Saturday, February 25, 2012

Real Life Seems Overrated

I got this link from @mjrobbins on Twitter. Twitter, bad for our brains? There's a video of a TV interview with Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist who doesn't seem to understand how Twitter works. She seems obsessed with the idea that "having ongoing relationships in three dimensions" is somehow critical to life.

I hope that's not true.

The defendant of Twitter, Mark Henderson, author of The Geek Manifesto, tried to explain how Twitter builds communities and helps you connect with people you wouldn't otherwise know. And the presenter said, "Well why can't you just meet them down the pub?"

What?! What pub? These people are thousands of miles away! This whole discussion acts like anybody you might possibly have anything in common with lives within 5 blocks of you. Well I can assure you that is not the case. I remember the first standardized test I had in grade school that had a math problem involving walking "blocks" and I had to get up and ask my teacher what that meant. Where I live I can take about a 15 minute walk through the woods to my grandmother's house, but there is nothing else. I can either have one dimensional relationships with people on the internet, or I can have nothing at all.

I do agree that she's right that moderation is essential for everything. I'm pretty good at that. I bought 4 pints of gelato the other day because it was buy-one-get-one-free and it comes in a good reusable container. I have only opened one of them and I just ate a little bit.

The only thing I don't seem to get tired of is taking pictures. I only share a tiny portion of them, but definitely more than anybody else shares with me. I think I understand that emailing somebody a picture of an accomplishment is not the same as sharing that accomplishment in person. But I also suspect that in person I would see their body language and know that they really don't give a shit. Just emailing it to them I get the feeling of sharing without the humiliation. It doesn't bother me at all that they don't reply to the email.

Sometimes I throw pictures up on Twitter, but only the ones of general interest, like a pecan with three segments. I only have two Twitter followers that I have met in person, and both are friends I met online and they live 350 and 900 miles away. Putting things on Twitter really is just like throwing a penny in a wishing well. I once tweeted one of my videos to @DbagChopra relevant to something he said. He made a joke and used the video link in his own tweet. He has 22 times as many Twitter followers as me. The Plays count on my video only went up by one. Just because it's on Twitter doesn't mean anybody is reading it, or clicking on it. I still do it though. I suppose it is natural to want to connect with other humans. So is Susan Greenfield saying that it's bad for your brain if your connection is not reciprocal? Is it unhealthy? Or at worst just a waste of time?

So for me it's one dimensional (or unidirectional) relationships or none at all. I imagine I'll eventually get to none at all, but until then, moderation. I have to go outside now and feel the wind in my hair. Apparently that is critical to my brain health.

Update 2/27: Martin Robbins (@mjrobbins) wrote about this on The Guardian blog. He thinks she needs to pin down a hypothesis before she goes to the media with these claims. We both kind of think she's just afraid of change.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Alkali Metals Get More Terrifying

There's a video going around of the military disposing of sodium in Lake Lenore, a lake that was already highly alkaline. I saw this last week on GuardianUK from a tweet by @GrrlScientist.

Phil Plait saw that video too, then tweeted a link to this website with more alkali metals reacting with water. Don't get bored by the corrosion part. Wait until they put the cesium in water.

It reminds me of the risk of having pure elements on hand to play with, and the stubbornness of some people when it comes to taking science seriously. When I was in the 8th grade my science teacher, Mrs. Burns, had some sodium. It was a few small pieces in a bottle of oil, like in the video above. The wood shop was in the next building at a right angle to the science lab. For some unfathomable reason the shop teacher did not believe that sodium had a strong reaction to air. And for some slightly more fathomable but distinctly nefarious reason Mrs. Burns decided to convince him that it did. So she and the shop teacher went out to the lawn between their classrooms with a cinderblock, the jar of sodium, forceps and a hammer. The students stood at the windows of the science lab looking on. Mrs. Burns reached into the jar of oil with forceps and pulled out about a 1/2" chunk of sodium. She placed it on the cinderblock and quickly backed far away. The shop teacher, whose name I can't remember at all, swung the hammer back over his shoulder and hit the sodium. At which point the hammer reversed trajectory with a suddenness and force that the shop teacher was not expecting whatsoever. The sound it made hitting the brick wall behind him would have surprised him more if the concussion of the sodium explosion hadn't made him deaf.

It's good we have YouTube now so shop teachers don't have to suffer temporary hearing loss to learn a lesson. It looks like 10 grams of sodium costs about $65 now so that was an expensive lesson. 10 grams of Cesium is about $200 though, so at least economy offers a level of safety for shop teachers when they deny science. Also there's a $75 Hazmat shipping fee with any purchase of alkali metals. They must be signed for by an adult.

