Monkeys Vs. Scientists|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Friday, July 2nd, 2010|
|World Cup Storytime
Possibly True Story (But not exactly)
This one comes from Len. I suspect the reporter bit is bullshit, but it was fun to listen to.
Sometime in the late 60's, early 70's,* West Germany and the UK were facing off at the World Cup final. The game teams were well matched, and the game was tied (2-2) and not going anywhere fast as they headed into extra time.
Until the UK team kicked a goal. Almost. The ball hit the underside of the goalpost, bounced straight down to the ground, and ricocheted clear of the goal. The ball hit hit West Germany's goal, but it hadn't exactly gone into the net. The British fans were alternately thrilled and crushed, and the Germans waited nervously for the ball to be officially called out. The swiss ref was baffled, looking around to his linemen in the hopes someone had had a clear view. Right away, a Soviet ref called it--in. Point to Brittan. The fans go insane, with the Germans trying to fight the call from the stands, and the English settling in for some preemptive celebrating. The clock ran down. England scored another point over the dejected Germans, and won what is still their only World Cup. The German team left, angry and dejected.
After the game, a reporter from the BBC managed to corner the ref. "That was certainly a controversial call. Many of the fans are questioning your judgement, saying it's not possible the ball could have gone into the next before bouncing out. Tell me, what did you see from your place on the field that was different, that convinced you to make that call?"
The ref nodded along intensely with the reporter, watching his lips and trying to follow his English over the background roar. But when the correspondent finished his rambling question, the ref turned away from him, looked straight into the camera, and said
The national stadium of Azerbaijan is named after him. Purportedly,
Queen Elizabeth later gave him a golden whistle for his "services to England."
*It was 1966. Details of the game in question are entry #2 here.
|Monday, May 3rd, 2010|
I got a shiny new (to me) bicycle recently, and tonight I took it for it's first real ride, in between thunder storms. I made it from my house up the greenway to Elizabeth st, about a mile and a half each way. All in all, it's a great ride--reasonably scenic, off-road, not too hilly, etc. I suspect the last half mile from Elizabeth St to Caleb/KC/Natalie/Crystal's house is much worse; it's in traffic and up a not inconsiderable, long hill. But still, it's only half a mile, and it's not exactly straight uphill. And now there is nothing stopping me from sustainable porch-drinking this summer.
Oh, and I'm gonna need some of that credit I've got at Ben's Bikes. My brakes are not cutting it, and I dread what slow leaks are emanating from my tires courtesy of someone in the overpriced apartments across the street disposing of their beer bottles by tossing them directly onto the bike path.
|Friday, April 30th, 2010|
Teaching myself banjo again. It's going better than before, but I'm having trouble finding things I want to learn, since I'm not a big bluegrass person. I am considering writing to whoever made the indie rock banjo tab site I found and then abandoned it, and beg for help. Somehow, I can't seem to do much with chords, even after working out that chords+different roll patterns=noises that sort of sound like songs.
|Wednesday, March 31st, 2010|
|Jerusalem Artichokes: Planted
Yesterday, I planted 10 Jerusalem Artichoke/Sunchoke tubers in a trench along the fence in the back yard. They each had about 1/2"-1" sprouts, and I put them ~4" down. Everything I've read about growing them consists of dire warnings not to plant them anywhere you might ever want back, because they are functionally unkillable once established--one manual suggested trying to dig up all the tubers, and then several years of viciously wiping out the shoots from whichever ones you've inevitably missed. So. If they die, I will make fun of myself for it.
Also dug a 4'x4' veggie bed next to the first one, which I can't help but notice is kinda crooked. I'm not sure what to do about that. (I'm not doing a raised bed; it's too expensive to buy wood, and my wood-dumpstering skills have been lacking)
Also, thinking of applying for a job maintaining a zebrafish tank. Fish can't be that different from plants, right?
|Friday, March 26th, 2010|
This will be of limited interest to other people (I mean, probably more than usual) but so what. It's my blog; I'll use it in lieu of a day planner if I want to.
