Friday, November 30, 2007

Young boy dies after judge denies motion to force transfusion...

I was done posting for the day, but reading this post made the little dragon in my belly quite restless. He's chewing at my insides and I am actually finding it hard to breathe. Here's a snippet of what's feeding the little rage serpent:
Earlier Wednesday, Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer had denied a motion by the state to force the boy to have a blood transfusion. The judge said the eighth-grader knew "he's basically giving himself a death sentence."
"I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision," the judge said during the hearing.
"I don't think Dennis is trying to commit suicide. This isn't something Dennis just came upon, and he believes with the transfusion he would be unclean and unworthy."

He died.

You can read about it here, in more detail.

All I have to say is, what 14 year-old is mature enough to make a decision of that magnitude? All of the decisions I made, as an intelligent teenager, were terrible choices. There were so many things I couldn't know then...

Keyword Extravaganza!

In addition to these, Statcounter has discovered some interesting keyword searches that have brought people to my blog. They fall under two categories:

  • lab can't poop
  • cat can't poop
  • can't poop around boyfriend

and Alcoholism:

  • does my professor know I'm an alcoholic?
  • I'm not an alcoholic

I guess, then, that this comes as no surprise:

cash advance

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Test results...

The title is a bit misleading; I am, after all, not talking about the results of some important medical test, like a pregnancy test or an HIV test. What I mean when I say "test results" is the results of last night's chemistry test.

It was the fourth and final test before our final exam and we had an entire week off (think Thanksgiving) to study for it. The test covered four chapters of information and dealt with molecular orbital theory, Lewis structures, molecular geometry, periodicity and trends in the periodic table and atomic structure. It was supposed to be a hard exam, and I'm hovering really close to the A-/B+ line, so I studied extra hard, all vacation long. I spent two whole days doing practice problems. I did the practice exam twice and the review exercises three times. I reviewed for three hours last night before the exam.

Our class has decreased in size all semester. Initially, there were 185 students registered. At add/drop, we lost a good chunk of them. I'd say we're currently at about 140 students. I want to believe that we lost the portion of the class that was causing our low test averages, but now I'm not so sure.

We take our tests in a large auditorium and we have two hours to complete them before our pens are ripped from our hands and we're sent on our way to ponder how much of an effect those last incomplete problems will have on our grades. Two hours has never been enough time to complete an exam and double-check the answers in this particular class.

So, you can imagine my surprise last night when at 8:00, halfway through the two-hour allotment, a student handed in his exam and sauntered from the room. Now, the test was much easier than previous tests in that it was largely multiple choice, but it wasn't "leave an hour early" easy. I told myself that he must've just guessed or given up. Still, I kept getting the nagging feeling that I was astonishingly more intellectually stunted than my classmates.

Twenty minutes after the first student finished there was a exodus of almost half of the class! I kept thinking, How could these kids be so smart? and my confidence level was sinking faster than something really heavy in fresh water. I wondered how I could expect to get into grad school with those kids as my competition.

Then something happened that snapped me back into reality and allowed me to focus on the remaining six questions: my professor picked up one of the handed-in exams and smiled. He didn't smile with pride. He smiled because he could tell, with a quick glance, that the exams were crap.

And I confirmed that today by checking our WebCT site. The class average: 57%.


My score was 125/140, or 89%. Because of the low grades, we have an opportunity to get an extra 15 points by doing some Lewis structure problems. That's good for me, since that's my strong point. Which, in the end, will give me another 100% test score, making it much more likely that I'll get that A!

More sauropods on the horizon?

Somewhere in Spain, scientists have uncovered what Times Online is calling "Europe's largest boneyard." Not only is it the largest, but it's also diverse, with about 8 species of dinosaurs found so far amid the 8,000 fossils.

Picture from Times Online (reference below)

The boneyard was found in June and has been picked at vigorously since then. It's evidently going to play a big part in the dinosaur extinction investigation.

My favorite part: they've found three or four Titanosaurs! And they've found Titanosaurs with scutes, which has, according to the article, never happened in Europe before. AND they've found "more than 100 individual Titanosaurs"! That's great!

I would like to know what it all implies for sauropods. Do the scutes imply migratory behavior?