The Death of the Conjunction Apostrophe? I'm Wont to Revive It

I've noticed people, particularly young people, leaving out the apostrophe in the conjunction for "will not." Wont is a word, but it has a different meaning than won't, and a different pronunciation the way I learned it. Wont rhymes with font and won't rhymes with don't. When I see, "I wont wait to get a new iPhone." I read it as, "I am accustomed wait to get a new iPhone." It's missing a to and it trips me up. I read it again substituting won't.  I am wont to jab at the screen, putting in an apostrophe with my finger.

I Googled this to be sure it wasn't already in common use. I'm not certain I want this to be one of my pedantic frustrations like lie and lay. Some of my most educated and precise friends mess up lie and lay. I would like to stop twitching when people say they are "going to lay down." Google automatically changes a search for wont into a search for won't, so I'm not sure if that means wont isn't even a word anymore or if it's just such a common misspelling nobody cares. According to this question on the MacRumors forum some people notice that spellcheck doesn't catch an intended will not spelled wont, yet don't ever think to look wont up in a dictionary. They accuse people of not understanding the question when people try to explain to them that wont is a word, too, therefore is not misspelled.

If there's a chance to take a stand for the conjunction apostrophe before it's too late I'd like to vote to keep it. If the kids want to communicate with adults they should probably not do things that make it take longer to read their writing. Abbreviations and using one word when you mean another makes reading slower. tl:dr (too long: didn't read) will give way to gs:dr (grammar sucks: didn't read). Studies have shown that it takes longer to read an abbreviation than the words written out. I've always wanted to read a follow up study for people who grow up with the abbreviation to see if this changes with them. I can read WTF pretty fast now, but I say in my head, "What the Fuck?" not "Double-U Tee Eff." Does anybody actually read it as letters? What do you read when you see LOL? I read loll, which doesn't really give me the feeling of hilarity. Which is probably why I never use that when I type.

Mnemonic for young bloggers:

Choose your own font,
As is your wont.
But don't
Misuse won't.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bonus Points for Nobody Knows

I clicked a link the other day to what looked like an article on a newspaper web site (but I'm pretty sure I've never actually heard of The Washington Times) I skimmed it and realized it was just another delusional rant by a creationist. Basically the premise was that flagella couldn't have evolved because there are separate parts to make it work and by some irrational argument this couldn't happen simultaneously, therefore, God. I dismissed it as a hopeless case but something about it has been bothering me all week.

It's the idea that the author doesn't buy Darwin's explanation but readily substitutes something entirely implausible and unprovable. That's not how it works. It's like the creationists don't understand that it's ok to just not know. Speaking in broad terms and not about this particular flagella nonsense, if you have some information that invalidates a paradigm then you may be in the middle of a paradigm shift. Now I can't remember if Kuhn said this -- his book is in my mini warehouse and I can't look it up -- but I think there must be a tri-state period in the middle of a paradigm shift where the scientific community just admits they don't know anymore. (I can't avoid this digital electronics metaphor. If you don't understand the origin, there are two states of a transistor, let's call it a 1 or a 0. If it's not either one, that's tri-state. It's a real actual thing, floating between ground and a discrete voltage.) And I actually think of this dilemma this way. Believe Darwin = 1, Believe God = 0 but there has to be another option where you don't believe either one. You believe nothing. You just don't know. Maybe nobody knows. Your mind isn't made up.  I just don't think you can even talk to somebody about how things work or how they came to be if they aren't comfortable with complexity that nobody understands. I think the misunderstanding is they think scientists are claiming to explain everything. No, that's not what scientists do. Scientists are fully aware that don't know shit, just ask one. Listen for "but only if" and "as long as."

People that think God knows everything? Controls everything? Designed everything? They just don't have a good handle on what "everything" means. Discussing tiny details about flagella is idiotic. They're never going to get it.

So how do we get the culture more comfortable with the idea of not knowing stuff? More Stephen Fry!

New Windows Logo Reaction -- That's bad

Windows got a new logo, did you hear? I just clicked a link on Twitter and read all about it. I don't really keep up with Windows since I am happy to say I have not had to look upon a Windows computer in close to a year now. But apparently they're coming out with Windows 8 and that gets a new logo.

Just let that rest on your retinas for a minute. What do you think? Try to name your emotion.... I got "Despair."

