June 21st, 2005

This week I have spent some of my time (a lot, really) reading and replying to posts on the TWIS forum relating to evolution and religion. It is amazing how fast the discussion turns into mudslinging as soon as a creationist steps into the fray. It’s mean on both sides; the evolution proponents who berate the short-sightedness of the creationists, and the creationists, who defensively attack evolution like cornered animals. It eventually turns into name calling if no one steps in to create rules for the discussion. I hope that I can foster the forum to be based on open inquiry of science, not dogma, with a focus on observable, testable, and repeatable evidence.

Anyway, with all this evolution talk on my brain, I can’t help but look for evidence in everything I read. Recently, it seems to be all about love and sex in the science headlines, and the stories raise some interesting questions about the evolution of human sexuality and love. Are we hard-wired to experience love and romance? Is this wiring something that developed in an ancestor of most modern-day mammals? What controls the ability to experience these intense feelings? Are some individuals better able maintain close relationships simply as a result of their genes? While these questions may not have been answered, there is some interesting evidence and debate on the topic.

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Back again

June 17th, 2005

The quarter has ended. The finals are graded and the grades are in. I think that this may have been the last time that I will ever have to TA a course at UC Davis again. From here on out, it will be research, fellowship, and writing. Fingers crossed that everything goes as planned, and I can complete the dreaded dissertation by next March. Wait, or was that February? I’m not quite certain as the date keeps creeping up the calendar against my attempts to get things done in a timely manner.

At least I am finally collecting data! I have found a microscope arrangement that is available every now and again, and which people have been kind enough let me use on those occasions. I have measured 8 entire hippocampuses. I’ve also maybe found another piece of important equipment for the measuring of the telencephalon. Finally! However, even though the measuring seems to be moving along, I have found that the slides I coverslipped are coverslipped incorrectly, and must be re-slipped in order for me to be able to make any neuron counts. Some days I think I should just shoot myself… one step forward, two steps back. March… yes, March.

A little learnin’

June 6th, 2005

So, I’m spending a few days in DC for the orientation to the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship that I received. It’s hot and humid. In fact it just started storming… like thunder and lightning kind of storming. WILD!!!

I have a hard time believing that I’m just a block away from the White House, and mere miles away from the Pentagon. It’s pretty neat to be so close to where so many important decisions and deals are made.

I spent the day in the AAAS headquarters with 19 other students from around the country. Every one with visions of science and writing in their futures. While most of the other students will be heading out to their fellowships immediately following this orientation. I just get to go home. I’m getting all excited, only to put it all on hold until my fellowship starts in the fall. Someone get me a cold shower.

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Into the Wilds

June 3rd, 2005

Not much time to post today… or this week for that matter. I’ve got tonnes of grading to complete for the lab course I teach. And, I’ve had to hula hoop. I’ve started taking my hoops to the Wednesday night Farmer’s Market here in town. Such a blast! I show up with only my hoops, and suddenly I’ve got people asking if they can give it a try. The young and old have been tempted. I’ve even gotten the nay-sayers to challenge their personal disbeliefs of hula-hooping potential. Everyone can hoop if they only try.

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