- Computer + Evolution = Genius– From Fred who says, “Here’s an article on evolutionary computing, featuring Lee Graham and the Virtual Creatures he demonstrated at TAM6.”
- The miseries of losing one’s sense of smell– Interesting article from an author suffering from anosmia.
- The benefits of feeling stupid– Female Science Professor explains why, “Some of us who love research and the academic life, however, are used to feeling stupid and may even enjoy it in a weird way.”
- The problem with the Anglican church? Women– Hemant posts on the COE’s ruling that women will be allowed to become bishops starting in 2015. The Vatican chastized them and some Anglicans are threatening to become Catholic.
- The mysterious origins of the wandering eye– As in, how did flat fish get both eyes on top of their heads? The fish pictured in this post is awesomely freaky looking.
Let’s not forget, too, that today is the 83rd anniversary of the start of the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. Circus or no, it is probably a milestone in the history of skeptical thought in the USA.
Here’s the original essay in PDF. At least one page of it. I don’ t know if there’s more to it after the first page: The importance of stupidity in scientific research. It’s a PDF file, so it’s best to have Adobe Reader, or something that can open it.
If I’d had the opportunity to read and understand an essay like that when I was in university, I might have an altogether different career today.
When my wife and I saw the news about female bishops in the Anglican church, I suggested that one of the concessions to traditionalists could be that they must wear a large fake phallus to official church events. That sidesteps the problem nicely, doesn’t it?
That fish looks like a crumpled Muppet.
(The Crumpled Muppets would be a good name for a band…)
Except that I think the name “Muppet is protected by copyright.”
Sorry. Screwed up the quotation marks on that one.
“how did flat fish get both eyes on top of their heads?”
Am I the only one who knows The Secret? The fishes that wanted it really hard got the two eyes on one side. The ones who weren’t quite committed enough eventually died of boredom from staring at the seafloor when their underside eyes were open.
Whew, that flatfish has a face for radio. Perhaps it had just woken up or something…
re: the article on losing one’s sense of smell…
I must say, I found this article over the top and somewhat offensive. The author does not speak for all those who cannot smell.
In this day and age, would anyone talk about the blind or deaf in such a way: “For those with this devastating condition called anosmia, everything changes. Our sense of smell is essential to our humanity: emotionally, physically, sexually, and socially”?
In fact, just as many sight- and hearing-impaired people lead beautiful, fulfilling lives, so too can those with “anosmia”. My partner was born without a sense of smell, yet he is one of the most vital and joy-filled people I have ever met, cherishing existence and certainly not viewing himself as to be pitied because he doesn’t experience it quite like the rest of us. Interestingly, there are times when he thinks he can smell something that I cannot, almost as though he is sensing something on a deeper-than-olfactory level (perhaps more closely related to how we sense pheromones).
I think it’s great to increase awareness that some people lose or are born without a sense of smell. One of the most frustrating things my partner deals with is people’s complete lack of understanding that he actually can’t smell anything. However, awareness does not mean fearing or pitying. We all experience this world in our own unique way, and we can all try to appreciate our own perspective and respect that of others.
Well said. I dislike reading something which makes a person out to be something less than a person simply because they lack a physical ability most of us have.
It’s one thing if I, as a person with a normal sense of smell, look at someone who’s anosmic and declare, “Woe is you! What a horrible and empty life you must lead.” Of course that’s insulting.
But it’s another thing for a person suffering from anosmia, especially one who has had a sense of smell before and is still learning how to cope, to express how he feels like less than he was. It’s pretty arrogant to declare his feelings invalid, isn’t it?
I expect that I’d feel pretty depressed if I became anosmic. I love to cook and I season recipes by smell. That alone would be a huge adjustment.
In fairness, I didn’t say that the feelings are invalid, merely that I dislike reading things like that. In this case, while I’m sure that in and of itself, the adjustment would be very difficult, the general public’s complete lack of awareness that such a thing is even possible is heavily contributing to the problem. If you go blind there is a MASSIVE support structure already in place to help you deal with it. Same with deafness, losing a leg, or a hundred other losses. You don’t see essays about how vision is essential to our humanity, not from the sighted, and not from the blind.
I’m not saying I dislike reading this because of ther person who wrote it, I’m saying I dislike reading it because of the culture that created it.
Well stated, Rystefn.
Masala- Crumpled Muppet is awesome both as a description and as a band name.
W_nightshade, I love your solution so so much.
And LBB, something about the mental image of a fish wishing really really hard for its eyes to migrate cracks me up.
As a typical representative of the male gender, I find myself woefully lacking in the stuffed toy arena. Indeed, I confess that I never even had a teddy bear (I slept with a target novelization of the Doctor Who serial: The Unearthly Child). So imagine my surprise when I saw that there were stuffed animals that even I wanted, and I have Skepchick to thank. Here I was, reading about using computers and evolution to solve problems, and suddenly I see a link for plush toys that look like real microbes! Woohoo, I’m so going to get sleeping sickness and the clap.
Back in high school, I had a friend whose mom had no sense of smell. We always went over to her house if we’d been smoking pot.
Rystefn, I agree. My grandpa lost his sense of smell in his middle years, and by the time I came along he could only smell gasoline and cinnamon. He missed smelling things, but certainly didn’t let it ruin his life. He ate a lot of ice cream because the coldness and the texture helped balance the decreased taste … or at least that was his excuse. ;)
Regarding the fish, Note To Self: Make sure not to only sleep on left side.
Flatfish are good eating, but they always look grumpy. Maybe its because every time I see them they are on the end of my fishing line :)
*giggle* Well, wouldn’t YOU be grumpy if you looked like that?!
I wonder if there’s a particular configuration of sideways eyeballs that is especially appealing to girl flatfish?
Amanda, I took your mental image and ran with it. I hope it’s still funny.
LBB, yes it’s still funny! The middle panel just kills me.
Ah, the mysterious dreams and wishes of the flat fish.
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