Podcast Goodness: Breathalyzers and the MARS Turbine

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Greetings, earthlings. Chuck here from the Stuff You Should Know podcast program. How about we just get right to the goodness, isn’t everyone else really busy? Plus I refuse to talk about the weather again until early October.
This week on the show, we rapped about a couple of science topics that were pretty cool. One has been around a while and one is not quite ready for public consumption. Tuesday’s show was about DUI breathalyzers, which have surprisingly been around since the late 1930s, and in use by the police since the 1940s. Back then they were called “drunk-o-meters” and for some reason Josh laughed every time I said that word. We explained the nuts and bolts of how the three main types of alcohol breath test worked. Here in Georgia, they use the infrared versions, but lucky for me I’ve never seen one up close. We were both pretty surprised at how complex these little gadgets are, and we were also not so pleasantly surprised to know that the reading can fluctuate depending on where you breath is coming from.
Yesterday we covered the MARS turbine. This is a really cool look into the future of green energy production, in this case, via the wind. Now wind energy isn’t new, but the MARS turbine is looking to take it to its logical next step — the sky. Regular wind turbines do a pretty bang-up job for what they can muster, but the MARS, by virtue of being up to 700 feet higher than the highest land-based turbine, really kicks some windy butt. The great thing about the MARS is that it doesn’t exact a toll on the environment because of the instillation process. They just float there, spinning like a giant inflatable football, sending mechanically generated energy down a tether to the ground, where it’s converted to usable electrical energy with the help of a transformer. More than meets the eye indeed.
Have a great and safe weekend, folks. Let’s hear from you in the comments below.
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What Are the Duties of Football Coaches?

Head football coaches are often stereotyped as simple taskmasters, but in reality, their jobs are anything but simple. In addition to running games, head football coaches must deal with players, assistants and team or school officials, all while providing a face for the team. While coaches manage their teams in different ways, there are some key fundamental duties they all must handle.
In ¡°the buck stops here¡± fashion, head football coaches are responsible for a team¡¯s overall offensive and defensive strategies. Because football teams are typically large — from around 20 players at smaller high schools to more than 100 at major colleges — football head coaches typically delegate plenty of responsibility to coordinators. But, with a week between most games, head football coaches typically sign off on any pre-game strategies they don¡¯t create themselves.
The head coach generally outlines what the team does during practice, even though assistant coaches handle most of the individual instruction. Head coaches typically have the final say on personnel matters, such as which players make the team and which become starters. The head coach also sets the team¡¯s rules, and the consequences for breaking those rules. In many ways, head football coaches act as CEOs, setting the overall tone for the team while others execute their plans.
Coaches at huge prep programs can take on elements of the CEO model. But at most levels, head coaches often supervise areas such as weight training, break down video of future opponents and buy equipment. They may also work with booster clubs and deal with parents who may not be happy with their sons¡¯ playing time. Regardless of a school’s size, high school coaches deal with less experienced players, so they must do more fundamental teaching than coaches at higher levels.
The key difference in college is the head football coach must be his team¡¯s key recruiter. Assistants may coordinate and even start the recruiting process, but the head coach must act as the closer. As a result, college head coaches must be familiar with NCAA recruiting rules. Coaches at all levels have fundraising duties, such as appearing at events for school donors. They also have to deal with unscrupulous agents and others who may try to take advantage of star players.
Coaches at the professional level have large staffs of assistants and help from small armies of scouts and personnel experts. Nevertheless, a professional head coach must work very long hours viewing video of opponents, holding meetings with players and assistants, and running practices. Pro head coaches are also involved in personnel decisions, such as which players to select during the college draft and which free agents to sign. On the field, the head coach is the final decision maker for his team, and the only one who may challenge an official’s ruling.

Diets for Running Backs in the NFL

An ideal diet for running backs requires 55 percent to 60 percent of their daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat, according to Leslie Bonci, who serves as the director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh and consults in that capacity with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most meals should consist of proteins, starches and fruits and vegetables, all in equal portions.
The need for calories is at its peak during training camp. Players may need to consume 8,000 calories or more per day, according to Bonci. An ideal diet for running backs includes 55 to 60 percent of the daily caloric intake to come from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein, and 30 percent from fat. Proteins should include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, dried beans and nuts. Starches should include rice, pasta and potatoes. Fruits like apples, bananas, grapefruit and grapes are a necessity, while fresh vegetables such as peas, broccoli, beans and corn are also needed. Fast foods and desserts should be eliminated.
Low-fat meals are best before the game because fats take longer to digest and will stay in the system longer. Running backs who eat high-fat meals may feel full and slow during the game and that needs to be avoided at all costs. Pregame meals for running backs include turkey and ham submarine sandwiches, eggs with waffles and fruit and pasta with red sauce and grilled chicken. If you are playing earlier in the day, try a smoothie with cereal and fruit as your pregame meal.
Players can eat more fats after the game, when quick digestion is not a necessity. Some of the top meals can include steak with rice, salmon with green beans and corn, roast beef with mashed potatoes and salad and hamburgers or grilled chicken sandwiches with fries and natural fruit juice.
No matter how careful you are with your diet, if you don’t keep yourself hydrated you will not be helping your ability to stay in the game. During the hottest part of training camp, running backs must drink 20-to-40 ounces of water per hour while exercising. Drink water with your meals, as well. Water will keep your vital organs functioning smoothly and will also help to wash toxins from your body.

