Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: December, 2003

Well, I’ll be off in less than half an hour. No more New England boondocks for the next two weeks.

* * *
Unconcious Mutterings

  1. Warning:: Signs
  2. Aspirations:: Inspirations
  3. Starvation:: Hunger
  4. Lid:: Shut
  5. Sketch:: Pad
  6. Interrogate:: Prisoner
  7. Credit:: Card
  8. Scotch:: Tape
  9. Confused:: Mind
  10. Paris:: France

Whenever I go to the Unconscious Mutterings website there’s already a ton of people who’ve done the meme before I have. I have three thoughts on this: many people who do this meme 1) live in a time zone that is ahead; 2) don’t ever sleep; or 3) do things ahead of time regardless of whether or not it is Sunday. However, I am too lazy to check which one of those three possibilities is true.

Weekend Links:

Daily Dose of Imagery. (indirectly via Monkeyfilter) Very interesting photoblog.

Pretty women scramble men’s ability to assess the future. (via 2Blowhards and Marginal Revolution) That sound you’re hearing in the background is me snickering. But then I stopped snickering and went about trying to find the paper they referenced. The problem is, my school doesn’t subscribe to Biology Letters. I found no mention of it on PubMed or on the Web of Science citation index. The researchers mentioned are into psychology, but the only work I saw cited on these indices were about spousal abuse and homicide (I found a publications list here, their 2002 paper has statistics on homicide rates). I’ve never heard of a journal called Biology Letters before so I queried Google, and the closest thing I got was some obscure Czech journal. What’s going on? Did the New Scientist make up something or am I just not searching hard enough?

Addendum: I finally found the homepage for Biology Letters here. You’ll never find it if you don’t search for The Royal Society as well. It says it’s listed under JSTOR (another journal index) but I didn’t see it. I think it’s because the journal is still very new. Unfortunately, even though I found the journal, I still couldn’t find the article–not even an abstract or a title saying it was going to be published.

Researchers Say. (via Save the Snow) Well, at least we know this little piece is obviously satire.

Word up. (I know I found this somewhere but I can’t remember where exactly.) Interesting reviews, but I’m probably not going to follow any of the advice the next time I go shopping for a dictionary.

This morning I finally got around to buying Christmas cards. Yes, I know this is sort of late for that kind of thing (I noticed a really long line at the post office), but I’m not going to be sending any of these cards through the mail.

I felt really out of place among the frenzied upperclass shoppers on Main Street. I heard the term “el cheapo” being bandied about, but none of the merchandise being sold in Hanover were inexpensive. I think a more accurate term would have been “el too-expensive-for-normal-people-o”.

Sigh. More tales of woe. So this time I got to listen to Roommate #8 talk about her problems with her ex-roommates. And while a bunch of her med student friends and I helped her move in, I was treated to stories of psycho parents. Are all parents of med students crazy?

Ugh. I feel as if my brain’s been fried. This morning, Roommate #7 left to visit some of her relatives in New York City for Christmas. This also happens to be where Roommate #6 (or rather ex-Roommate #6) has moved to–let’s just hope they don’t bump into each other as their relationship from what I’ve gathered is less than congenial at this point.

Another housemate is moving in tonight. I was just informed about this an hour ago by housing. Roommate #8 is a med student with an extremely Scandinavian name.

I’m not a bad person to live with. Honest. I’m clean. I don’t play loud annoying music. I automatically stay away from you if I sense that you’re in a foul mood. I’m mostly at lab so I wouldn’t be bothering anyone anyway. I don’t think I’m part of the reason they all move away–but that’s because I’ve heard more than my share of complaints about how school is treating them.

Hugging. Do you like doing it? Do you do it often? I’m not the touchy-feely type so I only hug if the other person initiates it first. And even then, the whole thing seems really weird to me.

Emotional rescues. I prefer my classical musicians to not have seizures on stage. When I was still taking lessons, I’ve had piano teachers tell me to express more emotion while playing–but I wasn’t about to go flapping about on the keyboard. My view of performance is similar to that of the author of the article. Emotional music can simply be portrayed by how it is played and not by physical and functionless gestures.

Addendum: And if people need physical cues to tell them how to feel at a particular passage in a piece of music, they’ve missed the point entirely.