So: It's Planting Things Time. Since I can never remember what I put where when, I'm going to try and post in here this year when I plant, move and eat things. Let's recap from last year: ( Read more...Collapse )
|Tuesday, February 9th, 2010|
I skipped work yesterday to go walk in the woods. I don't know if that means I'm doing especially well or kind of not-well mental health wise, but it felt good at the time, and I don't seem to be in any trouble with the lab. I'd be surprised, actually, if anyone noticed. I went to the state botanical gardens, which has a few miles of trails through the woods that surround it. I'm especially fond of one that follows a stream to the Oconee, through some late-succession forest (I think 'old growth' is still overstating things a bit, but I think the area was last clearcut maybe 100-150 years ago) There were lots of mushrooms out, mostly persistent things, but also a few sulpher tuft clusters. I found the skull of some smallish carnivore (I think. Maybe a fox? I don't really know enough to tell)) and took in home in the cup that had had my coffee in it.
The river is still crazy high from all the rain, I passed the area where the beaver dam used to be, but I *think* the beavers are gone, since it seemed to be draining; it looked like it was only residually flooded. (my first guess as to the whereabouts of the beavers involves a Dept of Natural Resources officer and a shotgun. No one likes beavers, and they never fucking move). This is why hippy college kids never actually go into conservation work. Well, that and the pay sucks. Anyway, I made it past there and went along the river for a while, but it looks like a lot of the official trail is underwater right now. Took me while to realize that, since for a while there were lots of footprints. Eventually, there was still a path, but the only thing to go along it since the rain started seems to have been a very exercise minded raccoon. Little bastard went for at least a half mile jog up and down that trail. After maybe a mile an a half I ran out of trail for realsies, when I hit an especially determined patch of privet. I fucking hate privet. So instead of finishing my loop, I turned around and went back.
On the way out of the parking lot I decided to hassle the newborn lambs at the teaching farm across the way, and take some pictures with my telephone to send to Jac. But of course, my phone battery was low, and there was a woman there with like 7 kids who were all cooing at this one very baffled lamb. I felt weird and creepy being this sweaty dude (I kinda looked like hell at this point, I'm sure) trying to lure the lambs over by myself, and I couldn't get any pictures, so I just went on to the library.
Later, I found out some friends of mine in Ky. have alpacas (!!!) and got a random, super sweet email from a friend. So, the moral of the story is I should spend less time on the internet. It doesn't actually make me feel good; it just distracts me when I'm depressed. And when I should be doing other, more important things that involve fewer pictures of grammatically impaired cats.
|Thursday, September 3rd, 2009|
Gah, I just found out I'm only 3 classes short of getting an extra AB in political science. (I thought I dumped it with farther to go) I'm temped to go ahead and graduate, but try to take the classes over the next year or so, depending on what they actually are and when they're offered and such (I haven't checked yet). Thing is, is there anything I need that degree for? I'm thinking 2 bachelor's and a minor (Spanish) looks a bit better than a degree and 2 minors, given how much time I've spent on the whole mess. But other than that? I don't really know. Do any of you academically-minded folks have any advice?
|Friday, March 20th, 2009|
|I should go back to cramming...
I have a lab practical in an hour on protists, the bulk of which will involve identifying the little buggers under a Very Nice Microscope. Problem is, there aren't enough Very Nice Microscopes to set up one for each species and have us rotate. The solution? Put a spoonfull of each culture into a beaker, give it a good shake, and let us each make a slide to sort through & name all the protists we can pick out.
There's one big problem with this: we've moved on to studying some very large, efficient micro-predators. I keep having visions of dicking around a moment too long only to find a single, enormous paramecium staring up at me amidst the sucked-dry shells of a dozen different Diatoms. When I asked the professor about the risk that the heterotrophic test questions will eat all the autotrophic test questions, his advice was 'describe a lot of heterotrophs.'
