Yesterday, we saw this big green area, Apsan Park, on the map, and it was in walking distance…so we started walking. And then we discovered that the flat oval on the map was actually a mountain. A mountain in the middle of the city. So we gave up and went back to our hotel.

But today, we got a cab and got driven up to the cable car that takes you to the top, so that’s what we did.

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David Silverman understands how codes of conduct work

And DJ Grothe does not. The Reason Rally has a published Code of Conduct, and apparently a few bad apples are protesting that they won’t attend because they don’t want their freedom to harass limited. Dave does a very good job of explaining what they do and don’t do, and why they are reasonable. Don’t read the comments, though. So many people are getting their asses in a wringer because they hate being told that they don’t get to do whatever they want at a public event.

In vaguely related news, Ammon Bundy is planning to sue Multnomah County for violating his right to bear arms in prison.

Stupid people who don’t understand that living among other people compromises your right to have tantrums over your privileges are everywhere.

Day one in Korea

We arrived in Daegu at about 3am last night. We were exhausted, but we had to go out for a meal — I don’t know what you call a 3am meal, though. Dinfast? So we popped into a little all night restaurant, took off our shoes, and sat on mats, and ordered something mysterious off a menu in Korean from a woman who only spoke Korean. It turned out to be what can only be called pig spine soup. There was a big bowl, with cabbage and a savory soup, and big lumpy bones, which were vertebrae nicely sawed in half on the saggital plane. Not vegetarian. Oh, well. So we picked off little slivers of meat off the bones with chopsticks and spoons. I also ate the spinal cord, which was a first for a guy who studied spinal cords for so many years. It was tasty. So was the kimchee and pickled vegetables on the side.

Then we got a cheap hotel–25,000 Korean won per night, which was nothing, since once we’d done the currency exchange at the airport, we were millionaires. Big bonus, too–when we checked in, they gave us a bag of special items for our stay, which included condoms. Score! I don’t think we are the usual kinds of customers here.

We did a little sight seeing in Daegu today, but not much, because once we finally checked into the hotel, we slept until 2 in the afternoon.

That’s my excitement so far. We’re talking about going up some nearby mountain or hitting some museums in the next few days, so stay tuned for more thrilling adventures.

I am briefly in Japan!

Soon to be on a plane to Seoul. So far, this has been the most painless long distance trip ever, mainly because we just sailed through TSA in Minneapolis, and because our flights were all on time.

Although…I didn’t sleep on the plane at all, and now I’m in Tokyo with the sun shining, and I’m probably going to just skip the whole sleep thing until late tonight, when we get to Daegu.

That’s sorted, then

I did nothing but grade, grade, grade all morning and early afternoon, and it looks like I’ve completed all the exams and papers for this semester, tallied up the grades, and even submitted everything to the registrar. I think. I worry that I’ve forgotten something, like the student who showed up to take the final this morning, and it was the first and only time I’ve seen them, including the fact that they never bothered to take the 3 previous exams or turn in any homework. They did manage to get 15% of the questions on the final correct, though, so I’ll use that to give them a letter grade.

If they could forget to attend class for 15 weeks, it makes me wonder what I might have forgotten to do now.

But otherwise, yay!

It is finals week, and I have a plan

Just as I get caught up in all my grading, I have to go and foul it up by giving more tests this week. But I have laid out my schedule, and will deal with it.

Today I give the genetics final. Immediately afterwards, I will retire to grade it, and I will not stop until they are all done. This is manageable. The exam is almost all math, and if they understand the concepts the answers will fall out easily, while if they don’t understand the concepts they’ll get wacky answers that are easily scored as wrong. That will get that course out of the way by tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have to proctor an exam for a colleague, but I do not have to grade it. I will use that time to compose the exam for my Fundamentals of Genetics, Evolution, and Development course. This one will have lots of essay questions, I think.

Wednesday I give that exam, and then immediately turn around and lock myself in to finish grading it. I should be done by Thursday, and then I am FREE! Totally free!

Except that I’m committed to attending the Paradigm Symposium as a squinty-eyed skeptical observer this weekend. It should be weird. But once that’s done, I’m free for next week.

Except that I’m also going to have to do a review for Quarterly Reviews, which I am determined to get done promptly, as soon as I get the copy. So I’m going to whip through that one next week. I’ve also got to put together an extension for our HHMI grant. Then I’m free?

Except that the week after is when the family is flying off to South Korea for a week. OK, that’ll be fun and exciting, but it’s going to lock me down for a while. So after that…will I be free?

Nope. That’s when my new summer student and I start our summer research program, tracking melanocyte migration. It’ll be interesting, I hope, and might set the stage for a new line of research in my lab.

I’ve heard these rumors that college professors take the summers off and goof around for three months. It’s all a lie. The only true part of that story is that I’m on a 9 month appointment, so I won’t be getting paid. Yes! Finally, there’s a sense in which I am free!

I think I’m going to make it…


It’s the last day of classes! I’m pretty sure I’ll be surviving this semester. Today is the due date for a huge pile of long, detailed lab reports, and I was dreading it — it was going to be like being run over by a dump truck. But I told my genetics students that I’d really, really appreciate it if they turned in their papers early, so that I could spread out the burden and get them all graded a little early. As inducement I also told them that I’d be able to give them more information about their final grade sooner, which is important to them since the final is optional, and they could use that knowledge to decide whether to sink time into studying for it.

And my students were awesome, and 3/4 of them got the papers to me early, so they sort of trickled in in manageable numbers over this last week, and I only went mildly nuts with grading, rather than majorly nuts tonight and this weekend when I tried to wrestle with them all at once.

(Any students who are turning them in on the due date: you’re also awesome, still. Getting the submissions spread out was my goal, and that mission has been accomplished.)

I also told them that not getting them all at once would allow me to take time off tonight to go to the movie tonight and see Captain America: Civil War. There are lots of nerds in science classes, so I think I tapped into their empathy.

The grind is not over. More papers coming in today, and final exams to grade next week, but for a change, today is not looking like the giant woodchipper on my calendar that it was earlier.

There are always those guys


Jeffrey Cranor is a writer for the podcast, Welcome to Nightvale (I listen to it, it’s entertaining). And he gets messages.

I was just about to listen to Episode 3. If you continue to advertise “trigger warnings”, I will no longer listen to your podcast and will advise every person whom I know not to listen.

The clarification that the podcast contains a description of someone being assaulted is pathetic. Stop it or lose listeners.

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