Tuesday, November 29, 2005

tuesday science review

a little late, but still within new york times science tuesday parameters!

really cool article on insect evolution. i am tempted to buy the book they are talking about!

it seems to me that this should be proof enough that there is no intelligent designer behind evolution. unless of course the intelligent designer is a giant, omnipotent, fruit fly overlord. according to the authors, if you took out all the insects in the world it would do a lot more harm to the ecosystem than if you took out all humans (and i believe they included vertebrates). what a blow that is to the scala natura!

Monday, November 28, 2005

but i'm a drug sales rep!

maybe i should have stuck out the cheerleading thing through high school and college. then i could also land a nice job in pharmaceuticals.
an article in the new york times takes a look at the hiring practices of drug companies, focusing on the drug reps. the morphotype, if you will, for a sales rep in these cases is a youngish, good looking peppy woman. so who better to hire than your right out of college cheerleader?
now i am not against these women getting nice jobs. a bit bitter that i will never have the kind of money they make despite my hard work and higher academic degree? you bet your ass. what bothers me is that these women are hired into these positions generally without respect to their degrees.

"They don't ask what the major is," Mr. Williamson said. Proven cheerleading skills suffice. "Exaggerated motions, exaggerated smiles, exaggerated enthusiasm - they learn those things, and they can get people to do what they want."

i'm sure the fact that they are toned and purdy don't hurt either.

"The cheerleaders now are the top people in universities; these are really capable and high-profile people," said Gregory C. Webb, who is also a principal in a company that runs cheerleading camps and employs former cheerleaders. He started Spirited Sales Leaders about 18 months ago because so many cheerleaders were going into drug sales. He said he knew several hundred former cheerleaders who had become drug representatives.

"There's a lot of sizzle in it," said Mr. Webb. "I've had people who are going right out, maybe they've been out of school for a year, and get a car and make up to $50,000, $60,000 with bonuses, if they do well." Compensation sometimes goes well into six figures.

Dr. Dan Foster, a West Virginia surgeon and lawmaker who said he was reacting to the attractive but sometimes ill-informed drug representatives who came to his office, introduced a bill to require them to have science degrees. Dr. Foster's legislation was not adopted, but it helped inspire a new state regulation to require disclosure of minimum hiring requirements.

Ms. Napier, the former Kentucky cheerleader, said she was so concerned about the cute-but-dumb stereotype when she got her job that she worked diligently to learn about her product, Prevacid. "It's no secret that the women, and the people in general, hired in this industry are attractive people," she said. "But there so much more to it."

well at least you have to admit that last bit has a funny typo.
as a testiment to the skeeziness of the patriarchy that encourages the hiring of attractive (and capable i am sure) women in male dominated professions- the article also makes a point to bring sexual harrassment up. when buffy makes a salespitch and bats her eyes a few too many times, dr. asshole decides she is after him and makes a pass. i am sure he will insist she was asking for it or leading him on.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

because it makes me laugh everytime

brian griffin does pb & j.... with a motherfuckin baseball bat

granted, it's not coffee...

holy crap i forgot how much i love white tea!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

resume bitching

after a nice visit with my dear friend, gildar, and an eating fest in jersey, i am back to the city where i shall become enraged at any little thing and write incessantly about it.
to start off- an excellent commentary from i blame the patriarchy on amnesty international's poll finding that 34% of people in the uk believe women who are raped are at least partially to blame.
my commentary- those people are fucked up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

as a follow up to my entry on the duggers: environmental sustainability and breeding from sfgate.com

now i don't necessarily agree with the human extinction movement les knight proposes, but this article brings up some good points about how much waste we produce per individual, especially in an industrialized country like america, and how there are so many children that could be adopted.

whether or not people want to acknowledge it, there are major consequences to our actions. granted i don't do as much as i should to cut down on waste or use my spending power to promote more environmentally friendly production of goods. i still understand that technology or unseen forces won't clean up our messes when they start piling up. as a species we do a lot of damage to this nice little planet we have, and we are using limited resources disproportionately amongst societies. this is bound to get much worse at an exponential rate if people (especially people who have access to an education and know better) don't start making some effort to change this trajectory. it is physically possible and even practical to only have two children. but the only way this can be dictated ethically is if this concept comes from personal judgement.

but for some reason i don't think people like the duggers will agree with that.

on second thought...

