< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://caltechgirlsworld.mu.nu/" /> Not Exactly Rocket Science: January 2005

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Amazing (updated)

It's official, we take our rights for granted in this country. I've stood in a multi-hour line to vote (early even), but I wish it meant enough to us that we would dance and sing for the joy of having these rights.

This is un-f*cking-believable.

Congratulations to the people of Iraq who managed to vote in nearly as much peace and security as we take for granted.

The polls are now closed and some official estimates place voter turnout at 72%!!! Some neighborhoods report 95% turnout

Estimates place the death toll due to violence at 36, mostly Iraqi policemen. That's nowhere near the landmark violence that Zarqawi and his buddies promised.

Here are some first-hand accounts:

Omar of Iraq the Model "barely slept all last night for the excitement"
Alaa of The Mesopotamian is "filled with pride and moved beyond words"
Rose of Diary from Baghdad flashes her victory sign
Iraqi Bloggers Central has a round up of reactions, mostly good!
Friends of Democracy has more coverage as well

Deacon of Powerline has an interesting observation about Iraqi expatriate voting in other middle east nations, and the possible repercussions

Remember the discussion and roundup on C-SPAN this afternoon 2pm-4pm EST, or go here for the live webcast.

Carnival time!

This week's CotRecipes, ably hosted by Kinayda of Kin's Kouch, is up! Recipes for adults, kids, dates, you name it. Great job, Kin!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Wintry Mix and some thoughts on the Iraqi Election

I think that the weather term "Wintry Mix" must be peculiar to the middle atlantic states. Sleet, rain, snow, ice, freezing rain, you name it, it's all coming down together out there right now. It looks like the inside of a slurpee machine out there, minus flavor and color, of course. Anyway, it's a mess and we're staying in.

It started with snow here, and we got all excited to go out and walk in it, but by the time we got the boots and scarves on, it had changed over to rain/freezing rain. Not fun.

More later, in the meantime, send your prayers and/or good wishes in the direction of Iraq as both the Iraqi people and the coalition troops prepare to open the polls for the first free elections ever.

My wish is that Iraqis turn out in such great numbers that the terrorist assholes can't possibly carry out their threats to harm all the voters and that maybe, just maybe they'll begin to accept that terrorism just isn't going to win anymore. Naive, perhaps, but at least it's optimistic.

Update: For more info on the Iraqi elections try Friends of Democracy, a blog sponsored by our friends at Spirit of America that chronicles the election from Iraq both in English and in Arabic (through the SoA Arabic blogging tools). Also, don't forget to check out the SoA live election roundup on C-SPAN, Sunday 2pm-4pm EST or see the live webcast here.

Friday, January 28, 2005

19 years ago today

I was in third grade, it was cold and foggy in Fresno. By dumb luck I never saw the launch live, we were supposed to see it on tape after the morning recess. But by the end of recess, we all knew what had happened. I remember being sad and scared, but it didn't seem real, it was on TV. It was my first (but not last, sadly) national tragedy. Nineteen years goes so fast and changes so many things.

Today we remember the seven brave souls who set off on a mission of exploration and education, but never made it into space: Dick Scobee, Mike Smith, Judy Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Ron McNair, and Greg Jarvis.

Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of NASA's first space accident, the Apollo 1 launch test that took the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.

Next week is the second anniversary of the loss of Columbia, something I'll discuss in more detail then. This is a wonderful tribute to all three crews, from their colleagues and friends at NASA.

As President Reagan said, "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

A quick thanks...

for all of the kind thoughts yesterday. Today I feel much better, and I'm sure that all of your good wishes helped! Now it's time to get caught up :)
(nose returns to grindstone.....)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A short recipe

(at the request of a friend)

Uncle Sam's Perfect Popcorn

Popcorn (real popcorn, not that fatty, salty, crappy microwave junk) is a tradition in my family. All you need to make it is a pan with a lid, oil, salt, and popcorn (butter/margarine optional, see below)

1. If you've never made stove-top popcorn before, choose your pan first. It should be a medium saucepan (I use a 3 qt ) with a fairly substantial bottom (eg. not a cheap pot) to spread the heat more evenly. It NEEDS to have a well-fitting lid.

2. Measure your popcorn. The appropriate amount of popcorn kernels is enough to cover the bottom of your chosen pan with one full layer of kernels, more or less. This usually works out between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of kernels, but YMMV, so check for yourself by pouring kernels into the clean, dry, cool pan to measure, and then pour the measured bit back out into a measuring cup or some other such device, so you know how much popcorn your pan will make.

3. Now you're ready. Put the pan on the burner and add enough oil to cover the bottom with a thin layer (1/8 inch?) Eyeball it. Put 3-5 kernels of popcorn into the pan. When they start popping, you're in business. Set the stove to medium to medium high. This is important because you'll get nothing but burned kernels if the oil is too hot.

4. Let the oil heat until the test kernels begin to pop (watch out, they fly!), then add the rest of the kernels you measured out and put the lid on. Shake the pan horizontally to distribute the kernels evenly across the bottom of the pan. Popping will commence shortly. Keep shaking intermittently

5. When the lid begins to raise off the pan and popping slows, dump the contents into a large bowl. Add salt liberally. If butter is desired, melt in warm pan and pour over kernels.

I prefer plain popcorn with a little salt. Using corn oil enhances the popcorn's natural flavor, and a little salt really kicks it up. Of course, shaking on spices or even a little black pepper is good too, depending on your tastes. Colored kernels are also fun, and not much more expensive than plain white or yellow.

actually blogging in PJs

At home sick and in a lot of pain today, hands and shoulders are very bad.

If I felt better, I would talk about RA and how it has impacted my life, but since typing a lot hurts, I will direct you here instead for more RA information if you are interested. Send in those Ask the Blogger questions. If my hands quit barking, I'll answer more later, otherwise I'll be lurking. If you know my number (Ben) call me up. I could use the laugh.

Frankly the only GOOD thing about RA is that I probably won't have a schizophrenic break and because of my meds I'll probably never get Alzheimer's. Assuming I live long enough :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Too good to pass up

I was about to turn in, but I had to point this one out:

I'm #7 on the Google search for "cranial rectosis".

What does that say about me???? Sheesh.

G'Night all. Be sure to Ask the Blogger and share your favorite movie endings!

Variations on a Meme

Michele asks: What's the best movie ending of all time?

Some personal favorites:
Blazing Saddles: Driving off the set
The Usual Suspects: "like that... he's gone" (talk about your mindf*cks)
Pulp Fiction (or is that the middle): "Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead"
Spaceballs: "Oh Sh*t, there goes the planet"
Silence of the Lambs: "I'm having a friend for dinner..."
Psycho: "I wouldn't hurt a fly..."

What are your favorites?

The Return of Ask The Blogger

New questions!
Amanda asks...

1. How long have you been married?
5 and 1/2 years
2. Cat or dog person?
Definitely dog, I've only met a couple of cats that like ME
3. Do you know the name of the Australian Prime Minister? :)
I do. It's John Howard. (as opposed to Michael Howard who would dearly love to be the British PM)
4. Where is the furthest you have been from home?
Depends on where you call home. I have been all over the US and some of Southern Ontario in Canada, waiting for an invite to a professional meeting do I can go to Europe for free :-)
5. Jeans or skirt?
Usually jeans, but I prefer skirts when I can wear them. Jeans are better for the lab.
6. What CDs are you listening to?
No Doubt "Greatest Hits", Indigo Girls "Rites of Passage", Gin Blossoms "Best of", Paul Simon "Graceland"
7. Red or white wine?
Red. Although I will drink and cook with white when called upon :)
8. Beer or spirits?
Pear cider
9. Do you have any siblings?
Nope. But I have two brothers-in-law with the same name (husband's brother and brother-in-law)
10. We are getting Desperate Housewives on TV here next week, is it worth watching? :)
Naah. Y'all have better soaps already.

More?? More?? Bring it on, I'm on a roll now.....

