Universe 25 – A paradise lost
Utopia, depending on who you ask you almost certainly will get a different answer on what the perfect world would look like. No, not what the world COULD be, but what the perfect world would look like. If you could snap a finger and alter the very fabric of reality to create the perfect world, it would almost certainly look very different than the world someone else would create. Maybe that’s why paradise is best left to novelists. Still, what would happen if we could create a general paradise? This is a story of mice and men.(more…)
Twenty-one years is a long time. There’s a whole generation of, for all intents and purposes, adults that weren’t even alive when 9/11 happened. The enduring changes that occurred afterwards are really the only thing left from that day. We, humanity in general, have a short memory for things like that. It’s history and we don’t learn from history, much less the present. It’s on odd day and even when it happened we acted in odd ways.(more…)
Death, consent, and Einstein
Death and taxes, the two constants of the world. I think some people are afraid of death because it’s so common, so… pedestrian. We all do it, wealthy, poor, unlike almost everything about life, death is the great equalizer. In life we are taught we have choices and those choices are set by our circumstances, but for the most part we get to decide what our lives look like. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case when we die, even when our wishes are made explicit. This is the true story of the death of Albert Einstein and if you don’t know it, I don’t blame you if you don’t believe it.(more…)
The cost of freedom
Land of the free, right? Call me cynical, call me jaded, but it doesn’t feel like that these days. People often wonder why, historically speaking, no one did anything when atrocities are happening. I’m left reminded that evil people, objectively bad people who should never have a modicum of power, come into power because it’s easier to let it happen than than it is to do something about it. Put simply, it’s hard to take collective action when you are comfortable and by the time you’re discomforted enough to actually do something, oftentimes it’s far too late.(more…)
Living through history
When I was a kid I thought history was something we read about in text books. World wars were from a “less civilized” time, we are a modern people after all. With the fall of the USSR along with the start and end of the gulf war not too long after, I thought, perhaps foolishly, that history was a thing of the past. I never suggested I was the smartest of children. But here we are, living through history. I didn’t realize it could be so painful, then again maybe if I had paid more attention I would’ve known.(more…)
A town on fire
My brain works in mysterious ways, but did you know there’s a town that’s burning and will probably be burning for another (roughly) few hundred years? Not a town exactly, but it’s yet another case of truth being stranger than fiction. If you’re not familiar with the story, or just like learning more when you can, let me introduce you to the town of Centralia.(more…)
MK-Ultra, or lies my government told me
I love a good horror story. Now, personally I prefer fiction, but sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. As the title of the post suggests, we’re talking MK-Ultra since I love the absolute absurdity of the story and frankly it’s a great illustration of how little the common person knows about what the government does in the dark.(more…)
Nuclear war, or how I learned to stop worrying as I was vaporized
Well in the history of humankind, it’s been a hot second since we didn’t have the impending threat of nuclear war. While I would like to believe that the possibility of a nuclear attack is so remote we shouldn’t even worry about it, the truth is I would rather be prepared than not. So let’s talk a little bit about the history of nuclear warfare and how it’s shaped our world even today. Things like, have you ever wondered why shampoo and conditioner were sold separately? Hint, it involves nuclear warfare.(more…)
New year’s eve!!
It’s that time again. We’re bringing in another year. Let’s be real, the last two years have been progressively worse and 2022 doesn’t look like it will start off any better. I don’t know what will be in store for us in the upcoming year, but my one request to anyone who stumbles upon this is to be kind to each other. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, then boosted, and if we can finally work together, maybe we can at least make 2022 the year we beat COVID. I’m not optimistic, but I’m happy to be proven wrong. To each and every one of the readers of my little blog, happy new year to you and yours. And thank you for spending another year with me on my journey.
Well, it’s Christmas day again and we are still dealing with COVID. Maybe you’re numb to it or maybe you’re like me and incredibly stressed out about it. Whatever the case this year probably looks very different from prior years and even from last year. Last year I wished that COVID would be a history lesson and not a current event. Maybe it was ambitious, but I don’t want to lose hope so once again my holiday wish is that next year we beat this and can properly mourn for those who were lost during this (ideally) brief period of history. So from my “crazy” little family to yours, happy holidays!
