Monthly Archives: February 2009

Insane snowfall

We are expecting the storm of the year today in the Twin Cities. I’m looking at a weather map, and there is snow everywhere around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, including where I am. Events have been canceled. The whole nine yards (important planning related sports metaphor).

Yet when I look outside, I see not one flake of snow, and when I look at the news on TV I only see stories about a revolution happening in Mexico.

What is going on here, people???

Male vs. Female Brains

The male and female human brains are different. Some of the better documented differences are similar to differences seen in other mammals. They are hard to find, very small, and may or may not be of great significance. Obviously, some are very important because they probably relate to such things as the ability … or lack thereof … to bear offspring. But this is hardly ever considered in the parodies we see of these differences.

[Repost from Gregladen.com]
Continue reading Male vs. Female Brains

Topi or not Topi …

i-e1003b13638050040bea14fa3d3fabe0-repost.jpgGo to any bar and you’ll see a lot of males standing and sitting around not mating. I’ll bet you would have guessed that the reason they are not mating is that no females will mate with them for one reason or another. But there is the distinct possibility that they are very inconspicuously resisting mating opportunities. It turns out that males can do this …. avoid mating without conspicuous resistance … more easily than females. For obvious reasons.

This could be why what has become (inappropriately) known as “reversed sexual aggression” often goes unnoticed, and a recent study of the African antelope Damaliscus lunatus (a.k.a. “topi”) explores this possibility.

Continue reading Topi or not Topi …

Midori’s Floating World Cafe

Lizzie, got a job. It’s a pretty nice job, with benefits and a salary and everything. Not in her field (biology), but it is a job she likes. So I took her out for a congratulatory dinner, which ultimately gave me a chance to try a new restaurant. Also, we had been in a routine for a few months of meeting almost every week to work on a project, and those meetings had stopped due to scheduling issues (like, that she went and got a job …). It was time for another dose.

… continued …

Coleman Goof

So Ana IM’s me, and I can tell through the text that she was almost out of breath with excitement or fear or something. But then I remembered shes been observing the Minnesota Senate court challenge. Turns out something rather interesting happened. Luckily, TPM has it covered:

Norm Coleman’s lawyers just had a very awkward moment in court, in their attempt to prove that absentee ballots were double-counted — it turns out they’ve failed to share evidence with the Franken camp, involving a key witness.

The Coleman camp called Pamela Howell, a Republican election worker in Minneapolis, who said she heard another election judge exclaim that they had forgotten to properly label duplicates of absentee ballots that had been too damaged for the machines to count. She also said she did not recall whether they had made a note of this in the precinct incident logs.

Franken lawyer David Lillehaug then got up, setting out to impugn Howell as an unreliable, partisan witness. She admitted that she called up Coleman’s legal team during the recount, …

Holy crap, more here. TU Ana.

First it was bear paternity tests, now it is volcano monitoring

When will the madness end? When the Republicans dry up and blow away, of course.

In the Republican response to Obama’s State of the Union 2.0 address, by Bobby Jindal, governer of Louisiana, we heard this:

“Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.,”

The reason why volcanoes have been picked out of some speech writer’s anal sphincter zone is because they erupt and they wanted the metaphor. Or because Jindal believes he has no volcanoes in his state (but he would be wrong) or because of some other rhetorical reason. This is the same exact device as the bear paternity test complaint we heard spewing forth from the Hypocrite McCain and the Moron Palin during the campaign.

Maria Brumm is talking about it: “Something Called Volcano Monitoring”: Bobby Jindal Needs a Geology Lesson

Do Republicans (or moderates who don’t have a kneejerk anti-Republican reflex) also feel like he’s talking to the nation as though we were all kindergarteners? I was flabbergasted, but I don’t know how to properly account for my rather strong political biases here.

Scientific American is talking about it: Bobby Jindal and volcano monitoring: What was he talking about?

“Why does Bobby Jindal think monitoring volcanoes is a bad thing for the government to be doing?” Nick Baumann writes in Mother Jones. “There doesn’t seem to be any immediate way for private enterprise to profit from monitoring volcanoes (maybe selling volcano insurance?), but there is obviously a huge public benefit from making sure volcanoes are monitored: warning people if a volcano is going to erupt. Isn’t that obvious?”

OK, so clearly the Republicans are mean spirited knowledge-free hypocrites and Jindal is therefore a great spokesperson (or should I say spokesman) for them. And Maria and Sciam are right. But everyone is missing the true irony here.

The true irony is this: Remember New Orleans? Remember Katrina? Scientific research on disaster prediction predicted Katrina and its effects on New Orleans perfectly. PERFECTLY I SAY!!!! But those predictions were ignored (and continue to be ingnored).

But scientific monitoring does not always get ignored. The roads are laid out in many places with consideration for evacuation in the case of certain events. As Maria pointed out, large numbers of lives and dollars were saved from the effects of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo … which was a (say it with me now) a volcano … Because. Of. Scientific. Monitoring. And so on. Katrina is seen as an immeasurably large disaster of public policy because the clear warnings from the scientific research were ignored. Had they not been ignored, we would not be talking about this.

Teh Irony, then, is that the biggest disaster happened in the most third world of the states because of the boobs that run that place, and Bobby Jindal is Head Boob. And he is telling us what we need to do regarding scientific monitoring of potential natural disasters.

The metaphors! They are everywhere!

The fox is giving us a lesson on how to close the chicken coop. The farmer who left the barn door open is telling us about how to take care of your horses. The pot is explaining to the kettle how to clean off the soot. Chicken little is giving us a lesson on framing. The little Dutch boy is taking piano lessons. The Republican is telling us how to manage scientific priorities.

Oh, no, wait, that last one is not a metaphor. It is a TRAGEDY!!!!