The Blogger Responds Part Deux

Getting back to Bill's questions, since I have plenty of time now...
First, #1:
Living in NC has been a bit of an adjustment. It's a completely different lifestyle, a different mentality here. Life is quieter, somehow, and not just because we live in a small town. Let me explain: in CA, unless you live in a pretty remote area, wild animals other than birds or toads are a pretty rare occurrance. Here, deer and bunnies wander through your yard. In town. Additionally, even though this is a college town, the sidewalks pretty much roll up at 10. When we left Pasadena, we could get pizza, Chinese, groceries, Jack in the B, or just about anything we wanted at 3am (even building supplies-- LOVED the 24-hour home depot in Duarte). Here, the WalMart closed at 11 until recently, and there's only one grocery store open 24 hours.

But the tradeoff is that less than 100 cars are stolen here every day. That's in the ENTIRE state, folks. People leave their doors unlocked and even very smart people often leave valuables in their cars. It's just the way things seem to be. Crazy. I mean, we literally moved from South Central (USC) out here, quite a change.

Also, people here are quite friendly. My husband about had apoplexy the first time we went to the grocery store (about 6 hours after arriving) and some random person struck up a conversation with him in the checkout line, and then the clerk counted back his change. I thought he would die! I frequently have the same small conversations in the elevator, on the bus, in line at Wendy's or Chick-Fil-A during lunch, etc.

The weather was a big adjustment. First of all, there are 4 distinct seasons: Cold and wet, Sneezy, Hot and wet, and Orange. It seems like a new flower blooms every week from March through June. Fall is lovely, and then when all the leaves fall, you discover neighbors you never knew you had! And OMG the HUMIDITY!!! We now own a dehumidifier and there are boxes of baking soda in every closet. I haven't yet had to resort to baby powdering the sheets, but there are days.... The thunderstorms are extremely impressive as well. NC is #7 in the US for lightning strikes for a reason! And then there are Hurricanes. We've met Dennis, Floyd, and Irene (1999); Isabel(2003); and Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne (2004). Needless to say, none of them were friendly. At least Chapel Hill is far enough from the ocean and the mountains that only Floyd did major damage in town. And the snow. We've had snow at least once a year since we've been here, including a 29 inch blizzard (2000), and ice storm (2002), and a snow storm every Thursday for 6 weeks (2004).

There are a bunch of things we miss: Trader Joe's, Jack in the B, drivers who know how to deal with traffic jams, front license plates. But people are people everywhere, and many things are the same here as there. Some things are better.

#2: Local politics are only fun when you understand all of the subtleties and incest underlying the discussion. So, while I love Fresno's local politics, I find Chapel Hill's stupid. Maybe that's because Chapel Hill and Carrboro together could be renamed "Crunchy Granola-ville". State politics are always highly amusing, though, especially in Cah-lee-forn-ya, which should really be 3 states, NorCal, SoCal, and the Valley (Central not San Fernando). Here they're pretty interesting too. Last year, for example, all of the state offices were split evenly down the red/blue line with a fairly moderate democratic governor. Federal politics are almost worthless, since the deal making is so transparent. International politics are pointless since different countries will always disagree. That doesn't mean that diplomacy is useless, but rather that playing politics with "allies" doesn't do much but waste time and piss people off (eg. France and Germany)

That's about it for now. More questions? Come on, these were easy. You've got to be able to come up with something more difficult. Maybe I'll give some short answers next time.

A tiny ray of light appears...

...at the end of a long dark tunnel.

Today my program director signed my application to graduate and I am taking it to the Graduate School office this afternoon!

I'd also like to point out that the title/beginning of this post reminds me terribly of Zork....

This is bad. Very bad.

From NBC4 LA: A Metrolink commuter train struck a vehicle at a crossing, derailed and sideswiped another commuter train early Wednesday, killing nine people and injuring hundreds as passengers were sent tumbling down the aisles, authorities said. One train was inbound to Union Station and the other was headed for Moorpark from Union Station when the derailment occured.

It gets worse:
"Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said it appears the vehicle was deliberately placed on railroad tracks before the derailment."
Whether this was simply bad timing or an act of terrorism is still unclear. More later.

Update: 10:15 am PST P.C.: Body count is up to 10. According to the LA Sherriff's department, this is not terrorism. A "suicidal, deranged individual" stuck his vehicle on the tracks and then changed his mind about the suicide and got out and watched the train hit his car. There is an ongoing homicide investigation and the suspect is in custody and will be charged with 10 counts of homicide. Bastard.

And the Mayor of Glendale managed to make the federal government the bad guy for not paying for raised crossings. Sheesh. At least LA Mayor Hahn managed to compliment the various police and fire departments on their work in saving the folks who were in the crash.

The Blogger Responds (Part I)

The first entry in Ask the Blogger!
Bill asks:
1) What is it like living in NC?
2) How do you find the time that you do to make all these posts?
3) What's more fun for you, state, local, federal, or international politics?

And as I have just a few minutes we'll start with #2:
Most of the short posts take 5 minutes. Let's face it, the trade-off with Blogger is that you get very little control, but you still have the training wheels, so posting is easy. Other than that, I read fast and I type fast (extra info: I CAN NOT touch-type, but I can hunt and peck about 60 wpm if I spell things right).

Also, FireFox helps. With tabbed browsing I can post about what I'm reading without having to wait for a new window to load. I also use FireFox's Sage RSS reader plugin pretty extensively, and if I see something I like, I can link it without having to ever load the page.

Long posts are a different story. Usually they're inspired by the kind of instant and immediate rage that makes my husband wonder when the flames are going to shoot out of my eyeballs. I get really logical and direct when I'm angry (shoulda been a lawyer, I guess) , so it's a good time to write.

Fun posts, like the CotR or the SoA Star Wars post, generally take a while. The SoA post took the better part of a week and some intense html practice, and help from a great flash animator (thanks, Bob), and the CotR took a couple of hours.

In terms of finding the time, I don't have kids and my husband and dog are both house-trained :-)
Actually, the nature of my science is such that I have short breaks between bursts of activity, and that's a good opportunity to read blogs, check email, and write (15 min to 1 hr). Now I have to go finish cramming some food down my throat (did I mention that there's a Wendy's 5 floors down from me?) and then walk across campus to our collaborators lab and make some slides....

More later!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I'm a Politician!

20 Questions to a Better Personality

Wackiness: 40/100
Rationality: 40/100
Constructiveness: 56/100
Leadership: 62/100
You are a SECL--Sober Emotional Constructive Leader. This makes you a Politician.

You cut deals, you change minds, you make things happen. You would prefer to be liked than respected, but generally people react to you with both. You are very sensitive to criticism, since your entire business is making people happy.

At times your commitment to the happiness of other people can cut into the happiness of you and your loved ones. This is very demanding on those close to you, who may feel neglected. Slowly, you will learn to set your own agenda--including time to yourself.

You are gregarious, friendly, charming and charismatic. You like animals, sports, and beautiful cars. You wear understated gold jewelry and have secret bad habits, like chewing your fingers and fidgeting.

You are very difficult to dislike.

Of the 80590 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 7.4 % are this type.

Heh. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. This is pretty close...

(h/t: Bou)

Good thing they don't give an Oscar in this category:

Best Steaming Pile of Dog Crap to Masquerade as a Documentary

or Michael Moore might have actually gotten a nomination.....

Here's the list of motion pictures and actors that are "just honored to be nominated this year"

(apologies to the dog....)

A dearth of real posting...

I'm still a bit blogged out from the CotR, and I'm trying to get out a manuscript and do one experiment and set up another at work, and I'm also planning for a class in Neurobiology that I'm teaching in the summer. All this, and I'm also looking for a postdoc.

So I've been pretty busy, and I apologize if the output is low.

Until I have more time, let's play Ask the Blogger.
You ask, I answer, you decide if the answer is real or bogus.... If some of you ACTUALLY participate, this might be fun. Come on you regulars and lurkers, this is your chance to find out what I really think.... Let's keep it PG-13, though, ok?

The best search string yet...

"dos and dont's of being prenatal"

If you're prenatal, do you really have a choice to "do or don't"? Your mother might, but you don't have that much say in the matter, I suspect ;-)
BTW I'm #3 for this string on Yahoo! Search.

Anachronistic combat?