As far as I know, there was a land bridge connecting "North America" to "Asia," but I'm not 100% on that. I honestly don't know enough about all of this to have any answers, but I would love to hear from someone who does.


Thomas CatᎠin. "Dinosaur graveyard may unearth new reasons for their extinction." Times Online. November 29, 2007.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed comes out in theaters this February. The official website describes the movie as such:

"In a scientific world gone mad, EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed is the controversial documentary that will chronicle Ben Stein's confrontation with the Neo-Darwinian machine, exposing widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination in his heroic quest to bring back freedom in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms, with the help of the world's top scientists, educators and thinkers. "

My blood is boiling.

As far as I'm concerned, the movie is just blatant propaganda. It takes aim at the raw emotion surrounding the idea of freedom. It's very similar to the tactic used by our government in endorsing a war with Iraq, which played on our lingering rage and grief to overpower our ability to clearly evaluate.

It's no secret that we're emotional beings. On a daily basis, I have an internal battle with logic and emotion. Things I know are irrational seem to carry so much weight; so much so that I act on the emotion, despite the logic. I am completely capable of letting emotion direct my actions and beliefs.

And that is why Expelled makes me so damn angry. Rather than using logic and facts to make their case, the ID'ers are relying on emotional prodding. Some people see through it, but sadly, many of those people also know something about the Creationism/ID/evolution debate. It's those folks who haven't been exposed to the debate who will most likely be swayed by Expelled.
And it's possible that the movie will be the only exposure they get, because it's found its place into mass media.

For more on this, check out Brian's post, Someone Call the Wahmbulance: new Expelled trailer. Or just browse the web...there's no shortage of information.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Boneyard Carnival #10!

the boneyard logo

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Boneyard Carnival, a blog carnival to satisfy all of your paleo needs! It's been an exciting few weeks for the world of paleontology and especially for paleo-bloggers!

The big news this past week centered around sauropods and rightly so, as they are certainly some of the most intriguing creatures to ever have walked this planet. Not one or two, but three sauropods graced the media last week!

First, we had the exciting discovery of an amazingly complete Barosaurus skeleton, scattered about in The Royal Ontario Museum. You can read more about the discovery by David Evans in Brian's post, "Bully for Barosaurus" over at Laelaps.

Second was Paul Sereno's fascinating Nigersaurus taqueti, a small sauropod with an unusual mouth and incredibly light skull. You can read more about this strange dinosaur in "Nigersaurus: just when you thought you'd seen everything..." by Anne-Marie at Pondering Pikaia. Also, Brian has a wonderful post, "Nigersaurus Taqueti!," at Laelaps that uses Nigersaurus as a vehicle to explore the history of sauropods in popular culture, their reconstruction and their anatomy.
Photo from SV-POW!

And of course, we can't forget Mike Taylor's baby, Xenoposeidon proneneukus! It's strange, it's awesome and it's based on a single vertebra! You can find posts about Xeno at the following:

  • "Hail Xenoposeidon!" by Matt Wedel at Ask Dr. Vector. A VERY funny post about Xeno with some great photos of Mike and Darren and a whole lot of sauropod love.
  • "Forward-Sloping Alein Earthquake God" by Julia Heathcote-Anderson at The Ethical Palaeontologist. Julia gives a great summary of Xenoposeidon's weirdness and then moves on to rip on Glen Dixon and the rest of the world for their ignorance and lack of scientific literacy. It's well worth a read and will really get your blood flowing! Go Julia!
If you want the detailed dirt on Xeno, you should head over to Tetrapod Zoology where Darren, co-author on the Xeno paper, has written the aptly-named "The World's Most Amazing Sauropod" post. And for even more on Xenoposeidon, you can always go to the famous SV-POW, where Mike Taylor, Darren and Matt take on the difficult job of explaining the ins and outs of sauropod vertebrae. Posts include the following:

Of course, not all things paleo are things sauropod! There's a great post about "The Camel that Walked on Two Legs" at Christopher's Catalogue of Organisms.

