Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday at 3 pm is the most bisexual time of the week

So, here's a thing that you can play with and overinterpret. The Social Dynamics Lab at Cornell's Sociology Department has set up a website where you can look at the temporal patterns of word usage on Twitter.

Check it out.

The Genetical Book Review: The Psychopath Test

So, welcome back to the Genetical Book Review! This episode? The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronon. Ronson is the author of The Men Who Stare at Goats, which the movie was based on.

Also, his name is what my name would be if I were from Iceland.

The Psychopath Test traces Ronson's exploration of psychopathy: what a psychopath is, how you identify one, the effect they have on society, and society's efforts to contain them. The book is written engagingly, and makes for a quick read, even if you're as slow a reader as I am. Ronson mixes historical and medical information with interviews of both psychopaths and the doctors who have sought to define and/or treat them. Some of the accounts, you can imagine, touch on some fairly gruesome events, but the light manner of the writing should make the material palatable even for those with weaker stomachs for that sort of thing.

One of the most interesting things about the book is the fact that the material is presented chronologically -- not in the order that things happened, but in the order that Ronson learned about and understood them (ostensibly, at least). The effect is a really interesting one, which fits well with what seems to be one of the books goals. By the end of the book, Ronson has deconstructed the whole notion of sanity/insanity, as well as the motives of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, police, the entertainment industry, and journalists, including himself.

He achieves the effect by writing in a sort of semi-gonzo, close first person, chronicling his own reactions and beliefs along the journey. First, he learns x, and so he believes X. Then, in the next chapter, he learns y, and starts to doubt his belief in X. And so on throughout the book. The result is a message that is fragmented, but also nuanced and faceted. This mixture of sometimes contradictory conclusions actually seems quite fitting, given the complexity of the phenomenon, and our limited understanding of it.

Even out of that complexity though, there are two big take-home messages that rise above the others.

First is the fact that psychopathy is not really a well-defined, discrete thing. There is a continuum not only of severity, but of type. Two people could both score high on the eponymous psychopath test (constructed by Bob Hare, who features prominently in the book), but actually exhibit quite different suites of behavior.

This, of course, is not news to anyone who has spent time studying psychiatric disorders (or any other sort of complex disease). Labeling is a necessary part of science and of medicine, as it is what allows us to communicate with each other in an efficient way. However, we need to keep reminding ourselves that these labels refer to abstractions, and that the thing we care about is typically a lot more complicated, and a lots less well understood, than a monolithic label implies.

Which is to say, while it might not be news, it is always good to be reminded of it.

Second is the idea that there are a lot of aspects of society that have a vested interest in reducing people to their maddest edges, as Ronson puts it. Reality television and daytime talk shows seek out people who have something going on that is crazy enough to be entertaining, and then edit out all the boring (read "sane") bits. Journalists do likewise, seeking out the extreme behaviors and personalities that will make for good quotations and compelling stories. Pharmaceutical companies benefit monetarily from the application of clinical labels to any behavior that lies outside the norm.

And so forth.
There are obviously a lot of very ill people out there. But there are also people in the middle, getting overlabeled, becoming nothing more than a big splurge of madness in the minds of the people who benefit from it.
The other thing that struck me was the chapter on the DSM, the big book that defines all mental illnesses. I think I had always assumed that there was some sort of rigorous, evidence-based process by which disorders were included or excluded. It seems that, well, not so much. It seems more like it is a veneer of codification laid on top of a bunch of idiosyncratic opinions, passed through a filter of special interests. Sigh.

Basically, if you work in the field, you may already be familiar with many of the stories, and may already have internalized many of the punchlines. But, for most people, The Psychopath Test provides an entertaining, informative, and often troubling look at medicalization and exploitation of mental health in our society.

Ronson, Jon. The Psychopath Test. New York: Riverhead Books, 2011.

Hare, R. D. (1980). A research scale for the assessment of psychopathy in criminal populations Personality and Individual Differences, 1 (2), 111-120 : 10.1016/0191-8869(80)90028-8

Buy it now!!

What's that? You say you want to buy this book? And you want to support Lost in Transcription at the same time? Well, for you, sir and/or madam, I present these links.