Exgaucho Ben has an interesting take on what the war in Iraq really means, and just how important Iraqi elections are for improving the lives of the people who will vote. In part he says:
"The overall War on Terror isn't really about terror or even fundamentalist Islam. It's a battle between the Medieval world and the Modern world.(...)This is a war not between Western and Islamic civilization, but between the 21st and 11th Centuries. And the 11th Century world must fight for its life now, or be slowly strangled by modern ideas. Therefore, those of us in the modern world have no choice but to fight it unconditionally, until its worldviews and culture is relegated entirely to the history books. Indeed, as long as we keep out will, it is a fight we are destined to win in the end."(em. mine--Ed.)
Probably the best analysis of why it is so hard to fight this war and why it is SO important that we win that I have seen yet.

Now this is interesting...

Seems Google wants a piece of FireFox pie.

Personally, I don't blame them since FireFox is the biggest threat to Microsoft's dominance in any aspect of the PC world in a long time and it would be stupid not to ride on FireFox's (coat) tail....

Let's hope that GBrowser is as cool as FireFox.

BTW, Are you using FireFox? Why not?

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Bloggerette is on hold...

Due to the fact that she's flat on her back... When she's up and around we'll try it again, mm'kay? Until then, be thinking of witty things to say and wonderful ways to bribe the judges ;-)

Welcome to ACC Basketball Season!

Basketball is a religion in Chapel Hill...
Go Tar Heels!

So, Whaddya think?

They're Baa-ack

Jay and Deb have finally made it back, both online and off, and Accidental Verbosity is now available for your reading pleasure, complete with enough Sadie pictures to make up for the weekend cravings (sooooo cute!)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

No really, they're ok

Jay and Deb's blog, Accidental Verbosity, is down for somewhat mysterious reasons. Jay, Deb, and Sadie are all well and attending the sci-fi Über con Arisia in Boston over the weekend.

In case you were wondering, Jay says:
Could you do me a favor and let people know that we have discovered our blog is down and have a support request in to Hosting Matters? As far as we know, either the domain was hijacked, or Hosting Matters allowed exactly 2 days for a check to be mailed, get to FL, and be credited before pulling the plug after billing us on the 19th. Since that is not like them, I am assuming it's something worse.

FWIW we are in Boston at Arisia, I got told about the outage by my
brother via cell, and I managed to get computer time in the internet room
to confirm it. There's a blizzard that could drop as much as 25" and
we'll be lucky to get home tomorrow. Hell of a time for site antics. So
much for leaving the laptop home and taking a couple days off from the
Thanks to Ith for the head's up!


This is what an Instalanche looks like:

And this is what it does to your ecosystem rank:

I'm a Large Mammal again. I like that.

I'm completely flabbergasted. I never thought I'd get so much traffic. Dang.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Thanks to He Who Needs No Linkage for my first (and probably only) Instalanche ever!

Sorry Ith.

The Carnival of the Recipes-- 23rd Edition

The ABC's of cooking from around the B-sphere:
A is for Apple, Sauce that is. From triticale the wheat/rye guy comes Wake the Dead Applesauce
B is for Beans, as in Chelsea Baked Beans and Pot Roast from Sissy Willis of sisu
C is for Campfire, where Punctilious of Blogoram makes Brisket and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
D is for Dinner Party. Karl of MYBIT shares 4 recipes for a full dinner and dessert, complete with wine and coffee suggestions.
E is for Everything in one drink: Screaming Blue Death from Owlish of Owlish Mutterings
F is for Fritters. Bacalao fritters with red pepper aioli from bothenook of A Geezer's Corner
G is for Greek. VW of One Happy Dog Speaks brings us Easy Feta Chicken Bake (Yummy! I made it tonight)
H is for Happiness, which is what you get from eating Down in the Dumps Pudding from Michele at Meanderings
I is for Italian. Two Italian recipes this week: Cioppino from Dave Schuler at The Glittering Eye and Bolognaise sauce from David Gillies at Daily Pundit
J is for Just Wonderful: Just Wonderful Lemon Garlic Pork Chops from Allan of Inside Allan's Mind
K is for Krab. I mean Crab. As in Physics Geek's Crab Cheesecake
L is for Little. Prochein Amy's recipe for Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves
M is for Meatloaf, Scottish-Style Meatloaf from Laughing Wolf
N is for New Orleans, the birthplace of New Orleans Style Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce from Christina of Feisty Repartee
O is for Oz. AussieWife Amanda sends her recipe for Roasted Lemon Bay Scented Fish
P is for Pots and Pans. Chicken Pot Pie from Boudicca of Boudicca's Voice and Pan-Fried Steak with Red Wine Reduction from Dave of AZ Perspective and Junk
Q is for Question. Punctilious of Blogoram wants to know what recipes Carnival fans use when cooking for their kids
R is for Ramen noodles, the "staple" in Staples for Starving Students from El Capitan of Baboon Pirates (if the link doesn't load try this and scroll down)
S is for Soup. First up, Split Pea Soup from Jim of Snooze Button Dreams; next, Shawn of Everything And/But Nothing shares her spicy Shrimp and Corn Soup
T is for Tart. B.Durbin of Booklore sends this recipe for a Glazed Apple Tart
U is for Upside-Down, or how my recipe for Hot Milk Spongecake bakes
V is for Variable, the way that David of third world county makes his Chili
W is for Winter, which is the only time you can make Michelle Malkin's Snow Ice Cream
X is for X-tra special. Jeff of Trub the sediment of life shares his German Apple Cake
Y is for Yummy, which is exactly what these Apple Butter Muffins from Mary Beth of Random Thoughts are!
Z is for Zippy. Pepper Steak with Rice from Christina of Feisty Repartee

That's all the letters and all the recipes for this week. If I missed you, let me know and we'll fit you in somewhere.

Next week the Carnival will come out on Sunday January 30th at Kin's Kouch
Thanks again to Beth for starting the carnival and keeping it running!

And especially, a big Thank You to everyone who submitted a recipe this week!

Welcome Instapundit readers! Stay awhile and look around. If you like what you see, drop by again!

Update: Kevin of Technogypsy's recipes for Coq Au Vin and Gumbo somehow went astray, but they're here now!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Carnival reminder....

This post will stay on top all today and tomorrow as a reminder:
Carnival of the Recipes is HERE this week. Send your recipes to recipe.carnival-at-gmail-dot-com by 12AM EST Friday morning (Thursday night) so I can include them. Keep 'em coming, I have something special planned :)

An update on the "snow"

NC drivers are nuts!! There were 8 hour traffic jams last night. Some people never made it home and some 3000 school children were still at school as of 11pm, although parents were picking them up all night. The busses couldn't get up icy hills and were stuck in traffic (Raleigh has this bass-ackwards redistricting plan that makes half the kids go to school across town in order to keep school overcrowding down).

For 1/2 inch of snow!!!! 1/2 inch!!!We're supposedly getting more tonight, could be up to 2 inches this time. I can't imagine what this will look like. (Chapel Hill had about an inch)

We've had much worse snowfalls and even an ice storm in the 5 years I've been here, but I've never seen idiocy on this level! Of course, neither has anyone else, and they've lived here a long time.....

Glad I stayed home today! BTW Hubby's school system was the ONLY one in the area that didn't delay or close today. Of course they didn't get nearly as much wet stuff, since their district straddles what was the line between wet and dry yesterday.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Boromir and the Ninja Wizards

One does not simply walk in to Mortar....
Of course not, you need ninja wizards! ROFL!

(h/t: Vanderleun at American Digest)

Another reminder

The first episode of The Bloggerette is pre-empted until tomorrow. This means you can still compete for the coveted Final Link. Go here for an explanation of how the "show" works and here for the rules and perhaps some bribe suggestions ;-)

Remember, there's no dating/love/marriage proposal involved, just some fun, and maybe a way to get some new blog traffic and linky love. And rumor has it there will be quite a nice prize for the winner. The more aspiring bloggers, the more fun we'll all have :-)

Come On! right now there only appear to be two entries! That's no fun!

Here's my recipe for this week

I feel silly submitting a recipe to myself, but what can you do?
Since I'm making it tomorrow night, I thought I would share one of my favorite cake recipes, Hot Milk Sponge Cake, which is a really old-fashioned cake that's low-fat and low sugar and is similar to traditional Indian cakes as well (or so I've been told). This cake is also known as Baby Shower Cake, since that generally what I end up making it for. A double recipe baked in a decorative bundt pan makes a lovely cake.

