The Reason Why

April 28th, 2008

I simply have to put this comment from Trish up front and center.

My 9 year old daughter (who always showed an interest in science) has spent this year struggling with the “tween syndrome” of her friends thinking her interests are “uncool”. After showing her your podcasts, she has discovered that it is not only possible but very rad to be both smart and interested in science but to like fashion and lip gloss at the same time. She even did her science fair project on water based on a recent pop siren episode! (I plan on emailing the pop siren’s a picture!)
So, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! If I could send you flowers I would. You are not only a rock star to my kid, you helped bring her back from Hannah Montana hell! :)

Thank you, Trish, for sharing. I hope you don’t mind that I brought your comment to the front. This is why I want to keep doing what I do. Girls need to know that it is ok to be smart and a girl. Somewhere along the way it seems that the idea was spread that if you are a girl and interested in science, you shouldn’t act like a girl, shouldn’t play with make-up and clothes, put away your curling iron, and just do science. While some girls might find that a relief, many more really enjoy the girlie things in life. Either one should be ok, as long as you’re doing what you enjoy.

I was recently chided for being too sexy (a comment that I found hilarious). The commenting party suggested that because I use a nice looking profile picture I am being disingenuous. It’s sad that some people see it that way. Should I instead find a picture in which I purposefully look comely, “nerdy”, or unapproachable? Should I do away with the profile picture in preference of an ungendered symbol?

I think either tack would do a disservice to females everywhere. A “nerdy” picture or a neutral symbol would promote stereotypes, and undermine the work that I’m trying to do to show girls and women that they can be anything they want, make-up or no. I doubt I would have made much of an impression on Trish’s daughter that way.

Besides, I like playing with my hair and make-up, and feeling fancy from time-to-time. I’m fancy on the inside, and my exterior should reflect that. When I know I look good, I feel good about myself, inside and out, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Trish, I can’t wait to see the science project picture. I know all of us at PopSiren will be thrilled. Tell your daughter that she’s totally rad.

KDVS Fundraiser This Week!!!

April 21st, 2008

You can donate at

The Skeptologists

April 20th, 2008

Takin’ the Piss

April 19th, 2008

The Lyrics…

My name is D to the I to C to the K, Yeah I’m the Dickie D,
I gots my PhD and comin’ your way on the Youtube to bust your world view so just listen to me and don’t you argue.

You see, this battle’s been ragin’ since Zeus was on the bottle,’tween Science like Democritus and Faith like Aristotle,
who said the mover was unmovin’ like some magic trick but
that’s no good logic, my posse is far too quick for this
religious sthick.

Cos science is the only way to know y’all, you stand with me y’all, or you can fall y’all

So go ahead and take your pick…

ES: Yeah you tell him Rick …
Darwin : Cos if you don’t know me …


Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!

SH:On the shoulders of midgets we built up this machine,

RD: Science silenced that watchdog wingnut Paley
growing stronger and harder almost daily, storming Wilber by force as we framed the discourse that faith and science are split in schismatic divorce.

Then Darwin took to the seas to see what no one had seen, and ever since then we’ve been increasingly keen, they may never adore us, but they’ll no longer ignore us,

give it to ’em PZ hit these BLEEP with the chorus!!!

Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

Then there was Darrow dukin’ it out with the straight and the narrow,
a ragin’ bull in the ring, he did his thing, and took it on the chin like he was Bobby De Niro.

We might have lost at Scopes, beaten down by the dopes, and the stooges of popes, but in losin’ we coped, becomin’ more than we hoped, creationists slipped on the soap of their own slippery slope.

What was impossible, improbable, is now wholly unstoppable untoppleable, the Dick Doc’ll roll up as you creationists foldup

you haters talkin’ bull,
don’t you know that this Dick is un-cock-frickin’ blockable …

Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

Now the machine of our making, sees culture ripe for the taking,

Cos I’m the rappinest, rabidest atheist who unlike the Catholic, Muslim or even the Jew, believes that no God but science could ever be true, hell if I was dyslexic I’d even hate “dog” too.

Time to open your eyes, get yourself wise, the age of science will rise to be religion’s demise,

and while you churchies all cry, shouting ‘why God oh why,’ I’ll still be poppin’ my collar earning more dollars than Allah.


Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

Chorus : Yeah he’s the Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s smarter than you he’s got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the PhD,
he’s still smarter than you he studied biology!

So Much To Talk About!!!

April 16th, 2008

So little time to write. Ok, since a few of you have asked I’ll take this moment to share a couple of my more exciting experiences of late.

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Brian Dunning of The Skeptoid Podcast about taking part in a pilot TV show hosted by a bunch of skeptics. Wow! What an interesting idea. I am totally interested in getting more science and critical thinking into the public eye, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So, I agreed to throw my hat into the ring. After a flurry of emails and a couple of phone calls with Brian and Ryan Johnson at New Rule Productions, they offered me a part in their show, The Skeptologists. Yay!!!

I headed down to Pasadena in LA about a week and a half ago to meet everyone, and have one of the busiest weeks of my life. I’ll tell you now that shooting an hour long tv show in 4 days is no easy task. The days were filled with activity from early morning until quittin’ time. That said there was also a lot of down time. I’ve come to learn that tv production is all about “hurry up and wait”.

The first evening the cast and crew went out to dinner to acquaint ourselves with the people we would be spending nearly every waking moment with for the rest of the week. I was a bit nervous because I had never met any of them before, but I found myself getting along within minutes (Yay, other science geeks to talk to!). I can’t believe that I got the chance to meet such a group of really cool people.

