The video below is very powerful but also contains VERY GRAPHIC images. Its message is quite simple and should be a wake-up call to anyone who doubts the power that religion has to explicitely motivate the most inhumane acts imaginable.
Looks like my perfect policy fellowship is no longer a possibility...alas, not eligible until NEXT year. So what now? Well back to plan B (now plan A). I need a job in 10 months. What sort of job? I need a post-doc or maybe a job in industry. Here's what I need out of that job. I need Independence. I've been spoiled as a grad student by having mentors who have been largely absent and yet trusting. After only about one and a half years, my advisor left on a two year sabbatical and my other advisor became an associate dean which left me on my own. Heavenly to say the least...both too busy to be concerned with my day to day comings and goings. I need that again. I need a place where I feel pressured to get shit done and a lab with research that can move faster. I'm getting frustrated with my experiments that i can't speed up at all. I need a system that is quicker and more instantly satisfying than what I've got now. Weeks of experimental prep is no good...i want a time scale of days. Also, i don't want to be in Worcester any more, though I'll miss parts of it. I want people around me that are all working on facets of a similar problem and that are able to provide suggestions and criticism of what I'm doing. I want to diverge from my current research. I need to be more biochemistry and less physiology (he's a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll). I want a lab that is truly collaborative where I can dip into other projects with ideas and get a taste for a lot of little things besides my own work. That being said, if anyone knows of a lab in need of a post-doc...let me know...I'm open to lots of things. Labs in southern California and Hawaii are highly encouraged to contact me. Patrick OUT!!!
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Two things, Jon Stewart is pretty damn smart and this book is now officially on my christmas list. Patrick OUT!!!
Time magazine reports on the move by the Vatican to make it easier for Anglicans, unhappy with their church's stance on same sex union and the ordination of women, to join the catholic church. Gee whiz, its a good thing that the catholic church was there to step in and give bigots a place to go. As the world moves forward, the catholic church remains behind...i suppose its not the first time. Apparently analysts say the move could be seen as "predatory." The Anglicans shouldn't be worried...they should be happy to see these people go. Don't fight for them, let the Pope deal with them and you'll be better off. Patrick OUT!!!
This is courtesy of Pharyngula and is for you to compare and contrast with that religious/musical train wreck I posted earlier today. I'm not saying that this is much better musically but only one of the two of them is taking themselves seriously. Furthermore, any music video that can incorporate the words chromatography and crystallography into its lyrics has my support. Patrick OUT!!!
attention. Granted it was from just a few major contributors but none
the less it was nice to see that at least people read them. The debate
following it got a bit more heated than usual and I'm always a fan of
when that happens. I'm not one to start a "flame war" or anything like
that but a good spirited debate is right up my alley. Its especially
fun when both sides REALLY believe in what their saying and aren't
just trying to stir up trouble.
This all ties in a bit with my new potential career path. Namely, I've
been investigating for some time now the possibility of leaving the
lab setting and working in science policy as an advisor to
governmental departments and legislators. I think that this would be a
productive way for me to leverage a passion for reason and inquiry
into a greater public good. Luckilly, I've come across a number of
fellowship opportunities open to newly minted PhDs that might take me.
If anyone out there knows a big wig in AAAS, a heads up would be
greatly appreciated...or if you want to say super nice things about my
superior intellect in relation to the seas of other newly minted
PhDs...thats nice too.
Because of this new obsession, I've been thinking a lot about what i'd
like to change in terms of science policy in the US and I think that
the problems facing science here are simple but also very deep.
Namely, scientists don't sell their work properly or have an
understanding of how the system works. We spend a lot of time thinking
we are way smarter than all those idiot legislators and wondering how
nice it would be if they just understood what it is we do. Indeed,
that might be nice but its the WRONG approach. Rather its important
for the communication to run the same way the money does, in other
words legislators need to talk to scientists and explain their jobs
(and we need to listen rather than lecture). Scientists need to be
more appreciative of the pressures of being a senator, representative,
or even President. It is too much to expect our elected officials to
be experts on everything. With a nation as complex as the US it is
just an impossibility and we should expect really no more than a
rudimentary understanding of any particular issue and probably less
than that on scientific matters. Don't believe me? Look at Al Gore, he
has devoted his time out of office to climate science and some of the
mistakes he makes are HUGE. If he is an official dedicated to
science...think about how awful the understanding must be with the
rest of them that still need to worry about schools and roads and
Scientists need to make it simple and sellable (to constiuents). When
Sarah Palin decries the spending of money on research into fruitflies
she is unwittingly exposing whats wrong with the culture of science in
this country. Its not like NASA in the cold war...the public doesn't
see the purpose of it...to them its just more tax dollars that could
put food on the table. If they knew that some of the most basic
understanding of human development comes from fruit flies or our
understanding of diseaes like diabetes and cancer is fostered in these
model organisms...they might not be so quick to discount it as
wasteful. We as a scientific community need to show them. It doesn't
all need to be about curing cancer. Even the most basic research could
be sold as the basis for human understanding for bettering the human
race, for expanding knowledge, for making sure that our college
graduates are the best educated in the world, etc etc. We also need to
make sure we treat our lawmakers like investors. Show them the ROI of
doing basic scientific research. Sure we put people to work but we
also build intellectual capital that makes competitive companies, new
partnerships, and fosters cooperation both at home and abroad. The
value here should not and rightly cannot be understated.
