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Miracle on the Hudson

You Know What They Say

16 - September - 2007 -- Dirty Horse, by reway2007 @ Flickr

16 - September - 2007 -- Dirty Horse, by reway2007 @ Flickr

“Always make ’em walk around a dirty horse.”

From whence came the art:

That image is titled 16 – September – 2007 — Dirty Horse, by reway2007, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Weeds and Tares

Nice catch! by Davers @ Flickr

Nice catch! by Davers @ Flickr

So today I attended my first Science Club event. The club keeps a little garden out back of the science building, and it needed weeding.

I stopped by after English class to find Doc all alone, weeding. He pointed out what needed done, what to yank up and what not to, and I set to work. We had the department head pop in and out to lend her hands, and someone who I think is another instructor helped for a while.

It actually turned out to be a nice bit of relaxing time, just chit chatting with Doc about science, the exam, the class, the lab, that sort of thing. We talked about the Thumb and After the Bar Closes, Randi and Dr. PZ, Dover and Brunswick County, Barbara Forrest and Michael Behe, Gould and Dawkins, and Dionaea muscipula, Spanish class and English class, my history with Dr. Bob and my flirtation with L. Ron Hubbard.

It was a great day for it, just the perfect temperature with a perfect breeze, and I was having a good day regarding my neck. I’m kinda glad no one else showed up, in an odd way.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Nice catch! by Davers, and is licensed by the artist under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 license.

This One’s for Hannah

As long as I’m still online in the storm, and my eyes aren’t quite open all the way yet, I thought I’d share a little love, from Roy Zimmerman.

Find all Roy’s videos at his YouTube channel.

Blogging My Biology Class

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece, et al.

I’m going to start cross-posting my Biology 111 comments from the thread at AtBC, just for convenience. I’ll insert a new category, just for this class, and all my posts about it will be on this page.

Here are my notes and thoughts from the lecture and the lab on Monday, August 18, 2008, with a little subsequent information tacked on the end:

A little about the course:

It’s Bio 111, with a lab, and it’s the first course along my way to a Biology Education degree.

The instructor, who I’ll just name “Doc” for now, earned his bachelor’s at Ohio State, his master’s at University of North Carolina Wilmington, and his PhD at North Carolina State.  Along the way, he taught various places, including at Coastal.  He’s been teaching there for (if I recall correctly) 22 years or so.

The text we’re using is Biology, Eighth Edition, by Campbell & Reece et al, and the lab manual is Biology, Ninth Edition, by Sylvia S. Mader.

I have the lecture at 8:00 AM on MWF, and the lab is Mondays from 11:00 to 2:00.

(Notes and thoughts below the fold)
Read the rest of this entry »

Slide into the Weekend

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Get Thee Behind Me, Charles!

Click for the full strip, at Abstruse Goose.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been blogging my Bio 111 course over at After the Bar Closes.

I’ve posted up my notes from this morning’s lecture there, and that link will take you right to the top of them, if you give it a sec to load.  Briefly, we touched on Charles Darwin today, and then got into emergent properties, heredity, descent with modification, common descent, and natural selection.

I also joined the Science Club today.

English class was short, as we had a sub (Mr. B is at a wedding), she couldn’t get the powerpoint projector working, and she isn’t as boisterous or as gregarious (or as verbose) as Mr. B.  She cut us loose early.

Between both classes, it was a nice easy slide into the weekend.

From whence came the art:

That is a snip of one panel from A Wise Man Once Said… at Abstruse Goose.

So, Almost Done Week One

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo @ Flickr

College has been tough on my broken body this first week.  If you’ve been following my twitter page, you know that I’ve got a bunch of homework from my Pre-calc algebra class (my night class).  Little bit of Spanish, little bit of English, no Biology homework yet.

I’m enjoying my classes, all of them, but most especially my Biology class.  The prof is great, and the subject of course is the reason I’m there, so it’s inherently interesting to me.  He’s spending a great deal of time and effort on the Scientific Method, which rocks.  You simply can’t do Science without it.

By request of Steve Story, Moderator Emeritus at AtBC, I’m sort of pseudoblogging my Bio class at After the Bar Closes.  Please feel free to read and/or contribute there.  It’s a great place, full of Scientists, Science educators, and people just interested in Science.  Mostly, its raison d’etre is for mocking creationism and the dishonest purveyors of the Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax, so although you’ll find some heavy duty science there in places, you’ll also find a lot of mockery that might be described as “puerile”.  It’s sort of to be expected, given the target.

For English class, I have a great guy for a teacher.  Very gregarious, very boisterous, and not afraid to be fun and/or cheesy.  I like that in a teacher, as well.

I have a very young lady for PreCalc Algebra.  She nice, and she’s friendly, but seems just a little nervous or timid or something, like she could really use a drink before class.  Is is appropriate for a student to suggest such a thing?  If so, how would one go about that without implying that she have a drink with me?  My wife would probably be a little sour on such an idea, so I definitely don’t want to give that impression.  I kinda like sleeping indoors, I’ve grown accustomed to it, and would rather not find myself on the porch.