Day 1 of shooting consisted of “the interviews” and “glamour shots” (I have to europify the word glamor because the whole idea of being portrayed as glamorous is a bit foreign to me). We drove over to the Skeptic magazine office after our morning meeting and proceeded to be made-up for the cameras… after investigating all the cool things that Michael Shermer has on his shelves, of course. I want a library like his someday. It really was a lot of waiting time for a 20 minute interview. I hope that I came across ok. I never seem to say things the way I had planned to say them when the moment arrives. Eh, oh well.

Day 2 involved a trip into the mountains to the famed Mt. Wilson Observatory. We spent the entire day hanging out around the 100 inch scope on a beautiful sunny (and FREEZING) day. The day was dreary in the lowlands, so I was quite happy to get the sun time. I’ve got some pictures that Yau-man Chan took (my camera ran out of batteries right on cue).

Getting there with Yau-Man…


Awestruck by the thing…

Old meets new…

In front of the machine…

How can Michael sleep at a time like this???

Look how small the Producer is!

Don’t touch THAT button, Mark!

A piece of sky…

A piece of the telescope…

Yau-Man at the controls…

At the end of Day 2 I had to race back down the mountain to get to a test screening for another tv program. This one I cannot tell you about, but I will say that I was testing for the sciencey role. It was my second test with them, so I figured I was really close to getting the part. The pressure was on! I dumped off m’stuff at the hotel, and grabbed a few more things (the director wanted wardrobe options). Then I ran downstairs and was picked up by one of the producers, Ed, and driven from Pasadena to Culver City.

When we arrived at the location I thought it must be a mistake because we were going to someone’s house instead of a studio. It turned out the the Executive Producer, Eddie, had given up his house for the test. His wife and kids were great sports considering the fact that their living room was completely dismantled and reassembled into a film studio.

The test has to have been one of the more emotionally draining experiences in my life. Immediately upon arriving and for the next three hours I discussed the deepest human issues of religion, science, spirituality, philosophy, and belief with people I had never really met before in my life. Definitely NOT cocktail party conversation. I tried my best to present myself and take the helpful direction of the director and producers. However, by the end of the evening I was so thoroughly drained from the experience I could hardly talk at all. Needless to say that when I got back to the hotel near midnight I fell into bed and the deepest sleep I have had in ages.

The third day brought a new field shoot. Our first stop was a health food store to investigate the benefits of wheatgrass juice. I got to try some, and didn’t like it much. I thought I would have a better reaction being vegetarian and all, but my stomach had other ideas. You can probably find a really flattering picture of me trying to force it down on the Skeptologists’ Facebook page. The guy who owned the shop was really great, very accommodating, and full of information. He was so convincing in presenting his information that it was hard to remind myself that there really isn’t a lot of research to back up any of his claims. But, anyway, that done we were off to the Queen Mary.

The Queen Mary is a terrific old cruise liner docked in Long Beach with all sorts of tales of haunting. They even have a ghost tour you can take if so inclined. We shot a scene with ghost investigator types in the old boiler room area. It was perfect; rusty, dilapidated, the perfect place for a ghost to show up. Phil even had a run-in with a persnickity ghost who threw quarters. His investigations of the quarter tossing surely made the afternoon down-time more entertaining.

I had a conference to attend the next day, so at the end of the day I sadly said my goodbyes and headed back to the hotel with my driver and executive producer, Brian Dunning. Thanks for taking care of me, Brian!!!

I left the hotel and headed to San Diego for the Experimental Biology meeting with a whole bunch of great experiences and new friends. I hope that The Skeptologists makes it past the pilot stage. It would be amazing to spend more time with all of the people involved, and to put science, reason, and critical thinking in front of millions of tv viewers. Fingers crossed that this is not the end of the story.

That said, I still needed to finish my presentation for the meeting. Yikes!

My INXS Moment

April 16th, 2008

Lip Dub – Need You Tonight by INXS from sarahlane on Vimeo.

Thank you, Rock Giant.

April 15th, 2008

I love this song. Sorry, folks. It’s funny.

The Lesson

April 7th, 2008

I’ve been trying to fit both movie trailers into one post, but to no avail. So, here is the ID version of Flock of Dodos, Ben Stein’s Expelled. You can find a rebuttal to Expelled at I also found this rebuttal to Flock of Dodos interesting.

It all just goes to show that good editing can tell just about any story.

God and Science

April 5th, 2008

Where does God fit in the science of today?

I’m sitting on the floor at the 2008 Experimental Biology meeting listening to the movie, Flock Of Dodos. The movie is the evolutionist take on the debate between evolutionists and intelligent design proponents. The movie is not readily available many places, so I am really enjoying this chance to see what the science side of the story is trying to say to the world.

The most interesting comment made in the movie so far is that much religions today view God as filling the gaps that science can’t explain. And, so as science fills more and more of those gaps, God must get smaller and smaller. This type of religious indoctrination inevitably forces our children to make one of two choices: 1) disbelieve science, or 2) have a crisis of faith that leads them to leave religion altogether. Is this the issue that we want to force?

Not that I want to tell anyone how to teach religion, but it just seems that science and religion don’t have to be so opposed. Stop teaching that God explains everything that we can’t explain with science, and maybe the whole intelligent design thing will go away.

That said, even though Flock of Dodos is a very well made film, the ID and Creationist groups seem to be doing a much better job of publicizing their ideas. Maybe the scientists should take a lesson…