Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Germ cells!

This is an introduction to part of what I study: cells in the germline!

CreatureCast Episode 2 from Casey Dunn on Vimeo.

Because nothing is a good substitute for physical interaction

There is a looming class action lawsuit against Disney for the Baby Einstein videos. However, as much as I have always thought these videos are big pile of horse hockey, as are all the little electronic gadgets we set kids up with to melt their minds before the age of four, I don't know whether I would support a lawsuit against Disney. This is where self-accountability comes in. It seems fairly obvious to me that, as research shows:

"there is a link between early television exposure and later problems with attention span"

That being said, we live in a technological age; one can't eliminate technology out of a child's life completely. However, one also shouldn't rely on it as a crutch for parenting. I don't think there is any replacement for playing at the park, learning to read and write at home, going fishing, having picnics and tea parties. It is a lot of work to be a parent, and whether the work is put in up front with interactive activities, or later, dealing with inattentive, uncooperative children, the work is still there. It is a choice of when and what kind of effort one wants to put in.

Technology isn't bad, but it is a tool, like any other, to complement our lives, not to take it over.

The lawsuit, however, claims to be over deceptive advertising. Hmm...where does the line get drawn? Perhaps it depends on the expertise of the person doing the advertising? But maybe that isn't even it. Where has our critical thinking gone? Why should we take anything on face value? We should be skeptical of anything or anyone claiming to be/have a one-stop cure-all solution. Even further, we should be skeptical of any claim until it has enough evidence that we are confident in accepting the claim.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Work and love

In any relationship, I think there is some good advice here for finding a balance between the two.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Because it made me laugh out loud in my office today


I am not sure how, in a state with such a small population, this could possibly be allowed under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

I'm appalled by the restrictions to abortion in the state of Oklahoma.

I don't know how they could propose, a "law (that) required that the ultrasound be carried out vaginally if the pregnancy was in its early stages in order to get a clear picture. Rape victims were not exempted" and the only reason it was struck down was because they were trying to address more than one subject at a time (both forcing a vaginal ultrasound where the woman would have to listen to a description of the fetus AND restricting the use of the morning after pill).

Apparently women aren't worth two spits in Oklahoma - they're only good for popping out babies, whether they want to or not.

Monday, October 19, 2009

If anything made me want to recycle and cut down my waste,

it is these pictures of dead birds, filled with plastic waste.

arbitrary rules

I very much relate to this comic in so many aspects of life (especially check out the last line of the description when you mouse over the image).

Sometimes I wonder if it is better to just be quiet...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Nearly 100,000 strong

Wow, looks like Penn State is a force to be reckoned with:

"Penn State's latest enrollment figures show moderate growth for a University-wide total of 94,301 students.
This figure includes all undergraduate, graduate, online, law and medical students."

The increase is mainly due to increasing diversity (international and minority students). Good job Penn State.

Why is Noah's ark so popular among children...

especially if they are bright enough to realize what a destructive monster that makes the Old Testament god out to be?

Remind me to never have a Noah's Ark in my house.

All you need is love?

And to be opposite gendered and the same ethnic background.

Not only are gay couples fighting for the right to get married, but apparently there are still interracial couples who are being denied this right.

I'm at a loss for words with this can you deny a marriage license to two people who, legally, have the right to marry? I honestly don't understand why there needs to be any government involvement in marriage in the first place - other than we've now intertwined marriage with a lot of tax policies.

What does it matter if Joe Shmo wants to marry three different women? Does it affect my life is Sue Somebody wants to marry Jane Doe? Will my children, my friends, my family be mis-treated because Dick and Jane both want to marry Spot? No. No. No.

I suppose it boils down to what legal rights and responsibilities, and tax credits, we give to people who are legally married. First of all, I don't understand why there should be a difference between the taxes paid by two married people and two single people.

The rights and responsibilities, however, those are important. If one is legally bound to another person, then one should have the right to make decisions for him or her when that spouse is unable to respond (but not infringe on any living will that has already been set forth), and the responsibility to care for that person when he or she is in need of it. Why can anyone, gay, strait, with whatever skin pigmentation, be my legal guardian, but when it comes to being a life partner, and making a conscious choice to commit to the responsibility of caring for one another as adults, suddenly, there are now barriers?

