In the name of science, I offer my boobs

This little bit of supernatural thinking has been floating around the blogosphere today:

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.

I have a modest proposal.

Sedighi claims that not dressing modestly causes earthquakes. If so, we should be able to test this claim scientifically. You all remember the homeopathy overdose?

Time for a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that’s your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I’m sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn’t rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it’ll be one involving plate tectonics.

So, who’s with me? I may be a D cup, but that will probably only produce a slight tremor on its own. If you’ll be joining me on twitter, use the tag #boobquake! Or join the facebook event!

(Confused? Angry? Think my science is crap? Read a serious explanation of boobquake here)

Is it summer yet?

All I’ve been able to do lately is fantasize about the summer. I have three more weeks of class, then a week of final exams. The weather has officially turned beautiful, and there are lovely flowers everywhere. I won’t be taking classes or doing research, and I have an extra month of summer since UW starts much later than Purdue. Long story short, I’m afflicted with horrible senioritis and I’m ready to go frolic outside, travel, and play video games until my brain oozes out.

Since I cannot yet do any of these things, I’m doing the next best thing: blogging about what I’m goign to do. Here are my summer plans so far:

  • May 7, 5:00 pm: Finish last final exam.
  • May 7, 5:01 pm: Senior week! Aka, constant state of partying, drunkeness, and debauchery until the 15th
  • May 16: Graduation! I’ll be all grown up! *sentimental tears*
  • Late May: Trip to DISNEY WORLD, YEEEAAAHHHH! Seriously, I’m way too excited about this. The only time I’ve been to Disney World was in 5th grade, which was the perfect age to not really enjoy it – too old to love the people in suits, too young to love the rides. I’m psyched to go with my close friends and not just my parents. We really wanted to go to the Harry Potter theme park, but it’s not going to be open in time. So disappointed.
  • June 5: Friend’s wedding!
  • June 25 – 29: Evolution Conference in Portland, Oregon! I’ll be (hopefully, not official yet) presenting a talk on my most recent research project. Which means I’ll be shitting my pants, since it’s a huge conference. My whole lab is going, along with other grad students we know from other labs, so it should be a ton of fun.
  • July 13: Play “How Can I Fit All My Belongings into My Car” Tetris (aka, moving out of West Lafayette).
  • July 23 – 25: Secular Student Alliance Conference in Columbus, Ohio! This was a blast last year. I hope I can take the new set of officers along with me. And even better, I hope I’ll be a new SSA board member by then, but that depends on how the elections go (vote for me!).
  • July 31: BLOGATHON! Oh hell yes I’m doing this again. Except this time I’ll be living in my parents’ house, and they’ll witness my insane displays of sleep deprivation. Hopefully I can break the $500 mark this time.
  • August: Uh, have fun. I have nothing planned, weeee.
  • Early to mid September: Make the 34 hour drive across the country to Seattle, Washington. This…will be interesting.

This may seem like a lot to a sane human being, but as someone who’s stressed out when she’s not overbooked, it’s a relaxing summer. I also have a lot of unscheduled things I’d like to accomplish:

  • Finish up my current research projects and get them submitted to nice journals. I’d preferably like to do this before I give my advisor a heart attack.
  • Lose at least ten pounds, maybe fifteen. Before anyone yells at me about how I shouldn’t care about my weight and that I look fine, know that I’m doing this for me. I’ve gained weight throughout undergrad, and I’d like to thin back down. I want to be able to look at photos of me without lamenting over how fat my face looks. More importantly, trying to lose weight will encourage me to start exercising and eating better, which are definitely good habits to have. I guess I see it that if I don’t get healthy at this point in my life, I’m doomed for the future. Of course, with my luck, I’ll probably lose all the weight from my boobs first (let’s hope not).
  • Read a lot. I still have books I bought two years ago that I haven’t touched.
  • Frantically catch up on modern research in human population genetics so I don’t feel like a complete dumbass when I go to grad school. Feeling like somewhat of dumbass is unavoidable.
  • Finish writing a book. I have three books in progress: one is a quarter done, one needs seriously revamping but I don’t want to throw it away, and one is just an idea but a timely one. I’m notoriously bad for starting a writing project and not finishing it, mainly because I used to feel no one would want to read it. Now that I’ve been blogging and realize people do like what I write, I’ve been finding a lot more motivation. I will get a book published, goddamnit!
  • Play video games I’ve been neglecting. Hey, I need to enjoy the simple things in life too.

Alright, after writing that up, I just wish it was summer even more! Four more weeks…must…survive…

Wooo, atheism!