How Men Wear a Bandanna

Men can wear a bandanna in a variety of ways. The square piece of cloth can keep long hair off of your forehead or simply make a fashion statement. Wear one on your head, around the neck and on the wrist. An alternative to headbands and wristbands, a bandanna is useful during exercise, too.
Wrap the bandanna around the wrist during a workout. This turns the bandanna into a wristband or sweatband that can be used to wipe your forehead during exercise — or whenever you’re perspiring a lot. Wearing a bandanna on the wrist can also be a casual fashion statement. Adjust the width of the bandanna for different looks.
Tie a bandanna around your neck like a scarf to complement a T-shirt and leather jacket look. Bandannas can serve as a neck cooler or warmer, depending on how they are tied. As popularized by cowboys in old western films, bandannas give outfits an extra touch.
Wear a bandanna as a skull cap to keep your head cool and out of the sun in warm conditions. To create the style, simply fold the bandanna diagonally, place the long side along your forehead, pull the ends around the back and tie. Tuck in any extra fabric. Body builders wear bandannas in the skull cap style to the gym, as the material is good at soaking up sweat.
Wear a bandanna as a headband. Fold the bandana into a long rectangle, wrap it around the head and tie it around the back to collect sweat and keep hair off of the forehead and face. Bandannas are an easy-to-use gym accessory for athletes and a stylish way for men with longer hair to keep their bangs off of the forehead.

What is the biggest animal ever to exist on Earth?

By considerable measure, the largest known animal on Earth is the blue whale. Mature blue whales can measure anywhere from 75 feet (23 m) to 100 feet (30.5 m) from head to tail, and can weigh as much as 150 tons (136 metric tons). That’s as long as an 8- to 10-story building and as heavy as about 112 adult male giraffes! These days, most adult blue whales are only 75 to 80 feet long; whalers hunted down most of the super giants. Female blue whales generally weigh more than the males. The largest blue whale to date is a female that weighed 389,760 pounds (176,792 kg).
A blue whale’s head is so wide that an entire professional football team — about 50 people — could stand on its tongue. Its heart is as big as a small car, and its arteries are wide enough that you could climb through them. Even baby blue whales dwarf most animals. At birth, a blue whale calf is about 25 feet (7.6 m) long and weighs more than an elephant. And they do grow up fast: During the first 7 months of its life, a blue whale drinks approximately 100 gallons (379 liters) of its mother’s milk per day, putting on as much as 200 pounds (91 kg) every 24 hours. An adult blue whale can eat more than 4 tons (3.6 metric tons) of krill, a tiny shrimp-like creature, every day.
This puts blue whales well above any known land mammal in terms of size. Most people believe that the largest animals to ever exist on Earth were the dinosaurs. However, one of the largest land dinosaurs, the sauropod Argentinosaurus, weighed only about 180,000 pounds (81,647 kg). That’s little more than half the size of an adult blue whale. It makes a lot of sense that the world’s largest animal would be a sea creature. Land animals have to support their own weight, whereas sea creatures get some help from the water.
It is believed that at one time there were more than 200,000 blue whales. There are only about 10,000 blue whales now — they’ve been on the endangered list since the mid-1960s — and the population is not expected to recover.
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Courses Needed to Be a Nutritionist

You would think that a title like ¡°nutritionist¡± denotes an established professional standard in terms of education and accreditation. Depending on where you live, however, that might not be the case. According to the American Dietetic Association, in some states anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, even if they have no experience or training. On the other hand, to claim the title ¡°registered dietitian,¡± you must be trained and authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association, or CADE.
Registered dietitians are licensed professionals who offer nutritional counseling in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, athletic facilities and HMOs. Some registered dietitians, or RDs, conduct research or teach in educational institutions. Still others work as nutritional journalists or consultants for food manufacturers. The American Dietetic Association observes that RDs who work their way up to management and business positions earn yearly salaries of $85,000 to $88,000.
To achieve RD accreditation, you must possess at least a baccalaureate degree from an American college or a foreign equivalent. This must include courses specifically mandated by CADE. If you have a bachelor¡¯s degree in a subject other than dietetics, you can have your grade transcripts evaluated by a dietetics program director, who can tell you what additional courses you will require to earn the RD certification. You also must complete an internship program lasting up to 12 months for full-time interns, or two years for part time.
Earning an RD certification requires a solid background in the basic sciences. You will need to take classes in anatomy, physiology, microbiology and biochemistry. This also requires courses specifically geared toward nutrition, including culinary arts, food service systems management, economics and sociology. If you¡¯re a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a registered dietitian, you would do well to study biology, math, chemistry and communications in preparation for college.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs in the dietetic field to grow at an average rate in the coming years. Growing interest in disease prevention, coupled with the needs of an aging population, should keep opportunities expanding at a steady pace. Also expected to grow rapidly are jobs with outpatient care centers, doctors¡¯ offices and food service contract providers.