In the paleoart corner, Manubu and Zach are shaking things up with some great original illustrations. Head over to Manubu’s Raptor’s Nest to see Albertaceratops nesmoi. Zach (When Pigs Fly Returns) has posted some great drawings of strange sauropods and descriptions of them. There’re three in all, so again, a bulleted list:

Hmmmm. Somehow we've arrived at sauropods again! Moving away, there’s been a great surge in Creationism mockery! You can check out some hilarious photos in this thread, where contestants in John Scalzi’s LOL Creashun Contest have posted their entries. Also, you can head over to John Hawks Weblog to read “Judgment on Judgment Day” a critique of the Nova documentary, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.”

On the subject of evolution, some important news regarding the evolution of animals on islands has come out. Archaeozoology has a great post, “Island Rule Refuted” that discusses the recent study.

And if you’re in the mood for some mammal-related palaeontology, mosey on over to Vertebrate Paleontology Blog where Benjamin has posted “On the Origin of Bats.” It’s a list of facts for those who might be interested in studying the ancestry of bats and a sub-list of possible ancestors.

And now on to the social stuff!

National Geographic has an interesting article by John Updike in the most recent issue. Brian takes a good look at the article and also takes some offense to the word “losers.” Read more in “Gah, not the “Buffalo-Backs” again!” at Laelaps. And while you’re there, also check out his post, “PBS’ March of Progress” and explore the common appearance of the March of Progress, from F. Clark Howell’s Early Man, and its effect on our view of evolution.

In the spirit of strange creatures, Matt, Museum Instigator at HMNH Hairy Museum of Natural History, has written “Extreme, Bizarre, Goofy, and Strange: A Brief Review of Offbeat Prehistory in Popular Culture.” I’d summarize it, but the title says it all. It’s fantastic.

And last, but not least, Neil sends us off with some words of wisdom about the overlooked abundance of fossils all around us. Take a trip to Microecos to read “Tu es Petrus,” and then keep your eyes open wide!

That about wraps up this edition of The Boneyard. I hope you enjoyed your stay and I hope that you’ll come again! Stay tuned to Laelaps for more information about the next edition!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks, Brazen Hussy!

Brazen Hussy over at What the Hell is Wrong with You? has a custom-made Shakespeare quote on her blog and I decided today that I wanted one too. The problem is, I can't decide. I'm just going to post them all. If you want one, you can get one here.

William Shakespeare

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the self-designed student
They kill us for their sport.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

William Shakespeare

This above all: to thine own self-designed student be true.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

William Shakespeare

This self-designed student hath a pleasant seat.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Nigersaurus...and a question...

*Credit: Photo © Gabrielle Lyon, courtesy Project Exploration

Science has always been my passion. As a young kid I would capture and observe small animals from the stream in our back yard. Lightning, tornadoes and other natural phenomena fascinated me; I put pictures of extreme weather on my walls and tried, with no luck, to go on a tornado chase for my fifteenth birthday. I told my parents, all throughout my childhood, that I wanted to be a paleontologist.

So I often wonder why I majored in writing and not in a science. And the answer is actually very simple: I was scared. Science is intimidating. It's an arena where everyone is trying to prove you wrong. It's not static. It's dominated by some of the most brilliant minds. It's a field that requires a certain kind of thinking.

I was afraid of science. I was afraid of being proven wrong, of asking the wrong questions. And sometimes I still am. So I have a question. One that may have a painfully obvious answer to some of you. I've been afraid to ask it, but I also want to be a good scientist, and I figure asking questions is the best way to become a good scientist. So here goes...

Nigersaurus had a very pneumatic vertebrae, which made the skeleton quite light (relatively). But Nigersaurus was also very small (also relatively!). So the question (not mine) is, "Why did a small sauropod need a light skeleton?"

My question is, could it be a form of protection? If Nigersaurus was small compared to most sauropods, and most sauropods got their protection from their size alone, would a lighter skeleton allow for a faster sauropod? One that would not have a size advantage?

And that leads me to more questions, as follows:
  • In general, are lighter-boned animals faster than animals with dense bones?
  • Is bone density related to muscle size? I'm assuming that small bones have small muscle attachment sites and than light bones can only handle a certain amount of stress caused by muscle contraction.
  • Would a small sauropod be fast enough to outrun a carnivorous therapod?
  • If not faster, what sort of adaptations would a small sauropod have for defense?
I also wonder, could the light skeleton mean that Nigersaurus was a slender animal? Perhaps it was not as robust as other sauropods, especially given its feeding habits and did not need an especially strong frame to carry its weight.

