Nerdy observation of the day

I can still use my iPhone’s touch screen while wearing nitrile gloves! Take that, mittens. And since I’m in the lab significantly more than I’m outside, this is a significant discovery. It’s incredibly important to be able to change songs without drastically lowering my pipetting efficiency.

What? Going outside except to get to and from lab? Crazy talk.

Is God disappearing from literature?

Google Books has scanned over 15 million books so far, and a team at Harvard University has been crunching the numbers. They’re looking for various trends that can highlight the evolution of language, and their results are fascinating. Ed Yong has a wonderful review that you should check out, with everything from grammar to Nazis (but no Grammar Nazis).

But I wanted to point out one trend they’ve been seeing in the books over the years:
In the lead researcher’s own words, “‘God’ is not dead; but needs a new publicist.”

And just because I’m a biologist who wants to rub it in…
Woooo! But more than just bragging about it’s growing popularity compared to God*, this graph is still pretty awesome. Not only does it show approximately when these discoveries were made, but look at evolution in the 1940s. Looks like people were a little scared to be talking about it, maybe thanks to Nazis? That would be fascinating to look into more.

This is only the first report from the project, and I can’t wait for the rest to come out! Mmmmm, data and literary nerdiness combined!

*Remember, it’s comparatively. Look at the magnitudes on the y axes. The atheist horde still has some work to do. But at least science is on the upswing, while God isn’t looking too hot if this trend continues!

Having sex like a scientist

What does that even mean? According to this person asking Dan Savage for sex advice, having sex like a scientist is not so good:

He’s a scientist, and he has sex like a scientist. He’s not a good kisser, but worse, he flies through foreplay like its his weekend chore list, and goes straight to the fucking as quick as he can. He’s a voracious bottom, which should work out for me, but in the end, I’m always left finishing off alone. He always comes within minutes, and the whole time does nothing sexy, does nothing to help me along. In fact he does lots of stuff that turns me off. I’ve never lost hard-ons during sex until I was with him. I might as well be a cucumber glued to a body pillow, he’d have about the same interaction.

That’s what this person thinks having sex like a scientist is like?! Man, I’m hurt.

Not that professions necessarily affect your sex lives, but this doesn’t even make sense. Science is effectively based on making observations, experimenting, gathering data, and then correcting your theories through further experimentation. Not to mention reading the literature before setting up any experiments. Sounds like a recipe for a great sex life to me.

Now, engineers, on the other hand…

Feminists' selective science phobia

Evolutionary psychology gets a lot of flack from both inside and outside science. And to be honest, a lot of it is well deserved criticism – too much of evolutionary psychology is arm chair philosophizing and overly optimistic adaptationism, rather than hard data.

But I still assert that’s no reason to write off the field as a whole. For one, there are plenty of good studies out there, and it’s often the media that warps results into broad conclusions, not the scientists themselves. Two, it’s a baby field that’s still learning quality control – give it another ten years to refine its standards and come up with improved ways to make measurements, such as advanced brain activity imaging technology. And three, it is completely unreasonable to insist that the brain is magically not under selective pressure like every other thing in nature.

Unless it doesn’t mesh with your philosophy, of course.

Sometimes I hate calling myself a feminist because of who it associates me with. For example, this latest example of feminist sciencephobia from Jill at I Blame The Patriarchy:

Evolutionary psychology rests on the shaky (often enpornulated) hypothesis that modern human social behaviors are actually species-preserving adaptations.

No, it rests on the very strong hypothesis that the brain evolves like any other organ.

Because evolutionary psychology, like all psuedoscience, is administered by jackasses who are heavily invested in patriarchy, the behaviors in question just happen to be the very same behaviors commonly observed to be beloved of patriarchyists. And also of sexists, misogynists, horndogs, militarists, straight people, politicians, consumers of pornography, consumers of “beauty,” racists, godbags, liberal men, Hollywoodists, homophobes, matrimonialists, and other cogs in the megatheocorporatocratic machine. Everybody who loves the current world order loves the romantic myth that it is the result of the random interaction of mindless genes, or biological “design.” Sadly, the world order is actually the result of something way more sinister: the completely arbitrary social construct of the culture of domination and submission.

