Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Serial Killer Haiku

Corpse generator,
Your hobby is very strange

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Write a Letter to your Representatives

Dear Texas Representatives,

As a constituent concerned about ensuring quality education in our district's public schools and across the country, I urge you to cosponsor H. Res. 1593.

As an aspiring scientist and proud American I'm dismayed that more than half my colleagues hail from Asia and another quarter from Europe. While I'm glad that my foreign coworkers are best qualified for their positions I'm saddened that American education standards have fallen such that so few Americans are admitted to graduate level programs in science and medicine.

The ratio of aspiring American scientists and doctors to those from other countries actually reflects the percentages of Americans that have a comprehensive understanding of evolution which is estimated at less than 20%.

I understand the desire that Christians feel to promote creationism and intelligent design in science classes but I fear they're not considering the consequences. In our ailing economy, scientists have a great deal of potential to contribute valuable advances and exports in the field of biotechnology and medicine. Most of my foreign colleagues will return to their country of origin and build their respective economies; not ours.

Please help build American industries by supporting education that will allow Americans to enter fields that will benefit our country for generations to come.

Please cosponsor H. Res. 1593 to draw attention to the dangers of politicizing curriculum standards and help ensure that academic standards reflect accurate historical scholarship and teaches skills our students need for success in the twenty-first century.

Ellen Louise Watts

Friday, August 13, 2010


Men want to get laid. Period. This is the only stereotype that I can point to that is almost never shown to have an exception. The point of this post is to reinforce the idea that men can't 'just be friends' with women and that women should embrace this aspect of their relationships with men. Sex is always part of the equation. This phenomenon is biological, psychological, and cultural in its rewards for males proactive in seeking sex.

Subsequently, women are ordained the gatekeepers for sex. There is a real biological reason for this phenomenon: women have 'the goods' in terms of reproduction. A man can fertilize thousands of eggs with almost no cost to him in the strictest biological sense. Each sperm contains less protein, energy, and nucleic acid than what one might sacrifice by scratching the end of their nose. A woman, on the other hand, spends ten months unable to escape a growing fetus that might kill her just through it's delivery from her body. It parasitizes her bloodstream and if she's malnourished, the fetus will thrive at her expense. It's estimated that this experiences ages a woman 3-8 years all the while risking gestational diabetes, autoimmunity like lupus or celiac disease, kidney failure, potentially fatal blood clotting and hypertension, and pregnancy induced tumors. If it survives to term without killing her, it will continue to parasitize her if she chooses to breast-feed it. Breast milk is literally organized breakdown of mammary tissue.

Obviously this is where the whole gate keeping aspect arrives: if the woman makes a good choice in terms of mate, he'll stick around and at least try to compensate the enormous biological burden she's carried or care for the offspring outright if she does not survive the process.

This gets into the psychological and cultural aspects of sexuality. Men hit on a lot more women than women hit on men. It's a numbers game for a guy who doesn't have much going for him or even one who does; if he hits on enough girls, eventually one will sleep with him. Of course this is why women don't take rejection very well; we're used to men making the effort because they don't have much to lose. I digress. Men want to get laid.

Ladies, if a guy says he wants to be your friend, he really means that he wants to sleep with you. There are a few cases that you might think are exceptions to this rule.

1. You're unattractive - this could be as simple as him being gay or that huge mole on your face but I bet if you were cell mates in prison, he'd still do ya;
2. He doesn't want to jeopardize a relationship - this doesn't mean he wouldn't, just he's got a decent reason not to sleep with you. He might even be keeping you around for the attention or as a spare. Note also that the relationship he's protecting doesn't have to be romantic, it could also be a work relationship or one of his homeboys;
3. He wants to sleep with your hotter friend - still, this isn't to say he wouldn't sleep with you but he's smart enough to know that girls usually don't pass guys around and if he sleeps with Betty he's blown his chance to do Veronica... though it never really stopped Archie - damned soulless gingers;
4. He's your father, brother, or other close relative - Even if not for social taboos, we're actually hard wired to feel disgust at incest. Still, if you were stranded on a desert island... ewww;
5. You don't want to sleep with him - implicit in this scenario is that the girl is maintaining the 'friendship' status unilaterally, he might agree with you superficially but he probably imagines you naked while romancing a tube sock;
6. The rare exception is a guy who actually wants to be your friend but not get into your pants. I have never met one of these.

So girls, next time a guy says "I just want to be friends" or your significant other says, "she's just a friend", take pause. You may have been given useful information. This is subtext in negotiating sex and relationships.

