Why I want a cat in grad school

To help me do all of my lab work:Though in all seriousness, I am looking forward to getting a cat in grad school. Finding a pet friendly apartment is going to be important to me, because I’m pretty dead set on adopting. I’ve had cats my whole life, and undergrad has just felt empty without some feline love. My good friend literally invites me over for what we call “Kitty Therapy” where I basically get to cuddle with his lovable cats for a couple of hours. I think they do wonders for my mental health, which is something I’m going to need to try extra hard to preserve while working towards my PhD*.

Oh, and I’m excited at the added bonus of picking delightfully nerdy names. Darwin is, unsurprisingly, very high on the list.

Don’t worry though; I’m a single cat kind of girl. The risk of me becoming a crazy cat lady is fairly low. …Maybe.

*And before someone lectures me on the responsibilities of owning a cat: Yes, I know. I’m the one who had to clean litter, feed them, play with them, groom them. I realize they take time and money – but to me, it’s worth it.

I am now a PUBLISHED twitterer, thank you very much

If you’re from Purdue, a Lady Gaga fan, or follow me on Twitter, you know about the drama that went down last night. Lady Gaga was set to perform a sold out, super anticipated concert at Purdue, and after her two opening acts, she canceled the show. Apparently the whole day she was dizzy from exhaustion and dehydration and had even passed out at some point, and she wasn’t allowed to perform because the show had too many potentially dangerous mechanics.

I didn’t get tickets (thanks to all the assholes who bought 6 just to resell for $400 dollars), so I wasn’t as upset as everyone who was there. Actually, I’m kind of glad I wasn’t there, because there’s no rage worse than a gay rage. Purdue students were anywhere from pissed to depressed, and the newspapers were probably creaming their pants.

That’s not the interesting part, though. One of my sarcastic tweets got published in the student newspaper:
Ahahaha! This totally cracks me up. I almost missed it because I didn’t pick up a copy today, but my friend told me about it. Yeah, I’ve made the big time, guys. My tweets are getting published. I can just smell that book deal around the corner.

…Shhh, let me have my delusions of grandeur.

No Skepchicamp for me

I unfortunately must announce that I will no longer be able to speak at Skepchicamp, the awesome Chicago skeptical feministy conference on March 6th. I’ve already contacted them about it, but I figured I should also mention it on my blog in case any Chicago people were looking forward to seeing me there. I promise I’ll be missing for a good reason – I’ll be at Stanford for a grad school interview!

If you were planning on going, please don’t cancel on my part – there will be a lot of awesome speakers there, including some of my close Purdue friends. And if you’re in the Chicagoland area and you weren’t planning on going…well you totally should.

I’m disappointed that I’ll miss out on the awesomeness, and that I won’t be speaking at my first skeptical conference after all. Hopefully I’ll get invited somewhere else eventually. I promise I’m not a flake – grad school is a bit more important right now ;)

Amazon catches Catholic priests red handed

Or should I say, sticky handed?As Dan Savage wisely noted, “The pope will be furious but I’m sure the altar boys are grateful.”

Though if you keep scrolling through the “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” list, you see the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Maybe it’s just atheists using communion wafers (and lube) for nefarious purposes? ….Hopefully not at the same time?

(Via BuzzFeed)

No atheist will marry my daughter!

There’s a new Pew Research study out called “Blacks Upbeat about Black Progress, Prospects,” and there’s a little nugget of information on atheists that I wanted to point out…

But there is one new spouse that most Americans would have trouble accepting into their families: someone who does not believe in God. Seven-in-ten people who are affiliated with a religion say they either would not accept such as marriage (27%) or be bothered before coming to accept it (42%).

Doesn’t sound too good, does it? But how does this compare to people’s views of interracial marriages? Is it just a couple percentage points higher?
Nope, there’s a huge difference in the disapproval. I’m elated we’ve made such progress on interracial marriage, don’t get me wrong – but this is yet another piece of evidence on the discriminatory views people have towards atheists. It’s frightening that nearly 3 in 10 people will not be able to come to acceptance of such a marriage. What a loving, understanding way to treat your family.

(Hat tip to RHB)

Is your vagina pink enough?!

