A Note from Captain America

Intro: the much-anticipated superhero movie Captain America: The First Avenger makes its nationwide debut today and Mr. America wanted to tell you a little bit about himself. Special thanks to Captain America’s biographers over at Wikipedia for unearthing some truly absurd facts about him.

Enter “The Captain”…

I have blonde hair and blue eyes. I am a perfect specimen of human development and conditioning, standing with perfect posture at 6’2″ and weighing in at 240 pounds. My body fat percentage is a decimal point. There are no numbers.

My strength, endurance, agility, and speed are at the highest limits of human potential. The secrets of developing a superhuman were lost with the death of my creator, so I am better at anything than anyone who has ever existed on the entire planet. Ever. Examples? Sure. I run one mile in approximately 73 seconds; I run 100 meters in three. I bench 1,800 and am fire-retardant and bulletproof.

I have reflexes and senses that are extraordinarily keen, allowing me to fling indestructible shields through bowling pins with unerring accuracy. (I bowl 300.) I have masterfully blended judo, kickboxing, and gymnastics into my own unique fighting style that allows me to levitate like a genie for minutes at a time. My astonishingly high resistance to physical injury approaches invulnerability, allowing me to survive being frozen in suspended animation for decades. I am immune to all diseases and cannot become intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or impurities in the air so if you push me I can — and will — drink you under the table.

I am an expert in combat strategy, ice skating, demolitions, and aeronautics. Despite my high profile as one of the world’s most popular and recognizable superheroes, I entered the 2010 Red Bull Flugtag after constructing an aircraft from plywood and spit, and flew the vessel for a record-setting 170 meters. Occasionally, I make forays into relatively mundane career fields, including commercial arts, comic book artistry, education (high school history), and law enforcement.

When I’m bored, I use my abilities to better mankind on a massive scale. The Green Mile is Stephen King’s metaphorical account of the day I healed thousands of Louisianans, pulverized racism, and piloted a state-wide protest of execution by electrocution. I once won a world war for the good guys, and currently serve as vocal coach for George Clooney during weekly golf outings. Anything titled “America” post-1950 is named after me.

When I need to transport companions to a destination, I have a custom-built battle van that changes color and is fitted to conceal my custom motorcycle named Toothgnasher, which can fly anywhere I desire. Maybe I’ll even let you ride on my bike (ladies) if you see my movie, which is released nationwide today. Did I mention that I am more handsome than you can possibly comprehend? Also, I am American.

Captain America: American.

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


How to Get Rid of Hiccups in 15 Seconds

“How do you get rid of the hiccups?”

I love that question, especially when it’s posed to a group of friends or, even better, at a party. By asking such an innocent question you quickly become the sole focus of all the world-renowned hiccup experts within a 50 foot radius. They approach you. They swarm you. They attack you. All coming to the rescue out of an earnest belief that they know the cure for hiccups. They start shouting their instructions, all totally absurd and completely hilarious to anyone watching this exorcism of the demonic entity. LET THE HEALING BEGIN!

There’s the one girl, the little ninja, who will not stop sneaking up behind you in attempts to scare the hiccups away. There’s the one guy, the recreational hunter, who keeps dancing around you in anguish, imploring you to let him concentrate all your focus on something unbearably frightening by holding the tip of his pocket knife to your open palm. There’s that other girl, the hard-nosed lady cop from the new hit show on TNT, who interrogates you with a relentless barrage of questions to distract the hiccups away. Then there’s that other guy, the circus ringmaster, who believes the more actions performed the better: “Hold your breath!  Now do body-weight squats! Now focus on your form! Now think about reciting the alphabet backwards! Now juggle these flaming torches! KEEP GOING!” And as you do all these things there’s that weird girl, the Paula Deen wannabe, who for some reason believes that shoveling lemon juice and pickles down your throat is surely the best method for success.