ETA: Damn, that was hard. I passed, but narrowly. The upside: There were enough organisms in the slideshow and in separate cultures (there were some stations, with dry larger things and microscopes of the more fragile & rare protists) that one didn't have to ID too many things in the big bucket o' protists. Also, we were allowed to use Proto-Slo(tm), an actual commercial product sold for the express purpose of, well, slowing down protists. I think it's mostly glycerol. On the downside 1) I got serious test anxiety, and forgot much of what I know. This was aided by 2)in order to verify that we were actually identifying the things we saw, rather than writing down everything we could think of, we had to call a professor or TA over to verify each answer. And one of the professors heckles compulsively. To refresh, he's the one who made fun of my legal name on the first day of class. Asshole. So that made getting a few wrong extremely awkward.
By the end, I did have a suspicious number of torpid, well-fed Euglena on all my slides, btw. I bet the little bastards ate all the easy-to-recognize algea.
|Thursday, March 19th, 2009|
|Well, that was unexpected
I just had to call the IRS for some info from last year so I could file online. Long story short, when Detour went under, rather than sending us our W-2's, John just skipped town & stopped answering our calls. So I never filed a return, couldn't do FAFSA, didn't get my $300 in Bush payoffs, and didn't have last years income to e-sign this years taxes.
So I call the IRS for that last item, and the guy 1)gives me that info & 2) tells me I can still file for last year's return. He offers to transfer me to someone who can send me the IRS's copies of that info so I can do it. The next woman prints & sends the info while I'm on the phone with her, and suggests that I re-file my '05 taxes too, because I missed some refund there. Since there's a 3-year statute of limitations, I have to do that by April 15 this year, so she sent me the W-2's and forms for that, as well as telling me the downtown IRS office can print 'em out on demand if I go down there (in case they don't get here in time). Both folks were quite friendly, reassuring & non-confusing. I'm a little taken aback.
p.s. It does look like Detour never reported me as an employee at all, so I may be somewhat dicked on that. At least the IRS woman assured me I don't owe money & am not in trouble for that.
p.p.s She did sound kinda like the woman on the IRS tip line I called in that dream about Gabe's job (wherein I reported his old boss for tax evasion for 'petty revenge'), only less robotic.
|Monday, March 16th, 2009|
1) If you're missing a dryer hose, you can indeed put a sock or stocking over the air outlet, and it will indeed heat your house. And humidify it. A lot. Also, if you don't secure said sock with the little metal collar widget, it will blow off, releasing a small but noticeable amount of lint.
2) Varnish dries 4x slower on rainy days. Not much you can do about it, either.
|Sunday, March 15th, 2009|
This week has been a flurry of nesting activity. Nat, Jac & I went to Ikea on Tuesday, where Jac bought some bookshelves & another loveseat like the one she already has. On Wednesday, we got Drake's washer & dryer out of storage after work-time, had a lvely dinner at the Dekalb Farmer's Market, and came home Thursday morning with all items in tow. We got the washer & dryer into my laundry room, unloaded the shelves & couch, got my old dumpstered dryer to Habitat, bought a 55 gallon barrel & a container of red worms. Plus we detoured to the yarn store, wherein I got the yarn to make Jac's nephew's easter hat--white merino/silk blend (go sale bin!) for the hat & bunny ears, pink wool for the inner ears.
On Friday Jac came up with her super-awesome friend Niqui, who is down from DC this week. They got me from work early, and we met Nat and Emily for lunch before crashing hard until potluck time--I oculd barely stay awake long enough to put the couch together for Niqui to nap on. Thanks to some spare dry ice from my job, I got to try out my fizzy pink lemonade and rum recipe--I was quite pleased. It takes a good deal of bubbling in dry ice for it to get fizzy, but the end result is quite tasty.