Boom or bust? Or rather, the less confusing question the article is asking: are researchers in infectious diseases supposed to be happy because the government is pouring money into biodefense research? Obviously, getting grants for biodefense research has a lot of catches, and unfortunately, a lot of those revolve around fear.

Mystery remains as journal withdraws paper. Recently, I noticed a lot of blogs talking about a Swedish student who supposedly partially solved one of David Hilbert’s problems. I didn’t pay any attention to it because 1) I’ve heard of Hilbert but had no real idea what he did; 2) I know no math beyond the mandatory two years of coursework I did during my undergrad years; and 3) the three math blogs/journals (each written by a math grad student, a math teacher at a high school, and a math professor) I semi-regularly read never mentioned it. This just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you read, especially if it’s just linked by link-happy people and not by people who actually know what they’re talking about.

Health agencies scramble to counter Vatican’s ‘condom’nation. You can take the easy way out and ask the church, “Do you have proof that the AIDS virus can pass through latex? Where is your data?” But the problem here is that this is religion and that in a lot of ways calls for a mindset that is completely contrary to that of science. We have to ask ourselves, how can we deal with an group that cares more about regulating people’s lives in how they see fit rather than gathering proof of their physical well-being?

Deep Thinking about Weblogs. A little bit too much deep thinking if you ask me.

What Not to Do When You Blog. Stupid rules. I thought the only rule was that there were no rules in weblogging.

Growing Up and Pairing Off. Ah, very true. I don’t know very many people currently who are in their early twenties (like me) but I know plenty of people who are in their mid-, late-twenties who either have significant others or who are lamenting about their lack of paired-ness and trying to do something about it. Like the author of the article, I am also Chinese but from here I differ from her in that I don’t think of myself as traditional nor have I gone through dysfunctional relationships (more like lack of relationships altogether).

Sure, it’s depressing that people push the expectation that you have to be paired up every day. I sometimes get depressed too with how current society is set up. But I also know I don’t have to put up with this crap. I’m not going to be the silly girl who pines away because everyone says the grass is greener on the other side (via Bud). I don’t know what other people’s reasons are for getting married, but I know that I will never do it because everyone else is doing it.

I do science and I write. I love both of those things and I think I’m doing my part to contribute to a better society, not the status quo. I’m not going to let it change me to what it wants me to be. I have a better idea of who I am than a bunch of busybodies who only follow rules.

The Thursday Threesome: The Christmas Song, Part I

Onesome: The– What is the “bestest” Christmas decoration in your mind? You know, the one that says, “This is Christmas!”

The tree.

This reminds me of Christmas (or rather around this time) during my first year as an undergraduate. At my “house” (sort of like a cross between a dorm and a frat house although it was less of a frat house than a dorm and everything was co-ed), the upperclassmen declared that it was annual tradition for the frosh to put up a Christmas tree on the side of campus’s phallic symbol–the library. There’s just one catch. The building is nine stories tall compared to the two or three stories of the other buildings. We went after hours to bypass the usual securities; some people stayed on the ground and other people went up to the roof so they could throw lights down and have the people on the ground tether them.

By four in the morning, everyone was cold and annoyed and we didn’t bother putting the big yellow “L” (because it stood for the house’s name) up at the top because we were tired and we didn’t want anyone to fall off the library roof.

Twosome: Christmas– What style of Christmas ornaments do you like to see? Are you a glass ball person? …or how about that bow thing? Maybe Christmas Muppet characters everywhere? Hmm?

When it comes to ornaments and the scale of minimalist to gaudy, I’m way off toward the minimalist side of things.

Threesome: Song–…and your favorite Christmas Song? Is there one that just sets the season for you when you hear it? I mean, even when you’re in a “Ho-Ho-Humbug” mood?

A lot of Christmas songs annoy me because people have been using them as manipulative marketing tools. But if I had to listen to Christmas music, I’d prefer the really obscure ones that aren’t exactly pretty–musically–to the ear. You know, the ones people would never play in a commercial or on the radio because they sound too ominous or depressing.


I’m done with that paper/pseudo-grant proposal thingee that was due for my last required class ever (I’m not counting my teaching requirement as a class) and I only have three more planned experiments to do before I go on vacation and vegetate. Of course, this says nothing about the unplanned stuff that might pop up…