Buy The Psychopath Test  now through:


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Hauser Plagiarism Case Tabled (for the moment)

So, a couple of days ago, Gilbert Harman, Philosophy Professor at Princeton, wrote four pages arguing that Marc Hauser's 2006 book, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, plagiarized the work of John Mikhail. I mentioned it and linked to it in my Sunday Linkasaurolophus post.

Since then, the paper has been taken down from Harman's website.

Apparently, Harman did not intend for the argument to be made public. It was more like brainstorming, a first step at putting together "the case for the prosecution," as Harman puts it. It was a draft that he had meant to be presented only to a small circle, as Harman explained here:
For the record, my discussion was intended as a draft of a case for the prosecution and not a final verdict on this topic. I thought I was making it available for only a few people in order to get comments, but apparently it has had a somewhat wider audience than I intended. In the light of various comments I have received, I need to rethink the "case", something I cannot do immediately, so I have removed that version from my web site.
Interestingly, my earlier post received an anonymous comment from someone claiming to be a student of Hauser's. The comment stated that Harman's piece was retracted, and that Hauser could not possibly have had a culture of fear in his lab, since he has trained so many successful scientists, and has won awards for teaching and mentoring.

I mention that just to point out two things. First, based on Harman's own comment, the piece has not been retracted so much as it has been shelved until Harman has more time. When and if he puts something together that he is willing to stand behind in a public forum, it might be less critical of Hauser, or it might be more critical. We'll just have to wait and see. In any event, I don't think that the removal of the piece should necessarily be viewed as a repudiation of the original claims. Certainly, it seems reasonable to assume that the facts that Harman presented wil not change, even if his interpretation of them does.

Second, yes, Hauser has a reputation as a gifted communicator, teacher, and mentor. Yes, Hauser has trained a lot of successful scientists. And, I have no doubt that there are people out there who think very highly of him, at least highly enough to anonymously defend him in blog comment threads.

However, none of that is inconsistent with the portrayal of Hauser's lab presented by other lab members, which paints Hauser as, at best, dismissive impatient, and, at worst, a bit of a bully.

That being said, my use of the phrase "culture of fear" to describe Hauser's lab may have been a bit over the top.

I'll keep my ear to the ground, and will post anything new that comes up on the Harman piece. In the meantime, if you're interested in the whole Hauser saga, David Dobbs wrote several nice posts on it, four of which you can find (in chronological order) here, herehere, and here.

Allophones: Linguistics Humor from Darwin Eats Cake

So, here are the last two Darwin Eats Cakes. They go together to form a sort of continuing story. It's like a soap opera, except instead of people killing each other and having weird supernatural experiences, they engage in clunky set-ups for jokes about linguistics. Woo!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mitosis Rap

So, here's a little something for your Sunday viewing/listening pleasure.

Turn it UP!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday Linkasaurolophus: September 25, 2011

So, welcome back to Linkasaurolophus.

Remember, it's like Linkasaurus Rex, but paints me as a knowledgable insider, the kind of person who knows the name of more than one kind of dinosaur. Maybe two. To the other knowledgable insiders, it also implies that these links have a big crest on their head, which they may or may not have been used millions of years ago to play a jaunty tune.

Let's start with Facebook: TNG

You've probably by now experienced the panopticon bar that Facebook introduced this week. The winning commentary on the New Facebook comes from Dan Lyons (NB: not the same Dan Lyons I went to high school with, although he, also, is awesome). Excerpt:
I prepared myself. On Wednesday night I ate a light dinner and went to bed early, in order to get extra sleep for Thursday morning. Nevertheless, 24 hours later, my hands are still shaking. I’m unable to focus. No matter where I am, I am thinking about Facebook and the new, deeper connection that I immediately feel to everyone I know. It’s so deep, so rich and personal and dare I say, intimate, that the effect is almost overwhelming. It’s like Stendhal Syndrome, where you get overwhelmed by looking at a work of art. I am shellshocked. No, even that is too small a word. I sit and gaze upon the Facebook home page and my emotions begin to sweep and swirl. One moment I am elated. Then I’m struck by anxiety and panic, and want to hide under my desk. A minute later I’m sobbing, uncontrollably, at the beauty of what they’ve done. Why, Mark Zuckerberg? Why do you do this to me? To the world? You are not a businessman, not a geek, not an engineer — you are an artist, and your canvas is the human race itself, the collective hive-mind of modernity.
If you've not already read it (which you probably have, as it's been making the rounds) do yourself a favor and read the whole thing here.

