Archive for February, 2011

Too much reading

From The Truth by Terry Pratchett: He was the younger son in any case, and family tradition sent youngest sons into some church or other, where they couldn’t do much harm on a physical level. But too much reading had taken its toll. William found that he now thought of prayer as a sophisticated way […]

Glad I dug my umbrella out

Southern California is known for being sunny and warm. Of course, it’s chilly and pouring rain the weekend I’m visiting. I’d much rather the weather back home.

Hand Lens from EOL

I won a hand lens from the awesome Encyclopedia of Life for some lichen photos. So far I’ve only used it to look at the surface of this dried up algae, but I might get to pull it out for some botanizing this weekend.

What irritates a scientist?

From An Introduction to Ecological Genomics by Van Straalen and Roelofs: Despite the importance of allocations and trade-offs in life-history theory, reliable empirical measurements are difficult. This is especially annoying because often the outcome of an optimization procedure depends critically on the shape of a trade-off function… [emphasis mine] This had my roommate and I […]

Tourist photos as art

I’m as guilty as the next tourist of taking mediocre photographs of sites that already have a thousand representations. I can feel a bit less guilty about clogging up Flickr with them after seeing how Corinne Vionnet transforms such banal pictures into beautiful art.

Pay to kill or pay to live: Republicans vs. Democrats

The Republicans were voted in on a promise to make $100 billion in spending cuts. They’ve walked back from that number, but are still doing their best to cut any program that might help the average US citizen. (If you have money to burn, however, your fire isn’t going out anytime soon.) The proposed spending […]


I finished reading Cryptonomicon a few weeks ago. I really love Neal Stephenson, and I stayed up late far too many nights reading Cryptonomicon. As much as I enjoyed the book, I was again disappointed by Stephenson’s female characters. The comments here do a good job of laying out some of the issues. My biggest […]