The irony in all of this is that by the time you have attempted the myriad healing methods, and by the time the hiccups have finally ceased, you feel transitory relief before it is washed over by a surge of frustration brought on by uncertainty: Which one of those methods actually worked? Or did my hiccups cease simply because they (eventually) always do?

In addition to the problem of not knowing which method actually works (if any), there is the other problem: when you have the hiccups but your friends are not around and you are in a public setting, all of the aforementioned methods look ridiculous and are thus totally embarrassing. If you performed any of those methods in public then you would look like a legitimate maniac. Passersby might phone the authorities out of a serious concern for your well-being.

So maybe you should try a hiccup-ceasing method that you can perform in public without anyone noticing. And one that actually works all by itself without the simultaneous assistance of other “cures.” Ready for it? Okay, here it is: hold your breath.

WHAT?! You’ve already heard of that one? Oh. Well, so had I, but unbeknownst to me, I was doing it the wrong way — I used to take a deep breath IN before holding my breath. Until today, that is.

Today, I was walking down the sidewalk when the hiccups hit me. As usual, I immediately performed the ol’ inhale-and-hold-your-breath method, but — as usual — it didn’t work. So I decided to try something new: instead of breathing IN before holding my breath, I breathed OUT. I EXHALED. And I did not breath back in; I kept all the air out. And I kept walking down the sidewalk. And it worked immediately. My hiccups were gone within 15 seconds. Probably less. FACT.

So how and why did this EXHALE-and-hold-your-breath method work? I’m not totally sure, and I’m not a scientist, but I assume it’s a combination of these two factors:

1) scaring your brain — something that would certainly earn the approval of “the little ninja” and “the recreational hunter” — by consciously inducing a bodily state worthy of panic (i.e. expelling all air from your lungs to make the brain panic and say “Holy crap I have no air in my lungs but I am walking and I need some air for this activity!”)

2) the complete absence of oxygen in the lungs (because hiccuping happens when the diaphragm and nearby muscles convulse, but muscles don’t work very well in the complete absence of oxygen, so maybe no oxygen = no muscles convulsing = no hiccuping)

To be completely honest with you, though, I don’t care how it worked. All I care about is that it worked. Now that you know how I was able to get rid of hiccups in 15 seconds, you can try it the next time you get the hiccups. Just hold your breath, but remember: don’t breath IN; breath OUT.

Breath out to get them out. Good luck!

– Jonah Lundberg

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


I Know What Causes Canker Sores

Do me a favor and Google: “cause of canker sores.” Don’t even click on the search results, just read the text underneath the search results.

Google Result for Canker Sores = No Cure for Canker Sores

Did you notice anything that’s frustrating? Correctamundo! Nobody knows what causes canker sores. This is frustrating, because nobody likes canker sores. In fact, everybody really, really, really hates them.

But don’t worry! Because I have discovered the cause of canker sores: spicy-coated peanuts. Or, at least some combination of the ingredients found in spicy-coated peanuts: wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, sugar, chili powder, salt, canjun seasoning, soy sauce, starch, and paprika extract. I have a notion that the true cause comes from mixing spicy stuff like cajun seasoning with wheat flour and starch, because when I eat Planters spicy peanuts, which do not have wheat flour coating, I do not get canker sores.

Spicy-Coated Peanuts = Canker Sores

How do I know spicy-coated peanuts cause canker sores? Simple: because canker sores show up every time I eat spicy-coated peanuts. For approximately three years I did not have canker sores. Not once. Not ever. Then I ate my first bag of spicy-coated peanuts, and the following day I had two TERRIBLE TWIN canker sores — sitting right next to each other — in the front-left section of my lower lip. The canker sores went away after about one week.

A month later I ate another bag of spicy-coated peanuts, and HOLY CRAP OW the TERRIBLE TWINS immediately returned.

That’s how I know spicy-coated peanuts cause canker sores.

So what do I do about this dilemma? Well, as much as I love spicy-coated peanuts, they give me canker sores, so I don’t eat them anymore.

