Cuerna Critters: My favorite butterflies and moths of 2014

Cuerna Critters: My favorite butterflies and moths of 2014

Beautiful butterflies…Nature’s wonderful creation

Erin C. McKiernan

For the past few months, I’ve been neglecting Cuerna Critters. To make up for it, I’ve put together some of my favorite shots from 2014. My favorites this year were the butterflies and moths. The shots below are shown in chronological order so you can get an idea of what I saw as the year progressed. It was a great year for ‘bugging’!

Biblis hyperia aganisa. January 12. Red Rim (Biblis hyperia aganisa). January 12.

Diaethria bacchis. Jan. 31. White-Patched Eighty-Eight (Diaethria bacchis). Jan. 31.

Cyanopepla sp. February 3. Moth (Cyanopepla sp.). February 3.

Cyanopepla sp. February 3. Moth (Cyanopepla sp.). February 3.

Opsiphanes boisduvallii. Feb 4, 2014. Orange Owl-Butterfly (Opsiphanes boisduvallii). February 4.

Archaeoprepona demophon occidentalis. Feb 6. One-Spotted Prepona (Archaeoprepona demophon occidentalis). February 6.

Siproeta stelenes biplagiata. March 10. Malachite (Siproeta stelenes biplagiata). March 10.

Junonia sp. (evarete?). March 10. Buckeye (Junonia evarete?). March 10.

Siproeta stelenes biplagiata. March 10. Malachite (Siproeta stelenes biplagiata). March 10.

Papilio rogeri pharnaces. March 15. Pink-Spotted Swallowtail (Papilio rogeri pharnaces). March 15.

Papilio rogeri pharnaces. March 15. Pink-Spotted Swallowtail (Papilio rogeri pharnaces). March 15.

Siproeta stelenes biplagiata. March 30. Malachite (Siproeta stelenes biplagiata). March 30.

Parides photinus. April 27. Pink-Spotted Cattleheart (Parides photinus). April 27.

Danaus gilippus. May 9. Queen (Danaus gilippus). May 9.

DSCF7665_1 Queen (Danaus gilippus)…

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Tips for pitching startup idea


pitch idea

I don’t know about you, but my shower blesses me with amazing ideas. Convincing others of their brilliance, though, doesn’t always happen so fluidly. Let’s be honest, for many of us “cerebral-types,” the thought alone of having to explain yourself to hundreds of onlookers could result in discrediting bright ideas long before they ever get to that point.

That’s exactly how I felt last week. It caught me by surprised when the bolder side of my personality applied (voluntarily) to represent my startup at a natural products pitch slam. When I learned my application had been approved, I immediately searched for a reason to not show up. (I’m mostly kidding, but the thought did cross my mind.)

Despite the nerves, my utter love for what I do propelled me to accept the invitation and present my family’s indoor composting product, the CompoKeeper, to the Naturally Boulder community.

Fast forward to the end of that Wednesday evening…

Our competition was stiff, but out of 25 social/environmental/health-conscious companies who had pitched their solutions earlier in the day, my dad and I were selected as one of three finalists. We anxiously accepted the invitation to present our idea again, this time on stage at The Boulder Theater to a crowd of more than 350 respected professionals who would decide our fate with a text message vote.

After the final round of pitches, the event came to a peak. Alongside the other two finalists, we watched on as Sara Snow, the MC of the night, announced the crowd’s favorite: CompoKeeper.

WE WON! Oh my CompoKeeper, we WON!

That night we walked away with industry recognition, a cash prize of $2,000, the value of $48,000 in business services and smiles as wide as the ocean. The validation from winning a pitch slam was like nothing we’d ever experienced.

So what’s the secret to our success? Without these seven strategies, we didn’t stand a chance.

1. Pinpoint Your Why

Make a list of the top five things that most excite you about the idea you want to spread. By bringing your attention to these reasons, your nervous system will become electric with excitement. That’s what passion feels like. When you step into the spotlight, instead of labeling your nerves as fear, recognize those heart-fluttering sensations as passion and purpose flowing through you.

2. Be Authentic

The best way to earn credibility is to be yourself. Don’t try to portray an image that’s not in line with who you are on a day-to-day basis. You don’t need to wear four-inch heels or a starchy suit if you’re not comfortable in them. Talk to the judges as if you’re in a face-to-face meeting. You don’t have to know it all. Admit when you don’t have the answer to a tough question but assure the audience you’ll find it.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice

A week before going on stage, I wrote down exactly what I wanted to say and memorized it. I practiced my speech at least a few hundred times. I practiced while walking, driving, showering and even while falling asleep. I practiced right up until I walked onto the stage. My message became second nature and, while presenting, I was able to focus less on getting the words right and more on enjoying the experience.

4. Shake Some Hands

If nothing else, do this! Arrive early and make a point of meeting and shaking as many hands as you can before going on stage. By connecting one-on-one with the people in your audience, you’ll be less afraid of harsh judgments and more focused on how you can best serve your audience.

5. Play Up Your Differences

For Team CompoKeeper, this was pretty easy. I’d say 80 percent of the companies pitching that day were talking about natural, organic ingredients. We, however, were talking about what to do when you’re done with them. We stood out by addressing a vital piece of a closed-loop system (composting) that too often gets overlooked in natural lifestyle conversations.

Depending on your audience and your competition, your differentiator may not be as obvious. Think about the qualities of your idea or company that can’t be replicated. Is it the crazy culture? Is it your cool combination of interests and hobbies? When you discover it, find subtle (or not so subtle) ways to infuse your pitch with its essence.

