A blog is really just your mind’s attic.

Rob Helpy-Chalk said that (last line of this post, which, like his whole blog, you should read), and I think he’s right. Furthermore, I just love rummaging about in other people’s attics! In lieu of actual content (I’m writing a fellowship application), here are some of the amazing and wonderful things you can find in other people’s virtual attics:
The right-on righteous indignation of Zuska: start anywhere, here is good, and read forward. If you only have time for a taste, read happy jerk-off (especially you, spousal unit) and links therein. Mind she doesn’t barf on your shoes.
(Update: you can still read the linked archive entries, but Zuska has moved to ScienceBlogs.)
Zuska’s latest entries will bring you into contact with the Tonegawa dustup at MIT; read Zuska, but also read Janet’s series of posts: one, two, three. Of course, you should be reading Janet regularly anyway if you are at all interested in philosophy and sociology of science. Here is another good post in the same vein.
What happens when an enquiring young mind finds a dead bug? What if the enquiring young mind in question happens to have access to an atomic force microscope? This is the kind of thing that keeps me excited about science. Speaking of Biocurious, here’s a good example of the sort of science blogging that leads me to believe that the web has a much greater role to play in day-to-day research than it is yet filling.
Speaking of blogs and science, check out Pedro’s work-in-progress showing that the likelihood that two proteins interact might depend on the proteins’ age. (Also, note to self: add my Connotea bookmarks to the front page here, as Pedro has done.)
And for something a bit different, if you like to think you should be reading Philosopher’s Playground. To whet your appetite, try a clear, concise background to the conflict surrounding Israel, or an exploration of the moral implications of being friends with an asshole.

Blogathon! 379 blogs, $56,678.94 so far, and a Special Offer for my tens of readers.

Last push! Blogathon is this Saturday; if you haven’t signed up to blog it’s too late for this year, but you can still sponsor a blogger from now until at least 48 hours after the event.
If you sort by funds pledged and scroll down, you’ll find (as I write this) 80-some bloggers who don’t yet have sponsors. If you’ve got a few bucks that ain’t working right now, how about helping one of them out?
Tell you what: if you do that, come back here and give me the name of another blogger with no sponsors, and I’ll sponsor them. Probably only five bucks, because I’m skint — but the little donations add up, that’s how grassroots works. That’s the beauty of the Blogathon, too — a few hundred bloggers you never heard of raising a dollar here and a dollar there, and pretty soon you have a bona fide international community premised on giving a helping hand wherever it’s needed.
Try it, you’ll like it.

linklog 060712

  • Your Daily Art: Blue Heaven II
    What is art? Can you invent a colour?
  • Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Can an animal rights activist accept medical treatment invented through animal testing?
    Not, if I understand “animal rights activist” correctly, without hypocrisy.
  • Luxuria / Jose
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! My eyes!! (Explanation here.)
  • Philosophers’ Playground: A Gender Puzzle

    I noticed that in place of the usual international symbols or linguistic indicators to let you know which was the men’s and which was the ladies’ room, they decided to use photographs. One image was of men in drag and the other was of women with fake moustaches in men’s clothing…

    So, where did Steve pee? And where should he have peed?

  • Sense About Science | “I don’t know what to believe…”
    “Our short guide, written with input from patients, pharmacists and medical practitioners, among others, lets the public in on the arbiter of scientific quality: the peer review process.”
  • Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals
    Note to Chandos: this is how it’s done, you gits. Author Charles W. Bailey, Jr. notes that while “most scholarly publishers would be delighted to sell 500 copies of a specialized bibliography”, the OAB has had far wider distribution: “over 44,500 copies of the complete book, over 29,500 chapters (or other book sections), and over 6,100 author or title indexes have been distributed to users worldwide”. Via Peter Suber.
  • 2006 Lavender Festival in Sequim Washington
    This looks kinda neat.
  • one red paperclip
    “The house was built in the 1920s and has been recently renovated. It is locate at 503 Main Street Kipling, SK Canada. It is approximately 1100 square feet on two floors. There are three bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, kitchen, living room and dinning room. It has white vinyl siding, a new roof and eaves troughs that have been put on in the last few years.” And Kyle got it in a series of direct swaps, starting with one red paperclip.
  • The Origami Page
    Collection of origami galleries, including Satoshi Kamiya and Robert Lang. Truly extraordinary.
  • Dufttunnel
    “From April through to September, the Autostadt presents the Dufttunnel (scent tunnel) by Danish-Islandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The tube of the tunnel forms its own room and turns slowly along the longitudinal axis around the visitor. The scent pours from the flower pots attached to the tube.” That all makes sense once you see the picture. Way cool.