Sadly, a lot of women don't realize the power of sex in relationships. With tragic frequency, accomplished ladies lower their standards or even pair off because of social pressure or cultural norms often not anticipating the consequences of poor mate choice. To add insult to injury, men have coined terms designed to further lower our expectations: a girl who wants a man with a reasonable income or just a job is a 'gold-digger'; a woman who demands fidelity is 'jealous'; a lady who seeks an educated man is 'stuck-up' or 'conceited'. The list goes on and while there exist women who have an overwhelming sense of entitlement, the majority of women who are labeled one of the former are simply exercising their biological imperative to discriminate.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breakfast Haiku

Ants are unwelcome.
They found my breakfast today,
But they taste just fine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Age Difference

In conversation, a dear friend almost a decade my senior tells me, "You're just too young to know."

At that moment she had effectively conceded her position in the discussion. Instead of a cogent argument, she made a derisive personal attack designed to lead me away from the issue at hand.

I smiled to myself and resisted the urge to follow that path. Still the questions roiled in my brain: Are you old enough to know? When exactly is someone old enough? Can you ever be old enough? How do you know you aren't too old to know?

Each of these questions address the petty nature of the remark but not that the comment is hollow as an argument for her point. Seriously, this could happen:

Kid: Why are you doing that? You're hurting me.
Man: You're too young to understand.
Kid: I don't think your fist will fit, please stop trying to get it in there.
Man: God says it's okay. You not experienced enough to know that we need more lube.

Anyways, happy problem resolution advice day!

Friday, August 6, 2010

True or False: Part II - Tunnel Vision and Headphones

I attribute some of human arrogance and narrow mindedness in terms of worldviews to our tendency to insulate ourselves. We're bombarded with options and don't have time to sort through all of them so we make choices based on trust and superficial analysis instead of informed careful consideration. Because of the ease and frequency of this kind of decision making, we surround ourselves with people who have ideas similar to ours, we read books and blogs, listen to podcasts and radio, and watch television all with the same slant that we tend to favor partly because we pick our media on the recommendations of our friends and because we dismiss ones that don't integrate well with our worldview. We pick our friends based on similar values or preferred activities. When we're faced with a tough decision we turn, if not to friends, to leaders whom we trust. These people are also likely those with similar mindsets to our own. These influences reinforce our ideas in a circular fashion and insulate us from alternatives leaving us increasingly polarized and at times inappropriately confident in our viewpoints.

For example; there was a time when most of us thought that the world was flat. The earth was just a disc in space. People thought that monsters defended the edges of the oceans. They had no proof that these monsters existed but relied on the legends regurgitated by drunk sailors. The idea that the earth was flat persists to this day.

Flat-earthers have their own websites, books, podcasts and set of beliefs formed around the idea that the earth is flat rather than spherical. Even if we weren't raised from an early age to believe one way or another, the idea is intuitive: on a small scale, the earth seems flat. Very few of us have traveled to the other continents, circumnavigated the earth or seen our home planet from outside our atmosphere. The horizon looks more like a straight line than a curve or a circle.

Still, the concepts of seasons, time zones, day/night, sun rise/sun set, etc. make considerably more sense when viewed in the context of a round earth. The evidence for a round earth in terms of mathematics and satellite imagery is overwhelmingly in favor of our planet being round. I'll grant that these concepts are considerably more subtle and esoteric when compared to the 'flatness' of the central Texas landscape or the open ocean.

The real irony here is that "spherical earth" is still just a model. The earth isn't spherical at all but laterally compressed from pole to pole with a variety of features like mountain ranges and deep ocean trenches. Still, spherical earth is a much better model than "flat earth". So when we teach our children that the earth is round, we acknowledge that we got it wrong before: often teaching that we once thought that the earth was flat. We don't teach both and suggest that children choose knowing that one model is far superior to the other.

Still, when we point out the flaws of their model instead of defending the idea that the earth is flat with logic and evidence, flat-earthers claim insult or tyranny of the majority and run back to their flat-earth cronies. Here, their ideas that the earth is flat is supported by the intuitive evidence advanced and validated by their peers. We end up more certain of our ideas than we were before regardless of their bearing on reality. We do this with other concepts too: alchemy versus chemistry; or astrology versus statistics.

This all goes back to the idea that the models we base our decisions on are important. This is because these models allow us to make predictions about the world around us. These predictions inform our actions. This is why it is important that we subscribe to the most accurate models possible and accept that the best models will be able to adapt and evolve as new information comes to light.

That being said, consider this the next time you tune in to your favorite commentator or download your pet podcast: this perspective has a polar opposite and a range of options in between. Our paternalistic culture often punishes us for changing our minds even in the face of legitimate reason for doing so, calling these people "wishy-washy" or "flip-floppers". Some of these options are indeed silly, like flat earth, but on some level they make sense, conform to tradition, and are appealing emotionally. Have you considered any alternatives to your closely held beliefs? Can you really commit to an idea without critically considering other positions?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Window Haiku

Little birds, Windex
Snapped your necks like broken dreams
Fluttering wings cease