Hot Milk Sponge Cake
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk (I use whole to get more flavor)
2 Tbsp butter
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 9x9x2 square baking pan, set pan aside. Stir together flour and baking powder, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes or until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture, beat on low to medium speed until combined.
3. In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter until butter melts, add to batter, beating until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
4. Bake in 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. If you're using a larger recipe and a bundt pan, cook 35-40 minutes, but check your progress after 25 minutes or so since cooking times will vary depending on the size of the bundt pan. After removing from the pan, dust with powdered sugar if desired.

He's Here!

Go over to the Queen of All Evil's page to meet the newest member of the blogging community, Draco Eugene Esmay.

Mom and baby are both well, according to Uncle Jerry.

Congratulations Dean and Rosemary and Jake!


It Snowed!!!!!
Here's my back yard:

And here's the Princess enjoying the snow in her pretty red sweater:

I just hope my Darling Husband makes it home ok. What is usually a 15 minute bus ride was an hour and a half and included a hit and run sideswipe.... I hate NC drivers. They freak when the roads turn white.... It's called patience, dammit.
Update: He's home. Pretty close to on time, too. And he brought dinner! (Yum, Subway!)
It's 7:15pm and there are still elementary school kids in Raleigh who can't get home because the busses and their parents are in 4-6 hour traffic jams. It's nearly impossible to get anyone on a cell phone since all of the folks stuck in traffic are on the phone. BTW we got 1 inch of snow or less across the area!

There's hope yet

For Scott Peterson: CA Executes Convicted Killer.

A new weapon in the War on Drugs

WD-40. So good for so many things. Second only to duct tape in its usefulness.

This is it!

Another B'sphere baby is about to make his debut. Rosemary and Dean are off to the hospital to get Draco. Send your prayers and good wishes towards Dearborn, Michigan. The C-section is scheduled for noon. You can leave Rose, Dean, and Jake a note of good wishes here.

Take that, NBC!

Seems Dave Letterman is having his final revenge on NBC and the producers of the Tonight show. Not only is Dave killing them in the ratings over the past couple of years, but it seems he's got a ghostwriter that the Tonight show would kill for.

Johnny Carson.

Contrary to popular rumor, Carson is alive and well and ghostwriting from his house in Malibu. Rock on, Johnny. You were always my favorite.

And yes, I did cry when Bette Midler sang to him on that last show. Didn't you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sometimes the simplest things are the easiest to miss

Will Collier over at Vodkapundit points out an eentsy-beentsy little detail we all overlooked in our exhaustive analysis of the See BS Rathergate memos: the Date.
According to William Campenni:
"So, putting aside the typos, the superscripts, the signatures, the wrong header and address, and all the previously dissected items susceptible to subjective interpretations, how do I prove this memo is a fake? Easy — for the weekend that 1st Lt. Bush was supposedly ordered to report for his physical, May 13-14, 1972, the Ellington Air Guard Base was closed. It was Mother's Day. Except for emergencies, Air Guard units never drilled on Mother's Day; the divorce lawyers would be waiting at the gate.

If George Bush showed up at the clinic that weekend, he would have had to get the key from the gate guard."

Heh. We were so busy looking at the date formats, we missed the actual date. Mother's Day, of all days. Damn these were incompetent forgeries!

There's more. The Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation HAD this information and never followed up. Read Campenni's entire piece here.

Trackback Follies

Joe Gandelman posts on the recent increase in trackbacks to articles without links to his page. I've had the same problem. There was also a pretty interesting discussion about this recently among the Bear Flaggers.

What I've noticed is that most of the folks who send me erroneous trackback pings are actually pinging the article that I've also linked. I can't believe that all of these trackbacks are due to impolite morons. Does anyone out there know if there's a possible glitch in the trackback system that directs a ping to all of the blogs that are linked to a particular post, rather than just the linked post? The ONLY erroneous trackbacks I've seen are directed at pages I've linked to in the post receiving the trackback. If that's true, then I apologize for any erroneous trackbacks I may have generated unwittingly.....
(Obviously I'm not talking about trackback spam for v!agra or pROn.... I'm talking about real trackbacks...)

What do you all think?

Update: There's a clarification as to EXACTLY what I'm seeing in the comments....

They're back!

JibJab has yet another cartoon coming out. The cartoon short "Second Term" spoofs the inauguration of George W. Bush to the tune of "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain" and features the likes of Dick Cheney, Jacques Shirac, Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder, and of course the President in bathing suits (!!)

The cartoon will be released at 12am (tonight) Wednesday morning at JibJab's main site and at Yahoo! movies.

((Uncle Sam) hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Update: I have now seen the cartoon. It's good. The first half is as good as "this land", but the second half somehow fails to live up to the first half.... Definitely worth the 2.5 minutes of your time, though!

Thar's gonna be some changes around here...

It's been a couple of weeks since the Orange Bowl, and with ACC basketball season in full swing, things around here are going to start looking a little different as soon as I get a chance to redo the template....

So that being said, I have 2 questions for you all:
1. Would you prefer a solid background, or do you like the tiled pictures?

2. If I'm on your blogroll and I don't have you listed, could you please drop me a comment and let me know? I'm all about reciprocity, assuming your site isn't dedicated solely to porn or grody humor. And yes, grody is a word. Ask Ben.

Karma is a real b*tch....

The Pirate regales us with the (true) yarn of a moron who died for his beliefs.

Derek Kieper was 21 years old, a student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and the kind of Joe Perfect that sets off the asshole detector in all of us. In short, he was smart, had a 4.0, was a loyal frat brother, forced debates in the student senate, and wrote a column for the school newspaper in which he was passionately outspoken about his views, including the right to not wear your seatbelt.

He was killed after being ejected from the car he was riding in during a traffic accident because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

There's dying for your beliefs, and then there's dying for your beliefs. It's really too bad in his case. He could have made a real impact otherwise (terrible insensitive pun not intended).

One of my real beefs is people who are so passionately for a cause when it comes to others, but not themselves. The classic example of this is PETA etc folks who are against animal testing, yet they continue to utilize the fruits of modern medicine. Maybe now I'll be more inclined to believe them when they say that they would refuse treatment for cancer or Alzheimer's disease since the treatments were developed through animal research.....

I may be a nerd, but I'm not that weird.....

What is your weird quotient? Click to find out!
Of all the weird test takers:

62% are more weird,
11% are just as weird, and
27% are more normal than you!

(h/t: Deb)

Monday, January 17, 2005

Academic Impolitic

Or: Even the President of Harvard can put his foot in his mouth...

Two things you all should know about me before I begin. These are pretty obvious, but I want to make this clear at the outset. I'm a woman, and I work in the Ivory Tower. Specifically, I'm a woman who will shortly be pursuing an academic job in science. So excuse me if I seem a little offended, but I resemble that remark! (see below)

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers gave a talk last Friday with regard to gender diversity issues, specifically referring to the lack of female professors in science and engineering departments. According to the Boston Globe, Summers laid out a series of points which represented different theories as to why fewer women take these positions:
1. Women are less likely to want to work 80-hour weeks than men
2. Fewer women score well on science and math aptitude tests in high school and college, and behavioral genetics studies suggest that fewer women have scientific aptitude
3. gender discrimination

Then he said that none of these was the real reason, but that the pool of female applicants was small, and that the effects of any of the above on the size of the pool is not known.

I don't even know where to begin with this colossal prick. First of all, saying ANY of this is HIGHLY presumptuous, since he's a man and doesn't actually have any expertise in gender issues. He's an economist. So let's take this point by point, shall we?

1. Ok, it's true. Women do prefer to spend more time at home with a young family, in most cases. But this doesn't mean that women are unfit for these types of positions. It means that the system needs to be more flexible. For example, I can tell you from experience that an 80 hour work week in science need not all be in the office. If you have a decent laptop, you can cut that time down by about half. A creative mom can still work those hours, just not all in the lab like some of her counterparts. In many professional careers, sadly enough, the time that you are expected to devote the largest proportion of your time to honing your craft (residency, postdoctoral fellowships, assistant professorships, etc.) is the same time in your life when you are trying to start a family and build a successful marriage. That's not easy for either partner, but the real burden of it often falls more heavily on the female partner since society expects us to take care of our kids and husbands. Try juggling that and an 80 hour work week. Forget it. I mean, at some point you have to choose.