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Blogathon! (239 blogs, $18,699.42 — and counting!)

The 2006 Blogathon is up and running! Signups for bloggers close July 21, sponsorship stays open through the event itself (July 29). This post is for the Wednesday Publicity Push: if you have a blog, please consider posting about the Blogathon today, next Wednesday, and the Wednesday after, to help inflate our daypop/technorati/etc ratings. And of course, please consider taking part and/or sponsoring a blogger!
For those who don’t know what the Blogathon is, here’s the press release:

On July 29th, hundreds of bloggers from all around the world will stay up late and make a difference. That’s the slogan and the raison d’être of the Blogathon, an online fundraising event that began in 2000 with a case of insomnia and a case of Mountain Dew. Faced with certain sleeplessness, Portland, OR blogger Cat Connor1 decided, on a whim, to blog every 15 minutes for 24 hours. She made it, and the next year she invited others to join her — this time, with sponsorships. Hence “blogathon”, by analogy with “walkathon”, “telethon” and so on. Says Connor: “I’ve always felt the best thing about the web was its ability to affect the real world. The web can be a major force for good.”
The mechanics of the Blogathon are simple: bloggers sign up to blog for their chosen charity, and sponsors pledge either a lump sum or an amount per hour blogged. The goal is 24 hours, with one post every 30 minutes. Sponsors make their donations directly to their bloggers’ chosen charities. The Blogathon sends reminder emails but does not collect money, although Connor says that future plans do include registration as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a system for collecting and disbursing donations.
The 2001 Blogathon saw about a hundred bloggers raise more than $20,000 (more than double their initial modest goal) for 77 different charities. The numbers roughly doubled in 2002, and again in 2003 when well over 500 participants raised more than $100,000 for charities ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to Heifer International, from local outreach centers to Médecins Sans Frontières. Project Blog substituted for the Blogathon in 2004, and in 2005 Connor continued her hiatus and Sheana Director of seeworthy.org ran the Blogathon, raising almost $60,000.
It’s not all about the money, though. “What really makes Blogathon work,” says Connor, “is the sense of community that’s grown up around it.” Chat rooms, online forums and Radio Blogathon online broadcasts keep bloggers in touch during the event. This year’s front page will itself be a blog, continually updated by Connor and a volunteer team of “monitors” with games, contests and news and fun from around the event. Also new this year is a surfing frame which will allow onlookers to surf from blog to blog, and as always there will be a variety of prizes for most money raised, best writing, best visuals, and so on.
Previous projects are even more diverse than the chosen charities. Participants have written entire novels, translated ancient epic poems, recorded albums of original music, and spent 24 hours cooking all their favourite dishes. Others have written 48 posts about chocolate, shoes, toilets or outsider art, shaved their heads live on webcam, solicited panels for a virtual quilt, ridden a stationary bike for 24 hours or blogged by mobile phone live from a road trip.
This year’s Blogathon is now open for signups and pledges at www.blogathon.org; the event itself will take place Saturday July 29 at 06:00 Pacific Time, with an alternative Sabbath-observant schedule beginning at 21:00 the same day. Everyone starts at one of those two times, no matter where they are. As founder Connor puts it: “Creating an international community over the course of 24 hours — one with a single purpose — is something that can only happen on the web. It makes the web magical.”

