NY Times columnists are squishy and icky, too


It’s too much to hope that the NY Times will ever get rid of their awful opinion columnists. At least it gives us something to gripe about every week.

The latest bit of irrational conservative nonsense comes from Ross Douthat, who doesn’t like abortion. He is saddened and appalled by those absurd anti-Planned Parenthood videos that have been released. He dismisses the idea that these are trumped-up and phony.

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This is the most boring video ever

It’s an accurately rendered flight through space at the speed of light. You start out at the surface of the sun, and then hurtle out at 300 million meters per second. It takes 3 minutes to reach Mercury. It takes 45 minutes to reach Jupiter. This is basically a video of empty space centered on a very slowly shrinking bright star, with an occasional rocky ball whipping by.

Man, lightspeed is slow, and space is awfully empty.

I did not make it to the end of the video.

How an embryo is like a meatball sub

I’ve only just noticed that I have a fondness for food metaphors when talking about development — gastrulation is a peculiar way to make a jelly sandwich, neurulation is like rolling up a burrito, and somite formation is a meatball sub. They sort of illustrate the arrangement of the tissues involved, but of course they all have shortcomings…but then explaining how the metaphor doesn’t work can be just as informative as the metaphor itself.

For instance, early in its development, the vertebrate embryo consists of two epithelial sheets, the epiblast and hypoblast, pressed against each other like two slices of bread. That’s easy to visualize. It also allows me to explain the core idea of an epithelium — a layer of cells tightly linked to one another to form a continuous more or less two dimensional sheet. A lot of animal development is about epithelia folding and contacting other layers. But another important concept is that some cells are not in sheets — they’ve dissociated and are moving in a loose mass surrounded by an extracellular matrix. This is called mesenchyme. Mesenchyme would be the gooey jelly between the two sheet-like bread slices.

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Besides, the United Federation of Planets is clearly socialist

Ted Cruz tried to claim Captain James T. Kirk for the Republican party. This is illogical and must be refuted.

I offer two pieces of evidence.

  • William Shatner’s own words.

    Star Trek wasn’t political. I’m not political; I can’t even vote in the US. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar characters is silly

  • Does this sound like a Republican to you?

Case closed.