Quickies

Quickies: UFO Pictures, Debunking Bulletproof Coffee, and White Privilege Classes

  • Here’s How The Anti-Abortion Movement Plans To Modernize Its Approach – “Speaker after speaker talked about reclaiming the language and co-opting the label of feminism for their efforts. In doing that, they emphasized the need to reach out to younger Americans.”
  • Bulletproof Coffee: Debunking the Hot Buttered Hype – “Okay, so you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve come up with this idea that adding butter and MCT oil to your coffee is the secret to all kinds of good stuff. You’ve still got a problem: You can’t monetize a three-ingredient recipe. Damn. There’s got to be some way you can get rich off telling people to do this.”
  • How Cyber Hacks Are Changing Higher Ed – “From UMass Boston to Vermont’s Champlain College, institutes of higher education are trying to boost the number of graduates in a field that barely existed ten years ago: cyber security. And colleges and universities are scrambling to keep up with increased cyber security threats.”
  • The Best Photos Of ‘UFOs’ We Found In The Newly-Released Project Blue Book Collection – “The goal of this search wasn’t to prove or disprove UFOs, nor to examine the efficacy of Project Blue Book. Instead, we set out to appreciate the artistic quality of these “supernatural” photos and look into the past from the perspective of thousands of amateur observers, people who looked to the skies with equal parts excitement and fear, and didn’t hesitate to snap a picture of anything. These photographs are reminders that when our imaginations are given a longer leash, we begin to see even the ordinary in a more fantastic light.” I like the one that looks like someone tossed their hat in the air and took a photo.
  • The Wrists of Birds Reveal Evolution Undoing Itself – “A recent study of the wrists of modern birds finds that a bone lost from dinosaurs for tens of millions of years reappeared when dinosaurs evolved into birds and took flight.”
  • I Don’t Vaccinate My Child Because It’s My Right To Decide What Eliminated Diseases Come Roaring Back – It’s funny because it’s true (and it’s from The Onion). From CriticalDragon1177
  • Watch These Two White Ladies Freak Out About ASU’s Whiteness Course – “Hasselbeck digs deep into that wig and whips out her best logic-zinger, which is the brilliantly predictable, ‘If the course were called “The Problem With Blackness” or “The Problem With Being Female,” would that fly at the university?’ BOO-YAH! Y’ALL KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS! She was, of course, pointing out the CLEAR double standard that all these liberal institutions are dropping and totally bringing the white man DOWN.”
  • Wikipedia Purged a Group of Feminist Editors Because of Gamergate – “For nearly as long as the antifeminist culture war known as Gamergate has raged across the internet, a microcosm of the battle has taken place on Wikipedia. Should Gamergate defined as a push for ethics in gaming journalism, or a paranoid campaign against women in gaming? This week, Wikipedia’s highest court made a major decision in favor of the former.” From Amy.

Mary

Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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10 Comments

      1. I was shocked when the article just suddenly ended without even mentioning possible alternative explanations. It could be that the bone was lost in most two-legged dinosaurs, but not in the particular line that led to birds. It could be the bone was not actually lost, but being small, it didn’t fossilize well in the relatively few specimens of dinosaurs in the line to birds. Or it could be that the bone is present in dinosaur embryos (and is somehow functional in them*) and reappeared in adult birds as the result of a mutation in the genes regulating growth rather than in the genes regulating structure (which are kind of the same and deeply interact with each other, so I’m not sure that’s a meaningful distinction.) Finally, the bone in birds could be an example of convergent evolution, which the article rejects without explaining why.

        I would have expected the Smithsonian to be better (and more nuanced) than this; maybe the article was cut down from a much fuller treatment (but why would space limitations apply to an online article?)

        Also, in general I would hope that the comments on an article like this at a site like the Smithsonian Magazine would explicate these issues, but they’ve been hijacked by a bunch of creationists making off-topic, baseless assertions, and the people who might know something have spent all there energy refuting the trolls. Where is an evolutionary biologist when we need one?

        [*] If the bone provided no survival benefit while still existing, I doubt it would be preserved in a functional form for very long, because random mutations in it would be neutral from a survival standpoint. Just like the gill arches in embryonic mammals; if they were somehow preserved into an adult mammal, they would not result in the adult having functional gills, too much else has gone missing or been re-purposed to some other essential function (which would probably kill the adult mammal long before it became an adult.) I found a very interesting-seeming artical about gill slits that I haven’t had time to read yet; tomorrow everything is going to be shut down by a blizzard, so maybe I’ll get to catch up on my reading…

          1. Thanks for linking to that! My original thought was that the language of the article was weird, but it *was* on the Smithsonian website, so I was like, maybe because I’m not an evolutionary biologist I’m misunderstanding this? I should listen to my gut more often. :)

  1. I tried that buttered coffee, it is one of the vilest things I’ve ever tasted. I felt physically ill after I drank less than a half cup and if I drank it on a regular basis I assure you I would lose weight if only because of the nausea.

  2. The Gamergate article seems fine. I don’t see a pro-gamergate slant on it at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if things got heated enough that some Feminists got banned, but I don’t think they’re leaning in the direction of Pro-Gamergate at all.

    Also, I kind of just assume that some portion of Feminists are 4chan sock puppets. That’s the kind of thing they do.

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