1Aka spousal unit mine. (In case anyone was wondering, that’s why I won’t be blogging: I’ll be fetching and carrying behind the scenes.)

Three must-read entries.

Blogging will continue to be a bit light around here as I’m actually doing some work, but here (in no particular order) are three articles you shouldn’t miss:
1. Rejecting Vaccine “Choice”

Focus on the Family’s position statement [PDF] – “Focus on the Family supports widespread (universal) availability of HPV vaccines but opposes mandatory HPV vaccinations for entry to public school.” – looks, at first glance, like a reasonable compromise.
But “choice” is a red herring. Focus on the Family has religious objections to the HPV vaccine? Religious exemptions to mandatory vaccines are already available in every state but West Virginia and Mississippi. (Anyone think that Focus on the Family would have trouble convincing the Mississippi or West Virginia state legislature to add in a religious exemption for the HPV vaccine? Me neither.) They will have the right to opt their daughters out of this health-, fertility-, and potentially life-saving vaccine, mandatory or not. What they’re really angling for is a way to deny it to other people’s daughters.
If it’s easy to opt out, why the battle over mandatory? Because mandatory = affordable. States cannot make a vaccine mandatory for school entry unless they are willing to provide it to those who cannot pay. And thus, through the CDC’s Vaccines For Children program, every state supplies children with required vaccines free of cost. But optional vaccines are a different story.

Dr Rivka is back and in fine form. I’ve elided her links and there’s more to the whole entry, so go read it.

2. The Federal Marriage Amendment and the New One Drop of Blood Rule

The Federal Marriage Amendment, like many of the proposed state laws and amendments, says “marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.” Simple, right? No. Sex, like race, turns out to be a lot more biologically complicated than it first appears.

Here’s a view of gay-vs-straight marriage that simply hadn’t ever occurred to me. Fascinating stuff from Dr Alice Dreger, a serious expert in the fascinating field of intersex identity. Do yourself a favour and read it. If you like that, you’ll also like her blog; check out the essays in the linked entry.
Obaddedvalue: I’ll make a small prediction. Just as homosexuality will eventually be normalized, that is, accepted as an ordinary part of the human condition, so too intersex will one day be seen as normal. We — humans — tend to react to physiologies and behaviours that stand at a significant distance from the mean by treating them as disorders, but if those conditions are not harmful we do eventually realise that and come to accept them. The “normal” part of the spectrum slowly expands, and it’s my hope and my belief that eventually nothing but true pathology will lie outside it.

3. Answering the AAP critique of FRPAA

The latest AAP/PSP critique of the latest US Public Access Bill (FRPAA) makes the same points (already rebutted two years ago) that they made in their prior critique of the NIH Public Access Proposal. […]
There is zero evidence that mandating self-archiving reduces subscription revenue….But even if self-archiving were ever to reduce subscription revenue, surely what is in the best interests of publishers’ current revenue streams should not over-ride what is in the best interests of research and of the public that funds it….
AAP provides no evidence of how making research findings accessible for free to would-be users who cannot afford access would “seriously jeopardize the integrity of the scientific publishing process.” AAP merely stipulate that it would….
[M]any researchers cannot afford access to much needed research, and the proof of this is the fact that when subscription access is supplemented by author self-archiving, research usage and impact increase dramatically….Researchers do not now have nearly as much access as they need, because no research institution can afford all or most of the journals in which the research appears. The demonstrated impact advantage of self-archived research is the direct evidence of the substantial access shortfall there is for research that is not self-archived….
[R]esearch is not funded, conducted and published in order to generate revenue for publishers, let alone in order to guarantee their current revenue streams and insulate them from any risk. […]
Surely it is not the business of American Association of Publishers to concern itself with the cost to tax payers of providing open access to government-funded research. But studies have indeed been done, across disciplines, and they have found that self-archived research has substantially higher research impact (25% – 250+%), and this translates into substantially higher return on the tax payers’ investment in research than what they are getting for their research money today….[I]t is a self-serving red herring for publishers (in reality fretting about their own current revenue streams) to portray this as a “tax payer” issue….