I should have stopped reading here, but I was impressed. I didn’t think someone could fit so many straw men and ad hominems in a single paragraph! But I know Jill thinks this is her “snarky” “style,” so I kept reading to see her views on the science.

Annie Murphy Paul uses revelations facilitated by evolutionary psychology to make the (tired old) case that women are pretty much prisoners of biology, or, more specifically, of the menstrual cycle. Her apparent thesis: ovulating women are constrained by biological impulse to go to bars, wear tight dresses, and emit musical, magical laughter, whereupon they become attracted to male lantern-jawed superheroes. Non-ovulating women, on the other hand, are practically a different species. They are drab and dull and fail to effervesce or mate, and prefer pansy-ass dudes.

As an evolutionary biologist, I’ve yet to hear an evolutionary biologist who claims people are prisoners of biology. We are, however, not immune to our biology. It’s not insane to suggest that some of our behavior is innate – humans just have the special ability to consciously choose to overcome some of it. That may be difficult for behaviors that are really ingrained in us for evolutionary reasons.

For example, we’ve evolved to crave sugary food because thousands of years ago, that craving would have kept us alive. It’s subconscious – we don’t think, “Gee, I really want that cookie because I may not be able to eat for another week.” It explains why people are inclined to eat too much sugary food now that it’s abundant, but it by no means says we are prisoners to that behavior and that we must eat sugary food until we’re diabetic.

Many feminists would have no problem with that example, but they still proceed to freak out when the same thought process is applied to behavior between the sexes. Even if we did find some difference between the sexes, that doesn’t mean there’s a value difference between those behaviors, nor does it mean we even have to do them.

But no. Jill and feminists like her are just content imagining a world where Big Bad Male Scientists are out to get them:

Paul cites research conducted, unfortunately, by psychologists and “dating advisers,” since who else would know from this shit? One researcher dude juxtaposed menstrual cycle data with the nightly revenues of (a whopping) 18 lap dancers. Awesome.

Research dude: Hmm. I wonder where we could conduct some research on ovulating women?

Grad student dude: How about a strip club? We can totally multitask by working and abusing the sex class at the same time.

Research dude: It’s pure genius! I’ll take full credit.

In this case research dude concluded that not only do strip club clientele discern whether lap dancers are ovulating, but that pervs lavish more cash on ovulating lap dancers than they do on dull old non-ovulating ones. Paul calls this “one of the most arresting studies of male responses to female fertility cues.”

She goes on to miss the point so badly that I’m inclined to believe she’s misrepresenting Geoffrey Miller’s study on purpose to fulfill her paranoid fantasies. As someone who’s actually read the paper in question, allow me to correct Jill (or you know, you could be a good scientist and go read it yourself.):

Female fertility cues! Apparently women who work in strip clubs are not, contrary to what spinster aunts have maintained through the ages, just trying to make the best of their fucked-up sex class status by working themselves through law school or a drug habit or a musician boyfriend. These hotsy-totsy babes are in fact sending their slavering clients “female fertility cues.”

Jill tries to spin it so it seems like the study is saying women become strippers just to send “female fertility clues.” The study says no such thing about the motivation for becoming a stripper: It looks at women who already are strippers, and sees if there’s any differences in the tips they get depending on where they are during their menstrual cycle. They found that men are more likely to tip when women are ovulating. They don’t have a mechanism for the interaction, but speculate on what sort of cues could clue men in. Do the women behave differently? Is there some sort of physical difference men subconsciously notice? Is is a pheromone or other sort of chemical signal? They don’t make any conclusions.

Furthermore, strippers who take birth control pills are “’shooting [themselves] in the foot,’ since [they’ll] miss out on the bountiful tips garnered by women in estrus.” That’s right. Sexploitation isn’t about male domination, it’s about human reproduction. Human reproduction is natural. Natural is good. Therefore sexploitation is good.