Well it’s thanksgiving. As usual for anyone who’s picked up a history book, celebrating thanksgiving is one hell of a choice. Granted it was made generations ago so we do it out of habit and I am happy to have the extra time off, although time off as a student is more of a concept and not an actual thing. Point being, celebrating genocide is something we do here in the US. Because that’s how we were founded.(more…)
Twenty years later
I was still in high school when the towers fell. It’s weird to think that was twenty years ago, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. There’s a whole generation of young adults who were born after that event and somehow my brain doesn’t like that thought. It’s a reminder of the life I lived I guess and all the years that were shaped by that event. When the towers fell, child me — because really I was still just a kid — bought into all the propaganda and decided that I would serve my country. I obviously have mixed feelings about that choice.(more…)
Fourth of July
I’m a veteran. I have mixed feelings about most patriotic holidays (okay, all patriotic holidays) and today is no different. We could all use a day off and I honestly couldn’t care less about how the holiday is celebrated. The only real issue I have with how it’s celebrated is with the fireworks. The world is on fire at the moment (literally) and we don’t need to help it along. My main issue with the holiday is (of course) toxic patriotism and the inevitable misogyny and white supremacy that comes with it. Of course, that is how America was built…(more…)
The lonely cultist
Listen closely as I am going to divulge a secret from the universe. It will be so earth shattering that you will forever remember this movement. There will be an irrevocable before and after. It has taken me decades to uncover this secret and as the sole owner and guardian of it, I am trusting part of it to you. You can be a part of something larger than yourself, find secret truths, and if you are ready to receive them, find your own. There are secrets in this life hidden just beyond human sight and they are waiting for you to find them. They are calling out to you in the wind. Do you hear them? Are you ready?(more…)
COVID variants and our future
Awhile back I wrote a post on everything you needed to know about the COVID vaccine (here), I talked about the science, my experience with it (as someone who got vaccinated very early on), and more importantly why you should feel safe getting your shots too. Very ominously I mentioned that the target for the vaccine was the spike protein because it would (ideally, but not for sure) be conserved across mutations, well it’s time for an update and the news isn’t great.(more…)
We interrupt your regularly scheduled programing…
This is not the post you are looking for. Error, please try again. Okay, seriously I need to get some work done today and I don’t have time to solve our mysterious mind control device problem that I posed yesterday, so today I’m going to give some quick thoughts on something totally unrelated because there isn’t time for anything else and while trying to figure out a header for this post (where I was originally going to say hey can’t talk today) I was reminded of max headroom. I genuinely don’t know that I’ve ever said that before, but here we are…(more…)
Full speed ahead
Neither rain, nor sleat, nor pandemic, nor freezing to death stop us from moving forward. I think that’s how the PhD motto goes anyway. Since the past week we’ve been struggling to simply live, we’ve had the whole city sort of on pause. That pause has come to an end, there is no recovery period here, it’s straight back to work. That’s a feature of capitalism, not a bug and it isn’t limited to getting a PhD, but we’re definitely included in the back to work group.(more…)
What a combo breaker, two years of dedication and daily blogging down the toilet because the government was trying extremely hard to kill me. I’m not mad, just disappointed, okay I’m very mad (in the government stuff, not my streak that’s not a big issue). Technically I’m not through the storm quite yet, the power could still go back out, but I have had power longer now than I have in the past few days. Long enough to write a quick update anyway.(more…)
A violent transfer of power
Strap in kids, it’s inauguration day here in the US. Yep, Trump is out and we have a president again. My disdain for Trump is no secret, the amount of suffering and death he’s caused by his dereliction of duties, incompetence, and lack of empathy is incalculable and even with him gone, the damage he’s done will last at least a generation, if not more. Let’s be clear, this wasn’t a peaceful transition, the amount of military at the capitol says as much.(more…)
On turning the other cheek
Unity, noun, the state of being united or joined as a whole. Less than a week after a failed attempt at a coup, the GOP is now calling for unity. Like a concerted and years long effort to overtake the government was some accident and we should just forgive and forget. I mean let the person who hasn’t tried to overthrow the government throw the first stone! No? Anybody?(more…)
Not with a bang…
Well yesterday happened and wasn’t some weird fever dream I thought I was having. For those of you who aren’t in the US right now, good. For those of you who are and live in some underground fortified bunker with only internet access to my blog, weird, but we had a coup attempt. As in a literal attempt to overthrow the government. It’s okay though, because they were white supremacists and in the US we give them special treatment.(more…)
On the importance of vaccines
Once upon a time polio was more feared than the atomic bomb. Thanks to the vaccine we’ve practically (not completely mind you!) eliminated polio from the planet. We successfully eliminated smallpox, the only existing strains live in special labs now. Vaccines are a triumph of science and are so successful that people have forgotten they are necessary for a reason. In short, vaccine fear is a byproduct of vaccine success.(more…)
Thanksgiving thoughts in a pandemic
Today is Thanksgiving, which if we’ve read our history we know is a time of mourning. I mean let’s face it celebrating the genocide of a group of people that was here in the land a group of settlers “discovered” feels a little disturbing. I mean, nothing was discovered, there were people already here, as in the land you and I are living on. The land people generations ago took from the indigenous communities who called it home.(more…)
How can we record from the brain non-invasively?