If you already know what AAP and FRPAA stand for, this one’s for you. Please consider writing your Senators to ask them to co-sponsor. If you have a blog or some other way to publicise the issue, please use it. If you don’t recognise the acronyms, I have all kinds of good intentions of writing introductions to open access/open science and why it is the last best hope of the free world, kind to puppies and good with ketchup — but, um, don’t hold your breath. I’m really busy.

linklog 060531

I don’t sit around all day websurfing, honest.

  • Cool Tool: Peopleware
    Might be useful if I make it up the foodchain a bit.
  • eBay Guides – . How To Win Something In A Claw Machine .
    The internets really do contain Everything.
  • Portico: An Electronic Archiving Service
    “The mission of Portico is to preserve scholarly literature published in electronic form and to ensure that these materials remain accessible to future scholars, researchers, and students.” A non-profit ally in the quest for OA/OS?
  • HST’s obituary for Nixon: “He was a crook.”
    “… hubris-crazed monster from the bowels of the American dream with a heart full of hate and an overweening lust to be President”, snork. More where that came from as the High Priest of Gonzo beats the Worst President Ever (until W) like a red-headed step-mule.
  • Small stinky whitish balls coming out of my throat. | Ask MetaFilter
    Spouse, do not read this. Other readers, beware: if you click through, you may never eat again. I created a new tag, “foulandhorrible”, just for this. The biologist’s lament: why O why must I love things that squick me out? Gaaaa, erg, I can’t look, I gotta look.
  • MaxSpeak, You Listen!: CARBON OFFSETS – OFFSIDES by Gar W. Lipow
    “Mommy, where do carbon offsets come from?” “Well, you see honey, when a major polluter and a consultant love money very much they express that love together in a very special way. And nine months later the consultant produces an extremely long piece of paper.” *snort* Followed up here with links to several resources. Note to self: read and think, also ask carbonfund.org to respond.
  • Alicublog: movie review, Walk The Line
    Why is no one paying Roy to write movie reviews? (Or, if they are, someone please point me there.) This is what reviewing should be: sharp and clear, informed and reinforced by a wide background of experience and critical thought. Also, funny and spoiler-free.
  • arc90 lab : tools : Unobtrusive Sidenotes
    It’s all about tangents. No, not those kinds of tangents. We’re talking about the kind where you’ll be sharing a thought and you sort of, umm, go off elsewhere. Some people call them asides, digressions, departures…you get the idea. We are of the belief that footnotes — at least the ones worth reading — suck. They suck because they are elsewhere, usually far away from the line-of-sight we’re focused on when we read. It would be nice to be able to optionally just glance over and take that brief little detour if we so choose. It’s footnotes on steroids: sidenotes. Via jd.

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linklog 060530

  • Crooked Timber » » Introduction: The Wealth of Networks seminar
    CT seminar on Benkler’s book.
  • Matthew_Wheeler
    “Matthew Wheeler took his first picture through an ice lens in response to a challenge by Scientific American and CBC calling on listeners to light a fire with a lens made entirely of ice. Too easy by far – Matthew took it one step farther and started photographing the natural beauty of his surroundings through the ice lenses he made.”
  • Rhosgobel: Deducing adjunct salaries
    Very useful examination of adjunct teaching salaries. “Radagast Responds” could be a mine of useful info! (Bottom line, though: avoid adjunct appointments, for they are teh suck.)