They are shooting themselves in the foot in terms of making tips. Since they don’t ovulate, they don’t receive the boost in tips. The researchers by no means imply that making tips is obviously the most important thing and birth control isn’t important. Seriously
, where the fuck does she ev
en get the rest of that paragraph other than from an overactive imagination?

She goes on and on about how women can’t possibly have any sort of innate behaviors, or as she calls it, a “primal urge to exude pornulated dudefantasy.” Really, and we’re supposed to take you seriously?

I about lost it when I hit the most glaring Biology Fail of the piece:

But isn’t this just a reiteration of the hysterical women stereotype? Not at all, says one of the kindly dude researchers.

“The traditional and rather patronizing male view was that women are fickle, that their preferences are random and arbitrary. Now it turns out that what looks like fickleness is actually deeply adaptive and is shared with the females of most animal species.”

OK, let’s get this out of the way first: does Dude even realize that ‘most animal species’ are either arthropods or nematodes, depending on which geek you’re talking to? Together they number in the millions. Here at Spinster HQ we were unable to locate any research on, for example, the fickleness of female flatworms. Maybe they like to sport around in spandex when it’s that time of the month, but published studies omit to mention it. So this guy, in his attempt to science-ize an enormously detrimental sexist stereotype, grossly mischaracterizes the scope of the planet’s animalian diversity to further his own anthrocentric worldview.

And also, do not speak to me, dude, of “the rather patronizing male view.” How fucking patronizing is it to argue that ‘fickleness’ is a fucking adaptation shared by all females everywhere? That women’s behavior is, in fact, irrational, only now this irrationality has scientifically proven reasons? This dude is killin’ me!

Spinster HQ didn’t look very hard, nor did they read very closely. The “fickleness” this “dude researcher” is talking isn’t about irrationality, it’s about is Bateman’s principle, which is “the theory that females almost always invest more energy into producing offspring than males invest, and therefore in most species females are a limiting resource over which the other sex will compete.” It’s called that because this “dude researcher” named Bateman first found this trend in fruit flies. You know, arthropods. It’s been found across a wide range of taxa.

Also note how it says “almost.” There are plenty of counter examples of males being the choosy sex. And while there’s evidence going both ways in humans, the point is it doesn’t matter. If science did prove, without a doubt, that female humans invested more energy into reproduction and that caused them to evolve with a specialized set of behaviors, it doesn’t mean we are slaves to that behavior or that it justifies our actions, or the actions of others around us.

The cherry on top of the post was Jill’s bullet point that claims evolutionary psychology cannot explain homosexuality. Even though there are multiple competing hypotheses about the persistence of homosexual behavior. Even if you’re not familiar with evolutionary psychology, that was the second Google result. Way to do your research.

The a priori assumption that evolutionary psychologists are all evil dudes with an agenda to instill 50s era gender roles is frankly paranoid. Ironically, Jill wrote a great post about how feminists need to trust science more. Too bad she’s a hypocrite – this isn’t the first time I’ve called her out on it. “Supporting science” is not the same as “Supporting science only when it doesn’t make you uncomfortable about your world views.”

And you know what? Feminists get the “man hater” stereotype exactly because of posts like that*. I’m a feminist because I’m pro social equality for both sexes. Dismissing researchers because they’re male isn’t equality.

*I should clarify because of a comment below. Feminists will carry that stereotype no matter how rational our arguments are or polite we act just because feminism pisses a lot of people off, and they react harshly out of privilege. But there are too many people who basically are feminists except they still believe that stereotype, because there’s one rotten apple that’s particularly stinky and ruins the label.

If you had infinite money, what scientific quesiton would you ask?

You’d think someone who stayed up all night writing a research proposal wouldn’t want to think about research proposals anymore. But in fact, that is all my brain can comprehend at the moment. And since I’m about to go pass out and potentially sleep most of the day away, I felt I should get a nice discussion topic up here for you guys.

