Ah, nice. It looks like there may be a work-around for lowered sexual desire experienced by some women: linky-poo.
Brilliant. What do you do when birth control's artificial hormones and anti-depressant regimens obliterate the body's chemistry?
YOU TURN UP THE VOLUME! More hormones.
One of the side effects that you can read about on the label of most hormone based contraceptives is a decrease in sexual appetite in women, which is painfully ironic, considering the nature of the drug and it's presumed use. That a second hormone should then be created, tested and marketed is par for the course. Afterall, it's the least they could do, so that the women can at least feel like they're not getting ripped off for buying their birth control pills.
At what point does it start to simply look like not interfering with the system and needlessly inserting X number of artificial re-checks and re-balances in our bodies is better than the alternative?
I wonder if women will get those nice thick and curly man-like hairs where they rub the testosterone ointment on their shoulders? Better safe than sorry - be sure to do it in a place where people won't see it!
I have no idea if this would have any support in the Italian government, and I know free speech isn't as precious in Europe as it is here in the U.S., but sheesh, that seems like such a bad idea to me (understatement).
Okay, I wrecked out my beater-car last week, so I have no car. But now I'm thinking that I may not actually bother to find a replacement car right away. I would have never thought that I'd say this, but living 10 miles from my place of work actually doesn't require a car. I've come up with a great way to save money, not have a car, and get in some bitchin' exercise, all from biking to work. I'll be rich and good-looking, right?
Here's a Google Maps version of the route that I take to/from work: Google Map.
This yields about 1-1.5 hours of good aerobic activity (depending on how hard I ride) for every day that I do it. Now that I'm really trying to eat better in order to lose "the man-bewbs," this is a really great thing, and will complement the evening lifting I've been doing in the garage with Eric's weight bench.
The negative to all of this (actually, there are a few things): it takes about 30-40 minutes to bike in (which isn't that big of a net loss of time, considering a 15-20 minute car ride, then a 10 minute walk in from the Stadium lot on the far West side of campus to the lab) and about 10 or 15 minutes to cool off and another few minutes to use the shower that we have here in our lab. The bike seat also starts really hurting after 15 minutes, which makes the 2nd half of each ride a bit uncomfortable and, ahem, cuts off circulation *down there*. Just have to shift around, stand on the pedals, etc... still, a serious annoyance. The other thing is that it requires an extra change of clothes each day, which I have to carry in in a backpack. Oh well, more laundry. I need to figure out where I can hang my towel here at work without cluttering up the office I share with the undergrads.
So, I haven't updated in 2 weeks. Sorry. I know - being the coolest freakin' guy on the planet, everybody has probably been biting their nails wondering that the heck Chris has been up to.
Not much, really. Things are copacetic. Trying to work more, get a side project finished here in the lab by the end of summer so my name will actually return a hit on PubMed.com. Also trying to get the pwg stuff back in gear.
WoW play is in effect, but under control, unlike a while ago.
My iPod is broke, and being an incredibly dumb idiot, I waited until it lapsed from it's 1-year-warranty to register a repair request with Apple. Now I'm sending it to a third-party company for repair. Probably going to be a hundred bucks to get it fixed. Good thing I'm filthy, stinking rich.
I'm going to buy another soccer ball. The Feroni isn't holding air anymore.
In case you're wondering, The Feroni is a soccer ball that I stole from a 10 year old a few years ago. I believe I was in the middle of my summer rotation when one day a few of us decided to walk out to someone's car and take an off-campus lunch. As we enter the parking lot, which is bordered on one side by a bunch of soccer fields (these are heavily used by soccer camps for little kids during the summer), I find a soccer ball sitting between some cars. Instead of punting it back to the kids like I should, instead I pick it up and decide to have some fun dribbling it as we walk to the car, thinking I'll toss it back onto the field when we get back from lunch.
When we got back, the soccer camp kids were gone. I feel pretty bad about it, since some poor kid named Ted (I think the name on it said "Ted Ferone") probably got bitched out by his parents for not being responsible enough to keep track of his dang ball, so anyway, the next day I decide I'll take the ball and see if the kids are back. They weren't.
Heck, I even looked up the name on the soccer ball to see if there were some telephone numbers or something - I could never find anything. So yeah, I wound up keeping The Feroni (we changed the name as an inside joke, basing the new name loosely on one of our friend's names) and I've kept it in my car (both the Volvo and the Taurus) for almost three years now.
NewScientist has published and made available online an article "debunking" 25 misconceptions that muddy the waters of discussion on whether or not global warming is an actual phenomenon or not, and whether or not at it's root cause lies Human activity.
Then, you might want to watch The Great Global Warming Swindle, which contains an interview with the former headman of NewScientist. This video is over an hour long, but it strongly changed some of my views on the reality of man-made global warming.
(As always, it's important to remember that as new information gets made available, we can find out more about what's actually going on. This video convinces me that, at this time, it does not appear to be a human-driven process. But one of the good things about this video also is that it frankly allows for the discovery of new information, making the point that it appears to be the "global warming" advocates that are jumping to conclusions.)