And, here's something to keep in mind when you're griping about the Facebook changes, and your supercilious friend chastises you, reminding you again that you have no right to complain about a service that is provided to you for free:

Hat tip to Chris Smith, who was the secret inspiration for U2s fifth album, The Joshua Tree.
Also, you should get better friends.

In non-Facebook news:

The estimable John S. Wilkins (no recent relation) put up an excellent, and very broadly accessible answer to the question "What is philosophy?" You should read it.

Neuroskeptic posted a discussion of the Nipah virus, which provided the inspiration for the virus in the movie Contagion. (Actually, Nipah provided only part of the inspiration. The rest was provided by the universal desire to watch Gwyneth Paltrow die a horrible, horrible death).

You'll recall the case of Marc Hauser, erstwhile Harvard Professor, who was accused of scientific misconduct, including possibly falsifying data. Around here, we like to call him "the man who put the a** in a**ertainment bias." Well, Princeton Philosophy Professor Gilbert Harman makes an interesting case that Hauser's 2006 book, Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, may have plagiarized the work of John Mikhail. Or, as Harman puts it, "When the ideas taken from Mikhail are subtracted from Hauser's book, it is unclear what of value is left." You can read about it (about three-and-a-half pages) here.

If I've missed anything, perhaps Neutrino Superman can fly around the world, so that I have a chance to retroactively add it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

World's Best Postdoc! Apply Now!

So, for those of you who are about to finish your PhD, or who have recently finished, or are wrapping up a first (or second) postdoc, here's an opportunity you shouldn't pass up.

Applications are now open for Omidyar Fellowships at the Santa Fe Institute. It's a three-year gig with complete academic freedom. You work on whatever questions you find most interesting, using whatever tools you deem appropriate. And you get to hang out with a bunch of like-minded individuals from all sorts of different fields.

The Santa Fe Institute is highly interdisciplinary. Typically, there are people there doing physics, and biology, and anthropology, and computer science, and linguistics, and on and on. Most of the individual people you would meet there would be actively engaged in more than one of these areas. So, if you're an interdisciplinary type of person, you should definitely apply.

You should especially apply if you feel that your work is constrained by disciplinary / departmental boundaries in a traditional academic setting, and you want to forge your own path.

The only sort-of constraint is that most of the work that happens there is mathematical / theoretical / computational. There's no wet-lab space, and math tends to be the lingua franca that allows all of these people with different backgrounds to communicate and work together. That being said, there are people who have successfully managed to do some combination of theoretical and empirical / lab work by spending some of their time at a University or field site.

The major caveat I would raise is that you only want to take one of these positions if you are really ready to function as an independent researcher. You won't have a traditional advisor, and no one will be looking over your shoulder -- although you will have excellent and supportive colleagues and peers.

Here's a snippet from Galway Kinnel's The Book of Nightmares, which to me sums up the essence of this fellowship, and the ideals of the Santa Fe Institute:
I long for the mantle
of the great wanderers, who lighted
their steps by the lamp
of pure hunger and pure thirst, 
and whichever way they lurched was the way.
If that resonates with you, submit your application by November 1. Here's the official flyer. I ran the postdoc program at SFI for about three years, and would by happy to try to answer any questions, but if you want answers that are actually correct, your best best is to contact the program directly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Darwin Eats Cake attempts to pander to New Guinea, but fails

So, I put this comic up on Monday. Here we are, two days later, and still no hits from Papua New Guinea.

Let me hear you holla, Port Moseby!

And remember, sharing is caring.

[Port Moseby? Really?]

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Samuel L. Ipsum (NSFW)

So, have you grown tired of the standard Lorem Ipsum filler text? Here's a little thing that will generate filler text for you, Samuel L. Jackson style.

Samuel L. Ipsum can be found here.
Here's a sample:

Are you ready for the truth?

Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I'm not a mistake! It all makes sense! In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain's going to be? He's the exact opposite of the hero. And most times they're friends, like you and me! I should've known way back when... You know why, David? Because of the kids. They called me Mr Glass.