I think it's right up there with the Walmart sphincter logo. Read more about the failure they're calling Metro style and see pictures of the logo through the years on the Windows blog.

Filming Hummingbirds

I love this video! Those cameras! I want to see the whole TV show now. I have a book about hummingbirds with lots of still pictures of them fighting. I did already know that they are quite mean to each other. The high speed, high definition photography does show lots of interesting details though. I like seeing the feathers on their back lifted by the vortex coming off their wings particularly.

The presenter didn't mention the hardest part of filming wildlife -- the waiting. I am constantly amazed that an animal's ability to do nothing interesting for extended periods of time far exceeds my ability to sit and wait for it to perform. They take thousands of hours of work and edit it down to an hour of the best parts. What WOULDN'T be interesting if you presented it that way? Films like these make people interested in animals like TMZ makes people interested in celebrities.

From twitter link by @GrrlScientist

Friday, February 17, 2012

Have you used a government program?

This quote in Paul Krugman's article "Moochers Against Welfare" made me laugh and laugh.
Cornell University’s Suzanne Mettler points out that many beneficiaries of government programs seem confused about their own place in the system. She tells us that 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.”
Have I used a government program? Yes. I've been on unemployment three times. In my 20s I owned an S-Corp and worked as a consultant, getting a 1099 to show how much I got paid instead of a W-2. I had gaps in earning all the time but I never got unemployment. I would finish one electronics design project and work on my house until somebody had another new product to transition to manufacturing. I used to make mad bank when I was billing! And I doubled the value of my house in 3 years. It never even occurred to me that I would use a government program.

In my 30s it became more difficult to find consulting work. Nobody was designing electronics to be manufactured in their own factory anymore. I tried going through a temporary agency to get a job with an architecture and engineering firm. The manager was a former rocket scientist (as in he really designed a rocket propulsion system for a loony rich dude) so he understood the scope of my abilities and hired me as an interior designer. I did AutoCAD floorplans, electrical riser diagrams, and edited Master Specs when I wasn't picking the colors and carpet for projects. There was only about 1 week a month worth of that good-taste-required work, but it was intimidating enough to the other people working there that none of them would do it. I got 1/3 of my old hourly rate and the temp agency got to keep most of what they billed the firm. I was going to do that for 6 months and then be hired permanently. But after 5 months they lost all their contracts with the Federal government to design buildings for Air Force bases and had to lay me off. My manager suggested I go to the unemployment office. What? I could get unemployment from being a TEMP? No kidding!

After that round of unemployment I got some more consulting work and started doing more and more menial things, like painting and carpentry and cleaning. Then I moved down to the ancestral home and got a job at another architecture and engineering firm where I worked for three solid years! A personal record! I made $20,000 a year less than my first year out of college. And I got laid off when they lost their contract with the Department of Environmental Protection. You're darn straight I used a government program.

It seems the more my worth is demeaned by society the more I'm willing to use government programs.

I need to think about that for a while.

Update: I think I might have used a government program as a teenager! I might be guilty of this very delusion in the block quote. I was the only person in my high school to qualify for a Georgia Governor's Scholarship, which paid all my college tuition for two years. That sounds pretty much like a hand out to me! But if you had asked me in my 20s if I had used a government program I probably would've said no. If you think about college scholarships there are a lot more people who have used government programs that don't consider themselves welfare class.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Try an Aspirin Between Your Knees

OK, I've had it. It's time for a bit of a rant.

The Republicans and their attack on birth control has gone too far. They really need to shut the fuck up.  It's not only that the ones talking about it aren't women, it's that they aren't even doctors, and they're talking about medicine. And the ones that are doctors are just out of their damn minds! I'm looking at you, Dr. Ron "Honest Rape" Paul.

I don't give a damn about their religious beliefs. They are irrelevant to a medical discussion. And contraception at this point in modern society is medical. Hell, at this point it's not even contraception. Just like you can take aspirin for a headache or blood clots you can take birth control pills for a lot more than not getting pregnant.

I just got back from Walgreens where I picked up my latest three week supply of birth control pills. I paid $3 for the gas to drive there and back and $26.24 for 21 low dose pills. I have no insurance, but fortunately there is a generic version that doesn't cost that much more than the acid reflux medicine I also have to take every single day. Now why would I, a recluse, need birth control pills, you ask? If I didn't have to go to Walgreens I would never see another live person, let alone a real live man who would be willing to go through the motions of impregnating me. Yet I take a pill every single day that stops me ovulating. The Republicans would probably be appalled that I'm spending Federally subsidized unemployment money on such a vile product.

