Flight 296: The day we lost brakes

Everything we do in life has a certain amount of risk associated with it. Travel is one of those things.

Recently I was flying home after attending BloggyCon. I had had a layover in Denver, so I grabbed a late lunch and boarded the plane just like normal. It was essentially a typical non-eventful air travel day. As we pushed away from the terminal and started heading out to our runway the pilot quickly stopped the plane. I had an isle seat, but I did’t think much about it, as it is not uncommon for pilots to stop quickly. However, we did not move again. A guy sitting on the other side of the isle against the window says, we are in the grass. At first I didn’t think I heard him correctly, “In the grass?” I ask. He confirmed it. The pilot then makes an announcement that says our aircraft had lost brakes and he put the engines into emergency reverse mode, hence the quick stop.

out-the-window
We were in good hands. Photo taken by the lady with the window seat in my row. 

Since that day I have had several people ask me what the atmosphere was like on the plane. It was calm. No one screamed, no one was hurt. It didn’t take us long to figure out that we were very glad we lost brakes while still on the ground as opposed to landing in Reno. As we sat on the plane, a maintenance crew worked on the brakes below us and the pilot gave updates as he knew them. The flight crew did their best to answer questions and provide information. Everyone got to know their neighbors. There was a sense of togetherness and camaraderie with the people near me.

It was finally decided that the plane could not be towed back to the terminal at that time. They were going to evacuate the plane and bus us all back to the terminal. We unloaded the plane from the rear. They had numerous emergency service professionals to assist us as well as the flight crew and the airport representatives waiting for us. We all made our way onto buses that took us back to the terminal.

off-the-plane
First time to leave a plane by the rear exit. 
from-the-bus
Back to the airport we go.

We were greeted in the terminal with water, meal vouchers, and confirmation that we would be boarding another plane that night headed to Reno. Everyone seemed relieved we would be heading home and that we weren’t going to be staying overnight in Denver.

The second plane finally arrived, we reboarded with a new flight crew. This flight went just as planned, and we had a safe landing in Reno. Although this incident caused about a three hour delay, it is safe to say that I personally was very glad to find out we did not have brakes in Denver before we took off. I cannot even imagine what the possible outcome would have been had we discovered that when we landed in Reno. I think every person on that plane probably spent a few minutes reflecting on what is important in their life and thanked someone or something for giving us a positive outcome.

I boarded another plane this week. The reward outweighed the risk for me.

I wanted to give a shoutout to United airlines (the airline I happened to be flying during this incident), as they did an excellent job handing a volatile situation. They provided continuous updates, were friendly and helpful, sent a survey about our experience immediately, and offered points or a cash credit toward our next flight. It was a good case study in crisis communication.

Disclaimer: United Airlines has in no form or fashion compensated me for writing this post. I am just glad to be here today to share my story about United flight 296.

Have you ever had a close call when traveling?


Dr. Lindsay can also be found on:

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15 Tips from BloggyCon

I recently had the opportunity to attend my very first blogger conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I am not a “mommy blogger” nor do I sell stuff through my blog. Nonetheless I signed up, and off I went to Sandusky, Ohio for my first BloggyCon.

Below I wanted to share some of the best takeaways for me. These are things I hope to continue doing, start doing, or do better in the future.

  1. Podcasts – keep them between 10 and 15 minutes.
  2. Present yourself – what is your story? Everyone has a story. Be real and share your story.
  3. Take the time to work on content and schedule it, then it frees up time for other things and helps remove the guilt about not posting regularly.
  4. Perfection is the enemy of production – sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end and go with it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go back to old blog poststhat are performing well and re-purpose them into additional or follow-ups posts, podcasts, webinars, etc.
  6. The ideal  blog post should take 7 minutes or less to read and be 500-750 words with pictures.
  7. Solve a problem for your audience. If you have a talent or skill make a video and share it. “How to” videos on YouTube are tremendously popular.
  8. Use the YouTube thumbnails when posting a video.
  9. Do not spend more than 15 to 30 minutes editing a video. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
  10. You don’t have to have expensive equipment to produce a good product.
  11. Facebook Live videos are being prioritized over other content… Be there.
  12. Go live for 10-15 minutes on Facebook Live.
  13. Use good keywords and do not ever include a hashtag in a Pinterest post.
  14. Blog post titles should be around 60 characters
  15. Take advantage of internal linking. Go back through old posts and link in newer stuff (and vice versa) that you have written that relates to it.