If money was not an issue, what scientific question would you ask? How would you go about doing your research? Please expand on the significance, innovation, and approach of your specific aims…wait, no, scratch that last part. Babble in a blog comment.

Also, thank you to the gigantic spider than nearly crawled over my hand at 5am. Your fear-induced energy gave me the second wind required to finish my paper.

End of semester madness!

What am I up to? I’m writing a “fake” research proposal for one of my classes on doing a genome wide association study and exome sequencing to search for genetic components of homosexuality. I say “fake” because it’s a project for a class, not something I’m actually submitting to the NIH or NSF. Well, I mean, I could theoretically submit it as a grant if it ends up being super awesome and a mind-blowing scientific idea, but at this rate I’m just trying to not embarrass myself when turning it in.

On top of that I’m attempting to finish my actual research from this quarter since our presentations are next week. I’m not nervous about the speaking part – heck, I do that for fun now – but talking about science is a bit harder than making jokes about atheism. So, yeah, again – aiming for not embarrassing myself. Frantically trying to learn R to make my graphics, since my professor nearly had an aneurysm when he saw I was using Excel to make my charts.

Aren’t the end of quarters great?!

I know a lot of you are also students – consider this an open thread to complain about all the work you have to do and to procrastinate doing it. Non-students welcome to whine too.

And the media sensationalizes science again

I came home to a flurry of emails, tweets, and blog posts about NASA’s big announcement. I was momentarily floored when I saw headlines like this:

“NASA Finds New Life” – Gizmodo

“NASA-Funded Research Discovers Life Built With Toxic Chemical” – The Richard Dawkins Foundation

“Bacteria first species observed to use arsenic-laced DNA backbone” – Ars Technica

Though upon actually reading about the discovery, the most accurate title came from Boing Boing: Weird life form on Earth – kind of, maybe.

Look, it’s an exciting discovery, but everyone is over-hyping it. This bacteria is not an arsenic-based life form in the sense that we are carbon-based life forms. It does not use arsenic as a source of fuel. It does not exclusively build its DNA backbone using arsenic. It doesn’t even really like to do that at all in the wild – it incorporates arsenic under laboratory conditions that force even higher concentrations of arsenic upon it. It is not a different type of life that arose separately from phosphate-using lifeforms.

What it is is an excellent example of evolution. While coming from a phosphate-using ancestor, this bacteria has somehow adapted to an extreme environment that would kill most other organisms. I’m more interested in how it avoids death by this toxin than the fact that it incorporates a molecule extremely similar to phosphate into its DNA. PZ has a more thorough scientific breakdown over at Pharyngula.

Way to go, shoddy science reporting. Creationists are probably wetting themselves over this “new life form,” ready to tell biologists how it could have only been designed. I mean, just look at how this redditor is reacting to your sensationalism:

Is it ok that I’m already discriminating against arsenic based life forms because they are fundamentally different than me? Bunch of arses, they are.

Sigh. Well, at least I don’t have a whole new DNA structure to memorize. Getting a PhD in Genomics was already hard enough.

Creation Museum seeks Kentucky tax support

It’s bad enough the Governor was speaking at a press conference with them today. But it’s terrifying now that we know why:

Operators of the popular Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky are seeking state tax incentives to build a creationism theme park at a nearby site — a project that Gov. Steve Beshear officially will announce today .

Mike Zovath, senior vice president of the non-profit group Answers in Genesis, one of the partners in developing the park, said Kentucky officials have told him the proposal for state tourism-development incentives “looks good.”

He said the park — to be called Ark Encounter — would include a massive wooden ark that would offer educational attractions. Additional details weren’t released Tuesday.

[…]The developers are seeking incentives under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which allows up to 25 percent of the cost of a project to be recovered. Under the law, the state each year returns to developers of approved projects the sales tax paid by visitors on admission tickets, food, gift sales and lodging costs. Developers have 10 years to reach the 25 percent threshold.

Wow. How could funding the freaking Creation Museum not violate the separation of church and state? The only way this place could be considered “educational” is that it educates us on how incredibly wacky some people are. Or if they had a sign every three feet along the “museum” explaining why they’re mind-numbingly wrong. You know, signs showing actual science.