Look, for every hundred thousand kids who grow up to be scientists, maybe one of them will reach their dream of winning a Nobel Prize. Why? because most of us make choices that are incompatible with that kind of single-minded devotion to science. You can only be married to one thing, your spouse or your lab bench.

2. I'm so appalled by this I don't even know what to say. This was the part of the speech where a number of eminent female scientists got up and walked out. I probably would have been rude and made comments, but either way, I wouldn't have been staying for the end :) I can't tell you how many people I know who decided on science after starting out in another field. In some cases getting a degree in art or music before realizing where their interests lay, both males and females. Don't tell me that girls aren't as good at science as boys. That's patently false. And females routinely score higher on the SAT math and GRE Math, Quantatative, and Science tests in the past few years. Obviously men and women approach problems differently, but that doesn't disqualify either group from pursuing scientific questions.

3. Never seen gender discrimination. Never really experienced it. Never had to deal with it, so I suppose it's far from the point. Sexual harassment, yes, but actual gender discrimination, no. Let's put it this way, out of 30 students in my program, I think there are 6 guys. And we're a top-10 program in our field.

As far the smaller size of the pool of applicants, I suspect that's changing. More and more women are moving into research. My generation was the first to apply to graduate school in relatively equal numbers across the gender line, and we're beginning to apply for faculty positions now. I suspect that there will be more highly qualified female applicants in the years to come.

So to sum up, the real problem here is dicks like Summers. They create this publish or perish mentality that forces professors to devote minimum 80 hour weeks to overseeing their labs and writing grants and reviewing manuscripts. Not to mention writing them. They expect to see the younger faculty doing all of this as well as building a lab, establishing a reputation and a funding track-record, teaching classes, mentoring students, and serving on University committees. All this while they're trying to build and maintain a home and a family. Combined with the attitude that women are less interested in work and more intersted in their kids, and the opinion that girls are less likely to be good scientists, makes the whole thing a really difficult proposition.

But what may be worse to me is the way that some prominent female academics are handling the problem. These women are our role models, and the way that they deal with these issues sets the table for what will happen with us. When these women walk out of such an address, they aren't merely turning their backs on the speaker, they're turning their backs on us. That man deserved to be taken to task for his thoughtless and inappropriate comments there and then, rather than in a war of words in the Boston Globe. Real change won't come about through backbiting and cat fighting. Michele Malkin is right. Walking out was exactly the kind of silly emotional response that people who perpetuate these ideas expect from women. Malkin calls it a "collective emotional snit fit unbecoming of any self-respecting representative of the ivory tower", and it was. Having a hissy fit isn't going to solve any problems.

I'm not sure how this is going to change unless prominent women begin demanding that it changes. There is some reluctance to do this, I think in part because of the same attitude that imposed draconian schedules on medical residents, the whole "I went through it so why shouldn't you" attitude. As for myself, I've already learned this lesson. In looking for a new position, I refuse to accept one in a lab that won't allow me to be flexible to my needs. And I know I'm not alone. I just hope it makes a difference.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Busy Weekend

Been doing some shopping. Seems like everyone I know is expecting. I (as usual) was the designated money collector and shopper for our group, so we went to Babies'R'Us for presents for the upcoming shower. I was shopping for 3 soon-to-be-here babies, can you believe it?

What I can't believe is the amount of CRAP you seem to need to raise one. Every time I walk into that store I am flabbergasted at the sheer amount of different kinds of crap they sell.

But we knew what we wanted, and we got a stroller and a pair of exersaucer type things and got in and out pretty quickly. Thank God, because the place was busier than the mall.

Then we came home to empty the car and grab a quick sandwich and went to Costco (gas = $1.729) and then we helped a friend begin to move into a new place. We'll move the majority of her stuff next weekend.

Then we successfully avoided the telethon on all 18 million channels by watching Kill Bill and Kill Bill vol 2. I'm sorry, but I don't need a bunch of celebs to tell me to donate almost 3 weeks after the tsunami. It just smacks of condescension and crap, and we avoided it. I suppose we could have watched football, but when we turned off the 1st game it looked like the Steelers were going to eat the Jets for lunch.....

Tomorrow I need to catch up on some reading and of course there's more football, so I probably won't post much, but hey, every time I say that I end up posting 6 times, so we'll see. Maybe I'll get up the energy to put together some linky love. Speaking of linky love, check out the Bloggerette. Everyone can participate, there's no dating involved. Just posting, and a nice prize for the winner.

Friday, January 14, 2005


Every post today seems excessively cheerful! Argghhh! (as John says) why can't I stop with the !!!!!'s already?
AAAAAAAH! I need a vacation. Oh wait. It's Friday! Monday's a holiday! Yay!


Matt Leinart WILL return to SC for his senior season!!!
Here's the story. Matt says,
"I realized the opportunity right now to support my family by going to the NFL early, but to me I think college football and this whole atmosphere here and being with my fans and my teammates ... is ultimately more satisfying and will make me happier than any amount of money could make someone happy,"
Nice to see someone whose priorities are in the right order!

Tom "Bones" Malone will also stay. MLB Lofa Tatupu will go to the NFL.

Pete Carroll says""I'm smiling"

I'm an Earworm!

Well, the song does get stuck in your head.....

"It's a Small World": The happiest cruise that ever sailed! Surreal and silly, or sweet and touching, you are a well intentioned 1960s homage to the world's diversity that unfortunately inspires feelings of sheer terror in those who can't help but feel something more sinister lays beneath your shiney surface. But most cannot deny your charm, even if they cannot explain it, and leave feeling better than when they entered. Most overlook the fact that because of your unique style and design, courtesy of Disney Legend Mary Blair, you are a true work of art and you deserve to be appreciated. You are both worldy and simplistic, both cosmopolitan and decidedly middle American. You are a splendid candy-coated contradiction with a sugary, sunny
song that one never forgets. If the world truly listened to your never-ending optimism, it could be a small world after all.

What Disneyland attraction are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I would have suspected that I was something from Storybook Land, like Sleeping Beauty's castle or Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, but they weren't on the list. Neither was my personal favorite ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I guess I'll take scary zombie dolls. I do like the Purple Hippo, though.....
(h/t Exgaucho Ben)

Send in the Clowns!

Or maybe just the (happy) dancing dogs, because it's Carnival time yet again. Carnival of the Recipes, that is.
Hostess VW of One Happy Dog Speaks has done a great job putting it together (even though she's a busy mom with an out-of town hubby this week!) Drop by and check out all of the yummies from drinks to dessert, and everywhere in between!
(Thanks also to Beth for getting this one started!)

BTW The Carnival moves HERE next week, to be hosted by yours truly!
To submit recipes email a permalink or the entire recipe (if you don't have a site) to recipe.carnival-at-gmail.com before 12AM EDT next Thursday night/Friday morning and I'll do my best to get it out :)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Help a girl out...

LaShawn has some questions for bloggers. Go here and leave her a comment with your answers!

A chance to make history or not?

Boi From Troy has the scoop on the impending Matt Leinart NFL draft decision. He says:
"Radio reports indicate that Lofa Tatupu, the junior linebacker/son of Mosi has said he will do whatever Leinart does. Other reports say that Leinart and Tatupu are the only ones still considering going pro--meaning Malone will stay. An announcement was supposed to happen today, but now the three are scheduled to do a joint press conference Friday afternoon (sadly, I will have just boarded a plane at Washington's Dulles airport 15 minutes earlier).

My hunch? If Malone is staying, then all three are staying...just to prove how bad Notre Dame's secondary, running game and special teams really are. Seriously. Why else would the university schedule a joint press conference with all three if one had a different announcement from the others? And wouldn't it be nice to hear three pro-caliber players say, "We choose to make history," and win a third consecutive National Championship."