Now please note that my findings are not statistically significant, but please also note that I do not care. Not one bit. I don’t care whether or not my conclusion about spicy-coated peanuts is enough to infer a generalization about an entire population. All I care about is that I discovered what causes ME to get canker sores.

So, if you don’t want canker sores anymore, here is my advice:

  • do NOT eat spicy-coated peanuts
  • if you do get canker sores but you never eat spicy-coated peanuts, then — whenever you get your next canker sore — try to remember what food you ate the day prior and determine if that food was something you don’t normally eat, and then — once the canker sore goes away — eat that same food again to see if you get a canker sore again
  • this is very simple, it is not statistically significant, but AS LONG AS IT WILL WORK FOR YOU, THEN THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. Seriously: you won’t get canker sores anymore, what else do you want?

Good luck!

P.S. — special thanks to Tim Ferriss and his book, “The 4-Hour Body,” for teaching the value of self-experimentation. I recommend you buy it immediately; it’s a keeper for life.

Epilogue:

4/23/2011 Update: I ate a breakfast burrito (i.e. starch) with extra-spicy hot sauce (i.e. cajun seasoning, salt)  yesterday and, you guessed it, I have a canker sore today! Looks like my theory that the combination of starch + spicy causes canker sores is getting more credible…

– Jonah Lundberg

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


A Funny Thing Happened To Me Last Saturday

note: this was originally written last Saturday (April 9, 2011)

Today I was writing a law paper on the 26th floor of StuVi2, and I watched the jets fly over Fenway Park for the Red Sox home opener. It was cool, to say the least, and I tried to soak it all in, that stunning skyline on a perfectly clear spring day, as I knew that I would be graduating in one month, never to see that view again.

After I finished writing my paper, I took the elevator down to my eight-man suite on the 18th floor. As the elevator descended, I began reading a lengthy and detailed email on my BlackBerry, with the smartphone close to my face to see everything on the small screen. As the doors opened a guy walked in as I walked out, my head still hunched and eyes still locked on my BlackBerry as I walked down the hall until I reached my eight-man suite, the second door on the left, and opened it without a key because we always leave our main door unlocked, walked in, saw someone on the couch out of the corner of my eye (probably Dan; he was watching TV when I left), said a casual “Hey,” then noticed a deflated air mattress on the floor of the hallway outside my room that was not there when I had left. Then I noticed that the bathroom across from my room looked completely different — why were the tiles green and not grey?

I spun around, looked at the guy in the Red Sox cap on the couch, and he said “Hey” with a look of amused bewilderment, as if responding to a quiet “hello” from a stranger who was in his face on a crowded but silent subway making its morning commute.

“HEY. Uh. What floor am I on?”

“Nineteen,” he replied, grinning.

“OH!! HAHA, I live on eighteen, I live on EIGHTEEN! HAHA, sorry about that…

…welp, see ya later,” I said.

“See ya!” he said back, returning to his book.

And then I walked out, laughing all the way down the hallway. BlackBerrys can make you look like an idiot.

– Jonah Lundberg

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl XLV

cham·pi·on [cham-pee-uhn] — noun
1. one who has defeated all opponents in a competition or series of competitions, so as to hold first place: the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV to become the NFL Champion for the 2010 season.

“Go Pack Go!” chanted the Green Bay Packers‘ die-hard fans. “Go Pack Go!” they cried throughout the entire 2010 season.

And the Pack did just that. They went all the way, and they won it all. After 14 long years Vince Lombardi found his way back into the hands of his team, and all was well in the world of football.

– Jonah Lundberg

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


The Seven Properties of Water or: How Water Defies Gravity

Water droplets: surface tension at its finest

This is written for Chemistry or Biology students studying for exams, and people who generally want to know how stuff works. After all, water is an *essential* component of life on Earth; wouldn’t it be interesting to know how it does what it does?