We can read your mind! Okay, not quite, we can read the electrical activity going on in the brain and we can do this non-invasively. That’s right, you can do it from your own home if you wanted (here). It’s easy and since you don’t have to break the skin, it’s about as safe as can be. The real question here is why does this even work? For that we need to talk a bit on biology so let’s do this!(more…)
Trump is out, but there’s still work.
Well today started off with me thinking it was going to be yet another election day. However, surprise of surprises, they finally called it. Biden will be our 46th president. We will have not only our first Black VP, but a Black Woman! I don’t particularly care for either of there politics, but it’s a baby step from the brink, so let’s take a day to celebrate because there is a lot of work to do.(more…)
Remember, Trump is just a symptom
Well we may have actually done it. It’s been days and while we are still (STILL) waiting the final count, things are looking good at the moment. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a rocky several months or that the victory is assured. It also doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of work to do.(more…)
Why does counting votes take so long?
Well here we are, it’s a few days post election and we’re still counting votes. It seems odd, right? We should know by now who won and who lost. Part of the problem is that racist piece of crap the electoral college. That isn’t the only issue though, if you want to know why we still have no clue who won, we need to remember that this was a manufactured problem.(more…)
The Fall of the House of America
I’m old enough that I remember the fall of the Berlin wall, but young enough that at the time I didn’t understand its significance. We will get into why that’s important, but let’s talk about the post for the day. Today is yet another history lesson courtesy of the labs. Like all history, we’re doomed to get kicked in the face by it. Oh well, let’s do it anyway…(more…)
Your vote doesn’t count, but you should still do it.
The U.S. election is here, we will soon decide who leads us for the next four years. Four years, that’s the standard length for a military service contract. It didn’t seem like a long time, I mean four years out of what, on average eighty or so that we get to live? Yet the last four have felt like decades and it reminds me that while your vote doesn’t count, you should still do it.(more…)
Thalidomide: A forgotten history
The COVID-19 vaccine is coming… eventually. There is a push by Trump to get it out to the general public prior to the election no matter the cost… gee I wonder why? However, we have testing standards in place for a very good reason and while it can be medically necessary to provide promising medicine in a few select cases, this is not one of them. A history lesson is in order and like all history, we may be doomed to repeat it if we don’t learn from it.(more…)
Day 307: COVID19 and BLM or why you should wear a mask
Despite the media blackout the Black lives matter protests are still going strong. To say I’m proud would be an understatement. Unfortunately with all the protests going on people are claiming that COVID19 isn’t as bad as people said it was, or that the protesters should stop because of the pandemic. The critiques all miss the point, this one simple trick will slow the transmission and it really works.
Day 305: Trump, Godwin’s law, and history
Godwin’s law states simply “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Coined by Mike Godwin, Godwin’s law is often invoked when talking about Trump or the horrid state the so-called US democracy is in. Here’s the catch, the law was suspended by Godwin himself when talking about Trump and company, for very good reasons.
Day 284: The things we do in the dark
Disinformation is a powerful tool. We are often taught that while previous wars had the overall and almost total support of the American people, the Vietnam war did not. You may think this had to do with the sentiment at the time or a cultural shift. However, this was most likely due to something far more innocuous, the television.
Day 283: Lies the police told me
Depending on who you are and your experience in life the police are either heroes that are looked up to or they are oppressors that are feared. The truth is that they are all part of the same racist system and that inevitably makes all police bad. You may not agree, that’s fine and I would bet that you are most likely white. To which I would say, it is okay not to notice the systematic racism until it is pointed out. It’s normalized, so why would you notice?
Day 281: The New Colossus
The march of time stops for no one, yet we shut down the world. Only for a moment. Then that moment passed, but not by choice. There is a pandemic going on, tomorrow we will most likely pass the somber 100,000 official deaths from COVID-19 in the US. There is a very good chance the actual number is much higher. It hasn’t stopped, it won’t stop, but somehow we are choosing to ignore it.
Day 223: Hell is other people
Sure, Sartre didn’t mean that hell is literally other people, that is a common misconception and therefore the quote is often misused. However, I’m misusing it on purpose because right now in my situation, hell really is other people. Did I mention that I hate group work? I really do and as a change of pace I’m going to try to explain without the tangents I tend to take because it’s going to be a fairly long story.
Day 222: We’re still experimenting…?