This conference focused a lot on monetizing your blog, which is something I cannot do at this point. However, I learned a lot at BloggyCon and need to spend a day or two going through my social networks making various changes. I also met some great ladies that I look forward to keeping in touch with, and will perhaps see again someday. And to top it off, the location for this conference was fantastic.

Have you ever attended a blogging or social media conference? If so, which one was it?


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Gene-editing: Improved animal welfare and food security?

I recently came across an article from the Progressive Dairyman magazine called Gene-editing tool could improve animal welfare and food security written by Holly Drankhan. I would strongly encourage reading it as it talks about some emerging technology that not only can make great advancements in animal welfare, but also help potentially make cattle more efficient in milk production and rebreeding.

Additionally, CRISPR technology differs from the technology used to created genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and it is important to understand the differences.

As quoted from the article:  “In the same way that spell-check identifies and corrects single-letter errors in a word or grammar errors in a sentence, gene editing can be used to identify and change the letters that make up the genetic code within an individual,” wrote Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal genomics and biotechnology cooperative extension specialist for the University of California – Davis Department of Animal Science, in an eXtension article published in 2015.

One of the major benefits of this CRISPR technology is creating cattle without horns (polled) which greatly increases safety for other animals and people. Check out the video here:

Where else could CRISPR technology be used?

**Note: no compensation was received for this post. I just believe the information was worth sharing.


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Technology: Reflecting on successes and challenges

What if I told you that some of the best scientists in the world have come up with amazing technology? Technology that could potentially save lives? Technology that could decrease water and pesticide use? Technology that would help people make a better living for themselves and their families?

Hopefully you are asking yourself why this technology is not being used? Or maybe you are thinking, get this technology into the hands of the people who can use it most.

Unfortunately, this technology is hung up in the regulatory process. Unrealistic timelines and costs to bring this technology to fruition…

This technology is biotechnology. You may be most familiar with biotechnology when a Vitamin A fortified rice (aka Golden Rice) was created or when biotechnology saved the papaya industry in Hawaii.

To better grasp these opportunities and challenges, check out 20 Years of Innovation: Reflecting on Successes and Challenges of Biotech Crops by Craig Rickard, executive director for plant biotechnology at CropLife International.

**Note: I am not receiving any compensation for this post. I just find the information very relevant and informative.


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Veganism for children?

This morning my husband sent me a link to an article that I thought I would share here with all of you, as it seems to be such a problem that laws in Italy may go into place. Veganism for childrenItaly may outlaw veganism for kids.

As published on The Daily Beast by Barbie Latza Nadeau:

Italians do love their wild boar pasta and thick Florentine steaks. So it is no wonder that not long after Chiara Appendino, the new mayor of Turin, announced that she would like to see her northern Italian town become the country’s first “vegan city,” Elvira Savino, an opposing politician, announced she had a beef with that. Then Savino promptly introduced a law that would make raising children on a vegan diet a crime.

Under the proposed legislation (PDF), which will be debated in parliament this fall, parents who raise a child on a vegan diet could face a year in prison if their child is over three years of age, and two years in prison if the child is younger. The sentence increases to four years if the vegan child develops a serious health condition, and up to seven years if the child dies from anything related to malnourishment.

This is not as far-fetched as at first it might seem. The law has a chance of passing.

Support for it gained traction this summer after two children in northern Italian towns were hospitalized due to vitamin deficiencies thought to be tied to their enforced vegan diets. In late June, a two-year-old girl in Genoa was treated in an intensive care unit of a local hospital after she became unresponsive. Doctors said she suffered from severely low hemoglobin and an extreme B12 deficiency. Her parents were investigated by social services and, though not charged with any crimes, advised that if their child falls ill again under similar circumstances, they could be charged with neglect.

A few weeks later, a one-year-old boy was nearly removed from his home in Milan after a local judge there ruled that his parents’ vegan diet was detrimental to his health and “incompatible” with the growing child’s nutritional needs. The child was breastfed by his vegan mother for most of the first year of his life, and the judge ruled that his mother’s milk was not sufficiently nourishing. The child weighed just 11 pounds, more in line with a three-month old baby, and far less than a child that age should weigh. The parents must now prove that they are providing high protein alternatives and supplements that include meat and fish or risk losing their child to foster care.

For all that, veganism is growing in popularity in Italy. According to the health ministry around 2.9 percent of Italians subscribe to the strict dietary lifestyle which avoids all animal foods, not only meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, but also eggs, milk and honey. (More than seven percent of Italians are vegetarian, which is rather less demanding.)

