Banana Bites

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. apple sauce
  • oil
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed)
  • 2 T. coconut pieces finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • *chopped nuts (optional)

For Coating:

  • spicy sugar (1/4 c. granulated sugar mixed with 1 t. allspice)
  • 1/4 c. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350, spray your mini muffin tin & set aside.


In a medium bowl whisk together the flour & other dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup add the 1/4 c. applesauce and when adding oil, have it reach the 1/3 c. mark.  combine this and a large bowl with the sugar, egg and vanilla  Mix well and gradually add…

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Quick and Easy Recipe: Crunchy, Homemade Granola

Can’t wait to try it!


I love granola, but being at university and living on a student budget means I can’t buy everything I want! Last week I decided to try and make my very own version of granola using ingredients I already had in my cupboard (and luckily it worked!)

This is all I used to make my delicious granola:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Raisins
  • Bran flakes
  • Porridge oats
  • Argave nectar (can be substituted for maple syrup/honey)

I mixed the argave syrup into a bowl of oats so that they were all covered and then lay the mixture out onto a greased baking dish in a thin layer and cooked at 180 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

I took this out of the oven and let it cool down for a few hours until it had solidified and gone completely cold.

Meanwhile I chopped my nuts…

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Websites for the Win: Four Home Pages

WordPress.com News

We love blogs, but we love websites, too. Small businesses, personal portfolios, non-profit organizations, government websites — bring ’em on! These four sites are each beautiful, effective, and built on WordPress.com.

Sandyfoot Farm

Purple carrots, green grass, red tomatoes — rather than clashing, the images on Sandyfoot Farm’s site suggest abundance and health. Popular free theme Sela is the perfect backdrop for these Virginia farmers’ vibrant vegetables.

sandyfootSela‘s built-in “front page” template gives them space for a welcome note and and three areas highlighting key elements of their business like farmers’ market appearances, farm shares, and their farm blog. The theme’s default sans-serif font plays well with the Sandyfoot logo and keeps things feeling streamlined, even amidst a riot of color.

Only in the Peg

Ever thought about visiting Winnipeg, Canada? You will after seeing Only in the Peg, the adorable online showcase the city’s tourism board built using the premium Adventure theme. While the site retains a blog-style…

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Two lion subspecies in Africa, new research

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Lions Documentary National Geographic – The Kingdom of Lion.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

African lion has two subspecies

The traditional separation of lions in an African and an Asian subspecies is unjustified, says biologist Laura Bertola. In Africa two subspecies live. PhD defence on March 18th.

Unique position

Lions are found in virtually all of Africa and a small part of India. Until now, they were divided into two groups: an African subspecies, Panthera leo leo, and an Asian subspecies, Panthera leo persica. This format is not correct according to Laura Bertola. They examined the DNA of lions in Africa and India. The animals in West and Central Africa are more like the Asiatic lions than like other African lions. Bertola: “They are clearly different from the lions in the rest of Africa. You can speak of two African subspecies. The…

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