We also need to be careful to pick our battles and not be too
frightening. If the public is worried about cloning and stem cells
well then we take those things more slowly. If you move to quickly
forward you'll end up going backwards...better to slowly turn the tide
of public opinion before opening up the floodgates. For those familiar
with my views on evolution and education this probably sounds a bit
hypocritical but hey...no one is perfect. Patrick OUT!!!
workload, I was inspired this morning during the ride in and wanted to
share. I followed a car in this morning with a bumper sticker that
read, "Change your ways or god will change your location ↓" I'm
assuming the down arrow meant hell...but maybe it just meant
south...maybe he will send you to New Jersey...alas I digress. I was
caught off guard a little bit because it struck me that the bumper
sticker was actually referring to me (and the millions of other people
that don't belong to this man's religion). It was kind of like school
yard bully tactics, "Give me your lunch money or i'm gonna pop you in
the head." Of course, the bully doesn't also put up a false pretense
of loving you in the meantime. Furthermore, does the gentleman in the
car really think that his GOD needs a Capo on earth, an enforcer, a
thug to do his dirty work? Of course he might have gotten that idea
from the catholic church...don't believe me? go to confession. I can
only think how horrible it must be to go through life with such a chip
on your shoulder to believe that you have an imaginary friend who
talks to you and is going to save your soul but he is going to damn
the rest of society (including good friends and family) to eternal
torture. Shouldn't that make these people sad? It would be make me
frightfully upset...thankfully I don't buy that crap. The guy was also
selling his car and had a phone number in the window. Unfortunately I
was on the motorcycle this morning and was without pen and paper to
write it down. I wanted to call him about the car...meet up, tell him
i cared very deeply for him, punch him in the face, take his keys and
say i was following god's example. That way he feels good about me
leading a righteous life and I get a crappy old car...win-win. Patrick
So yea…this video is awesome. Sometimes its good to feel real small in the universe. Wait wait...the realization of the minutiae of human existence has me wanting to kill grandma...DAMN YOU SCIENCE. Patrick OUT!!!
So the Washington Times is now proposing that the reason that the secular left wants to “get rid of granny” is because they believe in evolution. Wow! So not only am I now a godless evolutionist…I must also be a homicidal sociopathic evolutionist. Evolution= killing grandmothers…do this paper have an editor? Anybody? How does he get away with saying this? Well be supposing that evolutionists see no value in human life…we are all just a bundle of cells and biochemistry with no particular connection to the universe that makes us special. Don’t get me wrong, in the grandest sense…this is something I do believe but in a personal sense this is not true for me and I would venture so far as to say that its not true for many other evolutionists either. Of course he likens the health care reform plans to the secular left trying to “play god” by deciding who lives and who dies. I for one, would never want to play god. All that killing, torturing the people who love you, ignoring pleas for help that you could easily grant, denying atheists vision to see your greatness thereby damning them to a life in hell…rough day being god. I’ll stick to being me with the potential that I might have to kill a grandmother for my evolutionary beliefs every time. Patrick OUT!!!
These are photos looking back across the valley in the opposite direction to where I was going. I'm not sure what mountain this is but its the one just east of Monch (anyone who knows can inform me).
Looking across the Lauterbrunnen valley for the first time...my train station is at the very bottom of this. I was getting a little nervous about my knees at this point. Alas, I made it in the end but felt the effects for DAYS to come.
I looked backwards a lot and this one was worth it. You can see the trail going back up to where I came from and on the left is the Eiger and the right is Jungfrau...the Eiger might look bigger but is actually a few metres shorter than Jungfrau.
Looks as if the whitehouse has managed to ruin yet another good idea. The whole Crowley-Gates-Obama beerfest seemed like an alright sort of thing but then the pictures came out. Gates and Crowley in suits sitting at a small table with Obama (looking pleasantly casual) near the WH rose garden. So far so good, until…the butler brings out bar snacks in silver bowls. So now we have what was already an odd scene intereupted by a butler with silver dishes and BIDEN. Say it ain’t so…Joe, a non-alcoholic beer. Ugh. Obama drinking a bud light, probably so that he didn’t seem elitist but I’d rather have an elitist president with taste than a bud light drinking first executive. I can only imagine that it was probably the most uncomfortable beer hour EVER for any of them. Next time there should be a keg and maybe a funnel to go with it…that would get people talking. Maybe a fist fight to settle things old school…yea, that’s diplomacy. Patrick OUT!!!
This was my hotel room, it was really small but kind of cozy. The window at the far end looked onto an office building. I could see in all the windows but never saw anyone working (even during the afternoon one time). I'm not sure if maybe the work crazy hours because it certainly looked like the place was occupied.