Not sure if anybody else heard about this, but there was an extremely intriguing research report and analysis released last month that suggests (lack of) Vitamin D and it's related pro-forms (D2, D3, D4, etc.) has a very high correlation to increased risk for several cancers. Specifically, this report showed that, of a study of 1200 women, there was a 60% reduction in the appearance of cancer in subjects taking Vitamin D supplements compared to those not taking supplements. I believe I heard on NPR news that this 60% difference is actually a higher level of difference between similar cancer-rate studies comparing people who smoke to those that do not. Interesting to say the least.
Anyhow, I was reading up about it (again, because I'm supposed to be working on a data set... and we all know that frequent breaks help facilitate brilliance and creative thinking) and found another, older, but interesting article about how cancer patients respond much better in the summer than winter following cancer procedures, presumably because the increased sun exposure in the summer allows the body to more easily create higher levels of the 'activated' forms of Vitamin D, which (might? probably?) act as an anti-cancer agent.
Might be time to start taking some D Vitamin supplements.
While sitting here (ideally to work on making a kick-ass phylogenetic tree for a meeting with the Bosserino tomorrow morning) eating some Smartfood popcorn (the best freakin' popcorn ever - oddly enough, I have this memory of going to the waterways in downtown Las Colinas for some carnival and getting free bags of the stuff... this was probably when I was in elementary or middle school) I happened upon an ArsTechnica article about the ominous July 15th date for the royalty hike that's supposed to be introduced, and kill, Internet streaming music. (For some backstory, check out this Wiki entry on the proposed changes.
I was pleasantly surprised that the bill to overturn this royalty hike - which is unreasonable, and should be overturned - was introduced by one of my favorite politicians, Sen. Brownback (of pro-life fame/infamy).
It's such a paradox, that someone who is pro-life should attempt to kill another to achieve their "pro-life" ends...
Although there is some logical appeal to the argument that killing is justified during war, and in this case, the thousands of abortions each day constitute a war on the unborn... ultimately I think this notion has to be rejected, since the 'battle' isn't so blatant as to be fought on any declared battlefield with any declared enemy. As corny and stupid as the term sounds, it's more of a 'spiritual battle' that needs to be prayed for, actions taken within the system to decrease and eliminate either 1.) the need for thousands of abortions each day (ie - giving mothers a respect for their unborn fetus, providing them aid during and after pregnancies, etc) 2.) end the legal option that parents possess today to abort their unborn.
As it is, bombings and loud, yelling protest have very distasteful (to understate it quite a bit) and, dare I say negative, outcome regarding changing hearts and minds of the large portion of the public that aren't firmly for or against abortion rights.
Don't look, actually - or else you'll get bitch-slapped by reality as the EU passes legislation covering all 27 member-states making it illegal (1-3 year jail sentences) to "incitement to violence or hatred “against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin."
You see, the iron fist reaching out to bitch-slap you and enforce measures against thought-crime and cerebral-immorality cometh not from the ultra evil Jesus-loving Right of cowboy America but the friendly and subtle andsophisticated and oh so enlightened leftist European elite.
This is my old guild - Forsaken Deathknights (FDK)- killing Ragnaros back in November '06.
It's hard to grasp the scale of this fight (and the video capture is done through a different player) if you don't play World of Warcraft very much, but there are 40 of us FDK members in there all killing the huge fire-demon in the middle. You can see the damage spells hitting Ragnaros from all directions.
Matt will laugh at this, mostly because Ragnaros, the final boss in Molten Core, was pretty much extremely easy for most advanced guilds (such as Skull Squadron) long before FDK even stepped foot in the Molten Core area. Yet we worked our way through it as a casual guild over the course of 5 or 6 months, working a steady 1.5 nights each week, and this progression and the teamwork, drama, bitching and moaning, more drama, dealing with prima donnas, strategy-learning and even more needless social drama that all went into making this boss kill was really, REALLY fun.
On this particular night, we made a few half-assed attempts at making the kill, but things just weren't going well. We didn't have a decent second tank (the "tank" is the player that stands in front of the bad guy(s) and takes all the damage while getting massive heals and doing his or her best to hold the attention of the bad guy while the other players who are more fragile beat the ever-loving snot out of him) - anyhow, we didn't have a second tank available for after the periodic knock-back, so we were pretty dejected. After a while, though, we got angry enough and everybody got to concentrating on doing their jobs - the absolute best feeling of being part of these 40-player raids is when all the different players do their jobs during these hard fights: the tanks take the damage, the damage folks unleash max carnage, the healers are on top of healing their assigned players, etc. - and we finally killed Ragnaros.