I say I hope the delay means they're staying. I can't imagine why they wouldn't have announced already if they were going pro. The PC was supposed to take place this afternoon. Why string people along? It isn't going to help your draft number. BTW for those of you who weren't aware, the NFL draft announcement deadline is Saturday.

The Bloggerette

Da Goddess brings you the first reality-blog series.

No, not The Bachelorette...

Sorry, there's no Jen Scheft

You won't find true love in NYC

There's no rose ceremonies

There's no ring shopping at Tiffany's

You won't get any exposure to help you get any new acting gigs

But there's this....

and I'd say that's a pretty good trade off, wouldn't you?

Here's the scoop:

25 bloggers will vie for The Final Link.

To participate, you will need to dedicate a post a week to The Bloggerette. Your entry for the week should elicit laughter, tears, and/or serious thought from her and the judges.

Judges? Yes. Together, we will vote on each submission. Based on our decisions, we will select the best entries to continue on to the next round. Winners will be announced in a Link Ceremony. (see, there is a ceremony. Just no roses. Don't be too disappointed)

You do NOT need to be a single male to play. This is open to the first 25 bloggers to respond to the offer. (leave her a comment)

One post a week is all it takes. You link to a Bloggerette post to signal that your entry's ready and we all flock to read it.

Bribes to sway our votes are expected welcome. Goes for the Bloggerette and the judges.

The judges and the Bloggerette will discuss the various entries. A list of those selected to continue on to the next round will be announced in a post on her site, with encouragement for readers to check out the entries that won her heart/attention.

If, for any reason, it is impossible for you to continue on with the game, let her know as soon as possible. She will wait until the Link Ceremony to remove your name from the running.

Remember the bribe thing. It'll work wonders!

This is going to be way more fun than watching plastic people on tv attempting to impress each other. The Bloggerette is about REAL people competing for fake awards and recognition.

ABC might have passed on the opportunity to play a silly attention-getting game with truly interesting people.....but the important question is, will you?

And BTW, yes, I will be a judge. Let the bribing and link-whoring commence!!

And now for something completely different

Our National Championship swag arrived today. Yay!! It wasn't supposed to ship until after next Monday, but it shipped Tuesday and here it is!.
Thanks to the Irish Trojan Brendan for the link to the online store that hadn't yet sold out of shirts 12 hours after the victory!

My last word on the HIV/AIDS debate

So yesterday, Dean promised an earth-shattering revelation that would set on its ear all that you thought you knew about HIV and whether it causes AIDS. I applaud Dean for bringing forward his convictions, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Today he presents this graph:

And this one:

The graphs come from this paper by Peter Duesberg's group. The top graph is NEW (it can't be total, see here-- Ed.) AIDS cases in the US per 100,000 people and the bottom graph is millions of total HIV positive folks in the US. Don't worry about the difference in reporting. You could convert the top to pure number by multiplying any point by 2300-3000 since there were between 230 and 300 million people in the US during the time of the data. What's important here is the shape. And WRT the spike in the AIDS graph, see here for what the CDC says about how it changed it's criteria for diagnosis.

Dean and Dr. Bialy (you know what I think of him) say that these graphs mean that HIV can't cause AIDS since HIV remains relatively stable and AIDS is first increased and then decreased.

Initially you might say, "OK..." I say, "apples and oranges!"

Look, to believe Dean and Dr. Bialy you would have to believe that the only possible relationship between HIV and AIDS is specifically linear, that is, it can only be progresssive (HIV -> AIDS) without any susceptibility to intervention. I postulate that this is not so.

Mostly because I find it extremely telling that AIDS cases begin to drop off right at the same time that we were beginning to move beyond AZT. The first anti-retroviral drugs became available in the early 1990s, and the protease inhibitors first came out in the mid-1990s. Go look at the AIDS graph, I'll wait. These drugs have gotten progressively better at one thing: slowing the progress of HIV to AIDS.

AIDS is a clinical syndrome diagnosed after HIV positive status is attained and T-cell count drops below a certain threshold or one of a group of AIDS related illnesses is diagnosed (Kaposi's sarcoma, pneumocystis carinni pneumonia, etc), so by definition AIDS is at least related to HIV infection. This doesn't mean that people can't have all of the same symptoms and be HIV negative. So do those people have AIDS? Well, technically no, but clinically yes. They're certainly in the same sinking lifeboat, whatever the cause.

But I digress. The drug intervention is a confounding factor in these data that CANNOT be ignored. The effect of the drugs on the disease process is bringing about the very changes that folks like Dr. Bialy say are evidence that HIV is unrelated to AIDS.

He says
"If HIV is the cause of AIDS, and the number of infected individuals is constant, then, other things being unchanged, the number of cases must remain constant.

Although there are reasons why a virus might stop causing a disease (such as immunity, or drugs that confer resistance - although neither apply in this case), there is no defensible reason in the clear light of these data for thinking that HIV ever began to cause one in the first instance."

But this is patently false, because "other things" are changed. The efficacy of drug therapy is completely different. Dr. B would like to ignore that, but he can't.

Here's what I mean: I work in the Schizophrenia research field. Those of you who read this blog frequently already know that. However, because SZ, like AIDS, is devastating to patients, most are treated as quickly as possible with a regimen of anti-psychotics. AP's are potent drugs that have a great effect on brain function and MAY effect neuron survival, growth, etc. through any number of mechanisms that are currently being investigated, including by others in my own laboratory. Bottom line, when we see the brain of a SZ patient, we don't know what effects are drug mediated and what effects are disease mediated. Until we can tease that apart, we can't say for sure that SZ is related to lower cortical weight or fewer myelinating cells, or whether those things are a result of the drugs. ANY SZ researcher who discounts drug effects out of hand would be laughed right out of the university. If you don't believe me, you can go here and search the literature for yourself.

Back to the point. What are these drugs doing? Well, according to all of the peer-reviewed publications I can find, from studies all over the world, these drugs are INCREASING the amount of time between HIV+ notification and AIDS diagnosis. Because we only have 10 years with these drugs, this is all we can really say. It might even be a cure for some people. But only time and follow up exams will tell. Increased time before diagnosis + steady HIV infection numbers = decrease in NEW AIDS patients, compounded by the fact that patients who make it that far rarely have more than a 3-5 year life expectancy. And no, the drugs don't work for everyone, but that percentage of the HIV+ population is relatively small right now, even though some estimates indicate that it might be growing. Again, go here and search the literature for yourself.

But what about the first part of the graph? Supposedly conversion from HIV to AIDS takes 3-20 years. If AIDS was first reported in 1981, why are there so many cases of AIDS so early?

Umm. Duh. Because HIV didn't just magically appear on Jan 1, 1981. It was out there, circulating and being transmitted. Remember, no one knew to look for it, if anyone saw a patient that would later be described as an AIDS patient before 1981, he or she was a sad statistic known as "undiagnosed immune failure", and the Dr. who treated that patient probably never saw another one like that until AIDS exploded, as epidemics tend to do. And none of those patients probably had any effective drug treatment. Anyone who got AIDS before we knew how it was transmitted (roughly 1983) would be converting between 1986 and 2003, most of them probably in the early portion of that window since they would be untreated. The CDC didn't even keep records on AIDS diagnoses until 1985.

This isn't earthshaking, or mind-altering, or any of the other things Dean promised yesterday. It's more of the same, with misinterpreted statistics (I've already pointed out how this crew likes to do that, see the bit about AZT and pregnant moms in my post on Duesberg), and logical faults.

I believe that there's more to AIDS than HIV, but by the same token, that doesn't mean that HIV is totally unrelated to AIDS. In fact, I believe the vast majority of AIDS cases are directly due to HIV infection. We can toss examples back and forth of people with AIDS but not HIV, HIV but no symptoms, drug abusers with and without HIV, etc. But it boils down to this: The NUMBER ONE thing associated with AIDS symptoms (notice I did not say diagnosis) is HIV infection. Whether that's causative or correlative is certainly up for discussion. But to my mind there is no good evidence that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, and plenty of evidence that treating HIV decreases AIDS.

But hey, make up your own mind. I already have.

Update: jenks over at The MUSC tiger fisks hell out of Dr. Bialy's premise and gets a mistake I overlooked! Pay particular attention to the graph of HIV infections, People living with AIDS, and new AIDS cases.