Oh goodie! Just when I thought society was starting to run out of ways to make women shameful about their bodies, we get My New Pink Button, “a temporary dye to restore the youthful pink color back to your labia.” I can’t make this shit up, people.As if women didn’t already have seventy billion “beauty products” marketed to them as necessary essentials, now we have to worry about the color of our fucking vaginas? If a guy complained to me that my vagina wasn’t pink enough, I wouldn’t have to buy this product because that guy would not be seeing my vagina again any time soon.

I’m not going to stop women from wearing make up, using creams, attempting bizarre diets, or dying their vagina. Whatever, that’s your choice – even I enjoy getting dolled up once in a blue moon. But feeling beautiful is different from being shamed into body modification. Not only are we adding insecurities, but it’s simply a waste of money. One jar is $29.95 and contains 20 uses, each which last up to 72 hours. If somebody is seeing your vagina frequently enough that you need it pinkified every day, minus a week each month for a period let’s say, you’ll spend about $140 on this stuff a year. I’m sorry, but I have better things to do with my money.

At least they give you options, though. You can choose from four shades of pink, cutely named Marilyn, Bettie, Audry, and Ginger, the last one specifically made for “Women of Color.” …Yeah, I don’t need to say any more, do I?

(Via Womanist Musings)

I get mail: Redemption made easy

Ever since the Society of Non-Theists got an official mailbox at Purdue, we’ve gotten mail from fundies. We’ve been subscribed to a couple of Christian magazines, and this guy from Kentucky keeps sending us bizarre pamphlets, including one about how loving Jesus will somehow save you from Alzheimer’s (might save that for another post). I have to admit, I get really excited whenever I see a new letter in the mail, wondering what new crazy thing I’m about to read. After the long winter break, I checked our mailbox and was very happy to find a new one!

You know it’s going to be good when this is the first thing you see:The inside of the pamphlet is pretty boring compared to the Emo Jesus guilt trip on the cover. It’s just a bunch of Bible quotes about why Jesus is so awesome and you should accept him into your heart, yadda yadda. This would be a pretty typical, boring type of evangelism if it weren’t for the back cover, which made me laugh:Hmmm, I’m not sure which one to choose! This is way too tough. I wish I would have been given some sort of guidance. I am just a simple heathen, after all.

The whole thing cracks me up. The extensive highlighting and written instructions (as if I couldn’t get the point from one or the other); the idea that they think simply telling me which one is the right choice will make me realize the error in my ways; the even more ludicrous idea that making a simple check mark on a piece of paper has any real meaning; or the mysterious use of white out. Did they accidentally write to choose the unhighlighted one or something?Sorry, Jesus. Guess I don’t follow directions well.

Hmm, I wonder if that check mark applied to the club as a whole? Whoops, I guess I just damned almost 400 people to hell. Oh well, the more the merrier!

Apparently the white out was used to hide the address of the sender. But with a little sleuthing (aka a flashlight and the internet) I’ve found our sender: Fellowship Tract League. Here’s a PDF of the tract from their site. Wonder why they didn’t want me to know who they were? Somewhat tempted to send it back.

The Endangered Species Print Project

I just found out about a really neat project used to raise awareness and funding for endangered species: The Endangered Species Print Project.

The Endangered Species Print Project offers limited-edition art prints of critically endangered species. The number of prints available corresponds with the remaining animal or plant populations. For example, only 45 Amur Leopards remain in the wild, so for this edition, only 45 prints will ever be made. A different organization, whose mission is to the ensure the survival of the species depicted, is chosen for each print. 100% of the sales of ESPP prints are donated to these conservation organizations.

As both an artist and a biologist, I think this is an excellent idea. If your walls are looking a bit bland and you have a little extra money, consider contributing to this great cause. The also have a corresponding blog where you can keep up with information about endangered species.

(Via bioephemera)

The creators of “The God Equation” probably won’t get this joke

Remember that nonsensical “God Equation” that was ripped apart over at Pharyngula about a month ago? Yeah, I don’t think its creators will get this joke:I really think the amount you laugh* at xkcd could be a good predictor of nerdiness/science knowledge. I know when I stare at a comic scratching my head, it’s because I don’t know something. This frequently happens when the punchline has to do with programming. Sadness.

*Assuming laughter correlates with getting the joke. If you get it but don’t laugh, I don’t get your sense of humor. If you don’t get it but laugh, you may be insane, really like stick figures, or have a judgmental nerd peering over your shoulder.