Questionnaire on the Effects of TV Violence on Children

Television cartoons aimed at children often contain violent acts. Other shows, such as the ¡°Law and Order¡± franchise and other police shows, contain depictions of graphic violence. Television violence pervades much programming available to families, who are trying to limit their children’s exposure to both television and violent content.
Today¡¯s children view an average of 200,000 acts of violence by their 18th birthday, reports Kids Health. This includes violent acts carried out by actors in ¡°good guy¡± roles, which can confuse young children. Parents who let their children know which shows are off-limits are on the right track in controlling what shows are allowed in their home; when their children visit a friend and watch TV at the friend¡¯s house, a different set of rules may be applied.
Children are exposed to television images from a very young age. Kids Health points out that two-thirds of toddlers and children under age six watch an average of two hours of television every day. Children and teenagers watch even more, clocking an average of four hours daily in front of the television, on top of nearly two additional hours playing video games and non-study-related computer time.
Children and teens that were exposed to the images of the World Trade Centers¡¯ collapse and the attack on the Pentagon reacted with fear because they were unable to understand that the attacks were limited to New York City and Washington, D.C. Dr. Charlotte Reznick, educational psychologist and associate clinical professor at UCLA, advises that ¡°preschool and elementary children¡± be restricted from viewing anything depicting that day ¡°because it becomes real to everyone and then it¡¯s too hard to handle.¡±
Parents are able to control the television shows their children watch. Technology, such as the V-chip, enables families to block shows with violent content. TV sets with screens larger than 13 inches are manufactured with internal V-chips; set-top boxes are available for hookup to TVs made before 2000. In addition, parents can take advantage of the ratings provided in television listings and guides: TV-Y, suitable for all children; TV-Y7, suitable for all children over 7 years of age; TV-Y7-FV, contains fantasy violence that may be more intense than in shows rated TV-Y7; TV-G, suitable for a general viewing audience; TV-PG, parental guidance recommended; TV-14, parents are strongly cautioned that this programming is suitable only for children over 14; TV-MA, intended only for mature audiences and unsuitable for children under 17.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has published a position paper on this subject, saying that television depictions of violence contribute to aggression, desensitization and trauma and victimization in young viewers. Even Saturday morning cartoons contain acts of violence–20 to 25 per hour, reports the AAFP.
The AAFP states that violent episodes coupled with humor, weapons and attractive actors can increase real-life aggression while episodes of violence coupled with humor, as well as depictions of graphic violence, are likely to instill fear and a feeling of victimization in viewers.

Do Spikes Make You Run Faster?

Spikes gain most of their notoriety from track and field events as shoes that give runners extra traction. Different from the cleats commonly seen in sports such as soccer and football, spike shoes use removable metal or plastic spikes on the bases — cleats typically have molded, permanent nodules on the bottoms. The idea behind spikes is that extra traction equals faster running, but the trick isn’t only in the grip.
The main benefit to wearing running spikes is that they grip the track better, giving you traction even in wet or otherwise harsh conditions. A variety of spike types exist. Smaller, sharper spikes, such as metal needle spikes, often work on standard tracks for short distances. Cross-country spikes are larger and a bit heavier, designed to last longer over more difficult terrain. They both provide the same benefit — the better your feet grab the track or trail, the faster you can propel yourself.
Spike shoes help you run faster by being versatile. Because they’re removable, you can change the configuration to meet your needs, depending on what kind of race you’re in. For example, sprinters typically put the spikes under the toes, where they spend most of their time in a sprint. Those who need all the traction they can get in a few tight turns, such as in the 200-meter race, might line the inside of the left foot and the outside of the right foot with spikes. Cross-country runners can get the speed they need spacing the spikes all over the shoe bottoms.
Traction isn’t the only way to increase speed. Spike shoes tend to be lighter than other types of running shoes, and the lighter weight means you can pick up your feet faster without as much fatigue. The weight of spike shoes varies; sprint spikes, for example, are the lightest, because the runners only have a few seconds and need all the speed they can find. This low weight has a tradeoff — most spike shoes have little to no padding or cushioning and aren’t designed for true comfort. They should fit well and not leave blisters, but they won’t feel good after a long day on your feet. They are meant solely for use during races.
Although spikes can help you run faster, they have their drawbacks. The removable spikes wear out, which means you must spend money to replace them. The lightweight shoes aren’t designed for long-term wear, so they need replacing more often than standard running shoes. Practicing in your spikes wears them out faster, so consider using alternate running shoes except on race days.