Update II: edited to be PERFECTLY CLEAR that I did not misinterpret the AIDS graph. My argument was based on my interpretation of the graph as representing new AIDS cases, and the only point I made WRT total AIDS cases actually reinforces the interpretation of the graph as showing new AIDS cases. I also stated my position more clearly. That and I was less willing to leave room for argument with those of you still on the fence.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Happiness is a warm....

well, umm... this. (PG-13 link)
Right Thinking Girl has the right idea. We're all too materialistic anyway, right? And we'd need fewer clothes, too.....
(h/t: Cranky Beach)

And the award goes to:

For Most Amusing Error Message: The winner is Gmail!

Click to enlarge if you can't quite read it.

Good thing I never had to put up with it...

Dick and Jane was long gone by the time I started school We had phonics.

But I get the point. Here's a really cool piece on how we're boring our children to death be feeding them endless drivel and bowdlerized namby-pamby crap rather than teaching them real lessons about life. This is a great bit:
"If stories for kids are boring, kids certainly aren't going to want to read. And if they don't read, then they can't take much advantage of all the knowledge available in literature. That's saying bye-bye to all the accumulated wisdom of the human race. So, in order for children's stories to be interesting and exciting, they have to contain all that "awful" stuff. On top of that, kids like the stuff.

As an experiment, read some dumbed-down stories to young children, and then read some of the real fairy tales, and watch how they react. I've done this many times. They quickly get bored with the first, but always remain fascinated by the second. And they want more, even if they don't fully understand everything."

No kiddin'. Read the whole thing.
(h/t: Trajectory of The Beagle Express)

Gary Larson was right!

Contrary to whatever the name of this blog might imply, my favorite Far Side cartoon of all time is one which depicts three dinosaurs pointing and laughing at a furry rodent-type early mammal. In the background we see the signs of the impending "nuclear winter" that supposedly killed off the dinosaurs but not the contemporaneous mammals.

This article demonstrates that the mammals evidently had their revenge. The skeleton of a dinosaur was found in the belly of an early mammal (remember dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes).

Cool. I love when unique fossils come up.

Given recent discussions around the b'sphere about evolution/creation/ID, if you're interested in what I think of that, go here.

Gmail appears to suck today

Y'all have been commenting, but hasn't been getting through to me. Anyway, it looks like outgoing is working, but not incoming, so for the time-being, if you want a response from me, cc your message to citgirl99 -at- netscape.net. You know what to do with the -at-.

Update: I guess it's working again. No sooner did I post this, but I went back and checked again and lo and behold, there it all was. Go fig..... better safe than sorry, though if it's important.

Speaking of southern food

Here' s a completely southern recipe that sounds bizarre at first, yet I have become deeply enamored of it (modified from allrecipes.com):

Deep Fried Dill Pickles

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon vinegar-based hot pepper sauce
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cornmeal (I have been known to use hushpuppy mix for more flavor....)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (32 ounce) jar dill pickle slices (I like to use the long sliced sandwich stackers)
1 cup vegetable oil for deep frying


In a large bowl, combine 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of the flour, milk, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, seasoning salt and garlic powder.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, 2 cups flour, salt and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Preheat oil in a deep fryer or pot to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Dip drained pickles into milk mixture and then dredge them in the flour mixture. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Yummy served hot with ranch dressing or tartar sauce.

And as a bonus:
Deep Fried Candy Bars

toothpicks or popsicle type sticks
miniature (Halloween size) candy bars
boxed pancake mix and ingredients (water, milk, eggs, etc.)
oil for frying
confectioner's (powdered) sugar (optional)

Put sticks in mini-candy bars and freeze overnight
Make up pancake mix according to box directions
Heat oil to 375 degrees F
Remove candy wrappers and dip frozen bars in pancake mix
When oil is hot, drop candy bars into oil, fry until golden brown
Drain on paper towels, dust with powdered sugar

Rusty's last call

I hold this truth to be self-evident: everyone has a Secret Redneck lurking inside. Mine loves Southern food and NASCAR. Well, maybe not as much since they kicked out Winston and changed the rules, but anyway, I digress. I have been a Rusty Wallace fan since I knew who he was and especially the MGD black and gold paint scheme. I've even seen him drive, although I've never actually braved a race. He was testing at Indianapolis (the first stock car to drive on the track) the day I visited the speedway. Talk about luck! Sadly, as with all things, Rusty's career is coming to an end and this year will be sort of a victory lap for him.

To honor his achievements (and all around good guy status in NASCAR..... yes, like wrestling NASCAR has good guys and bad guys), his long time sponsor Miller has sponsored the Rusty's Last Call tour, complete with specialized paint job:

Awesome. It's nice to see the black and gold back for the last year.
(h/t a certain large dairy beverage)

In which I thieve from Michele....

Michele of ASV often has plenty of interesting stuff going on, and if you don't read her page, you should. In fact why aren't you?

Today, I present two things. First: This brilliant piece on the death of common courtesy, or a few bad apples, etc.

Second, in keeping with my resolution to tell you all a little more about me, this meme:

Guilty Pleasures: The Meme via Rox.

CD I have in my car that I roll up the windows to listen to
Right now it's Barenaked Ladies' Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001. This is so pathetic.... For Darling Husband, it's The USC Trojan Marching Band's In Studio (duh...) BTW we usually roll up the windows for better acoustics rather than shame...

Book I read flat so no one could see the title
Ummm.... the last time I did that I was 7 and the book was Gray's Anatomy. Guess which section?

Michele's right though: "Never be embarassed of anything you read. At least you're reading."

Crappiest song ever sung at karaoke

I've never done karaoke, but my Dad and I do some craptacular versions of "To All the Girls I've Loved Before", "Goldfinger", and especially, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" together.

Bad movie I watch repeatedly
This is tough. Most of the movies I watch repeatedly are good.... Probably the leading candidate right now is either "The American President" or "Addams Family Values".

Article of clothing I love though I know it's wrong

These ($145) or These ($359). I don't need corset boots or couture shoes. Especially not in purple and green

What I order at the bar when no one is listening

Shirley Temple. Extra cherries. (Michele and I have the same taste, although I prefer mine made with 7Up)

Fast food item I adore
The McRib. Yes I know it's mystery meat and it's completely unhealthy. Don't lecture me.

A TV show that is a good example of the downfall of civilization that I love anyway
Survivor. I love all the Machiavellian horseshit. Especially when it backfires (read: Shii Ann, Sarge)

A big thanks!

To those of you who took the time to pop over to Greg Hammond's page to help raise $$!

Greg recorded almost 700 comments, and when the dupes and trackbacks are sorted out, he expcts to have more than 625 (one of the pledge levels). This means $2000 for breast cancer research.

I'm proud to have been able to help!


Greg Hammond is raising money for breast cancer research today through a comment-a-thon. Greg and his friends and sponsors will be contributing $1 per comment on this post between 12:01 AM PST and 11:59 PM PST to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. All you have to do to help is drop by, the sponsors are picking up the check!

For those of you who don't know the Hammond's story, Greg's wife Cheryl fought breast cancer on and off (mostly on) for almost 5 years before she passed away last spring. Their story is inspiring and Cheryl and Greg's courage in raising their young family in the face of such a monstrous battle is something I don't think I'd be strong enough to do.

Greg hopes to raise $1385 for the first 500 commenters. There are 144 comments right now, so please drop by and leave him a note.

(h/t: Ith and Rae)

Update: I sent the link to he who needs no linkage, hope Greg gets an Instalanche!

Update II: at 8:25 EST Greg was at 499! There are more sponsors willing to donate for comments up to 1000! The page loads slow and so does the pop-up, so you might try this link for the post and comments on a single page.

Update III: Greg (at 514 already!!!) has set up a second post so that you don't have to fight with a slow loading page. Go here to donate now!
This post will stay on top until the comment-a-thon is over.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Carnival time!

Today's Carnival of Carnivals (carnivals published today):

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is here
(Ok this was yesterday, but I found it today, so it counts)
Grand Rounds is up at MedicalMadHouse
The weekly roundup of Iraqi blogs, Carnival of the Liberated is also up

Monday, January 10, 2005

All Hail!

