Studying evolution has changed the way I look at nature. For knowing that all of us — oak trees and venus fly traps, starlings and brush turkeys, humans and sea urchins, not to mention bacteria harvesting light from the glowing vents at the bottom of the sea — are the products of the same ancient forces is something that brings me enormous pleasure, awe and a sense of peace. As I have learned more about other organisms, I have come to regard them (and us!) with increasing amazement and delight.
Most of all, though, I find the study of evolution to be a profoundly optimistic way of looking at the world — for the message is: despite the apparent complexity, we can understand. It’s a view of life that unshackles the mind. When we come to a difficult problem — something, say, that appears so complicated it is hard to imagine the steps through which it could have evolved — the solution isn’t to throw up one’s hands and invoke deus ex machina. It’s to imagine, to dream, to wonder: how? And then, to start to work it out.
Of all the popular programming languages now in use, Perl is perhaps the best suited for writing utilities — for several reasons, such as its text-processing capabilities, ease of addressing system resources, and minimal language overhead for input, output, list processing.
You've never had much love for vegans, and that doesn't seem to be something you've revised your opinion on.
Never. They're rude! ... How can you travel? Before you've even left home, you've already decided, "I reject most of the world's bounty and the expression of their hopes and dreams and culture." Some nice, possibly impoverished Vietnamese rice farmer is nice enough to offer you the one chicken he can kill a month, or a week, and you say, "Sorry, I can't"? It just seems antihuman. It's antisocial.
What was your worst meal ever?
Certainly the vegan meal I had in Berkeley was soul-destroying, and just frightening
"I love my husband. He's well read, adventurous and does a hysterical rendition of a northern Vermont accent [jewish grandmother accent] that still cracks me up after 12  years of marriage. But he also tends to be forgetful [me!], and is often tardy and mercurial. He hovers around me in the kitchen asking if I read this or that piece in The New Yorker [aaah! me again!] when I'm trying to concentrate on the simmering pans. He leaves wadded tissues [scott!] in his wake. He suffers from serious bouts of spousal deafness [both of us] but never fails to hear me when I mutter to myself on the other side of the house. 'What did you say?' he'll shout.These minor annoyances are not the stuff of separation and divorce, but in sum they began to dull my love for Scott [aaah! his name is scott!]. I wanted – needed – to nudge him a little closer to perfect, to make him into a mate who might annoy me a little less, who wouldn't keep me waiting at restaurants, a mate who would be easier to love."
So I heard nothing from the organisers of the ECPR grad conference since submitting my proposal ages ago, only that since I was a slacker and turned it in on the deadline that I wouldn't be on one of the pre-arranged panels, submitted together.
Then I got emails this week from a panel that apparently I'm on, starting with this, which could hardly if it tried be any more French:
I am writing to you in connection with the First Graduate Conference taking place in Essex in septembre 2006.
We may try to decide amongst ourselves who shall act as the chair/discussant.
We could also try to find a deadline for the papers (in August), so that the papers circulate amongst us before the conference.
I suggest that instead of having one discussant for all the papers, all of us could discuss one paper. Would you agree ?
Another (last one today) from NYT:
Mr. Watts and the founder and chief executive of Intelligentsia, Doug Zell, do not ascribe to the ‘buy low, sell high’ business model. They buy high and sell high. In the coming years, both say they expect to pay 50 percent, 100 percent, even 200 percent above Fair Trade rates.
I will also note that their summer solstice blend is a unique treat – when I tasted it I thought of coffee gelato.
“The key pieces this summer,Mr. Bunch said, are leather shorts and a harness. Actually, those are the key pieces every year. ‘It’s too hot now for chaps,’ said Mr. Bunch, who bears a tattoo on his right bicep that reads SLAVE. ‘If shorts are too hot, you can always wear a studded leather codpiece jock.’”
Yeah, let's not forget that, “complete with ‘cock-hole’ and under-strap:”
But even as protesters sought to cast McDonald's as the embodiment of all that is wrong with fast food and American culture, the French never stopped eating its hamburgers.
All of these suck at conveying the important information – that the risk of death is dramatically reduced by annual screening. The article itself talks about a different study entirely, about decisionmaking for self versus someone else (and attempts no graphical display of its findings).
When [NFL football player] Roethlisberger decided to ride without a helmet, what were his obligations to the larger society, in this case greater Steelerdom? And what mechanisms should there be for society — or Steelerdom — to impose those obligations?
In a democratic society, everybody benefits from other people's risk-taking. But must everyone pay for it as well? The question goes back to the founding of the country and continues to shape who Americans are as a society.
"America more than European countries prizes entrepreneurial spirit and the freedom of individuals to run risks, even if they might not turn out well," said Cass R. Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago. "One reason the economy does so well is that people take gambles. And sometimes they work out badly."
But today, the venerable NYT alerted me to an ever more present danger:
Early-morning grogginess can wreak havoc on a person's eye-hand coordination, occasionally turning the act of dishing out corn flakes into a messy adventure…. Philippe Meert has experienced that messiness firsthand. Four years ago, while on a business trip in Los Angeles, he tried to start his day with a healthy breakfast.
Moreover, one work order indicated that the hardwood floor work was to commence yesterday – the day of the BEAST. I hate cell phone pictures, but it’s the best I had today.
But European consumers and farmers generally do not want them, leaving the European Union to try to steer a Solomonic course between conflicting interests. The basic problem is that Europeans, whose food culture has developed over centuries, balk at putting biotech crops in their fields or their mouths.
- quesadillas with cheese and refritos negros
- pasta with lemon and tofu
- pasta salad with yellow squash, dill, and tzatziki-ish sauce.
- Risotto with zucchini, asparagus, and basil
- Tortilla española and mixed greens salad
- (from last week) Tofu with chili and basil and sweet thai noodles
- barbecue baked tofu, salad, cornbread