Category Archive: Personal

Mar 12 2014

Chaos in email land!

The combination of an attempted hack, jacking up my email security, and breaking my usual email reader have lead to a worse-than-usual mess in my email in-box, and I’m implementing a few changes that won’t affect most of you who write to me, but just in case, I’m spreading the word. You want to email …

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Mar 09 2014

Today is my birfday!

I had such plans, such grand plans for today. We’re on spring break, and I am 100% caught up on my grading, so I have no obligations hanging over me. I had a list in my head: Pancakes! A little writing, off and on, on my big super secret project. Build a model airplane. My …

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Mar 08 2014

The brain is a complex and funny thing

Can you generate the illusion that your mind has left your body? This woman can. After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. “She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this,” wrote …

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Feb 26 2014

I’m on my way to #scio14

That’s not good news. The good news will be “I’m at #scio14“, because I’ve got a lot of traveling ahead of me. And it’s been one of those days that I always dread: the day I have to return tests in genetics. I write hard tests…well, not really that hard conceptually, but I avoid questions …

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Jan 30 2014

Speaking at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota

I do sometimes get out and spend some time with the little branch campuses of my university. On 5 February, at 3:30 in 335 Borlaug Hall, I’ll be talking about… How can you change the culture if you won’t join the conversation? Science and social media The values of scientists often poorly align with some …

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Jan 18 2014

I was interviewed by Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor

You can listen on the Freedom From Religion Foundation podcast for 11 January 2014.

Jan 16 2014

Die, banks, die


When I got home last night, I saw something ominous. Leaning up against my door was one of those overnight letters from Fed Ex. This: I thought, uh-oh, who’s suing me now? Because there’s nothing I’m doing that requires the urgency of an overnight letter (it even announced on the back in big bold orange …

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Jan 10 2014

How ya doin’, Nebraska?


The double bill at the Morris theater had me concerned about you guys. As for Minnesota, it’s wonderful! It was -2°C outside, so I went for a nice long walk. Hatless. Gloveless. I unzipped my coat, even. If I’d done another mile, I might have stripped down to my underwear and danced all the way …

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Jan 09 2014

Winter in Minnesota

We woke up at 4am to a strange gurgling sound and a flooded kitchen. Y’all know what that means: emergency plumbing service call and a big bill to come. I am now waiting by the phone for a return call. Also, had to clean up the mess, and this was dirty, foul, black water. I’m …

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Jan 06 2014

“Morris” sort of sounds like “Mars” if you mispronounce it enough

It’s so darned cold — -30°C, with windchills that make me want to switch to Kelvin — that my university has closed, as well as all the local schools. But I still have to trek in to feed the fish at my lab, and this time I thought I’d record my whole journey on ShiverCam …

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