i make an ammendment to my previous post on the bodies exhibit. not too bad that i can't go.
apparently the cadavers that are on display aren't documented as having actually donated themselves (while alive of course), and with many of the political issues in china, this could be very very bad.
apparently the person who is responsible for the exhibit is also not liscensed as an anatomist would be to obtain human cadavers. so there has been some major inquiry by the health department (at least).
these issues were raised by my anatomy instructor, and he mentioned something else which i had thought of because it applied to me, but i didn't really think much further on it. the exhibit costs $25 to get in, which i definately can't afford, and the claim on this exhibit is that is touring around for educational purposes. what that really means is educating a portion of the population that can actually shell out that much money, which kind of goes against the principle of public education now doesn't it?
i do think it would be useful to see well dissected cadavers that haven't been dessicated over the period of three months, but the shady ethics of this display are overwhelming.

two words:

can we say, "prolapsed uterus"?

in my usual morning lap around my internet favorites, i came across a comment at bitchmagazine.com on the dugger family.
if you haven't heard about these (perfectly lovely, i'm sure) people, they are a family in arkansas to which a 16th child was recently born. they have also stated in interviews that they don't plan on stopping the madness there.
i have to ask myself a few questions. is this a plot for worldwide domination? are they some catholic-mormom hyperbreed? is michelle's uterus made of steel?
possibly my biggest question is why they don't have a world population clock amongst their other reputable family favorites on their links page.
yeah so i'm being a bit snarky.
this is the kind of breeding that puts possums to shame. how can this family even afford 16 children? are any of them ever going to college? do they know the terms k and r selection and that humans are k-selected?
oh. i just looked at their FAQ page..... it appears they are able to afford their lifestyle through seminars on how to handle your finances according to the bible. and they homeschool their children. so it is unlikely they will ever to go college anyway.
plus i am sure they wouldn't want their darling litter of children exposed to the liberal arkansas educational system.
another thing i think is funny is that i am sure there are some out there who would applaud these people. but if they were hispanic, or black, they would bitch about how many tax dollars they are sucking up.

birds, and insects, and dinos. oh my!

yes. i feel obliged to post a few articles from the sciences times. it being a tuesday and all.

a taste of new research
while this article has nothing that appears to tie the material it covers together, it is pretty interesting. cool stuff on shiny butterflies, "counting" ants, and graminivorus dinos!

also an article on the significance of islands to biodiversity.

nicer than what i see in lab

bodies: the exhibition

hmmm.... too bad it costs $25 to get in to this. the dissections are quite good, and very very bizzare.

Monday, November 21, 2005

this whole backlash against science thing is going too far.
apparently the american museum of natural history had to fund the new darwin exhibit with private donations when corporate donors backed out.
i'm really looking for some good news somewhere, people.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

later this week....


not much else to say

electronic chimp head
i'm not quite sure i understand why someone would want this....but....wow....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

i demand compensation!

in the form of free sushi.
for the past two months or so a sushi restaurant has been under construction in the space below our apartment. much banging and whirring and upsetting of my cat has gone on in this time period and it has been quite distracting.
i highly doubt however that sympathy will be expressed by the management for two grad students who just want some sushi to heal the pain.

what what

from a nice editorial in the ny times on the new darwin exhibit at amnh (emphasis my own):

"I do not attack Moses," Darwin once wrote, "and I think Moses can take care of himself." But the problem is not Moses, or Jesus or God. It is humanity itself. To the extent that the furor over evolution represents a cultural crisis in America - and only in America - it is a crisis of credulity, not faith, a crisis rooted in neglect and ignorance.

Friday, November 18, 2005

fair and balanced...

check it. even folks who aren't godless heathens think intelligent design is a total farce.

Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?
In order to justify the farce that intelligent design is science, Kansas had to corrupt the very definition of science, dropping the phrase " natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus unmistakably implying -- by fiat of definition, no less -- that the supernatural is an integral part of science. This is an insult both to religion and science.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

cinematic conundrum

so i actually gave this a great deal of thought on the b train today.

on december 9th two movies will come out. disney's chronicles of narnia and ang lee's brokeback mountain.

i was sort of hoping they would come out when i go back to texas. where i can see a matinee for $2.50.
the narnia movie looks enchanting. i really enjoyed the books by c.s. lewis and the old animated version of the lion the witch and the wardrobe was one of my childhood favorites. the cinematography also looks phenomenal and i think it will be visually quite appealing.
my problem is this....yes the whole narnia story has a lot of christian ideaology that is intrinsic. this wouldn't be all that irritating to me if i didn't anticipate this being a huge deal to the evangelical fundies out there. plus disney is a representation of the white, heteronormative patriarchy and i feel kind of gross giving them money.

i am super super excited to see brokeback mountain. not just because it has two total hotties (they make out with eachother but hey i can deal) in those tight wranglers...but because i think it will bring an interesting story to the american public and i have read some rave reviews. i also like the idea that this movie will probably get the fundies in a feather ruffle.