Yesterday we did science. It’s a weird feeling to be doing science when there is a pandemic going on, but I actually enjoyed it. There is something about being in a small(ish) windowless room and getting to tune out the rest of the world for a few hours. Yes, I said a few hours, experimenting takes time. Things are in flux though, even for me when I seem to have the most consistent schedule out of our lab.
Day 221: Doing my part
Another day another update. I have to admit while the situation is fast changing it gives me something new to write about at least. Small victories maybe, I don’t know. The point is I was never one to sit around and let things happen. I’m a fairly busy person, between school and my fellowship I don’t get a lot of time to do things. Thankfully someone else with more time and/or resources has set up a way to help with the coronavirus supply shortage. (more…)
Day 220: Modeling the spread of COVID-19
Here’s the situation. We still have classes despite the county shuttering for a few weeks. I mean they are online classes, don’t panic, we’re using zoom like a lot of schools. However, it means that we still have class work and what not going on. For our last assignment we had to come up with our own problem to solve, then solve it. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, but that is how I got this request (see the title of the post). Don’t worry I’ll explain. (more…)
Day 219: The county is on lockdown now
Finally. The county has asked that everyone shelter in place basically. Only go out if you need to go out. Everything is shut down and people seem to be taking this seriously (somewhat). While I am still pissed off about yesterday’s statements by the GOP, this is a good thing and I’ll take a win when we can get it. Unfortunately, there are some caveats to the lockdown and of course it affects me… (more…)
Day 218: You too are expendable
Well after yesterday’s post there has been a huge shift in rhetoric, so either the GOP reads my blog and thought it would be great to apply the same principle to America in general, or I just happened to guess right. I have to say, being okay with mass murdering a large portion of Americans seems like a bad idea, but clearly we have only the “smartest” people working in our government and not just the wealthiest… right? For posterity’s sake let me explain since (I hope) 10 years from now someone reading this will have no clue what I’m referring to.
Day 145: A day out
Well, I moved. Okay, I moved over a year ago. The problem with that is I have been so busy with everything, I haven’t had a time to get out and see the sights. Sure, I’ve visited a few places, but in the terms of what this new city has to offer, I have yet to see pretty much anything outside of school. So let’s take a look at my visit the local museum of natural science!
Day 137: The reality of war
Well, 2020 is off to an … interesting start. We have all of Australia burning, Indonesia flooding, and trump starting a war without congressional approval (that last one is a rather large crime fyi). So in typical american fashion, people are starting to fetishize war again. Of course these are the people who have never been to war, so as someone who has some experience on this, let’s talk war. It’s going to get messy so let’s just throw in a CW for combat talk.
The power of indifference an open letter to the scientific community
Suddenly your absent-minded thoughts are shattered by a loud noise. Quickly you look around, to the left of you, you see it, and a child has been shot, you see them bleeding heavily. People are standing around with their phones, some calling emergency services, some filming, but most looking confused and scared. No one is actively trying to help; you hear that they are afraid that the person, or persons, who shot the child is still around. What do you do next, do you choose indifference, or do you help?
Historical analysis examines sugar industry role in heart disease research
Using archival documents, a new report examines the sugar industry’s role in coronary heart disease research and suggests the industry sponsored research to influence the scientific debate to cast doubt on the hazards of sugar and to promote dietary fat as the culprit in heart disease.
Are you multicellular? Thank a random mutation that created a new protein
All it took was one mutation more than 600 million years ago. With that random act, a new protein function was born that helped our single-celled ancestor transition into an organized multicellular organism. That’s the scenario — done with some molecular time travel — that emerged from basic research in the lab of University of Oregon biochemist Ken Prehoda.
What blocks pro-vaccine beliefs?
Despite rhetoric that pits “anti-vaxxers” versus “pro-vaxxers,” most new parents probably qualify as vaccine-neutral–that is, they passively accept rather than actively demand vaccination. Unless there is an active threat of polio or whooping cough, they have to remind themselves that injecting their crying infant with disease antigens is a good thing.
Who’s Leonard Nimoy?
“I’m having a crappy day and to top it off Leonard Nimoy died today.” I told my friends as I was getting into the car after a particularly challenging day. No, I was not a huge trekkie growing up, but I did have a lot of respect for Leonard Nimoy and for Spock, the character that seemingly only he could bring to life. Truthfully, Spock and I had a lot in common, we were both mixed and neither one of us had an easier time for it. I typically don’t share my personal story here at the Labs, but I thought I would make an acception.
Experiment showcasing humanity’s ‘dark side’ may offer a way to control it
It was an infamous experiment, one on obedience and reprehensible behavior done in 1961. With memories of Holocaust atrocities and the prosecution of Nazi officials at Nuremberg still fresh, psychologist Stanley Milgram made history. You may not remember the name per say, but chances are you know his work.