Below is an information-packed video about the Seven Properties of Water. The video may be boring, but watching it will take exactly 1/16th the time that it would take to read a chapter in a gigantic textbook. Also, watching the video will take much less time than reading Wikipedia‘s article on water.

Overview of Water:

Water is made up of zillions of water molecules. Each water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms (2H’s) and one oxygen atom (O).

In any given water molecule, electrons — which have negative (-) electronic charges — are more concentrated around the oxygen atom than the two hydrogen atoms. This means that an entire water molecule as a whole has one positive (+) end (“the north pole”) and one negative (-) end (“the south pole”). The hydrogen end is positive (+) and the oxygen end is negative (-).

Since an entire water molecule has two different “poles,” it is termed “polar.” A water molecule’s polarity causes its oxygen atom (-) to be attracted to a hydrogen atom (+) in a different water molecule; opposites do attract. It is in this manner that the oxygen atom (+) of one water molecule is connected to a hydrogen atom (-) of another water molecule. The thing that connects these two water molecules is called a hydrogen bond.

The fact that these special hydrogen bonds connect water molecules to one another — and that hydrogen bonds are weak compared to chemical bonds in other chemical substances — is what makes water unique, and is what gives water its seven properties that help all organisms continue their survival on Earth.

The Seven Properties of Water (and examples of how they affect your everyday life!)

1) Solvent = stuff dissolves into water very easily (e.g., Alka Seltzer tablet dissolving in glass of water)

2) High Specific Heat = it takes a very long time to raise the temperature of water (e.g., a flame raises the temperature of a metal pan much faster than it can raise the temperature of water)

3) Cohesive→&←Adhesive = this is how water defies ↑ gravity! Water molecules stick to one another (Cohesion) and water molecules stick to other, non-water objects (Adhesion) (e.g., water molecules stick to one another and to the inside of a tree in order to move upwards through the tree and deliver nutrients from the soil to its uppermost branches)

4) SurfaceTension = this is why water beads up into water droplets on many objects (e.g., water droplets on a leaf)

5) Variable pH = hydrogen levels are variable due to the weakness of hydrogen bonds, which is why water can be the main ingredient in both coffee (high pH levels = acidic) and bleach (low pH levels = basic)

6) D i s s o c i a t i o n = when water “breaks apart” (e.g., some people believe that the dissociation of water has health benefits because the electric charge of the human body could combine with the opposite charge found in water to create energy)

7) Three Physical States = liquid form (water), solid form (ice), and gas form (steam). These are dictated by the different ways that hydrogen bonds can be connected

– Jonah Lundberg

© 2011 Jonah Lundberg. All Rights Reserved. Powered by WordPress.


Three Tips to Save Your Life

North Dakotans have ice skills. Do as they do. (photo: nd.gov)

Tip #1: FROZEN RIVER (courtesy of esquire.com)
– don’t cross it
– if you have to cross it, then Blue ice is the strongest, followed by White. Avoid ice that is gray with puddles.
four inches is the minimum safe thickness
– when crossing, spread your weight as much as possible by crawling on your belly. (Channel your inner penguin.)
– if you do fall through, don’t plan on climbing out. Plan on *swimming* out. Kick yourself upward as hard as possible, reach out as far as you can, and get your chest back on the ice. Then keep kicking and dragging, arms out and chest down, until you’re out.

Tip #2: DRIVING IN THE RAIN (part one)
– How to achieve good vision while driving during a heavy downpour: wear sunglasses. (Really.) You still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling.

Tip #3: DRIVING IN THE RAIN (part two)
– Never drive in the rain with cruise control on. If the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydro-plane (tires losing contact with pavement), then your car will accelerate, your wheels will begin to spin at a higher and higher rate of speed, and eventually your whole car will take off like an airplane.

Summary:
1) Blue & White ice + channel your inner penguin
2) wear sunglasses when it rains
3) cruise control + rain = airplane (sounds awesome, not awesome)

– Jonah Lundberg

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