my problem is...which do i see first?
i refuse to see the narnia movie if i can't see brokeback mountain. that is all i know. maybe it will depend on who wants to go with me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

today's new york times: part deux

you didn't think i would leave out my favorite aspect of the tuesday ny times did you?
there was an interview with carel vain schaik about orangutans!
i could hear him talking about wading through sumatran swamps in his fantastic dutch accent throughout the article. mind you i saw this man oggle a powder blue zoot suit in milwuakee, wi.

there was also a very nice article on the atrocity that happened last week in kansas. it includes the changes made to kansas's definition of science:

The old definition reads in part, "Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us." The new one calls science "a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."

you would think that systematic method of investigation would be a clue to the fundies that there ain't no way creationism can be seen in any scientific context. but then again science is no longer limited to natural explanations. so i guess anything goes now.
i was also amused by this statement:

The authors of these changes say that presuming the laws of science can explain all natural phenomena promotes materialism, secular humanism, atheism and leads to the idea that life is accidental. Indeed, they say in material online at kansasscience2005.com, it may even be unconstitutional to promulgate that attitude in a classroom because it is not ideologically "neutral."

and promoting your idea that atheism and secular humanism are bad and evil is ideaologically neutral? way to defy logic, buddies.

i'd love to sit and discuss this further, but i have an artiodactyl eye to disect today.

today's new york times: part un

well today has yeilded some rather good reads from the new york times. where to begin?
first off, let's look at some relatively encouraging news. republicans are actually calling for an end to the war in iraq and are asking for changes in the way we treat war detainees. gasp. although they don't admit to being fed up with the administration, it seems that they are finally coming to their senses.
now to the less encouraging:
now i learned in high school government that republicans favored less federal intervention. of course life has taught me that most people are hyporcrits. it appears that the fda rejected an application to make the morning after pill available without a prescription before a proper scientific review of the drug was even completed.

Top agency officials were deeply involved in the decision, which was "very, very rare," a top F.D.A. review official told investigators. The officials' decision to ignore the recommendation of an independent advisory committee as well as the agency's own scientific review staff was unprecedented, the report found. And a top official's "novel" rationale for rejecting the application contradicted past agency practices, it concluded.
The pill, called Plan B, is a flashpoint in the debate over abortion, in part because some abortion opponents consider the pill tantamount to ending a pregnancy. In scientific reviews, the F.D.A. has concluded that it is a contraceptive.
The report suggested that it quickly became apparent that the agency was not going to follow its usual path when it came to the pill. "For example," it said, "F.D.A. review staff told us that they were told early in the review process that the decision would be made by high-level management."

i really don't think i need to go in to how horrifying this is. a.) i am not quite sure how the argument that this pill "ends pregnancy" can stand up as the pill prevents implantation of sperm in an egg. but then again i tend to underestimate people's ignorance. especially when they have an agenda.
the morning after pill's application to be sold over the counter without a prescription was the only one out of 23 others to be rejected. it makes me wonder what the other 22 were, and whether they would benefit women's health or rights.
what might actually be more horrifying is this gem in the world of entertainment. that's right. nicole richie has written a novel. apparently this is a desperate attempt to be famous for something other than being lyonel richie's adopted daughter and paris hilton's left shoe.

"The Truth About Diamonds" (Regan Books) tells the story of a popular Hollywood socialite named Chloe Parker, who is the adopted daughter of a music star and his glamorous wife. Parker takes drugs, runs with a posse of wealthy brats and parties hard at all of the hottest nightclubs. She also stars in a reality series with a friend, who quickly turns into an enemy.

uh huh. a real fountain of creativity there aren't we, nicole? it seems that teenagers who were already major fans of hers came out in droves to her virgin records book signing last week. when interviewed she stated, "I almost felt like I didn't deserve it."

the bright side of taking gross anatomy...

you get to see shit like this!
a picture from my anatomy text demonstrating actions of the muscles of facial expression (moore and dalley, fourth edition).