Another really great part about this encounter was that Ragnaros was about 5 seconds away from "resubmerging" and sending out more of his Sons (the smaller fire guys that you see about 2 minutes into the video), which there was no way we were going to be capable of handling for a second time until Ragnaros came out again. On our voice-chat server that we used to communicate with each other, just about every person that was logged on was shouting and braying with excitement... I remember getting the order about 15 seconds before Ragnaros was finally dead to blow all of my mana on damage instead of healing, since we needed a last burst of damage to burn him down. My description may sound somewhat exciting, but I'm telling you, the excitement of that night really couldn't be written down very well - we were on the cusp of killing this bastard that had been FDK's goal for the past 5 months and we were so close!
I hardly play WoW these days because of the enormous time-sink that it is, but when I do, I think back and wish for the good 'ol days of FDK.
After Ragnaros died, I was honored to get the first (and only) pair of pants for my class that he ever dropped for us. The character I was playing during this boss fight still wears them. :)
It seems like this tragedy will be history-making. My heart and prayers go out to my friends in Virginia, to those 31+ killed by the gunman, and especially for the gunman who was killed (or killed himself)... what a terrible waste.
Don't worry, Dan. You might not like the content of this communication with my Representative, but worry not - I jotted this down between lab activities (aka - "work") a few minutes ago.
Howdy from Rice University! I'm a graduate student studying vertebrate embryology here at Rice. I'd like to first thank you for your part in funding our lab's research! Being in my position, I have a keen understanding and appreciation for the funding of our country's great scientific programs.
However, I am writing to you this morning to let you know my strong disagreement with the bill that was just passed by the Senate allowing for funding of embryonic stem cell research.
It seems like this bill (or this issue, in some form) is likely to be brought before Congress again in the near future.
I believe that embryonic humans should be in full possession of their human rights, starting immediately at conception. Since somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) cloning produces fully functional embryos, I am also firmly convinced that such scientific endeavors are not in our society's interest in the long run either.
Oddly, proponents of stem cell research often propose a risk-management strategy, whereby they indicate that because some therapies might be developed from embryonic stem cell research that wouldn't otherwise be available through adult stem cell studies alone, we owe it to those who need the therapies to pursue embryonic stem cell research. However, when it comes to the equally important question of when life begins, that risk-management suddenly becomes non-existent - they simply assume and speak with authority that the embryos are not in any meaningful capacity "human." Quite a double standard. I am convinced that, just as in the case of a sleeping person, if you give the embryo 9 months, or the sleeping person 9 hours, they will manifest themselves as very human even though initial observation might suggest otherwise.
For these reasons, I'm asking you to represent me by doing your best to prevent such embryonic stem cell research bills from becoming law. I believe that what makes this country so great is that we have the ability, and often choose to exercise this ability, to protect and serve those who need our help. It seems that those who cannot speak for themselves must rely on those of us who can speak for them.
Thank you for your service, both for Houston and our country. Have a great day and sorry if this letter got a bit long.
Kind of interesting that the Supreme Court ruled within the last week that the Bush administration is not in violation of the law regarding holding suspects at Guantanamo, then followed that with a ruling that the EPA has the authority independent of the administration, to regulate carbon emissions. So no restriction, followed by some restriction.
Not interesting per se, one merely hopes that conspiracy theorists might take heart that the Fascist and Evil Regime of Furher Bush (!!!) is being checked in some ways by the courts.
Last night I was out at a pizza parlor with "The Eric and Katie Duo" and got a call from my sister. She'd called a couple times before, and then when she said she "had news" and then told me she was pregnant, I made a whooping noise, did a high-five with Eric and yelled "I'm gonna be an uncle!!" which made a few people around us look over.
So then I sat back down and realized it was April 1st after Jennifer said, "Just kidding!"
Apparently nobody else believed her the entire day. Oh well - I'm happy to be there for you, sister, as a gullible sucker! Hehehe.
Rioting by "youths" hit a major Parish train station today. (Warning: FoxNews link - here.)
But this is only to be expected. The last I heard, there were parts of the Paris suburbs that were so hostile to non-Arab police officers that the police began refusing to even enter those areas to attempt to quell rioting and general lawlessness that has persisted since the beginning of the rioting in 2005.
If you don't go in there and root out the problem, it's just going to spread. The same goes with ignoring the problem, or pretending that there is no issue to be dealt with.
If they continue to be big do-nothings regarding the latent racial/religious tensions, next year it won't just be burning cars and smashing windows.
To the angry, white Toyota Carrolla driver out there on N. Sheperd street:
Hello. I'm sorry I did... whatever it is that I did that so upset you. You see, I didn't do anything on purpose to make your drive-time commute more difficult than it had to be, so I didn't understand why you floored your crappy 4-block piece of shit car to "zoom" past me while giving me a dilapidated and weak middle finger, which at first, with your wrinkley hand up in the air next to your rawhide face and frizzled $8 hair-style made me think that the Cryptkeeper was driving next to me, until you opened your mouth to yell something to me (sorry, I didn't catch it because there's 20 feet and two pieces of pneumatically-sealed glass between us) and I saw your ugly and small pointy teeth and realized that it was some feeble old lady trying to tell me I was doing too well of a job trying to drive slowly and carefully home from the supermarket.
Life's too short to be that much of a bitch, sweetheart.