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linklog 060529

  • Open_Access_Journals : Open Access Journals
    I wish they wouldn’t use Yahoo for this. Is there no open source alternative?
  • 3QD: Why We Do Not Eat Our Dead
    Why shouldn’t we eat people?
  • bootstrap analysis: what to do if you find a baby bird
    “”I found a baby bird and it couldn’t fly. What should I do?” The short answer is — Nothing. Leave it alone! The long answer is here in the Bootstrap Public Service Announcement #2: What to do if you Find a Baby Bird.”
  • valentino.jpg

  • Testosterone Nation – The Most Hated Man in Bodybuilding
    “…who is it that the professional bodybuilders call a freak? Who is the freak’s freak? Answer: Greg Valentino.” This is the freakiest physique I have ever seen, bar none. 3500mg/wk of steroids at his peak; 5’6″, 235 pounds and 27″ guns on-cycle. Kids, do not try this yourselves, at home or anywhere else. Update: note the disparity between forearms and upper arms; consensus seems to be that much of the apparent bulk is due to injecting an inert oil directly into the tissue. Kids, don’t do that either.
    Just what it says: an online metronome.
  • One thousand paintings ( 1000 numbers = 1000 paintings )
    “One number, one painting – the number is the art is the limit is the price. Each of the one thousand paintings is unique, showing a number between 1 and 1000.” Sorta goofy, but I might have bought a cool number if any were left.
  • michael regnier photography | gallery archive
    Processed photos, not sure whether I like the trick or not. Via Chromasia.
  • Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | The mythmaker
    I haven’t read enough Heaney to have an opinion, but this interview is a good read and I liked this: “My favourite poem in this area is a two-line dedicatory verse at the front of it: ‘The riverbed, dried-up, half-full of leaves. / Us, listening to a river in the trees.’ That settles it. You know? Obligation, earnest attention, documentary responsibility – fine. But what about the river in the trees, boy? Poetry has to be that, and it’s very hard to get there.”
  • Media Matters – “Media Matters”; by Jamison Foser

    The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats. The dominant political force of our time is the media.


    … it can’t go on.

  • Eschaton
    Quoth Atrios: “My short reading list, in rough chronological order (of relevance not publication), to have a good sense of what’s going on in the media (and its intersection with politics) in this country would be: On Bended Knee Backlash Sound and Fury Queer in America Fools for Scandal Hunting of the President Blinded by the Right A Vast Conspiracy One Scandalous Story What Liberal Media Republican Noise Machine Attack Poodles Lapdogs”
  • Judith Shklar: putting cruelty first.
    “…although intuitively, most of us might agree about right and wrong, we also, and of far more significance, differ enormously in a way we rank the virtues and vices. Those who put cruelty first, as he guessed, do not condemn it as a sin. They have all but forgotten the Seven Deadly Sins, especially those that do not involve cruelty. Sins are transgressions of a divine rule and offenses against God; pride, as the rejection of God, must always be the worst one, which gives rise to all the others. Cruelty, as the willful inflicting of physical pain on a weaker being in order to cause anguish and fear, however, is a wrong done entirely to another creature. When it is marked as a supreme evil, it is judged so in and of itself, and not because it signifies a rejection of God or any other higher norm. It is a judgement made from within a world where cruelty occurs as part both of our normal private life and our daily public practice. By putting it irrevocably first–with nothing above it, and with nothing to excuse or forgive acts of cruelty–one closes off any appeal to any order other than that of actuality.”
  • Merchant’s Encyclopedia of HTML
    Nice summary; includes a scribble page.
  • Iris Tour – a photoset on Flickr
    Don’t just look at the thumbnails, click through. There are some really good photos in this set. Makes me wonder about the Digital Rebel vs the G6.