Anyway, I hope that doing this will help me get over my fear of asking questions and maybe stimulate some good conversation. I'm always afraid to ask questions like this, but really, what do I have to lose?


Sereno, P. C., Wilson, J. A., Witmer, L. M., Whitlock, J. A., Maga, A., Ide, O. & Rowe, T. A. (2007). Structural extremes in a Cretaceous dinosaur. PLoS One (11): published online.

Friday, November 16, 2007

LOLCreashun Contest

It's the funniest thing since...well, the Creation Museum.

Link here for details about the contest and here for the entries. The deadline is Sunday (noon or midnight?), so hurry up!

Here's my favorite so far:

Created by GilliganLQ

Geology Research and $...

Last night I attended a "meeting" of sorts, held by the geology department at my university. It was advertised as an "informal gathering" and did not disappoint. There were about 6 geology majors (undergraduate seniors?) and four geology department faculty in attendance. The four faculty members gave short PowerPoint presentations on their research in hopes of piquing the interest of the students in attendance.

I had a hard time. First, I was the only student there who had never taken a geology course. I was also the only person there who didn't know anyone else. Even the son of one of the professors, probably ten years old, knew more people than I did. He also knew more about geology than I did. I felt pretty out-of-place, though I'm sure it was mostly due to my social anxiety, as people were more than willing to chat with me.

The research presentations were fascinating. I've visited the web pages of the department faculty before, but never really understood exactly what the research was about.

There were several projects between the four faculty and I wish I could remember more, but here's a short run-down:
  • Limnogeology: Lake Mud! One professor is gathering samplesof the sediment at the bottoms of various lakes. Each sample is being tested for many different variables, such as carbon and nitrogen content and C/N ratios to see how the lakes have changed over the last couple hundred years. The research will help determine what needs/doesn't need to be done about things such as algae blooms and pollution.
  • Microbial Geochemistry: Another professor is currently working on many projects involving microbes and how they interact with their environments, mainly how they aid the cycle of certain compounds in the environment. He studies the presence of sulfur in Yellowstone National Park and in the "caves of Frassassi" in Italy.
  • Geomorphology: Another professor is studying the Appalachian Mountains where juvenile materials have been found. He is also studying an accretion in northern Nevada, deposited on top of an Au-rich site.
  • Paleontology/Paleoenvironments: Another professor is studying the an ancient reef. Her research aims at studying three distinct reef growths and the faunal succession of the reefs.

Each presenter had more than just the projects I describe here. You can see that there's a lot of really exciting research going on. And that's only half of the faculty. There are another three people giving presentations sometime in January.

It's all making me wish I were in school full time. I would love to work with the professor studying the ancient reef, but I just don't have the experience or the time. Soon, though.

In other news, I got my welcome letter from SVP! I'm in! I also put some money into my SVP annual meeting savings account. If I can keep putting in $150 every two weeks, I'll have my goal by the beginning of June, 2008!

Note: Though I didn't know anyone, one specific professor made a point to sit and talk with me for a while about his research and about my education. He was very very nice and I was completely grateful for his company. It made me feel very welcome.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rate My Professors: A Glimpse of the Wrath of Undergraduates

Today, I decided to check out the infamous "Rate My Professors" website (cue impending doom music). Wow! I mean, wow! It's hard to take the reviews seriously. Especially when there are one or two well-written positive reviews followed by a slew of poorly-written, angry, negative reviews (the ones where you can see the spittle and bloodshot eyes). And "hot or not?" C'mon! How old are we? Oh yeah, that's right...18.

I've decided to post some of my favorite snippets, taken from the ratings of my soon-to-be chemistry teacher and from my current chemistry teacher.
  • To have this class either maintain or improve your average, you're going to have to be either really smart, or have 12 credits and no extra curricular activities. Between class, labs, night tests, reviews, homework, WebCT, and studying, you have no life.

Isn't that what college is? Class, labs, tests, reviews, homework and studying? I work full-time and I still manage to do all of those things. But I've only got 7 credits. And I'm smart. And I have no life.*

  • Many good students dreams of going to an American Medical School have been washed down the drain thanks to this professor. His intent on all exams was to trick you. ANd most of all material covered on the final will be something you've never seen before. If you want to go to grad/med school AVOID hthis guy. There is another.

