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Jul 16 2014

There goes my pro football career

I’ll never get picked up in the NFL draft now.

Those of you who read the comments know I was whining a little bit about this sudden knee pain that developed over night. I was actually downplaying it — any time I bent my knee I was in excruciating agony. My wife can tell you that there was much screaming and groaning and cussing at our house the last few days. I’ve been basically immobile.

So I got into the doctor’s this morning. They poked and prodded and twisted and bent the joint, and I dutifully turned pale and howled and threatened to vomit, cursing the entire medical profession. In revenge, they first pulled out a gigantic needle and a huge syringe, and tapped my knee, sucking out large quantities of synovial fluid. As if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also hospitalized me — I’m under observation and pain management for a few days, while they carry out tests to figure out what made my knee joint go bad. If it turns out to be an infection…surgery. Whee.

Until then, I’m stuck in a bed with needles stuck in me, and they’re pumping me full of antibiotics and morphine and a whole bunch of good happy drugs. I’m already feeling blissful and sleepy. I might be out in 24 hours, or maybe 48, or maybe they’ll be hacking cartilage for a while. You don’t need me right now, right?

Jul 16 2014

Nina Paley explains the Middle East

Warning: Includes excessive, prolonged violence, and Andy Williams singing without a hint of irony.

Confused about who is killing who? See the dramatis personae.

Jul 16 2014

Minnesota Republicans are not nice

We try. We really try. But no matter how progressive the state might be, we’re still afflicted with horrible, demented people who run for office. Fortunately, there’s a tell: they always join the Republican party.

Look, here’s Michele Bachmann (she’s still around?). She thinks because a few immigrants committed crimes once upon a time, the entire recent influx of foreigners — including the children! — are all an invading horde of rapists.

“Foreign nationals that have come into the United States are between 300- to 500,000,” Bachmann told an incredulous Crossfire co-host Van Jones. “My heart is broken for a female college student in Minnesota who was raped, murdered and mutilated by a foreign national who came into our country. We had a school bus full of kids in Minnesota — four children were killed on that school bus because an illegal alien driving a van went into that schoolbus.”

“There are lines that can’t be crossed here,” Jones responded. “I’m sorry, congresswoman. Are you gonna scapegoat children for the crime of this despicable person?”

Uh-oh. Did you know the guy who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby was Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German? All you Germans — out of my state. Robert Hanson was a serial killer in the 1980s. Look at that name. Scandinavian. All you Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes…out. The Lakota…you can stay. Clearly all those European immigrants were a bad influence.

But Bachmann is a fading star, soon to be out of Minnesota politics altogether and persisting only to haunt the media, where a dumbass conservative is always welcome. Are there any others we should watch out for?

Meet the Freys.

Bob Frey is running for state office. His big issue is sodomy, and he has a theory, which is his, about what causes AIDS.

“It’s more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle,” he explained. “When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg.”

But Frey said that it was a different story when the “sperm is deposited anally” because “it’s the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail.”

“That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,” he opined.

That’s an amazingly distorted version of the acrosome reaction. Yes, the sperm head releases enzymes like hyaluronidase to digest away matrix that surrounds the egg, and also triggers changes in the oocyte membrane to facilitate fusion at the entry point and to also inhibit fusion elsewhere. This has nothing at all to do with AIDS. For one thing, the reaction is specific; it requires recognition of receptors on the egg surface that are not present in generic epithelial cells. For another, we know how the HIV particles (which are not sperm) enter immune system cells and it doesn’t involve a mechanism anything like the acrosome reaction. We also know quite obviously that sperm aren’t the cells involved in transmission.

Mr Frey is an idiot.

Also, if his sperm is transmitting anything, it seems to be idiocy. His son Mike also has the same silly idea.

Last year, Frey’s son, Mike, used the exact same theory while testifying against a same-sex marriage before the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee.

And earlier this year, Frey distributed a DVD that claimed an anti-bully bill was part of a plot to infect the general population with AIDS through sodomy.

I’m trying to puzzle out how anti-bullying legislation would spread AIDS. Because…if bullies aren’t beating kids up, they’re … having …anal sex … with them?

I’m also reminded that years ago, when Cheri Yecke was on her crusade to get creationism into Minnesota public schools, Bob Frey was a particularly loony witness at state hearings, who would show up with a giant plastic bone, claiming he had proof that there were giants in the earth in those days, and therefore every word of the Bible was true. He also threatened the education committee.

Frey: I have about 25 hours of presentation material with lots of slides of dinosaurs, lots of slides of this sort of thing, and also the consequences of teaching known fraud and everything to society.

Kelley: Thanks very much Mr. Frey .. .

They’ve always got hours and hours of noise.

Oh well, if it’s any consolation, this dynasty of Freys will end with this generation. No one is ever going to marry a Frey ever again.

Jul 16 2014

Botanical Wednesday: Kiss, kiss

Jul 16 2014

Weird Al tackles a problem that plagues us all

There are no naked women in this video.

Jul 15 2014

No heroes, ever

Through my drug-induced haze, I’ve been following the rising tide of revulsion at Richard Feynman’s personal behavior. It’s been sad and distressing; he was pretty much an opportunistic cad with women. What’s also been disturbing is the denial by people who should know better — Feynman was completely open about it in his published memoir. Face it, accept it, get over it. If you’re making excuses for him, we’re laughing at you. I was amused at this illustration of the problem:

Being a great physicist does not make you a great human being. Everyone is a mosaic of different properties, and there is no automatic correlation of saintliness in all dimensions. And most importantly, being really good at physics or any other intellectual endeavor is not an excuse for being a reprehensible asshole.

Jul 15 2014

An acronym I can get behind

That’s our SCROTUS.

Jul 15 2014

The Lyon hypothesis, nicely illustrated

Dang, I teach all this stuff about genes and chromosomes and epigenetics, but I don’t have the advantage of giant floating holographic molecules floating around me. Maybe I’ll have to steal this for my classes.


Although it could use some discussion of Blaschko’s lines, to explain why you get a stripey pattern rather than just salt-and-pepper.

Jul 14 2014

What’s wrong with class warfare?

I’m for it. I’m not sure why John Oliver is tap dancing around it.

Jul 14 2014

[Lounge #468]

This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread

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