Somehow this is worse than I expected..... but what can you do, huh?

It's Not Exactly Rocket Science, right?

I am nerdier than 97% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

(h/t Window Manager, who stole it from here)

Accountability or just hot air?

Concluding the NCAA's annual convention, members of the Board of Directors approved sweeping reforms that have strong implications for the way Division I schools treat the academic progress of their athletes.

Under new guidelines adopted today, if student athletes lose their academic eligibility or fail to graduate, schools will be sanctioned with the loss of up to 10% of their NCAA scholarships (a maximum of 9 from a possible 85).

According to ESPN.com:
"The Academic Performance Program applies to every men's and women's sport -- more than 5,000 teams at the 325 Division I schools.

Schools will receive reports in the next few weeks that let them know which of their teams fall below standards set by the Division I Committee on Academic Performance. That will serve as an initial warning."

But still, it's not that clear. Penalties are meted out based on "APR":

"The Academic Progress Rate (APR) will be based on the number of student-athletes on each team who achieve eligibility and return to campus full-time each term. There will also be a longer-term graduation success rate.

Beginning next fall, teams that fall under a minimum APR -- based roughly on a 50-percent graduation rate over a five-year period -- will lose scholarships when players who are academically ineligible leave the school. Such scholarships can't be re-awarded for a year."

But how they will calculate this "Rate" is unclear, and may mean very little in practice. Another issue left unresolved is how the decline in graduation rate attributable to entering the professional drafts is going to be counted. Will leaving early negatively impact the schools? I'd like to see that happen, since I believe that student comes first in student-athlete, but I seriously doubt it.

The penalties are pretty strict, though, and up to 30% of Div. IA football teams may be eligible for sanctions initially and repeat offenders will face more severe penalties:

"Teams that continue to have problems will be subject to the more severe penalties once the "historical penalties" are put into place.

Consecutive years of falling below certain academic standards would lead to recruiting and further scholarship restrictions. A third straight year could lead to being banned from preseason or postseason games, and a fourth would affect Division I membership status."

Ouch. Can you imagine any Div. IA football program having to drop because their guys couldn't hack it academically? I doubt that will ever happen, and not because they're passing, but because of the way the rules will be enforced.

I'll be watching out for this program, and we'll see where it goes, if anywhere.

RatherGate- Rather Done?

SO damn funny it had to go on top: "Welcome to the CBS Evening News, I'm Bob Schieffer. Dan Rather will return tomorrow night. A report was released today..."
Other funnies in the next 30 seconds: "well-respected producer Mapes", "we didn't find any bias"(Boccardi), "The documents were not determined to be false", "Dan Rather had no comment"

Well, it's official, the Thornburgh-Boccardi report is out and heads will indeed roll at CBS. Three executives were given the option to resign or be fired, and producer Mary Mapes, the one who forgot about due diligence was outright terminated. Since Rather already "apologized" and is stepping down from the anchor chair, the commission found he deserved no further punishment.

This was the disappointing bit: "While the panel said it was not prepared to brand the Killian documents as an outright forgery, it raised serious questions about their authenticity and the way CBS News handled them."

Folks, this is PC-talk for "Damn, boy I thought you were smarter than that!"

The Usual Suspects weigh in:
He who needs no linkage
Captain Ed
Jeff Jarvis
INDC Journal
Joe Gandelman
Michelle Malkin (or just go to her main page and keep scrolling, there are several good bits).

Hehe. It was funny watching them eat poo and like it!
Update: Check out Cox and Forkum's take on See BS news....

Caltechgirl takes on the Left.....

... Or the DNC Follies part
I'm sure by now most of you are familiar with the results of the Presidential election. George W. Bush won, with a majority of the popular vote and the requisite numbers in the electoral college. Of particular importance was the President's 118,000 vote victory in OH, that secured the victory for him.

In the days after the election, democrats were stunned. Greeting each other with lines like, "What happened?" and "How could these people be so DUMB?" was as common as, "Hello, how are you?." This, of course, led to an inevitable search for answers. How could their guy have lost? He was smart, tall, rich, and above all not that idiot Chimpy McShrub who refused to speak proper English, flouted the UN and went after the terrorists on his own. So they turned to exit polls, only to learn that most Americans ACTUALLY have values and ACTUALLY care that their President has them too. Now, I've heard any number of cheap explanations as to what "the importance of moral values" means, from outlawing abortion to opposing gay marriage to simply standing for something consistently.

There were two constant themes to the whining of the democratic cognoscenti. The first of these was gay marriage. Democrats charged that Republicans intentionally put gay marriage propositions on the ballots in an effort to bring more conservative voters to the polls. So what? If the people of a state or county or city care about their area's laws with regard to ANY issue, from zoning to gay rights, it should be on the ballot.

Frankly, it's my opinion that the democrats shot themselves in the foot with the gay rights issue.

Let's take a look at the timeline, shall we? (all dates found here)
MA courts uphold same-sex marriage
SF mayor Gavin Newsom opens City Hall for same-sex marriages
Bush asks for constitutional amendment banning gay marriage(FMA), huge backlash
Mayor of NY holds same-sex weddings
Lawsuit to stop CA weddings filed
NYC rejects same-sex marriages
Same-sex couples go to NJ, Canada to be wed
MA bans gay weddings
Marriage amendment dies in the senate
Court rules gay unions are null and void
Presidential/General election

By making such a stink over the FMA, and then guaranteeing its defeat in congress, it's my opinion that the democrats nearly forced the issue onto any number of state and local ballots. When people care about an issue, right or wrong, in this society, we put it up for a vote. That's exactly what happened this year. I believe that if the left had not rammed same-sex marriage down the throats of the American public, it would not have been on so many ballots.

And BTW, I'm for equal rights for gay couples.

The other explanation that the democrats concocted was abortion. It seems to me that the left is obsessed with this issue. Sure, a lot of us over here on the other side don't like it, but we have more important issues to be concerned with, like WAR and DEBT and JOBS. Whether or not Sally can abort her fetus doesn't really matter in the face of these more pressing issues. Maslow's hierarchy, people. Maybe abortion is bandied about so cavalierly because it's the one issue that the democratic party and its talking heads remain consistent on year after year. In fact, the only time I even heard abortion mentioned during this campaign season was in a commercial for Barbara Boxer's senate campaign that was almost exclusively devoted to preserving "a woman's right to choose". We didn't hear a lot of this from either candidate for President, did we?

Yet all of a sudden, the democrats are convinced that abortion is the underlying cause of their failure to gain the White House. A few weeks after the election (December), they were saying this:
"After long defining itself as an undisputed defender of abortion rights, the Democratic Party is suddenly locked in an internal struggle over whether to redefine its position to appeal to a broader array of voters."
Politics often makes strange bedfellows, but this is equivalent to hiring a professional, if you catch my drift. In fact, John Kerry “told the group they needed new ways to make people understand that they didn’t like abortion.” Kerry told them “Democrats also needed to welcome more pro-life candidates into the party.”"

The upshot of all of this is that as we get closer and closer to the election of a new DNC chair, the balance appears to be shifting toward former Rep. Tim Roemer, a Catholic from Indiana who does not support abortion rights. Roemer's candidacy is supported by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Roemer seems to be playing the party tune, however. Recently, he said:
"I'm not asking to rewrite the platform," (on ABC's "This Week", quoted here) "We have a majority of our party, an overwhelming majority of our party, that is pro-choice, and I respect that. But I think we should not only be more inclusive on this issue, especially in the Midwest and the South if a candidate has those views, we should have them in our party."
The he said,
"...the Democratic Party lost 97 of the 100 fastest-growing counties in the United States. We have four senators, Democrat senators, left in the Deep South." He said Democrats also have lost ground with Hispanic voters, "churchgoing African-American voters" and Catholics."
Roemer is running against other strong candidates, including Howard Dean and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, but has serious backing. Whoever wins, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the years to come, especially with regard to judicial appointments and the lifespan of Roe V. Wade. A win for Roemer may be a serious defeat for Hillary Clinton, because a kinder-gentler democratic party won't pick her as their nominee in 2008.