I'm pretty sure that if you can't pass Introductory Chemistry, no matter how evil the professor, you can't get into graduate or medical school. Just a guess.

  • Professor BlahBlah is a horrible teacher. He is too lazy to write on the board. He would rather give you a fill in the blank handout so all he has to do is write in the blanks on the overhead.

Professor BlahBlah has to teach 200 students a HUGE amount of information. He has thirty hours to teach thousands of pages of difficult material. If he wrote on the board, we'd cover 1/4 of the material we need. I think skeleton notes are forgivable.

  • Did not like this professor. Class average was a 59. He would not do any practice problems for us ahead of the test. If you enoy learning how to solve chemistry problems on your own, then take him.

There are supplemental instruction sessions three times a week. They consist entirely of practice problems. He also gives out the previous year's test and a review sheet, both with and without answers.

Yikes! I hope by the time I'm teaching (fingers crossed, fingers crossed, fingers crossed) they will have figured out a way to screen the raters. Or, that they'll have figured out a way to get accurate student evaluations.

*I actually do have a life...I just don't have time to relax. But I love my life. Really. It's amazingly full and interesting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

School Day

Oh, I love school! I just had the greatest class...y'know, the kind where you sit and nod the whole time, formulate questions that go beyond the subject matter and feel completely on top of the subject?

I have been feeling so hopeless about my chemistry class. Not "bad grade" hopeless but "you don't understand this enough to apply it anywhere else" hopeless. But now, it's all starting to come together. Atomic structure? Easy! Effective nuclear charge? No sweat! I understand the stuff we're covering on a "common sense" level. It makes sense to me, on its own, without textbook consultation. I can see, in my head, why higher bond energies indicate shorter bond lengths. I can see that phosphorus trifluoride is a trigonal pyramidal molecule. It's very refreshing!

On another note, I signed up for classes today and I'm taking more chemistry and more calculus. I REALLY don't want to do this, but it makes the most sense for the following reasons:
  • I will have taken the classes in succession, lowering the likelihood that I will lose all the information I've gained this semester.
  • I won't have to buy any new textbooks.
  • I won't have to take any night courses, allowing me to do my homework after work, before 9:00 pm.

The only downside is that I will have finished a year of work towards my degree without having taken a single class in the major. *sigh*

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Boneyard, blogroll and other news...

The 9th edition of The Boneyard is up at Catalogue of Organisms. Go check it out for some delicious paleo fun! I'll be hosting the next edition in two weeks, so send your submissions as soon as you can to "a c northrop at gmail dot com." It's my first time and I'm a bit nervous, so help me out (or *insert bad pun*) and send me a paleo-related post that you'd like to have featured!

I've updated my blogroll to include some paleo/evolution blogs that I've been reading for weeks! Be sure to check the new additions!

What I've been doing, in brief:
  • finishing up the (so far) most stressful week of the school year
  • passing my 4th kyu Aikido test!
  • applying topical steroids to my persistent eczema a billion times a day(after forking over a hundred bucks for said topical steroids)
  • watching Dr. Who, Season 3 and feeling slightly embarrassed for the director
  • working on my Triceratops painting while J works on his Pteranodon Jesus painting (pictures to follow soon)
  • fending off a blossoming chest cold
  • trying to understand effective nuclear charge, electron affinity and electronegativity...with only slight progress
  • trying to do derivatives of trigonometric functions (decent progress)
  • wondering why my cat can't poop in the litter box, but instead, carries the poop around with her in her butt hair all day
  • wondering why my cat can't wash her own ass
  • wondering why cat shampoo smells worse than cat poop

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Meme of Four

Julia at The Ethical Palaeontologist has tagged me for a meme! YAY!