Well it's none of their fucking business, first of all! Second of all, my doctor in Austin said regulating my hormones is the best way to control my migraines. I guarantee you Rick Santorum has never had a menstrual migraine. Or any other PMS symptoms, like clumsy day, or crying-for-no-fucking-reason-at-all day. I think any man should have to go through that disaster of evolution before his opinion counts. And for the Republicans who also believe in Intelligent Design? Fuck you. There is nothing intelligent about the hideous side effects of sexual reproduction. Fluctuating hormones are a complete disaster. Apparently we got off pretty easy with that though. When I was reading up on animals with striped tails the other day I learned that ring-tailed lemurs have barbed penises to stop the females from having sex with more than one partner because it "alters" them. What the FUCK?! They're primates! Boy am I glad that trait didn't turn up in humans.

I got my prescription for these pills about a year ago when I did have insurance provided by my employer. Since I was 22 and had first migraine and my first gynecological exam I have been required to have an annual pap smear before I can get my prescription renewed. What does cancer on my cervix have to do with controlling my hormones? This is STUPID! It's something I endure gracefully when I have insurance, but when I don't I have to fork over more than $200 to get this prescription renewed. I tried going to Planned Parenthood where I can get a pap smear for only $100. But they refused to write a prescription for birth control for me because I'm over 40. Well fuck you very much! They said there is a risk of blood clots. I have zero risk factors for that. I'm not overweight, I don't smoke, I don't take long plane trips. So I have to shop around for a competent doctor that will agree to write my prescription so I'm not crippled for one week out of every month with debilitating migraines and a very real risk of taking a header down the ladder from my loft. And I have to pay a month's living expenses to make this happen. Every year.

I'm trying to make the point that women are going to get emotional about this discussion. Because we are already fed up with the fucking bullshit we have to go through over this medical fiasco. What does a man have to do at the doctor every goddam year from the age of sexual maturity? Not a fucking thing. That pisses me off! I have had false-positive pap smears three times. I had to endure a cryocautery when I was STILL A VIRGIN because the doctor believed I had abnormal cells on my cervix. He didn't treat a lot of women engineers I guess. Probably just never saw a cervix that wasn't worn down from penile abrasion. He thought I needed to have the surface of my cervix cleaned off with about a minute and a half of contact with stainless steel backed up with liquid nitrogen. May I recommend we have all those men on that panel in Washington have a probe inserted into their abdominal cavity and have liquid nitrogen circulated through it for about 90 seconds? I think they should try a biopsy too, where they get their inner sanctum swabbed with vinegar and then a nice big piece of them way up inside is just PINCHED off with what look like long handled wire cutters. (I can't use the term we use in the electronics lab because it's just too....)

If a man wants birth control he can get a vasectomy for a $15 copay if he has insurance. And it is extremely effective. Did you know that the female version of surgical sterilization fails in 1 in 1000 cases?! That's no better at birth control than the pill I take! And it does nothing to help with menstrual migraines. I would have gotten sterilized in my 20s if there was a good way to do it, but there isn't. And I still would have to take a hormone pill every day or suffer debilitating menstruation symptoms every month. And I am pretty fucking pissed off about that. The whole area of preventing-reproduction health has been run by assholes like these current loudmouths FOREVER and women just have to take it. There is nothing fair about the male-centric medical bias and big-pharma lobby mandated annual tests for women. Apparently we can't get any decent research funding for this stuff. Whoever came up with the idea that women need their uterus scraped out if they don't have a baby is two things: batshit crazy and a man. Show me evidence that's a good idea. And get on that hormone regulation thing. If men had PMS this nonsense would have a vaccine you had to get before you could enroll in college, just like measles.

Is this a shitstorm the Republicans really want to start? They start a war on science and a war on women all the while boo-hooing that there's a war on religion? Well they fucking started it! I am prepared to stand up and speak out for women's health and the abysmal state it's in. And I am ALWAYS ready to stand up for not having children. Please! Stop the breeding! I was prepared to sit quietly and pay my $1.25 a day for a pill that apparently any woman with a job at a Catholic business that provides employee health insurance can get for free. Because it is worth it to not have to work with a bunch of believers. But now they are just all up in my face. Kind of a shame I have zero qualifications to communicate effectively and get anything done about this. But if somebody who has a strategy has a petition I can sign or something.... Let's bring it!