That left Saturday for painting. I'd gotten a rubbermade tub for the worm bin, and a replacement for the one missing washing machine hookup. While Jac and Niqui started painting, I began a comedy of errors. First, I managed to get the water outlet hose from the washer out through the dryer wall-vent thingie, but it wouldn't reach the barrel I'd bought as a surge tank. So we turned it sideways. Then, the cold water hose (the old one) turned out to have a leak in the fitting that causes it to spray water everywhere when turned on. I tried to move the new hose to the cold tap so we could at least do some laundry, but somehow I'd screwed the other hose on too tightly, so we were stuck. At this point, I decided to just wash everything on hot, turned the washer on & went to go paint. As it turns out, washing machines don't have a stopper to keep the water in, they rely on gravity to keep the water from flowing out until it's pumped out at the end of the cycle...So I now have a 55 gallon drum FULL of slightly-gray water, and I had to put the outlet hose down the drain for now just to make the washer fill up (I'll eventually have to couple the existing washer hose to another hose with a U-bend at waist level to redirect the gray water outside). Also, as it turns out, you need the cold water on to get a washer to enter the rinse cycle, so Jac had to catch the spewing leaked water long enough to get it to work. Meanwhile, it took about 6 hours and a good deal of time on my grandma's rickety ladder to paint the living room, but it looks great, even with a single coat. We managed to cover the baby-shit green the house came with with a mint green that looks pretty spiffy. Unfortunately, somewhere in the meantime I emptied the worms into the worm bin & got distracted again, only to find them squiggling up the sheer plastic walls to freedom later. Shit, I was surprised they were all still alive after hanging out in their little plastic bait-tub for 1 & 1/2 days. I think I've stopped the flood of escapees for now, but I do keep checking on them. Also, I gave them some shredded paper & avocado skins as a peace offering. Hopefully that will help.
This morning, we had good-bye coffee with Niqui, then Jac drove her back to Atl. Meanwhile, I stained one side of all the shelves a rich, dark cherry-brown to match our recently-dumpstered vintage dresser & thrifted tables. I should go untape the trim & windows & stat putting the living room back together while the varnish dries, but I'm freaking exhausted, so I thought I'd catalog my domesticity instead.
Next up: Build a raised bed or two, transplant seedlings & my kiwi vines(!) when it stops raining, seed the back yard with clover, assemble & load up the new bookshelves, mop the bathroom & kitchen. Also, I need to get the fittings to put a spigot on my 55 gal drum so as to facilitate using the graywater once I get it.
|Monday, March 2nd, 2009|
So, I've got to write a hefty term paper for my protists class, and I'm thinking of doing on cataloging and critiquing possible occurrences of convergent evolution. Things like forming filaments & branching filaments, plasmadesmata, sessile/coccoid adult cells, maybe endosymbiosis for photosynthesis...I want to look at where these might be better explained by 1) sloppy taxonomy (either morphologically or phylogenetically) or 2) horizontal gene transfer. The latter, obviously, is more exciting. I need to do some research and flesh this out before writing a proposal.
Yeah, that was mostly for me.
|Monday, February 16th, 2009|
So I was reading this speech
by a Russian-American guy on the similarities and differences between the USSR circa the late '80's & early 90's, and the US today. In talking about ways to keep transportation going during fuel shortages (after suggesting the government promote hitchhiking and making rail companies put a couple empty boxcars on freight trains for people to hobo upon), he dropped this gem:
"One final transportation idea: start breeding donkeys. Horses are finicky and expensive, but donkeys can be very cost-effective and make good pack animals. My grandfather had a donkey while he was living in Tashkent in Central Asia during World War II. There was nothing much for the donkey to eat, but, as a member of the Communist Party, my grandfather had a subscription to Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, and so that’s what the donkey ate. Apparently, donkeys can digest any kind of cellulose, even when it’s loaded with communist propaganda. If I had a donkey, I would feed it the Wall Street Journal."
|Sunday, February 15th, 2009|
|My town is so cute
Our mayor is in this years production of The Vagina Monologues. I wonder which one she did?
|Thursday, December 4th, 2008|
has made me laugh pretty fucking hard, and almost made me cry a few times. Read down to at least the bottom of the first page.
|Tuesday, November 25th, 2008|
|My Exciting Cleveland Vacation
As everyone's probably heard, Gabe and I made it to Cleveland without a hitch, and his surgery was 'a piece of cake'--no complications or surprises. Since then, he's been surprisingly fine, albeit frequently sleepy. I've been making runs to the store for groceries and pharmacy-stuff (our cheap motel has a kitchenette),* reading, knitting (glove 1 is almost done!) and playing Spore. Last night we watched Red Without Blue,
courtesy of my mom's otherwise-unused Netflix online-streaming service. We're way out in the suburbs, so while there's plenty of basic necessities around, there's not much to do. Especially with one person feeling kinda shitty.