Maybe I was being a little far-reaching saying that humans should be able to marry non-human animals. I think that there should be a level of cognitive and communicative ability necessary in both parties in order for them to be married. But this is now opening another can or worms.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Poor short doggies

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

HPV vaccine safety

I really like the flow chart here and how the author makes it very easy, visually, to see the relative proportion changes. Clearly Gardisil is right on par with other vaccines (or even a little safer).

Musical Stairs? The fun theory

The question is: how do you get more people to choose taking the stairs over the escalator?
The hypothesis is: More people will choose to take the stairs if it is fun to take the stairs.

The results: In a one-day experiment, 66% more people choose to take the stairs than the escalator when a new stimulus was added to taking the stairs.

I wonder how well this would work in the long run - probably not very well, but as a novelty, it is great!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You cannot live on hope alone

We watched "Milk" last weekend, and it was truly moving; the story is inspiring and it was extremely well-written:

Friday, October 9, 2009

and the Nobel Peace Prize goes to.....(deep breath)

President Obama (confused expression while reading the card).

Don't get me wrong, I like the president, but I was as confused as anyone when I woke up this morning and saw that he had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, a few things to keep in mind:
1. I do not understand the nomination process and rarely understand the rationale behind the awards
2. There are always deserving people, and so don't really buy the "someone more deserving should have gotten it" argument
3. Winning this award will not sway anyone's opinion of him as a president or as a person

I was reading another blog post about this, and one of the comments (from tmaxPA) really resounded with me, so I thought I would share it here:

"I know this award is heavily politicized,"
Actually, this award is entirely political. It is the reaction that is politicized. Nobody ever contended that giving out prizes for the promotion of world peace is not a lefty/socialist endeavor. There isn't anything non-political about peace in these modern times.
And as commenters from Mark G. to shonny and beyond have pointed out, there isn't anything non-controversial about this award. Nelson Mendella's "accomplishments" at the time he was honored was, I believe, to have been in jail.
All those who want to scoff that Obama had been nominated after only two weeks in office are conveniently ignoring the longest political campaign in global history, just ended, during which the future President provided an outstanding, even astounding, example of poise, integrity, and statesmanship. We may have been unaware that the impact of the candidate's historical Speech on Race was not limited to a domestic audience, but it is beyond doubt that his inauguration as the first person of African descent to be elected President of the United States of America was something the entire world paid a great deal of attention to.
Having done more in his three months as President Elect than any other President Elect has, both in the immediacy of his attention to international diplomacy and the enthusiastic reserve with which he handled the kind of conflicts which that approach can cause, his being President isn't even essential for him to deserve this honor.
Is it unexpected? Sure. Is it an anti-Bush award? Sure. Is it too premature to satisfy the concern trolls? Undoubtedly. Is it undeserved? Hell no.

So, guess what - tomorrow we'll wake up and it won't really have mattered who won anyway.

gender inequity affects gay women also...

Women in the military are disproportionately dismissed based on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Considering the paucity of women in the military, the skew is even more shocking - the numbers I found (from 2003) show that in the Air Force there are 368,000 members, 71,000 of whom are women. Now, if 56 women and 34 men were dismissed based on sexual orientation, for a rough figure, that is 0.0789% of women dismissed and 0.0114% of men dismissed; quite a difference.

I wonder what the proportion of gay to strait soldiers is, but we cannot really get that number, could we, because they'd all be dismissed. Ridiculous. It is utterly absurd that the US military, still, will not allow soldiers to be open about their sexuality without fear of dismissal.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

no good reason

for not doing your job...

Why would a nurse not use new, disposable, equipment with each patient?

No answer is given, and hundreds of people are potentially affected by this woman's... negligence? maliciousness? idiocy? Who knows what it is, but it is unethical, unsanitary and unacceptable. I hope that her abuse has not adversely affected as many people as it seems.

She is also tarnishing nursing as a whole; by being such an incompetent, untrustworty half-rate, she opens the door for patients to mis-trust all their future nurses. I'm appalled.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Not a dinosaur!?

So, I feel a little deceived to discover that Brontosaurus, ONE HUNDRED AND SIX YEARS AGO, was determined to actually be an Apatosaurus. It wasn't a new species - so basically it is just a nickname for another species.

But, kids LOVE Bronotauruses. I LOVE BRONTOSAURUSES! Well, I guess now I love the Apatosaurus.

But, to parapharse Gould, there really are more important things to get outraged about.

Abstinence-only was an experiment

"and it failed"