Hold on to your butts

Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happen to pull this shit while I'm in a transitional period so I don't wanna kill you, I wanna help you. But I can't give you this case, it don't belong to me. Besides, I've already been through too much shit this morning over this case to hand it over to your dumb ass.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Out in the Navy (RIP DADT)

So, a lot of times it may seem like our great nation is on a long slide towards becoming a fascist surveillance state / plutocracy, what with our increasingly nihilistic congress and its complete lack of financial or moral integrity.

But sometimes, that whole bending towards justice thing seems to be working.

As of midnight last night, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the US Military's institutionalized discrimination against homosexuality, has been lifted.

Here's a little something to help you celebrate:

Embedding was disabled for the original 1978 Village People video :( but you can still watch it here :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remarkable on Amazon

So, just a couple of days ago, I posted about the fact that my wife received advance copies of her book. We've just learned that it is already available for preorder on Amazon. You can check it out here.
If you rub your hand on your computer screen, you can imagine that the large, red "Remarkable" is in raised letters.
At the moment, the Amazon page has the age range listed as 4-8, but that's a typo. The target age group is actually more in the 8-14 range. Basically the same age group as the first few Harry Potter books.

Here's the product description:
A wonderfully whimsical debut that proves ordinary people can do extraordinary things 
In the mountain town of Remarkable, everyone is extraordinarily talented, extraordinarily gifted, or just plain extraordinary. Everyone, that is, except Jane Doe, the most average ten-year-old who ever lived. But everything changes when the mischievous, downright criminal Grimlet twins enroll in Jane's school and a strange pirate captain appears in town. 
Thus begins a series of adventures that put some of Remarkable's most infamous inhabitants and their long-held secrets in danger. It's up to Jane, in her own modest style, to come to the rescue and prove that she is capable of some rather exceptional things. 
With a page-turning mystery and larger-than-life cast of characters, Lizzie K. Foley's debut is nothing short of remarkable.
Amazon promises that if you order now with two-day shipping, you'll receive the book the day it comes out . . . in a little under seven months.

Qwikster online since April

So, by now you've probably heard about the latest chapter in Netflix-fuffle. They're splitting their streaming service (Netflix proper, now) off from their DVD-mailing service, which is to be called Qwikster. Many commentators see this as a spur-of-the-moment decision, part of an effort at damage control after all the bad press they got from raising their rates by 60% and calling it a rate cut.

But, is it possible that the spin-off of Qwikster has been planned for months? There is a Qwikster twitter account that dates back to April of this year, suggesting that maybe it was.

Let's listen in, and see if anything from Qwikster's twitter feed gives any indication of future moves by the company. Note, these need to be translated out of Netflix's corporate lingo.

The plan had its origination when Netflix forgot the password to its Twitter account.

Then there was some infighting when the streaming service really started to outperform the DVD rental service.

The DVD service could have come back to outperform streaming, had it not been for interference from upper management.

It seems as if Netflix wants to cut the DVD service altogether, but is unwilling to commit to such a radical course of action.

The DVD rental division does not require detailed lists of customers with streaming-only subscriptions.

DVD rentals have dropped to the point that the rental section of the company is overstaffed.

See, it was all right there. If only we had looked.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Honky Tonk Blues

So, here's a little something for your Saturday morning.

Today would have been Hank Williams (Sr.)'s 88th birthday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remarkable ARCs

So, it's been a little while since I posted an update on my brilliant wife's upcoming book. A couple of weeks ago she got these in the mail: 

These are ARCs, which apparently stands for "Advance Reader Copies." That is just one of many acronyms that these children's publishing types throw around. (Children's publishing is sort of like the military that way.)

As you can see from the picture, the book will come out in Synchronous Reader Copy form in April 2012.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Jersey 9/11 Memorial a microcosm of post-9/11 America

So, last weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and there were, of course, commemorative events all around the country. Few were probably as crass and horrible as the one in Washington Township, New Jersey, where the city unveiled this:

image via the New Jersey Star Ledger.

If you look closely, you'll see that the memorial features the names of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, two Committeemen, one Committeewoman, and the Township Administrator.

That's right, no names of victims, or even mention of the actual event.

It's tempting to chalk this up to short-sighted and self-important local politicians, but I feel that it actually perfectly exemplifies the national political response to the tragedy.