Of course, what do you expect coming out of Kentucky? Wait, what’s that…?

Zovath said Answers in Genesis and its partner, Ark Encounter LLC, a for-profit company based in Springfield, Mo., have not finalized plans to build the park in Kentucky and are still considering locating it in Indiana.

OH GOD NOOOO! Not my home state! We’re embarrassing enough…

Seriously though, how could this fly? What’s the logic here?

Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for the Family Foundation, said his organization doesn’t believe there would be a problem in giving a tax break to an organization that is “not explicitly religious.””Whether you agree with them or not, they are making a claim that what they are doing is scientific and it’s not necessarily the state’s business to second guess that,” Cothran said.

…Are you fucking kidding me? As someone who’s been to the Museum, they very clearly say that they get all their knowledge from the Bible, and that it’s their goal to make facts mesh with the Bible. They hardly claim that it’s scientific. No, they devote the whole museum to demonizing science and the scientific method.

But even if they do claim to be scientific, it certainly is the state’s business to second guess that! Are we just going to let any religious group throw the word “science” around so they can get funding?

It’s bad enough that Kentucky was unlucky enough to be the home of the Creation Museum. Explicitly helping them will give us a legitimate reason to laugh at the state. Laugh, and then cry.

Not that this is shocking, but…

“Money for Science May Be Scarce With a Republican-Lead House.” From the NYTimes:

In the Republican platform, Pledge to America, the party vows to cut discretionary nonmilitary spending to 2008 levels. Under that plan, research and development at nonmilitary agencies — including those that sponsor science and health research — would fall 12.3 percent, to $57.8 billion, from the Mr. Obama’s request of $65.9 billion for fiscal year 2011.

An analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science looked at what would happen if all of the agencies were cut to the 2008 amounts. The National Institutes of Health would lose $2.9 billion, or 9 percent, of its research money. The National Science Foundation would lose more than $1 billion, or almost 19 percent, of its budget, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would lose $324 million, or 34 percent.

And guess who gets to apply for NSF and NIH fellowships and grants next fall? Yep, me! As if they weren’t hard enough to get already. I wasn’t planning on applying for fellowships this year, but maybe I should while there’s still money left.

Well, at least I’m in a somewhat more secure situation. My program guarantees a stipend for the full five years, so I’ll still be able to pay rent and feed myself. And my department has one of the most well funded research programs in the university, so my research project will still probably have funding, especially since I’ll be working on humans (humans really like to pour money into studying themselves).

But the vast majority of science graduate students aren’t so lucky. Even right now, it’s common for graduate students to depend on outside fellowships for their stipends. And if you’re not working on some sexy topic like human disease or biological warfare agents, those grants are going to become even more competitive.

I’m not so much concerned on missing out on the prestige and small raise that would come with an NSF fellowship. I’m concerned that the United States is likely going to fall even farther behind in science.

But hey, I can always go abroad for my post-doc…

Atheist Christmas Carol contest winners!

Today is the release of the American edition of The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas! It features a bunch of new authors, including yours truly. A week ago I started a contest to give away a couple free copies of the book:

Write new lyrics for an old Christmas carol that have a godless or scientific theme.

All of your entries were so brilliant that I had an extremely hard time picking the winners! Please forgive me if yours wasn’t chosen – it was tough. Here are the three winners who will be receiving copies of the book:

Winner #1: Chabneruk

To the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas”:

“On the first day a big mess exploded loud and free – remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the second day the suns and the planets came to be. No lifeforms yet,
but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the third day volcanoes erupted ceaselessly. ‘Twas pretty hot, no lifeforms yet, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the fourth day the landmasses grew above the sea. No God involved, still pretty hot, no lifeforms yet, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the fifth day the first cells swam around with glee. Naaaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are there, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the sixth day there’s backbones and eyes for all to see. Pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are glad, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the seventh day some lifeforms came ashore to pee. They had legs a-running, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather now fine, lifeforms are glad, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the eight day the lizards ruled the land and sea. Introduce extinction, legs a-running no help, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather rather cold, lifeforms are few, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the ninth day some pre-apes decided to stand free. Soon they were dancing, around camp fires, with legs a-running, pretty cool stuff, Naaature is hot! No God involved, weather still cold, lifeforms have fun, but remember the Big Bang Theory.