I love Andrea Mitchell at the end of this. :: silence :: "Excuse me.... I'm just trying to catch my breath from that." I wish she'd been on camera. I would love to see her face. It's second best to Barbara Walter's reaction in the Herman Cain interview where he says he'd like to be Secretary of state and Barbara Walter does a double take and shouts, "WHAT?!"

I got this video clip from this article.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wild animals have little reproductive free will

I got a text from Mama this morning with a picture of a chicken and biddies. She thought a possum had gotten that chicken, but she was hiding on a nest in the weeds in the corner of the chicken yard. I went over to take pictures. I like videos of baby chickens. (Here's one from two years ago if you like them too.)

These aren't any particular kind of chickens. I think they're feral chickens from DeFuniak Springs that my aunt caught and brought back to her chicken yard.

I happened to download this album recently so it automatically started playing when I opened iTunes to look for a song to go with this video. It was a no brainer that it was the one. It may seem dark if you don't know me or my family. My aunt's remark about those biddies: "They are cute. I'm already imagining every one of them on a plate." Here are the lyrics for my mother the English major to analyze.

Grow Up And Blow Away
Artist: Metric
Album: Grow Up And Blow Away

Grow up and blow away

Floating the rent two by two
From the womb
To the holiday
There is no holiday

First double-cross her heart
He wants to start a family
Needing something to go on

If she weren't writing in blood
She'd bring him her jokes
A new liver
And a shovel for the mud

If he were not knee-deep in mud
He'd bring her his drugs
He'd get her a typewriter

If this is the life, why does it feel
So good to die today?
Blue to grey
Grow up and blow away

If this is the life, why does it feel
So good to die today?
Blue to grey
Grow up and blow away

Nobody knows which street to take
He took the easy way
What was the easy way?

First double-cross her heart
He wants to start a family
She always thought she would not

Monday, February 13, 2012

Polarized light, horsefly delight. Zebra stripes, fewer bites

I've been wondering for a while about the evolution of ringed tails. Why does a raccoon's tail have rings? Why do Red Pandas? Or Ring Tailed Lemurs? The Ringtail Cat? What kind of convergent evolution is this ring thing all about? Is it just camouflage? To look like shadows cast by branches in the trees? It's not easy to get the answer to this question with regular Google, so I kind of keep putting off finding out. Then today I read this neat article about zebra stripes. Somebody finally did empirical tests with horseflies. It turns out that dark colored horses reflect polarized light similar to a pool of water. White horses don't have that invisible-to-the-human-eye resemblance to the fly breeding site. It's well known (apparently, to horse people) that flies bother white horses less. So the researchers tested variations of pattern and found that the wavelength disruption of black and white patterns is even less appealing to flies than plain white. Zebras for the win! (I like how they reveal their true scientist nature by conceding that tsetse flies, a horsefly relative, don't bother any animal out on the open plain, only around water.)

I suppose I could find out just what I want to know about ringed tails from a introductory biology textbook. I used to have one but I didn't have room to keep it anymore. From reading online college papers from people who do have these textbooks I gather that most of the ring tailed creatures, particularly raccoons and the red panda, seem to have evolved from the same distant relative, common to all in the superfamily Musteloidea. The ring-tailed cat is the same family as the raccoon, so it's easy to see how they have similar tails. Ring tailed lemurs? They're a wet-nosed primate, so I don't know. I'll just have to wait for some biology major to write a paper about it, somebody with library access and good search engine optimization.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Looking Angry

Today my mama suggested I start wearing packing tape between my eyebrows. She thinks these wrinkles make me look angry.

It's an awful lot to ask of a few square inches of tape, to change my whole persona. Looking angry is kind of my thing.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shooting food

The science fair was at the White House today. Fun was had by all.

I think that would work even better if you added a squirt of butane and a spark in there with that compressed air. I did some ambient pressure, propellant fired PVC cannons and hand guns back in the '90s. I showed one to my dad's Rotary exchange student from Norway who stuck around after his year to get two EE degrees from Georgia Tech. I think he was in graduate school when I went through my spud gun phase. It was Thanksgiving and we were heading back to visit the parental units for the holiday. I was taking the spud gun to show it off for my dad and brother. We stopped at the grocery store to get some ammunition. Arne was impressed with the sweet potatoes for $0.49/lb. "They have armor piercing qualities!" he exclaimed. Immediately after we fired the spud gun at my dad's farm he wanted to go to the hardware store to get parts for a larger bore model to see if he could shoot a potato clear across his pond. That's when I got into making 1/2" PVC pistols. The waste from the potatoes in the big gun provided up to 6 more shots in my little pistol! I was into the conscientious use of resources even back then.