4 jobs I have had:
Landscaper/Greenhouse worker (did this for four years)
Legal Assistant for a deadbeat dad lawyer
Assistant Editor at a video production studio
Editorial Asistant for a scholarly/medical journal

4 movies I love to watch over and over:
Jurassic Park
Life of Brian
MST3K, The Movie
The Princess Bride

4 places I have lived:
Ashford, CT, USA
Mansfield, CT, USA
**Edited to maintain some semblance of anonimity**

TV shows I enjoy watching:
Dr. Who
Black Books

4 places I have been:
Naples, Italy
London, England
Rome, Italy
New York, NY, USA

4 websites I visit daily:
Various paleo/academic blogs (I just start at the top of my blogroll and go down)


Science Daily

4 favourite foods:
Cabot Cheddar Cheese
Peanut Butter (organic chunks)
Annie's Goddess Dressing (good on food...but just as good without)
Mr. Mike's buffalo chicken pizza

4 places I would rather be:
Somewhere out west, USA, where there are fossils fossils fossils
Somewhere in Canada where there are fossils fossils fossils
London, UK
Florence, Italy

4 blogs I tag:
Make No Bones
Fish Feet
Fumbling Towards Geekdom
Learning Curves

Thursday, November 8, 2007

R-E-G-I-S-T-R-A-T-I-O-N! What does that spell? Hell!

It's early November and that means it's also time to start registering for spring semester courses. In previous years, registration time was riddled with anxiety. Could I get into the courses I needed/wanted? Would I have to take early or late classes? Would I have to go to class every day?

Things have changed a bit, now that I'm a non-traditional student.

I work full time, so those early and late classes are turning out to be the only ones I can take. I'm a senior by status (though I'm in the first semester of my undergraduate degree), so I get to sign up first, eliminating the possibility that I won't get into the classes I want, especially since all the other registering seniors are most likely NOT taking intro classes.

But now there's a new kind of anxiety. Now, I have to find a way to schedule classes into a 7.5 hr. workday. This is proving difficult, as the only classes I can choose from at this point are lab classes which meet four days a week. So, if I want to take two classes, which I do, I need to take a good two-three hour chunk out of work during the day and make it up at night. They've been really flexible so far, but I don't know how that'll fly.

On top of that, I'm torn between three choices: calculus, chemistry and geology. I'm currently taking Introductory Chemistry (part 1) and Fundamentals of Calculus. I need to take Introductory Chemistry (part 2) and Calculus I. But I want to take Earth System Science...because I want to.

I'll have to wait until next spring semester to take Introductory Chemistry (part 2) if I don't take it this spring, which could be rough, since I'm finding the first part to be challenging. So I'm pretty sure I should just take it a.s.a.p. And that leaves Calculus and Geology. I want to take Geology, but fitting it into my schedule is going to be hard if I take Chemistry. Fitting Calculus in will be much easier and allow for a much nicer schedule.

So really, I should take Chemistry and Calculus again. But that's exactly what I'm taking now, and I would like to at least have taken a Geology course by the time the SVP meeting rolls around. Meh...I can always just brush up on Geology by taking a textbook out at the library and teaching myself. Plus, if I want to take Geology, then I can take it when J takes it, and we can study together. Which would be nice, since we have so little time together as it is.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I must be getting old...

Because GWAR was fun, but not as fun as I remember it being. I still got soaked in fluid. I still got to jump around and be crazy and totally out-of-control. But I also was pissed off. And claustrophobic. And in pain.

Last year, when GWAR came around, I managed to get a spot at the very front of the crowd. I was right in front of the stage and all of the pressure and pushing was at my back. Granted, I got mashed into a wooden barrier and had massive bruising on my hips, but I could only go in one direction: forward. Last night, I didn't make it to the front, and instead was caught in the middle of a really violent mosh pit. Not something I really enjoy. I got pushed around, knocked to the floor and nearly trampled. I got elbowed in the face and my ankles got kicked and stepped on. They're severely bruised and a bit swollen this morning.

And being in the middle was really physically demanding. I got pushed from all sides. The crowd was tightly packed enough so that at times, my feet weren't even on the ground, yet I was still moving. I couldn't breathe and my arms were so tired that I couldn't push back.

The music was good. I mean, it's not something I listen to regularly, but in the right time and place, I love some good thrash metal. And they performed one of my favorite songs, "Bring Back the Bomb." In all, GWAR is a parody of violence, racism and hate. But I don't think everyone gets it. I think some people in the crowd really did mean "hell yeah" when the lead singer shouted out, "Let's get fucked up on crack." J started to wonder why all of the "jokes" revolved around Jewish people.
At the end of the show, J and I met up with our friends Paul and Samara to takes some post-gore pictures. Our clothes were dyed pink and blue from the "blood" and "semen" and J had some of the dye behind his contacts, which made him look like a zombie on acid. It was pretty ridiculous.
But it was also pretty fun, barring the pain and aggravation.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Polar stuff...