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linklog 060526

  • TrueMajority Oreos
    One-eighth of the Pentagon budget could more than pay for health insurance for every US child who needs it, fully fund the Head Start program, restructure US K-12 education, make a serious dent in world hunger and begin to cure the US addiction to fossil fuels. This would reduce US defense spending to a level just under four times its nearest world rival, Russia — which happens to be an ally.
  • Index of Science Tracer Bullets Online. Listed by title (Science Tracer Bullet – Science Reference Services, Library of Congress)
    The Library of Congress SCIENCE TRACER BULLET SERIES contains research guides that help you locate information on science and technology subjects. With brief introductions to the topics, lists of resources and strategies for finding more, they help you to stay “on target.”
  • Life’s harsh lessons ‘make you more gullible’-study
    Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich — schwächer: “A six-month study in the University’s School of Psychology found that rather than ‘toughening up’ individuals, adverse experiences in childhood and adolescence meant that these people were vulnerable to being mislead. […] The study found that while some people may indeed become more ‘hard-nosed’ through adversity, the majority become less trusting of their own judgement.”
  • Cool Tool: X-treme Tape
    Electrical tape simply does not work in a marine environment. Even duct tape won’t stick to something wet. Try getting any tape to stick to a rope or line on a boat. Or try to get a waterproof seal on a hose leak. X-treme tape can do all these chores with flying colors because it is a non-adhesive, self-bonding wrap. It’s not really tape since it’s not sticky. This stuff is sort of magical. You stretch it on and it self-fuses tight under tension. It works in cold and wet, and won’t melt on hot surfaces, so you can use it on engines. It is easy to apply even when it is below freezing. The tape doesn’t stick on itself until you want it to. Once tightened this silicone based wrap forms a reliable bond even in water. I use it as an insulator around wires, like electrical tape. I wrap the end of ropes with it. X-treme tape bears up for many seasons under constant UV and sunlight and the extreme cold, heat, and wet of harsh weather.
  • eBay: Art Director–INTERNATIONAL RIGHTS to my work (item 6626642598 end time May-09-06 08:45:49 PDT)
    Am I missing something? Is this not fraud — or rather, enabling and encouraging fraud? How are the ads in question going to benefit anyone unless they pass the work off as their own?
  • Ave Maria Grotto, Cullman, Alabama
    The spousal unit just *loves* this stuff. OK, OK, %so do I%.

    The Ave Maria Grotto, known throughout the world as “Jerusalem in Miniature”, is a beautifully landscaped, four-acre park designed to provide a natural setting for the 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. The masterpieces of stone and concrete are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey.

  • Bulletin of the World Health Organization – A clearing house for diagnostic testing: the solution to ensure access to and use of patented genetic inventions?
    In genetic diagnostics, the emergence of a so-called “patent thicket” is imminent. Such an overlapping set of patent rights may have restrictive effects on further research and development of diagnostic tests, and the provision of clinical diagnostic services. Currently, two models that may facilitate access to and use of patented genetic inventions are attracting much debate in various national and international fora: patent pools and clearing houses. In this article, we explore the concept of clearing houses.
  • Waxy.org: Daily Log: Star Wars Kid, Redux
    Matt actually looks pretty badass in this. That look on his face says “don’t fuck with me”. Of course, it also says “I’m a giant dork and I know it”.
  • Hullabaloo
    Digby’s right, it almost feels like a threat: “If Democrats gain power we’ll have to do actual reporting again, and we’re not going to stand for that.” Push back. Demand that the grownups be put back in charge.
  • Are you a defensive Pessimist? Take this quiz to find out!
    As it happens, according to this quiz I am a dp. Maybe I should read the book. Via Dr Shellie.
  • SEATURTLE.ORG – Satellite Tracking
    “Welcome to Satellite Tracking at SEATURTLE.ORG. The goal of this program is to provide marine animal researchers with an easy-to-use tool for collecting, managing and sharing their satellite tracking data in near real-time.” Cool. Wonder how much actual data you can get your hands on?
  • Larry Beinhart: With All This Horseshit | The Huffington Post
    Fuckin’ A: “Get on the stand and regale with tales of success. Of plots thwarted. Of desperate measures intercepted. Of terrorists captured or killed. Tell us how you’ve located Osama bin Laden. It’s been over four and a half years. Unlimited budget. Unlimited military might. No visible moral constraints. Tell us how you’ve tracked him down, hung him high and busted up his ring!”

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