After Arne got back to Norway he made his own spud gun but he added a compressed air component. We'd looked up the combustion characteristics of the hair spray we were using to fire it and realized the problem was most people were using too much propellant for the amount of air they had. So Arne added a Schrader valve to his and pumped it up with a bike pump after squirting in the propellant. He said the performance was very good.

I actually sold my first spud gun to a UGA grad for $30. If you went to Georgia Tech you'd get what's funny about that. What's the statute of limitations on unlicensed weapons trafficking?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Panning for Twitter Gold -- Hippie Threats

I have a lot of free time so I can kind of keep dipping my pie plate into the bottom of the Twitter river. I rinse away lots of dull commentary and lame jokes. I retweet the solid laughs and star the things that amuse me but don't match my idiom. Sometimes as I'm rinsing the mud out of my pan I get some gold dust and a few nuggets. Last night that happened around 2 am on Patton Oswalt's feed. I put down my phone and woke up the computer to make these screen shots. I let Patton edit the selection and these are his retweets. It's impossible to trick Twitter into showing you the timeline in reverse so you just have to read them scrambled up. I think these jokes resonated with me particularly because I just went to the co-op last week and got mung beans. I'm growing my own sprouts. The mung bean joke was the first one.

My favorites are "My dad is a lawyer" and "I'm going to sit by you on the bus."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sideways Snake

I shot another reptile video today. I saw a handsome garter snake while I was trying to tidy up some backhoe tracks in my yard.

I tried downloading the iMovie iPhone app to see what it was like to edit it on the iPhone. It's limited, but not bad. At least it gives you an easy way to upload to Vimeo and not just YouTube. But it doesn't work well with video shot vertically. I tried rotating the video in iMovie to take up the whole space. That just makes it come out sideways on the computer. Viewed on the phone it's right though. Apple, I am disappoint.

I hooked the phone to the computer to see if I could copy the file over and export it with the dimensions reversed to get a proper video in Vimeo. But because I copied the photos first and then deleted them the iMovie project was completely destroyed.

There is no way to get video off the iPhone and then sync it back in a smart album like you can photos. Once it's in iPhoto it's kind of stuck. You can put it in iMovie and export it as a movie, but the original editable video is lost to the iPhone. They really need to work on a fix for this. The only way for me to make a vertical video from this is to start over from scratch in iMovie on the computer.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why no Nature category?

I made a quick iPhone video again. I wasn't allowed to upload it from my phone until I picked a category on YouTube. I had to put it under Pets and Animals. There's no category for the kind of videos I usually make. Gosh, you'd think I was somehow not that similar to most other people or something.

Update: I got a comment from Ami asking me if these were green anoles (Anolis carolinensis). I thought we might have brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) here now, introduced from Cuba or the Bahamas because I have seen so many odd acting lizards -- they just don't look like the lizards of my childhood anymore. These things are a lot more.... menacing. And I'm talking about when I was a little girl! And they're menacing to me NOW!

Anyway, my Audubon Field Guide says green anoles aren't supposed to have back crests. Clearly these do. But green anoles do turn green and get a black spot behind their eye when they're fighting, like these. So I will claim these are green anoles, but if a herpetologist wanted to contradict me I would listen attentively. Do anoles cross breed when an island species invades their territory? I have a photo of a lizard with a back crest breeding with one without if any herpetologists are interested. Maybe it's a thing males have and the field guide is just not that precise.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Women are Better at Living Alone

There's a new book out that has data showing women are better at living alone than men. Are Women Better at Living Alone? Sociologist Eric Klinenberg’s new book, Going Solo, explores the question.

To this I say, "Duh!"

Now the reasons for this mostly don't apply to me at all. I am not better at friendships or any of that rot. The reason I'm good at living alone is because I just love nesting. Having a comfortable home is about all I need to be happy. Most men I know don't really pay any attention to where they live.

But aside from being an obsessive nester, Google's pegging me as a man works with this Going Solo angle too.
“and although each of the men we found had his own individual story, together they had much in common: a spouse lost to death or divorce; weak ties to children and other family, or no children at all; a small or nonexistent friendship network; physical or mental illness; a repellent personality.” Apparently they found no such women.
I have weak ties to family, no children at all, a small or nonexistent friendship network, mental abnormalities if not illness, AND a repellent personality!