A couple of days ago I was walking with a friend to dinner. As I was crossing a busy intersection, a guy pops his head out of the passenger seat of his truck and happily screams “Woooo, atheism!” at me. I waved back, but didn’t get a good look at who it was since I was trying not to get hit by cars – I assume it was a club member.

This sort of random thing happens more and more the longer I’ve been president of the Non-Theists, and let me tell you: It totally makes my day. More often than not, when I go to a bar or club I’ll have at least someone give me a “Woooo, atheism!” high five. It’s usually a club member I don’t know as well (my friends don’t typically greet me this way, though that would be neat), or someone who never really comes to meetings but is happy that we exist.

And it’s another reason why I like having my occasional atheist t-shirt or button. I’ve struck up random, cool conversations waiting in lines, getting food, at the airport… It’s cool having that atheist secret hand shake!

Anyone else have any little, positive atheist experiences like that? If not, get a button or something!

My first atheist wedding art commission!

My friends Julie and Don are getting married this summer, and instead of including a dorky photograph with their wedding invitation, they asked me to draw a cartoon of them! (Click image for higher quality)
If you can’t tell, all of my friends are a bit nerdy. Julie is working towards vet school and takes care of shelter animals, especially exotics – hence the snake. And apparently Don is just a big super hero dork on the inside, because he requested the Spiderman outfit.

They’re also both active atheists and skeptics, which is why they’re getting a little plug here. Julie is a frequent member of the Society of Non-Theists and often comments here at the blog. And some of you may actually know Don – he blogs over at Action Skeptics and gave a talk at TAM 2009 on Kids Thinking Critically, a “strategy to bring critical thinking skills to at-risk and underprivileged youth.” He’s also working his butt of organizing speakers for the upcoming Skepchicamp in Chicago, which Julie and I are speaking at.

An early congratulations to you to! Who says us godless heathens aren’t capable of love?

PZ Myers dominates the Other category for Most Influential Female Atheist

I don’t know if I’ll ever “officially close” the Most Influential Female Atheist of 2009 poll, but this much is clear: PZ Myers is clearly dominating the “Other” category (though he’s still near the bottom overall). Or should I say, Ms. Paula Z. Myers. What I find most amusing is that he specifically asked Pharyngulites to not write his name in – seems like he doesn’t have complete control of his followers, after all. Our twitter conversation amused me greatly:

Me: @pzmyers is currently winning the “Other” category for Most Influential Female Atheist. Oh pharyngulites
PZ: I told them not to! RT @jennifurret: @pzmyers is currently winning the “Other” category for Most Influential Female Atheist.
So, @jennifurret , if I win…I don’t have to get That Operation, do I?
Me: @pzmyers Yes, yes you do. You better get control of your minions quickly, or I’ll be waiting for a photo of you in a dress
Me: @pzmyers Is still winning “Other” for Most Influential Female Atheist. When do I get the photo of him in a dress?
I think my mom has one. I’ll see if I can find it when I visit late this month RT @jennifurret: When do I get the photo of him in a dress?

And my favorite comment over at Pharyngula:

I’m not sure which is more intriguing: How Jen makes Little Pee Zed do it, or (assuming she succeeds) What Little Pee Zed then looks like. On the other hand, I’m not entirely certain I want to see pictures of either the convincing or the result…

The former will remain a mystery (insert evil cackling here). But joshing gets a million internet points for giving us a sneak preview of the latter:Excellent choice of dress, if I do say so myself!

Chicago atheist meetup was a blast

Just wanted to say thanks to all the cool people who came to the Chicagoland atheist meetup last night! We had 18 people total, and it was great talking to everyone.

Complete this joke: 18 atheist walk into a pub…

I think it’s a proven fact that dinner conversations with atheists are always more interesting. We decided that GodlessGirl, who claimed to have a “fever,” couldn’t show up because she’s actually Hemant – totally explains her mysterious nature and why they can’t be in the same room at the same time. We also developed a new show to pitch to the Food Network that is a total winner – Kinky Gourmet. Who wouldn’t watch an after hours show on romantic food, aphrodesiacs, and creative uses of whipped cream?

It was also pretty humorous when I first arrived with Mark and Bryan.

Waitress: Table for three?
Me: Um, well, we’re meeting some people here, I don’t know if they’re here yet *looks around for Hemant*
Waitress: Is it that guy over there? *points to guy I don’t recognize at a big empty table* What’s their names?
Me: Uh…well actually I don’t know. It’s sort of like…a club, so I don’t know everyone coming.
Waitress: What’s it for?
Me: Uhhh, atheists.
Waitress: Okay, I’ll go ask! *goes over to the guy*
Me: I really hope that guy is in our group.
Guy: *waves us over*
Me: Phew
Hemant: *appears, lip bleeding profusely, was apparently mauled by a bear on the way to the restaurant* Huwwo!