My Spanish class is a bit livelier – sometimes.  The teacher does a lot to get everyone involved and keep it light, but in a class made up of kids, well, sometimes they’re just introverted.  It’s been interesting to see the collective mood swing back and forth within each class period.

Anyway, I’ll try  to blog a little more often about my classes, but right now I have a ton of homework and my first quiz (precalc) is Monday.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Narnia Entry in Spring by Fort Photo, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

Xian Xmas Toys

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

Bible Toys We Didn't See This Christmas, by Tracie Harris @ Atheist Eve

From whence came the art:

That image is taken from Xian Xmas Toys, an episode of Atheist Eve, a webcomic by Tracie Harris.  Click it to see more Bible toys. I think the Christian marketing departments may really be missing the boat by not getting these out there.

I Shoulda Took Pitchers

But Why Take A Chance?

Insanity, Thy Name Is James

Life with a teenage boy can be interesting.  Trying at times, but definitely interesting.  Especially when he is such an extrovert.  There is nothing outside the limits of his curiosity, or his humor.  Nothing.  I like that about him (usually).

Put two of them under one roof, add the cover of darkness and sparklers, insanity is inevitable.  It just is.

We went and watched the fireworks at Camp Lejeune last night, as we do every year.  Nice display, though a little shorter, smaller, and less dramatic than usual.  Parking was a little better handled this year, and leaving the base not the usual pain in the ass.  Of course we had D with us this year, and it was his first time that he could remember going.  He and J.P. hung out and kept each other occupied and out of trouble, so it worked out pretty well all the way around.

The fun really started after we got home.

Fireworks are mostly illegal in North Carolina.  Well, illegal to possess.  Apparently, not illegal to sell, as they sell all sorts of things in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, at road-side stands, etc. that I would think fall outside the law.  It’s one of those things that come the approach of Independence Day, everybody just sort of ignores, I guess.

I don’t mess with them, just because they’re illegal.  It’s just not worth the potential hassle to me, and I try to set a good example for the kids.  But somebody gave Jane a few boxes of sparklers for the kids, and I don’t have any problem with that (they’re legal), so once we got home (10:30/11ish), I sat out on the porch and lit sparklers for the kids.  They were tough to get going, so I lit them and handed them off.

Remember the two teenage boys?  Yeah, that wasn’t going to be interesting enough, by any stretch.

(Crazy kids, below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Teh College. It hates me.

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #539, by Ape Lad @ FlickrI got to bed fairly early last night, knowing that I was going to take the exams this morning.  Got up tired, hadn’t rested well, hit the shower, even shaved to look somewhat presentable.

On the way over, I pull up to a red light, and the car does something it’s never done before, something not good.  The RPMs drop, it starts to sputter and choke.  I’ve seen this behavior before, when I drove old beaters, so without thinking I react, slap it in park.  I can’t remember what the cause of it is, though.

The RPMs come back up and smooth out, but then climb to about 2500.  Yeah, that’s what I expected, but I still can’t remember what horrible thing is going on under the hood.  I kick the accelerator down, thinking “sticky throttle?”, but knowing as soon as the thought comes that this isn’t the problem.

The RPMs come back to where they should be, and the engine settles down, back to its normal hum.  I’m talking to my car, my baby.  “Please, not today.  I love you.  I love you more than my wife.  You’ve never given me a problem that was your fault.  Please.”

(More misery below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

First Lessons from College

I Thought We Were Supposed To Get Answers, by Cayusa @ FlickrLesson 1:  Pay Attention

Several weeks ago I went and got the study packets when I was finding out about returning to school.  The lady at the admissions desk was very kind, I was my usual charming self (not flirtatious, but charming in that Southern Way I’ve picked up over my adult life), exchanging pleasantries, blah blah, she gets the packets, writes a note at the top of the math packet, highlights some stuff up there, gives me the English packet, explains that I don’t need an appointment, take the exams by the 27th, blah blah, transcripts, blah.

Lesson 2: Read the Instructions

I bring the pile of papers home, set them on my desk, fetch all my old math texts, fold the cover page and the introductions over  to open the math packet to the first problems and start diving in.  First five pages is elementary school/ middle school math, no problems, then some very basic algebra, some geometry, nothing I don’t still master, ’bout page 20 I start seeing secants and quadratics and irrational numbers and radicals, and I start working and referencing, and looking up and trying to remember, and working sample problems.  I’ve been working at getting enough of a handle on enough of the material that even if parts of it escape me, I can come back to it over the summer and give it my full attention, and in the meantime still get enough questions right to pass the test.

Fast Forward to today.

(Continued below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Wisdom of Little John

Little John Conquers the WorldSo I’m speaking to my wife, and the subject of her father comes up. It’s a little touchy, understandably, so I’m gently joking a bit.

I mentioned that I re-read Thanks for All the Squirrels yesterday, and I made myself cry a little. (Ok, I did have to wipe a few tears, to be perfectly honest.)

“I’m a big sissy,” I say.

John pipes up:

“Well just because you got a dick between your legs don’t mean you can’t cry.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Dad would have been proud, I think.

Our Kama Sutra

mistranslations

Click the pic to go read more xkcd. Great comic strip.

