I never thought I'd see it, but here's a reference to A Tribe Called Quest (the best hip-hop group of all time)...in a scientific meeting session title!
The Low End Theory: current status and future challenges in low-mass stellar evolution AARON DOTTER, STScI
Type: Invited Topic: Formation and Evolution of Cool Stars and Brown Dwarfs
I will be at this conference. I will attend this session, for the title if nothing else.
Of course, now that I said that, I'm beginning to wonder if there are other Low End Theories. To the Google-mobile!
Marcus: "He was throwing sand at me, and I told him that is TOTALLY LAME!" (pronounced: totawy wame.)
Owen (in the car): "Is that a hiker?! Yes. It is!"
John (drying dishes): "Erin, where should I put this new bowl?"
Erin: "Put it anywhere."
Marcus (running into the room): "You mean in your butt?!"
Owen (in the car after a long silence): "You know, lava can easily melt snow."
Owen: "Mom, do you know what it means when you stick your middle finger up?"
Erin: "What does it mean?"
Owen: "It means you hate God."
Owen (struggling): "Dad, that building is so tall I want to say the c-word."
John: "Oh yeah? What word is that?"
Owen (whispering): "I mean the word 'holy crap'."
John (whispering back): "It's okay. I agree, that building is so tall that it deserves the c-word. You can say it out loud this one time."
About two years ago I was suffering from a debilitating and possibly deadly illness. Sadly, I was suffering because I was refusing to get treatment. I had seen others get this illness treated with medication and some of them had suffered from bad side effects, which scared me. I convinced myself that I could beat my illness without medical attention. But my condition worsened and it was affecting everyone around me.
If I told you that condition were cancer or Parkinson's or some other obviously physical ailment, I'm sure you would be scratching your head as to why I refused treatment for so long. However, my ailment wasn't obviously physical. Instead, it was mental. When I finally sought a diagnosis, I learned that I was suffering from an extreme anxiety disorder and moderate depression.
When I tell this to people who know me well, they're almost always surprised. This is because I was generally pretty good at hiding my symptoms. It was only when I was alone that I w…
Personally, I'm still holding out for the unicorns.
But seriously, this is a pretty entertaining way of thinking about science. Humans are good at coming up with stories to explain things. These stories often revolve around us, as human beings. So in this way we often fool ourselves. I trip on the sidewalk, and I look back at the crack as if it was personal. It rains on a day that I forgot my umbrella, and I sigh as if nature has it out for me. I get lucky and find a front-row parking space and I'm tempted to make up a story about how it was "meant to be" or that I have good parking mojo (I kinda think I do). The athlete's team wins the game and it was because a higher power intervened (I always wonder about the other team...).
Science is a handy tool (or set of tools, really) that prevents us from fooling ourselves---in the event that we are really curious about how the universe works. If not, then the stories work just fine: our fates lie in the chance alignme…
From 2000-2007 I lived in the Bay Area, the East Bay to be specific, where I fell profoundly in love with the local NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. This was partly because I was a big fan of Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin growing up. But I have to admit that back then I didn't realize that the Warriors were an NBA team at the same level as the Lakers. This is understandable, because back then they were not an NBA team at the same level as the Lakers. But, man, Hardaway sure was fast. And as a short guy I really related to him.
In the mid-2000's the Warriors signed Jason Richardson and Baron Davis and quickly became a modern day incarnation of Showtime. Baron Davis is one of my favorite Pac-10 point guards of all time---a long distinguished list that includes Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and most recently, Isaiah Thomas (no, not that Isaiah Thomas. This Isaiah Thomas). And Jason Richardson didn't just play above the rim. He built a house up there where he lived …
I can't spell certain words. I want to punch certain words in the face. Here are my first attempts to spell some of these nemesis words of mine:
nemisis (from my first attempt in the previous sentence)
beauracrat (if only there existed an organization to help me spell this word...)
explaination (I actually spelled this correctly the first time. I have no explanation for how that happened)
soley (This word exists soley to become red-underlined)
I travel a lot these days. I've gotten to be quite a pro at navigating TSA security checkpoints, remaining calm throughout the entire boarding process, being productive on flights, etc. But one annoying thing that seems to happen more often than not is that my gate seems to always be as far as possible from the security checkpoint. This happened again yesterday on the way out of Toronto International. Here's a pictorial guide to my thought process:
"Okay, I cleared security with no problems. Thank you Canada for not subjecting me to a full-body scan. Let's see, my flight is out of F32. Sweet! First gate!"
"Weeee! I'm walking at an incredible rate on this conveyor belt! Free Canadian airport wireless, here I come."
"Wait. What? Srsly?!"
Of course, it could be that this happens only half of the time and that the above sequence only gets recorded by my brain. That combined with confirmation bias. But it seriously feels like no matter where …
Ain't science grand? Paleontologists recently discovered a bus-sized T-rex-like dinosaur that is covered in feathers, making it the largest feathered animal, evar: Fossils discovered in northeastern China of a giant, previously unrecognized dinosaur show that it is the largest known feathered animal, living or extinct, scientists report.In an article in the journal Nature, published online Wednesday, Chinese and Canadian paleontologists said the discovery provided the first “direct evidence for the presence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs” and offered “new insights into early feather evolution.”When I grow up (read: get tenure), I think I'm going to start hanging out with paleontologists. I seriously think that had I read more Carl Zimmer books than Stephen Hawking when I was in college, I would have ended up with a B.S. in evolutionary biology. It is amazing that we can learn about the first few microseconds of the universe, the birth of the first stars, and the e…