Monday, November 14, 2005

somewhat relevant procrastination

is that caulliflower?

some good uncyclopedia fun on the brain

Brains are among the primary dietary interests of zombies and other creatures in the undead kingdom. Brains also are tired of mention of themselves being prominently mis-typed on the sports trophies of guys named Brian.
Brains were originally invented to be killed by
alcohol and cookies and any other forms of happiness.
Phonetic representation of brain exploding by the exertion of pressure:NNNGGHHHH....BLAHT!!...plt!, splat!, plok!(just so you recognize the sound should you ever come to hear it in the street or wherever.)
For many years people thought that brain transplants could work. It was not until the developer of the idea, Sir Edwin Hubble, had a brain transplant with a slightly retarded moose to prove his transplants would work that it was proven that brain transplants would not in fact work.
Finally da weird thing is that brains (as they usually refer to themselves) are bullshit waiting for breakfast. I don't know about ya but i'm outta here.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

ring a bell and i'll salivate

i was struck with a very vivid fantasy while being lectured on the cranial nerves today. it wasn't that i was disinterested....it just hit me and i got sucked in. it was something i haven't really thought about in a while, but thinking about it got me so distracted. the imagery. the smell. the taste.
i wanted to go to wholefoods so badly.
thoughts of the roasted nut bar, the bakery, and the assorted ethnic food bars tantalized me beyond concentration this afternoon and made me want to run to the 6 to union square, hop out and run rampant through the isles of this heavenly grocery chain with gobs of money to spend on delicious organic food.
maybe this weekend. maybe i will make this fantasy a reality and get lobster bisque or indian food. this is all i want. a simple pleasure.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


something i would like to start on a weekly basis. educational purposes of course as opposed to purely procrastinatory.
an entry from uncyclopedia.org on ann coulter:
(follow above links for more!)

Ann Coulter (formerly Ann Poultry) is a benevolent, understanding queer woman. She leads civil rights causes around the world, helps foreign nations and investments, and understands the hardships inherent in living in a third world nation. She is the founder of the Getting Along Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the cause of making everybody get along. In 1996 she was anointed the patron saint of the Crusading Conservative Party of the U.S. in a ceremonial cruise by moonlight along the Potomac River, attended only by Republicans at the cost of $15,000.00 a plate.

maybe if i stopped reading the news i would not have this little teeth grinding problem.
yesterday Kansas damned its impressionable little young minds to ignorance.

"TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 8 - The fiercely split Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 on Tuesday to adopt new science standards that are the most far-reaching in the nation in challenging Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom."

"Among the most controversial changes was a redefinition of science itself, so that it would not be explicitly limited to natural explanations. "

but...pardon my cognitive dissonence...how do you change the definition of science? from my understanding (a silly little bachelors degree, much personal research, and a few months in a science ph.d. program) science is limited to natural explanations.

"John G. West of the Discovery Institute, a conservative research organization that promotes intelligent design, said Kansas now had "the best science standards in the nation.""

on what fucking basis? this man may have two ph.d.s but guess what they are in: biology? no. anthropology? no. any broad field of science whatsoever? try government and communications.
does it bother anyone else that the president of this increasingly influential group has no training in science when the good ol' d.i. is determining what is being taught in science classes?
it is just so infuriating to think that these decisions to really limit science education are being made due to a basic national deficit in understanding science. it is likely that if our public education system provided a better foundation for understanding biology, evolution would not seem like that far-fetched of an idea.
here is a start. the definition of evolution is: a change in gene frequencies in a population over time.
is that so hard to understand? and over time wouldn't you expect some major changes to occur in form?
well. here's to you, kansas, for robbing your youth of a decent education. you couldn't just introduce this debate into a philosophy class where it belongs. well. actually the debate belongs nowhere because no sane biologist disagrees on evolution as a driving force of biology.
at least there is some hope in dover, pa

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

i had one named spanky

texans assert their ignorance yet again

it's tuesday!

science day in the new york times

"Mathematicians, artists and writers may choose beauty over truth. Scientists can only hope that we do not have to make the choice."

interesting article. plus pictures of fluffy animals sleeping!

Monday, November 07, 2005


last night i dreamt that i was getting ready to fly home for the winter break. first i wanted to stop off at the wholefoods for some water because i was parched. as i searched for water however, i was tempted to buy some of those little bottles of vodka in various flavors. you know. for the flight. but it was before noon so no one would sell me alcohol. it was very upsetting.
and this makes me begin to wonder if grad school is doing bad things to me.

like a walk in the park Posted by Picasa

when all else fails- bring in the fundies!


because scientists obviously have no idea what they are talking about in terms of global warming, environmentalist interest groups are bringing in the fundamentalist christians to help persuade washington against destroying this nice little planet we live on. proving once again that even our highest officials might rather listen to religious doctrine than evidence gained from empirical study.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

i never promised you a rose garden Posted by Picasa


it is somewhat poetic to watch the leaves change color.
i'm not from around here. i've never seen what people call a real fall. a real change of the seasons. in texas you have hot and cold and that is about it. so this is very exciting for me.
walking through central park on my way to the museum is therefore that much more enchanting.
i have been in the city for three months. roughly. it is exciting to know that i have endured one season and will experience the next. that feels kind of empowering.