On the flip side, Ohio is weird. Cleveland looks kinda like industrial Atlanta, with more porn (we've past 3 'adult' stores), liquor (you can but it in the grocery stores) and labor unions (judging from bumper stickers). However, Jesus and guns remain quite popular. It's a strange mix. Also, there's so much snow here that children are ignoring it.
Inches of snow are going unbesnowmaned in vacant lots, behind stores, and even in people's yards. It's just wasteful. And it's probably all going to melt tonight, since it's rainy out and a 'warm' front is moving in, according to the annoying morning news that was on in the waiting room. Either way, the roads are remarkably clear and dry, for which I am quite thankful, as I have no idea how to drive on ice.
So that's about it. I'm a little bored, I miss Jac, but I did bring a shit-ton of stuff to do. Over the next few days, we plan to sit in a coffee shop instead of the room, try frozen custard, raid the nearest thrift stores for sweaters, and maybe go to a science museum. That's about as far as we've gotten. Which proves this entry is boring, so I'm gonna stop now. Thanks, everyone, for calling/texting/emailing to check in on Gabe. It was much appreciated.
*By which they mean sink, fridge, dishes, microwave, and a crappy 2 burner stove that operates on a timer.
|Tuesday, November 11th, 2008|
I wasn't feeling so hot tonight, for a variety of dull, nonspecific reasons. The upshot, though, was that I decided to create a new LJ community in order to get others to funnel information to me. So by all means, everyone join guys_who_knit
, and give me ideas for x-mas gifts I can make in the next 2 months.
|Wednesday, November 5th, 2008|
I love Tim Wise.
I can totally imagine his 5 year old daughter pointing to Sarah Palin's face on magazines and shouting "That's the crazy lady who hates polar bears!"
Seriously, though, it's a good piece. It makes me feel good about my enthusiastic ambivalence for Obama's victory.
|Losin' the War on Science
At the 5 points firehouse, it took me no more than 5 minutes to get to the front of the line. The lines were short, there were lots of people with kids, I didn't have any trouble with my ID. I was pleased to note that, somewhere along the line, our DA got moved up to circuit court. In addition to being a friend of Emily S.'s mom, Ken Mauldin won his first election promising to shift resources away from prosecuting petty crime (a la drug possession) and into tackling the backlog of domestic violence cases Clarke county had built up. The other surprise of mine was in the County Commission; Elton Dodson (what a great name!), our elderly, quarrelsome, progressive commissioner dropped out of the race recently. Having decided that his likable, younger, also progressive opponent would do a fine job, he abruptly retired, too late to take his name off the ballot. At present, I'm disappointed that Paul Brown seems to have gotten re-elected; he's been embarrassing us in front of all the other states. And, it looks like there's a chance after all that Chambliss may be forced into a run-off. I've got my fingers crossed.If he does, a shit-ton of Obama staffers will be flying into Heartfield momentarily. I haven't even tried to check local returns yet. Sheriff should be interesting.
Normally, scientists (at least, the ones I encounter) are a pretty painfully apolitical bunch, but when I showed up today with my Georgia Voter sticker, I found out that all of my regular co-workers enthusiastically support Obama (though I am kind of curious as to how the couple of Pakistani folks feel about his war-mongering in the general direction of their nation). It takes a lot to get that kind of consensus; I suspect Bush's preference for truthiness to truth has helped solidify that.
Anyway, I'm going to go to sleep. Eventually, I'll get around to writing about the celebration at Cortez', going to Transmet and running into Carter, Ben, Leanne, and Trevor, listening to half McCain's concession on the ride, then catching Obama's acceptance. Suffice it to say I got embarrassingly choked up at the mention on the Obama's new puppy.