On the tenth day the first priest invented idiocy. Gods everywhere now, they want us dancing, with legs a-hurting, oh, what a shame – aaall without proof! Gods getting pop’lar, weather now warm, lifeforms do pray, no one knows the Big Bang Theory.

On the eleventh day the churches controlled the minds unfree. Just one God, which one is right, they want crusaders, with swords a-slinging, oh, what a shame – aaall without proof! Monotheism, weather quite dark, lifeforms do pray, no one knows the Big Bang Theory.

*pitch upwards*

On the twelfth day the clever ones finally broke free! No more Gods, but atheism, science is right, tell the believers: “No swords a-slinging, no holy war, Naaature is hot!” Jen writes her blog, weather is sunny, lifeforms shall think and we all love the Big Bang Theoryyyyyy!”

Winner #2: Ray

To the tune of “Angels We Have Heard on High”:

We four horsemen honestly are
Unimpressed by Yaweh so far.
Explanation for creation?
Really, he’s quite subpar.

You can wonder at the night
You can call yourself a “Bright”;
Not a smidgen of religion
Do you need for living right!

If you think some cultural swill
Makes it right to torture and kill,
That’s perverse, not just diverse:
Maybe you’re mentally ill.


Made by evolution are we,
Built to act beneficently.
Since we’re soulless, we control us:
We can be truly free


Nature’s strange selection machine
Need not make you nasty or mean
Or a creep. The nicest people
Came from a selfish gene


Humans shouldn’t cower or crawl;
Faith just makes us hateful and small,
We’ll start growing strong by knowing
God isn’t great at all!

Grand Prize Winner: Quester

Really, there’s no difference in the prizes, but every one of Quester’s songs cracked me up, so I thought they deserved special distinction:

To tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”:

There’s Mercury, Saturn,
Neptune and Venus,
Jupiter, Earth,
Mars and Uranus,
but someone has morphed
our ninth planet into a dwarf.

Pluto’s a minor planet
according to the IAU.
Better not criticize them,
or they will redefine you, too.
Eris may be more massive
and Ceres trying to compete
but now that we’ve demoted Pluto
our solar system’s incomplete.

From 1930 to 2006
Pluto was planet nine
but a recalculation of it’s mass
put it’s status in decline.

Still, Pluto is special
Maybe soon IAU’ll agree
To re-redefine the moon Charon
and Pluto as a binary!

To the tune of “Silver Bells”:

Get yourself some ferrous metals-
nickel, iron, cobalt, steel,-
each of these
are attracted
to magnets.

They have north poles
and have south poles.
Opposite poles attract.
But can anyone tell me how magnets work?

Miracles. Miracles?
That might satisfy a clown posse.
Hypothesize. Experiment.
Maybe we’ll find out the truth!

Running current
through a wire
creates a magnetic field
so this may involve
moving electrons.

The Ampere model
of the magnet
presumes circular bound currents,
but who even knows what
that means?

Miracles. Miracles.
These mark the place we have stopped thinking.
Magnetic force? Magnetic fields?
Reality can blow us away!

To the tune of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

“You better watch out
You better beware,”
Sedighi warns us
all to take care,
“women are immodestly dressed.”

“They corrupt chasity,
lead young men astray,
the power of their cleavage causes moral decay.
Women are immodestly dressed.”

Can miniskirts cause earthquakes
as Sedighi insists?
Let’s put this thory to the test!
What scientist could resist?

So, pull on short shorts,
or something tight-fit,
choose your best weapons
and laugh for a bit.
Maybe we can cause a boobquake!