Oh atheist awkwardness. But the waitress and the restaurant were great; they let us take over the upstairs room so it was like we had a little private party. Definitely need to do a meetup again in the future!

Chicago Atheist Meetup!

Are you in the Chicagoland area? Do you want to have an awesome time eating, drinking*, and being merry with some pretty cool freethinkers? Look no further:

Date: Saturday, January 2
Time: 7:00 PM
Where: Palos Hills Village Club
9750 S Roberts Rd
Palos Hills, IL 60465-1470
Featuring: Hemant of Friendly Atheist, GodlessGirl, and Jen of Blag Hag!

What do you have to do to partake in such activities? Why, just show up! And, well, pay for your own food and drinks – sorry, we’re not rich, people. Just look for one of our smiling faces in the pub and come grab a seat.

If you’re fairly certain you’re coming, please RSVP in the comments. It’s not required, but it would be nice just to give us and the pub a head’s up. Thanks!

*Jen drinking will probably not occur lest her liver explode from complications with mono. However, feel free to indulge around me. I won’t be too jealous.

Some delicious evolutionary facts for Thanksgiving

There’s a cool post over at the Axis of Evo highlighting some fun, Thanksgiving-themed evolution facts. Here’s one of my favorites (had to pick the one that talked about sex, of course):

2. That turkey on the table, unless you got one of those expensive, frou frou free range ones, will probably be a Double Breasted. They get as big as 86 lbs. That’s 1 lb heavier than Nicole Richie was in 2006, by the way. They can’t fly, and they can barely run. Males are so supersized, in fact, that they are physically unable to impregnate the females anymore, and thus humans must intervene in the sex act with some rather simple equipment (if you are brave, you can watch some clips from Dirty Jobs: part 1, part 2; don’t). Compare this size to the maximum size of a wild turkey, its ancestor: 38 lbs. Artificial selection for bigger and and bigger turkeys has thus been hugely successful, and is a great table side demonstration of descent with modification. And there’s still room for growth…the elephant bird of Madagascar weighed 1100 lbs (can you image Mike Rowe wrestling one of them?).

Mmmm, I’m thankful for evolution, or we wouldn’t have such delicious food to eat!

Quick skeptical update

If you haven’t yet deduced from my manic tweets, I’m busy. Really friggin‘ busy. But the best thing to do when you’re busy is to procrastinate, so here’s a super quick blog update for you guys.

1. Ray Comfort is a douchenozzle. To secretly move the release of his sullied version of the Origin up a day for the sole purpose of avoiding counter events shows his true colors. He is a scheming slimeball who knows his side has no intellectual merit, and the only way to gain followers is to avoid the peaceful reply of his opponent. Oh, and no, his people did not pass out the Origin at Purdue. I guess we’re just already so religious and conservative that he didn’t want to waste his time here.

2. Guess what came in the mail last week, and what I wore today?Woooo! My PZ vs Ken Ham Creation Museum Memorial Shirt! It looks awesome on black (a little washed on on white, but still alright). If you have no idea why PZ is on a squid and battling Ken Ham on a T-Rex, you should probably go here, newbie.

Ok, back to writing my summary of the sex determining gene in chickens. WOO BIOLOGY!

Skepchicamp Speakers!

What the heck is Skepchicamp? I’ll leave that to my friend Don:

My name is Don Riefler, and I’m the speaker coordinator for Skechicamp Chicago 2010, a grassroots skeptical conference organized on the Skepticamp model. That basically means it’s run from the ground up, and all of our speakers are people who simply want to throw their hats into the ring and say something. It’s my job to find and coordinate those people.

The subject of the conference is science, skepticism, and critical thinking (with a feminist bent), and we’re specifically looking for women to help fill out the roster. If you think you might have something to say, and you can be in Chicago on Saturday March 6, please consider being a speaker. We’d love to have you.

If you’re interested, please contact me directly at as soon as possible. If you want to talk but aren’t sure what about, that’s fine. Most of us are in the same boat at this point.

Thanks for your time!

Don Riefler
Supreme Speaker Conjurer, Skepchicamp Chicago 2010

A skeptical conference powered by freethinking feminists?! I don’t think it can get any better than that! But wait…the Skepchicks will be there? Hemant will be there? I’ll be there!?! Oh my FSM, best conference ever!

Now you totally need to come. And ladies, please think about signing up to be a speaker! We’re still outnumbered by males. Come on, can’t we make a good showing for a skepchick-y conference?

Speaking of speakers…I still haven’t decided what my talk is going to be about yet. They’re supposed to be 10 to 15 minutes long, so my Creation Museum lecture isn’t exactly going to cut it. Any topics you really like hearing me ramble and rant about?