After a few days of public outcry, the stone was removed.  Why can't we accomplish the same thing at the national level?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Senate cuts 5 hours, 24 minutes from NSF budget

So, the Senate panel that covers the NSF has just cut $162 million, or 2.6%, out of its 2012 budget. Based on this 2007 estimate, the Iraq War costs $720 million per day. That makes 5 hours, 24 minutes.

Now, to be fair, the Iraq war is probably a little bit cheaper now than it was then. So maybe we could have saved the NSF budget by bringing our troops home, say, a day earlier.

Alternatively, if our government had not lied to us, and we had never gone into Iraq in the first place, we could have . . .

. . . actually, it's just too damn depressing thinking of all of the things that we could have done with the money we've spent on killing people.

This comes from the awesome Propaganda Remix.

Star Wars / Office Mash-Up

So, this cracked me up this morning. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Social Security Remarks and Romney-Care are Masturbating Chimps

So, that's what this looks like to me, anyway.

What happens if we look closer?

Look, the chimp on the left has a penis that looks like Rick Perry, and the one on the right has a penis that looks like Willard 'Mittens' Romney.

Or maybe that's the actual Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, and those are ginormous chimps on their backs. Or monkeys, maybe? Oh, now I get it.

Image via Slate.

Negative Capability (Two Toys for the War on Terror)

So, John Keats famously coined the term Negative Capability, by which he meant the ability to observe and contemplate the world without succumbing to the impulse to cram that experience into a rational framework. To Keats, this ability to live with mystery, with doubt, with uncertainty, was key to the appreciation and creation of beauty.

In modern usage (in my experience), people often use the term negative capability to refer to the universal human capacity to hold two contradictory perceptions or beliefs at the same time.

That's sort of how I feel about these items, which invoke their contradictory feelings in very different ways. I want to say that each is simultaneously compelling and disturbing, but somehow that undersells the complexity of the response. In one case, the complex response is clearly deliberate. In the other case, maybe not so much.  See what you think.

The first is this art project called Casualties of War (link), which really conveys all of its own complex resonances without explanation.

Second is this figurine, issued on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and immortalizing the death of Osama bin Laden. In this case, I think the figurine would elicit your negative capability on its own, but the video really heightens the effect.

The green army figures are not for sale, but the Obama figure is.

Rick Perry: The Air-Safety Candidate

So, I had previously linked to the story about how Texans are statistically more likely to be executed than to die in a plane crash. It kept rolling around in my mind, though, so here's this.
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For the record, I'm not actually personally opposed to the death penalty. What I am opposed to is the unequal treatment people receive under the justice system based on factors like race and wealth. Also, when the government is perfectly willing to execute someone whom they know to have been falsely accused in the name of not looking weak on crime.

The numbers I used were based on the 2009 Texas population and a generic American 1 in 11 million per year plane crash death rate, which I got from here.

Duane Edward Buck (whose guilt in a double homicide is not in question) is scheduled to be executed on September 15. Apparently in Texas, likelihood of committing future crimes is an important factor in applying the death penalty. The dubious part was that Buck's race was explicitly cited as a factor in his future dangerousness. You can read more here.

The Galileo bit is in reference to Perry's idiotic statement about Galileo and climate change, about which you should read this.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Week in Hooters (with video!)

So, this week brought us a veritable twin peaks of news relating to Hooters, the restaurant Americans go to for the articles.

First, on Friday evening, there was the Vampire-at-Florida-Hooters incident, which seems to have gone something like this. Josephine Rebecca Smith, a 22-year-old Pensacola resident, was dropped off at a Shell station, where she was waiting for a ride from a relative. While waiting there, she met 69-year-old Morton Ellis.

Ellis was hanging out on the front porch of a vacant Hooters, as you do.

Ellis invited Smith to join him on the porch, and proceeded to fall asleep. Next thing he knew, Smith was on top of him, telling him that she was a vampire, and biting chunks of his face off. Ellis somehow managed to get away from her in his motorized wheel chair, and call the police from back at the Shell station.

When Smith was later arrested, police reported that she was half naked, covered in blood, and recalled nothing of the incident.

Which sounds a lot more like a werewolf attack, if you ask me.