Congratulations to Chabneruk, Ray, and Quester! Like I said, it was really difficult picking three, since you guys did an excellent job. Here are some honorable mentions that I also enjoyed:

Even though UncountablyFinite couldn’t get his camera to sync, I was impressed by his singing ability!

Elizabeth Anne also impressed me with her singing ability, and got bonus points for raunchy lyrics:

EdenBunny‘s songs make the Grinch in me giggle:

To the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”

Oh solstice tree, oh solstice tree,
Leftover ancient ritual,
It seems to be
The masses re-
-spect it ‘cos it’s habitual.

Oh what a joy to kill a tree,
Expend much electricity,
Eventually, the waste will be,
Disposed of quite expediently.

Oh solstice tree, what fun to see
Your pointless luminosity.
Oh solstice tree, oh solstice tree,
Environmental atrocity.

To the tune of “Deck the Halls”

Fa la la la la, la la la la.
In our public education,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Answer reason with defiance,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Totally ignoring science,
Fa la la la la, la la, la la.
Kids believe what they are to-old,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Earth is six thousand years o-old,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
God used melanin to da-amn,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
All the descendants of Ha-am,
Fa la la la la, la la, la la.

Schools can make religious pitches,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Kill the homos and the witches,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
We are normal and they’re o-odd
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Because that’s the word of Go-od,
Fa la la la la, la la, la la.

Good thing Ray won with his other song, because I think she momentarily forgot who was judging this contest:

To the tune of “Must Be Santa Claus”

Who’s got a beak and a bunch of arms?
Squid’s got a beak and a bunch of arms.

Who wins our love with its squiddly charms?
Squid wins our love with its squiddly charms.

Beak and arms, squidly charms:

Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo- cephalopods!

Who lies around in Jurassic shales?
Squid lies around in Jurassic shales.

Who’s inspiration for Lovecraft’s tales?
Squid’s inspiration for Lovecraft’s tales.

Beak and arms, squiddly charms,
Long time gone, Cthulhu ftagn:

Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo- cephalopods!

Who washes up on the ocean shores?
Squid washes up on the ocean shores.

Who likes to shoot spermatophores?
Squid likes to shoot spermatophores.

Beak and arms, squiddly charms,
Long time gone, Cthulhu ftagn,
Ocean wrecks, freaky sex:

Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo- cephalopods!

Who’s in the order called Teuthida?
Squid’s in the order called Teuthida.

Who’s also found in Spirulida?
Squid’s also found in Spirulida.

Who’s got a cell of enormous size?
Squid’s got a cell of enormous size.

Whose cell has won the Nobel prize?
Squid’s cell has won the Nobel prize.

Beak and arms, squiddly charms,
Long time gone, Cthulhu ftagn,
Ocean wrecks, freaky sex,
Teuthid taxon, giant axon:

Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo-
Must be cephalo- cephalopods!

And finally, Fredjs73 wins the award for “Putting Your Fantasies About a Blogger To Verse And Making Her Laugh Instead of Run Away.” A dangerous award to attempt, but exciting to win, I’m sure (his bashful pre-apologizing and my twisted sense of humor helped).

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the flat
Not a Guinness was pouring, from neither bottle nor vat.
The stockings were hung by the bedpost with care
While the fresh scent of Astroglide hung through the air.

The heathens were nestled all snug on the floor
While visions of Jager Bombs tormented them more.
Sweet Blag Hag in her blanky and I in the buff
Had just finished up from some lovin’ ‘n’ stuff.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter
I tripped o’er my cockring to see what was the matter.
Away to the door with my hands on my junk
For to not shock my old neighbor, Miss Gwendoline Funk!

I tore open the door and felt chills in me nuts
Without care, without worry for appearing a klutz.
When, what to my unsober eyes should appear,
But an ol’ rusted nineteen-ninety-nine blue Cavalier!

With a little old driver, so lively and wired,
I knew it a moment – it’s ol’ PZ Myers!
More rapid than vertebrates, his coursers they came
Through his full and grey beard he did call them by name.

“Now, Sepia, Architeuthis, