‘Her Own Way': A guide to safe travel for teh stoopid wimminz

Warning: I have had wine.

Jason and I picked up some travel booklets today, one of which was called ‘Bon Voyage, But …’ (Essential Information for Canadian travellers.) On page 9 it starts a chapter called ‘Women Travelling Solo’ where it says:

Our booklet entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel provides information especially for females, including those who travel alone.

So I picked it up too. [Read more...]

Happy Darwin Day 2010!

As I’m sure you all know, February 12th is Darwin Day, a day to celebrate science and the insight into humanity that the scientific method in general, and Darwin’s studies in particular, have brought about.

In honor of the day, check out this article on dog evolution — scientists have sequenced the DNA of ten different dog breeds and are discovering exactly what mutations our selective breeding has brought about, including what puts the wrinkles on Shar-peis.

Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) were first domesticated around 14,000 years ago, long before the field of genetics even existed, though most dog breeds were developed in the last few centuries. As humans bred dogs for features such as shorter legs or a docile temperament, they were actually tinkering with genes, while influencing the selection and expression of dog genes.
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Previous studies of dog genes have paired genes to their resulting phenotype — for example, the stumpy legs of Dachshunds — but these studies started with the physical trait and looked for the corresponding gene or genes that coded for it. Akey’s study instead compared gene regions that showed signs of change between breeds and looked for physical traits that might correspond to those changes.

The team found 155 distinct genetic locations that showed evidence of tampering from breeding.

Artificial selection directly proves evolution. The fact that we can artificially select for traits just like nature can naturally select for them in what amounts to an environmental arms race, and that these traits build upon themselves over time, is self-evident. If we keep selecting chihuahuas away from great danes, we could speciate them. In fact, they’re pretty close to speciated already, with the size differential making for mating to be terribly difficult. And they all come from wild dogs, which humans once domesticated.

Darwin suspected all of this and wrote it all out in book form before anyone else was able to articulate it, short of Wallace who barely managed a few pages. But the idea had been around for some time before, and those people actively engaged in artificial selection actually figured out a lot of the mechanisms behind it. It’s been staring us in the face for as long as we’ve existed, and we only figured it out 150 years ago. It boggles the mind.

The 4-Minute “Jupiter Menace”

This sounds way way too close to the modern end-of-the-worlders — the nutzoid chunk of the teabaggers, the conspiracy nut creationists, survivalists. Anyway, the world sure did end real good in 2000, didn’t it?

4-MINUTE JUPITER MENACE! from Everything Is Terrible! on Vimeo.

“Terrifying… but you’ll never experience it.” Yup, pretty much. Though watching the Tubes Video at the end of this clip was pretty terrifying in itself.

Hat tip to Everything Is Terrible, one of the few websites I can uncategorically proclaim a boon to humanity.

Pat Robertson is beyond delusional

If you thought the Haiti quote was horrible, and had to be a one-time slip, here’s proof that it is entirely Robertson’s MO.

Pagans and abortionists and gays and feminists and ACLU are all responsible for natural disasters. Sure. It has nothing to do with Jesus’ insane fan club. If anyone is responsible for bringing down the wrath of a loving, omniscient god that designed all these humans to be the way they are, it’s the intolerant fuckers like Pat. Never mind that we actually understand how these natural disasters happen and they have absolutely nothing to do with us humans (except for climate change, I guess).

Some more pictures

I uploaded Teri’s photos to Picasa. I’m also in the middle of processing some images from Shannon’s camera, and I have Sam’s video of the wedding that I still need to export and crunch, though because everyone decided to stand through the ceremony proper, you won’t really get to see all that much sadly. I understand there’s another video of the ceremony taken from halfway up the hall by one of Mark or Sara’s aunts, so hopefully there will be a better video coming.

Here’s some us-centric highlights from the stream I uploaded, but feel free to browse the rest if you’re interested in some of the “alternate shots” for each pose, or if you want to see Mark and Sara’s side of the double ceremony.

[Read more...]

Wedding pictures

The wonderful @JSWadley and @Cyberlizard each put up picture streams (here and here), and live-tweeted the proceedings. Here are some pictures from the wedding taken by Jodi’s sister Teri. I’m working on getting my Gallery installation working, so these pics will have to whet your appetite until I manage to get it working properly. I might also give up and post them all to Facebook later.

The brides-to-be hugging

Me, sitting. Exciting!

Husband and wife to be

Our first betrothed kiss

I’ll hopefully have Gallery working before bed. Hopefully.

Wedding day

Today, we’re getting married. Tomorrow, I might post about it. There will be videos up as soon as possible. And yes, I scheduled this post in advance, because there’s no way I’d have time otherwise.

If you want to reminisce, start here. The original blog trail is also cached here.

Thanks, Stephanie, for your help in starting this ball rolling. Wish you could be here to see the wedding.

And Jodi: when you finally read this several days from now, this is just a reminder that I love you. (As though you need a reminder.)

Took the words right outta my mouth

I felt the same WTF moment when I first learned the Final Fantasy game series was so messed up in being brought across the Pacific. If Angry Video Game Nerd hadn’t already said it all about the stupid sequel naming conventions that video games and movies have made seemingly ad-hoc over the years, there would have been a post about it at here eventually.