HT: Berlzebub

Um, because you’re an idiot?

This cracked me up

HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) — Passing notes in study hall or getting your best friend to ask a boy if he likes you or, you know, LIKES you, is so last century. Nowadays, teenagers are snapping naked pictures of themselves on their cell phones and sending them to their boyfriends and girlfriends.

Many of these pictures are falling into the wrong hands — or worse, everyone’s hands, via the Internet — and leading to criminal charges.

Some parents are aghast.

“I just don’t understand why kids would do a stupid thing like that,” said Rochelle Hoins of Castle Rock, Colorado,

(my emphasis)

Seems to me the answer is contained within the question.

More at the link to the story on CNN.

I’m Twenty Nine Today

Shakespeare CoolFor the thirteenth straight year, bitches!

From whence came the art:

That cameraphone snapshot is of Shakespeare, and was taken by Little John.

Teach Both Sides

Expelled Tanking Quickly

Dr. Dr. NeinStein, by QuidamCurrently floating around 8% 7% 6% 5% and nose diving at RottenTomatoes, critical reviews are beginning to come in for Ben Stein’s “documentary” Expelled.  (ETA – back up to 9%, on the strength of a review by Christianity Today.  Yep, All Science So Far!)

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Typical of all propaganda, it also distorts language.

The New York Times: “One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time, ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ is a conspiracy-theory rant masquerading as investigative inquiry.”

Salt Lake Tribune: “a slick but intellectually dishonest documentary

E! Online: “A flunkout of a documentary, this features Ben Stein….Stein’s credibility is blown on this poorly constructed diatribe, and you’d be smart to save your bucks.

Seattle Times: “A hard-core, fundamentalist bit of right-wing propaganda”

Kalamazoo Gazette: ” ‘Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’ (PG) — Ben Stein stars in a controversial satirical documentary asserting that ‘intelligent design’ (creationism) advocates are being persecuted. Rave Cityplace 14, Kalamazoo 10, Lakeview Square Cinema in Battle Creek. Grade: F”

Orlando Sentinel (my personal favorite so far): “…a cynical attempt to sucker Christian conservatives into thinking they’re losing the ‘intelligent design’ debate because of academic ‘prejudice.‘ ”

Further down:

Shockingly, the ‘experts’ Stein hurls against evolution are disgruntled, under-credentialed academics dismissed from lesser colleges, they say because they say they wanted to teach creation rather than science. Other ‘experts’ in the film come from anti-evolution ‘think tank’ cranks.

Actually, it’s only shocking if you haven’t been following the shenanigans of The Intelligent Design Creationism Hoax for more than five minutes.

One more little bit from the Sentinel:

Expelled relies on the viewer’s inability or unwillingness to wrestle with a complex corner of science, double-talking its way toward a ‘must be a miracle’ solution to anything that science may not claim to have an answer for. Dismiss that for having no basis in fact, and you’re infringing on ‘academic freedom.’

Edit to add my new favorite review, from FlickFilosopher:

It’s apeshit crazy nuttiness right from the opening moments of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, as imagery of Nazi atrocities and the terrors of life behind the Berlin War are smugly deployed in a demented attempt to editorialize away basic scientific fact. And in a saner universe than the one in which we live, you could scoff at Stein and dismiss him and not give this propagandistic nonsense another thought.

Even their target audience is panning it outright.

Nell Minow, the Movie Mom at beliefnet: “he should understand that freedom of speech also guarantees the freedom not to have to listen to mangled, manipulative, and disingenuous rhetoric like this.”

Ouch.

For the actual lowdown on this piece of third rate garbage, pop over to the National Center for Science Education’s website at ExpelledExposed.com.

HT – Carlsonjok and Rich Hughes at AtBC

That image of Dr. Dr. NeinStein is titled Dr. Dr. EvilStein and is used with permission, courtesy of Quidam at AtBC. (I even have the latest version before the boys at AtBC do.)

Dateline Jacksonville, 3:30 AM

Sneaky DogI am awakened by the dog.  He’s whimpering.  Now, when he wakes me up in the middle of the night whimpering, it’s because he’s stuck in the bathroom and wants out.  (He likes to sleep in the tub but sometimes bumps the door closed on the way by.)

This time, he’s not in the bathroom at all, but standing by the bedroom door.  (I keep the door closed at night so he doesn’t get into anything in the rest of the house.)  This is unusual enough that it’s worrisome.  He doesn’t go for his morning constitutional until around 8:00.  He’s pretty regular (all the fiber he gets eating my socks, I think).

I get up and go check the house.  My wife’s just home from the hospital, and still wearing a heart monitor (just in case thing), so she’s on the couch.  She’s fine.  The boys are fine, snoring like their lives depend on it.  Kay’s fine, she rolls over when I crack the door.

There’s no fire, no one creeping about the yard, the doorbell hasn’t rung.  There’s no Sunshine Behind the Trashcan (although it’d be a Gina at this point – relationships are kinda fluid at 13 I guess).

I return to the bedroom.

There, with the most innocent “What???” face ever beheld gracing the face of a golden retriever, Shakespeare lies in The Warm Spot on the bed.

He is so not getting any treats today.

Jerk.