Janice Boekhoff

Fun Science Fact


You’ve probably heard that hippos can be dangerous in submerged water. They are very territorial animals. In many rivers, they kill people by flipping over boats and drowning the occupants.

Recently though, I felt sorry for the hippos in Africa. A filmmaker captured footage of rowdy lions attacking local hippos at night just for sport. Lions rarely hunt hippos, but for fun these lions jumped onto the hippo’s back, dug in with their claws and hopped along with their back legs.

The poor hippos rushed back to the river in a panic. I don’t blame them. Big cats are some of my favorite animals, but I wouldn’t want to be nighttime play for a pack of lions either.


Reference: Prieme, Anders. “Africa by Night,” Science Illustrated, May/June 2012, 5(3), p. 56

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/mizerphotography/6275342569/”>rorymizen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

How many Mach’s are you?


Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Machiavellianism? Anyone?

Before researching it, I’d heard of the term, but had no idea what it meant. Machiavellianism is a personality trait (some might say a disorder) characterized by the ability to use manipulation for self-serving purposes. I’m thinking this definition might make my six-year-old high on the Machiavellian scale.

This trait was named after Niccolo Machiavelli, whose life was characterized by power seeking behavior and whose book The Prince praised an anything-goes ideal for leadership. In fact, this book is where we get the phrase—the ends justify the means. Machiavelli believed that rulers could be justifiably amoral and ruthless to achieve their political goals.

Along with Narcissism and Psychopathy, Machiavellianism is a part of what psychological researchers have come to call the Dark Triad of personality. What makes Machiavellianism different from the other two parts of the Dark Triad is these people have the ability to control their impulses (more so than Narcissists and Psychopaths) and the ability to make other people do what they want. Those with high Machiavellianism are usually seen as smart and charming, until they get what they want and no longer have a need for your help. So, the next time you meet someone who is charming, think hard about what they might want from you.

Levels of Machiavellianism are measured on a scale from 1-100 using a test called the MACH-IV. Want to take the test? Are you sure? Click here.

As a comparison for your results, I’m a competitive person (which is why I was nervous to take the test), but apparently I’m not very high on the Machiavellianism scale with a score of 37 Mach. When evaluating your score, please pay attention to the note on the score page that tells you the results are not necessarily a representative sample, so just because the results look like a bell curve on the graph doesn’t mean that is a representation of people in general.

If you score higher than you’d like, don’t panic, it’s just a test and not necessarily a measurement of who God made you to be. Every personality that’s brought under submission to God is beautiful–just remember to always use your powers of manipulation for good (and for God).


Reference: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-machiavellianism.htm, http://psychometricsforumblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/a-narcissist-a-psychopath-and-a-machiavellian-walk-into-a-bar/

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/robert_scarth/138386538/”>Robert Scarth</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>


Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

Job 42:1-2

What does God owe me? A blessed life? The fulfillment of my dreams and desires? After all, didn’t He plant the seeds of our dreams and desire in us? And surely a good God would want to bless us.

Of course, God wants to bless us, but not in the way we usually desire. You see, God knows what we need most is His presence.

That’s it.

That’s all.

Just Him.

And yet many people live as if God has promised our lives will be full of nice houses, plenty of food, good health, and fulfilling jobs. When life doesn’t work out like we planned, we can grow bitter and frustrated, causing us to cry out. “Why Lord, have you done this to me. Why have you left me in this place?”

But He never left.

He has always given you what you needed most—Him. Perhaps you turned away because your plans didn’t match His.

Whatever you’re going through, He will be there if you turn to Him. Not tomorrow or down the road in heaven, but right now.

Dear Lord, when life goes in directions we didn’t plan, help us to remember all You have done for us. You give us a part in Your master plan here on earth. You give us a place with You in heaven. And most of all, You give us Yourself. Let that always be enough. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Fun Science Fact


The zombie apocalypse is upon us! Well, in ladybug form, that is.

Scientists at the University of Montreal studied a type of wasp larvae that turns ladybird beetles into the living dead. The larvae of this parasitic wasp colonizes the ladybug while it’s still alive, feasting on it as the egg grows in the interior of the ladybug.

After about 20 days, the larvae breaks out of the body and spins a cocoon around the ladybug’s legs. The poor ladybug can barely move and is forced to allow the larvae to keep feeding on its body. The larvae won’t let go of the ladybug until it takes its fill and no longer needs its host.

Even more disturbing or amazing, depending on how you look at it, is the fact that about 25% of the ladybugs actually live through the process. Although, I’m not sure what life would be like with half your insides gone.

What do you think? Is there a high quality of life for a ladybug zombie?


Reference: “Larvae Turns Ladybugs Into Zombies,” Science Illustrated, May/June 2012, 5(3), p. 14.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathan_bliss/10596227316/”>Moonrhino</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Billions of Beats


The other day while lying in bed cuddling with my nine-year old girl, I put my hand on her chest. The steady thump, thump of her heart pulsed below my fingertips. How many times have I taken for granted the miracle of that heartbeat? Not just in her or my other two kids, but in myself, as well.

Our hearts are designed to work hard, to grow with increased demand and to never miss a beat. Made up of a special type of muscle (not found anywhere else in the body), the heart doesn’t tire out because the muscle has a large number of mitochondria, myoglobin and available oxygen.

How many times has your heart beat in your lifetime? How many more steady, faithful pumps will it give before you die?

If you want to know how many times you heart has beaten in your lifetime, click here for a simple calculator. I did this and discovered my heart has beaten more than 1.5 billion times already in my lifetime. If I live into old age then it will probably push blood through my body for almost 3 billion times. That’s an amazing, automatic miracle that happens every second of every day.

Most people have a resting heart rate of around 70 beats per minute. If it took you two minutes to read this blog post, then you’ve experienced 140 miracles straight from the hand of The Almighty. God himself allows every one of our heartbeats.

As I carried each of my kids, this miracle began during the fifth week of pregnancy, as their heart grew and started its rhythm. This heart muscle is central to our existence. God designed us to need it. And when something goes wrong, it threatens our very lives.

This is why God tells us to turn our hearts—our whole existence—to Him (1Kings 8:61). We are to acknowledge Him as our physical and spiritual creator and to give all of ourselves over to His loving hands.

What about you? Does God control your whole heart today? When’s the last time you stopped to marvel at the miracle of a heartbeat?


Reference: http://www.teachpe.com/anatomy/types_of_muscle.php, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20045302

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/carowallis1/320695236/”>Caro Wallis</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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