Second, in a move that is in no way a crass exploitation of human tragedy, Hooters released this video, which seems to be titled "Hooters® Remembers":

To help cleanse your palette, now, I'd like to take you back to 1985. It was a simpler time, when millions of teenage girls had non-ironic crushes on George Michael, the only thing we had to fear was impending nuclear holocaust, and we danced. How did we dance, you ask? Like a wave on the ocean, that's how.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Postmodern Spam

So, I just received this e-mail. It almost made me want to forward it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Twilight Saga Summed Up in 4 Seconds

So, this is for those of you out there who just can't wait until November 18, when the next installment of the Twilight Saga hits movie theaters.

It's also for those of you who want to be able to say, "No, there's no point in my going to the movie, since I've already seen the whole thing summed up in just 4 seconds."

via Topless Robot

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

USA voted coolest nation

So, you remember back in Junior High School, how there was that kid who seemed really cool because he had all this cool stuff, and he was the first one to get a moustache, and everybody laughed at his jokes?

But then you got to High School, and, looking back on it, you think that maybe he was just sort of a bully who picked fights with people for no reason, and stole people's lunch money?

And then, after college, you go back to visit your parents, and there's that same guy, still hanging out talking about how cool he is and flexing his muscles, but now he's really fat, and he doesn't even have a job?

Yeah, well, according to a poll by the social networking site Badoo, the United States is the coolest country in the world.

The top ten most coolest nationalities are:

1.    American          
2.    Brazilians          
3.    Spanish          
4.    Italians          
5.    French          
6.    British          
7.    Dutch          
8.    Mexican          
9.    Argentinian          
10.    Russian

The five least cool?

1.    Belgians          
2.    Poles          
2.    Turks          
4.    Canadians          
5.    Germans

Celebrate the USA's coolness dominance over Belgium with this gem. Available for purchase here.

via Yahoo News

Population Ge-e-ne-e-ti-ics

So, here's a little something for anyone else out there who is slogging their way through a gloomy Wednesday.

from YouTube

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rachel Uchitel, one of America's heroes

So, there's this little item from the New York Post, which really should be read in its one-paragraph entirety, because it's a little bit unbelievable. In it, Rachel Uchitel, referred to here as "Tiger Woods' alpha mistress" talks about the blessings of the fact that her fiance died in the 9/11 attack. Among the other good things that came from his death is the fact that she is not now a "fat housewife with three kids."

There's still time, though, as she is apparently considering having children with her current boyfriend. If you want to know how good an idea that is, she is quoted as saying, "I never wanted them . . . but I know how much I love my dogs, and I think I'd make a good mother to my own kids."

Yes, we all think that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Going to the Store (The Objective Correlative of Something)

So, here's something else for your Labor Day enjoyment. What I particularly love are all of the comments on Vimeo where people are like "Oh my God, this is SO ME," or "Someone finally understands."

Apparently, this video represents the objective correlative of some previously ineffable human experience.

Congratulations to "dlew" for finally effing it.

BTW, video is borderline NSFW (but not really), and is best viewed with the volume way up.

going to the store. from dlew on Vimeo.

Happy Labor Day from Darwin Eats Cake

So, today is Labor Day here in the US. Todd and Eleonora are celebrating with story-time:
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Santa Fe Institute colleague Sam Bowles has pointed out (via Ronda Butler-Villa) that:
“Labor Day” was promulgated (in 1892) to distance America from the worldwide May Day celebrations of workers in all countries. It is a working class holiday that was initiated to commemorate a general strike in Chicago in 1886, and the anarchists who were hanged (after a highly political show trial) shortly thereafter, allegedly for their involvement in the Haymarket affair.
 Another successful instance of the "hey, look at this shiny thing" strategy working perfectly.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jonny Quest Stop Motion

So, if you're old enough, you'll remember the short-lived cartoon Jonny Quest.  Roger D. Evans has recreated the show's opening sequence in stop-motion animation. It's just . . . wow.

Jonny Quest Opening Titles from Roger D. Evans on Vimeo.

Now go to his website, where you can see just how much work went in to every one of these shots. Then rewatch the video and be amazed all over again.

via Boing Boing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Genomic Imprinting at Darwin Eats Cake

So, I've posted the new Darwin Eats Cake, which is about genomic imprinting. I tried to do some explaining in the comic, but I suspect that there is not enough information there for the thing to make sense unless you already have at least a passing familiarity with the phenomenon.

If you're actually interested, I've got a set of primers on imprinting that I've been working on here. You can find links to them here.

Or you can just forge ahead:
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