There's been a lot of media attention surrounding polar dinosaurs lately. Nature News recently featured an article called "Paleontology: Tunnel vision" about Thomas Rich's attempt to tunnel into the Alaska permafrost to access polar dinosaur fossils. The article, written by Alison Abbot, focuses mostly on the trials and tribulations of the field crew and film crew and reads more like a docu-diary than anything else. If you check out the comments at the end of the article, you'll notice a letter to the author by Roland Gangloff, rebuking her for giving his research and publications such little attention.

In other news, tonight is the long-awaited GWAR concert. I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow, though I have to rush from my Calculus class to the concert venue, so I'm sure I'll forget the camera. That, and it's freakin' cold outside, and I don't know how I'll feel at 1 a.m. when I'm drenched in fake blood and other body fluids and have to shower and get up in 6 hours. Oh, poor me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

But I want it NOW!!! Part Deux

I spent the weekend doing absolutely nothing. NOTHING done. I spent hours on my calc homework and got nowhere. I didn't even crack the chemistry book, which is a problem, since my test grades seem to be progressively getting worse (my most recent grade was a 123/140, which is a B+, which is a GOOD grade, but it feels like an F to me). And we all know the next step is dumpster diving and panhandling, right?

I wish I knew everything and I knew it all right this instant. Is that so much to ask? Would it be such an out-of-this-world request if I asked to be a leading scientist with only a degree in Professional Writing? I mean...who needs basic math, chemistry and geology skills? Who needs to know what questions to ask and how to go about answering them?

And that's the key, isn't it? To know enough about something to be able to ask good questions...questions that lead to answers that lead to more questions. And there're only so many questions you can ask if you don't know anything. So you learn. You learn all you can about something. And then when you have questions, you do all you can to answer them. And slowly, you know a lot about one thing and a little bit about the things related to that one thing.

I don't know anything. Not yet. And that's fine, because I'm in my first friggin' semester of my friggin' undergraduate degree. And I have something I didn't have the first time around: ambition. Hopefully, I'll find I have a good mind for science along the way.

P.S. I had a scientist moment this weekend when I found a dead bird and decided I MUST pick it up and examine its wing structure. I couldn't put it down. Its wings were SO light...and it reminded me of the latest SV-POW! post on pneumaticity...which is awesome.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

J: Humor and Math

Me: "Ugh! I hate calculus. It doesn't make any sense."

J: "Maybe it's because you're using letters instead of numbers."

Check out Procompunathus!

I know, I's Procompsognathus. But that's only if you're talking about the dinosaur. And I'm not. I'm talking about my newest, most beloved toy:

Yup! I did it! I bought myself a laptop and now I can post on the weekends from my favorite coffee shop! I can store my very own pictures on my very own computer. I can download journal articles and store them on my desktop. I can look at non-P.C. websites without fear of repercussion! It's all very exciting to me.

And yes, I am a huge nerd for naming my computer "Procompunathus." But I'm not sorry...I will not apologize for my nerdiness. It's something I've come to love. I mean, I love it in everyone else, so why not embrace it?

The computer is a Sony VAIO CR220E/L. It's got 200GB of hard drive space (or so it was's only showing 178GB on the computer), 2GB of memory, an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 (200GHz) processor and a DVD/CD burner! Wooohoooo!

J and I bought our laptops last Tuesday. We had been shopping around for a few months and decided on a Toshiba with all the same features, except with an AMD processor. Then, when we went to buy it, the sale was gone. So we ended up with these Sony VAIOs, and though we spent a bit more than we wanted to, we're happy...or at least I am...I'll speak for myself.

I keep having consumer guilt...but I'm not going to let it consume me (HA! Horrible pun, eh?). I'm a student. I have papers to write, research to do and blogs to read...and I can't always be running to my office on the weekends. In the end, if this puppy lasts for a good 4 years, I'll be spending about $300/year to use it, which is $25/month. That's not so bad.