6. Get the Audience to Nod with Appreciation

To help the audience understand the problem we are solving, I focused on making it relatable. Instead of saying “compost pails are inconvenient,” I suggested that the number of trips to empty a small compost bin is analogous to the number of times a puppy needs to be taken out while being potty-trained. The best way to be relatable is to LISTEN to your target audience. Ask them what the problem is, what it feels like and what it would be like if their problem was solved. When you hear something that strikes a chord, run with it.

7. Visualize the Win

Athletes do it all the time. “It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success and increase states of flow”(Psychology Today). Arrive early to access the stage. Create a sense of familiarity with the room. Visualize yourself smiling while delivering your presentation, making eye contact with your audience and accepting a standing ovation.

One of the judges actually caught me doing this. I explained, “I’m just visualizing the win!” He chuckled, and who knows, maybe even gave me a few bonus points.

Take these pointers and apply them to your bright idea. Don’t let anything—even the fear of public pitching—get in the way of building products and services that make the world a better place.

If you’re interested in pitching your own idea, make a promise to yourself and add it to your To-Do list. If you want to find out more about our project, check out our Kickstarter campaign.

This project is part of GOOD’s series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

Taboos and superstitions for Pregnant Women

Taboo food and drink are food and beverages, which people abstain from consuming because of a religious or cultural prohibition. Many food taboos forbid the meat of a particular animal, including mammals, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, bony fish, mollusks and crustaceans. Some taboos are specific to a particular part or excretion of an animal, while other taboos forgo the consumption of plants, fungi or insects. An ecological or medical background is apparent for many, including some seen as religious or spiritual in origin. On the one hand food taboos can help utilizing a resource more efficiently; on the other it can lead to the protection of a resource.
Taboo food

Pregnancy imposes the need for considerable extra calorie and nutrient requirements. A balanced and adequate diet is very important during pregnancy and lactation to meet the increased needs of the mother, and to prevent “nutritional stress. Various studies show that pregnant women are abstained from nutritious foods as a part of their traditional food habits. There is a need of nutrition education and awareness generation among all stratas of population. More research is required on food misconceptions about food in pregnancy considering cultural backgrounds.

Avoided fruits / vegetables during pregnancy in India

• Papaya
• Mango
• Jack fruit
• Pineapple
• Banana
• Grape
• Guava
• Green leafy vegetables

The food is classified into two categories as Hot and Cold. Hot food items are avoided during pregnancy as it is thought that it will cause abortion. Cold food items are avoided during lactation period as it might affect the quality and quantity of milk production.

Misconception of consumption of food and superstition

• The main constituents of papaya latex are papain and chymopapain. A fully ripe papaya contains very little or a negligible quantity of the latex which will not provoke uterine contractions, so it can be eaten. The unripe or semi ripe papaya contains high concentration of latex that produces marked uterine contractions, may have an adverse effect during pregnancy and should be avoided.
• Consumption of saffron by pregnant woman results in a fairer skin child. The study shows that saffron may reduce blood pressure & mood swings, improve digestion and increase appetite of pregnant woman if it taken in small quantity.
• Any twin fruits or vegetables such as banana, mango, cucumber, any fruit or vegetable, which are attached to each other by default, are not to be eaten by a pregnant woman. Tripuris (People living in Tripura, India) consider that the eating of such twin fruits will cause twin pregnancy.
• A pregnant woman is refrain from hard work, exercise and lifting of heavy objects for the well being of both baby and mother.
• In Cambodia, a woman who dies in childbirth – crosses the river (chhlong tonle) in Khmer is believed to become an evil spirit.
• Pregnant women cannot participate in marriage ceremonies or arrangements, visit sick acquaintances, or sacrifice to gods (Dong Religion)
• Pregnant women should not watch new houses being built. (Dong Religion)
• The real cause of pregnancy is always a baloma, who is inserted into or enters the body of a woman, and without whose existence a woman could not become pregnant; all babies are made or come into existence (ibubulisi) in Tuma. (Trobriand Islands)
• 10 % of all pregnancy and childbirth related deaths are due to eclampsia or convulsion. Eclampsia is caused by and also known as toxemia of pregnancy. The Convulsions or fits are often misinterpreted as spirit possession. Religious medicine practitioners give burns and made pregnant these pregnant women undergo rituals that are demeaning, dehumanizing and life threatening.
• Pregnant women should not take baths. Only if water is broken one should NOT take a bath, as uterus is then vulnerable to infection. Avoid sitting in hot tub above 100 degrees temperature.
• Holding hands above head can hurt baby, as the umbilical cord will wrap around the baby’s neck.
• Drink lot of water for clean baby. Amniotic fluid around baby replenishes every three hours. This has nothing to do with drinking lot of water.
• If woman has Heartburn during pregnancy the baby has a lot of hair. Less room in stomach causes the heartburn as baby is growing and pushing it.
• If the pregnant woman eats fish, her child will be born with scales. (Chinese)
• Pregnant woman should avoid scissors near the marital bed. It will affect the baby in womb and baby will born with missing or incomplete. Anything such as drilling, hammering, chopping, sawing could lead to abortion or fetal deformities.
• Pregnant woman should not see sun or moon eclipse otherwise deformed baby would be born.
• Eating dog meat during pregnancy causes birth defects, miscarriage, may lead a difficult labor, child may bite mother during feeding.
• Eating crab will cause a difficult labor in which the baby is born sideways. The baby will drool with bubbles coming out of its mouth.
• Eating soft-shelled turtle will cause baby born with short neck.
• Eating plum and pear will make child blind.