Italian health authorities do not recommend a vegan diet for growing children. In the Italian school system, parents can only ask that their child be given a vegan school lunch if they have a medical certificate that states specifically the child’s medical condition, which must be an allergy or intolerance, that prohibits them from eating foods made from animals, especially milk and cheese products, which are considered staples for Italian children.

When Appendino, who is from the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement party, introduced her vegan program for Turin, she noted the importance of education in adopting the vegan lifestyle and said she would dedicate her mandate to education in this area. “The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens and the welfare of our animals,” her program states. “Leading medical, nutritional and political experts will help promote a culture of respect in our schools, teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights.”

The law introduced by Savino, who is from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia center-right party, would not make veganism illegal, but it would make it virtually impossible for parents to impose the dietary lifestyle on children under the age of 16.

“I have nothing against vegans or veganism as long as it is a free choice by adults,” she told Reuters. “I just find it absurd that some parents are allowed to impose their will on children in an almost fanatical, religious way, often without proper scientific knowledge or medical consultation. ‘Do-it-yourself’ on these matters is what terrorizes me.”

The International Vegan Rights Alliance has condemned the proposed law, calling it “unfair, extremely misguided and discriminatory” in an open letter to Savino, and threatening to take the battle for veganism to the European Commission of Human Rights if the law passes.

If the law does pass, it could theoretically also pave the way to other legislation that protects children, including laws that would make a diet of fast food or excessive sweets illegal, or that would prohibit children from sipping wine at their parents’ dinner table. By law, children over the age of 10 in Italy are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages like beer and wine if a parent or guardian is with them.

Andrea Ghiselli, president of the Italian Society of Food Science, argues that any legislation should encompass all bad food choices. “Why just focus on a tiny fraction of society that imposes veganism on children?” he says. “Why not make illegal all the bad food choices parents make for their children?”

 This post is not intended to start an argument. I want to simply shed some light on a potentially serious problem for children. I am not a medical doctor, so I will not issue medical advice. However, if you choose to feed your children a vegetarian or vegan diet, please do careful research to ensure they are getting all of the nutrients needed for their young and growing minds and bodies. What are your thoughts on this lifestyle and the potential laws against it?
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Creating lifelong learners: Summer Day Camp

August 12 is International Youth Day. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will be celebrating by highlighting the accomplishments of 4-H, a program that provides positive youth development by promoting citizenship, healthy living, science education, leadership skills, and more. Coincidentally, last week my office held its first ever Youth Summer Day Camp. We have actively been working on creating awareness about 4-H and Extension, and what we can provide to both youth and adults in our community. While this will take time, I am excited about how our camp went over. We are exploring the idea of hosting two to three of these annually.

The goals of the camp were that it had to be educational and it had to be fun. Judging by the youth evaluations we achieved both of those components! We hope that by introducing the youth to a variety of things, we are helping to create lifelong learners.

On Day 1 we did a hike around Spooner Lake, which is near Lake Tahoe. It is just over 2 miles, so perfect to do with kids. On this day the youth learned the differences between trees, shrubs, and forbs, as well as how to identify several within each of those major groups. We grilled hotdogs for lunch and rounded out the day talking about our forests and waterways.IMG_3609

On day 2 we went to the Library. They have computers on which each youth can learn how to code and program on, all of the skills learned resulted in a maze competition later in the day. They built mazes and the other teams had to solve them by writing in the code. We had circuit challenges, they learned how to create designs, and everyone got to have something printed by the 3D printer. IMG_3380

Day 3 was photography day. They learned how to take a good photo, how to work their cameras and change the settings depending on what they were trying to photograph. To hone their skills we visited Silver Saddle Ranch and the river. At the end of the day our instructor gave them tips on the photos they took and encouraged them to look for youth photography exhibits. For more check out Silver Saddle Ranch… Wordless Wednesday.IMG_3465

Day 4 was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day. My colleague taught the youth how to make little cleaning robots which had to clean up an “oil spill” (aka rice). Youth also learned about polymers and their ability to absorbs and hold water in things like diapers or soil. The big hit of the day was learning about CO2 and dry ice, which provided endless fun. IMG_3533

Rounding out Day 5 was entomology, or the study of insects. We visited a bug and butterfly house where one of my colleagues taught the youth how to catch insects. The youth then learned how to identify what they caught based on wings, legs, and other distinguishable body characteristics. The youth learned how to euthanize an insect and how to pin it. They were able to start their own collections. Undoubtedly, we now have some youth who are home insect collectors. IMG_3590

I would say that our first day camp was a huge hit. All of the youth loved it, as did their parents. We are looking forward to future camps which encourage youth to become lifelong learners, ask questions, and have fun!


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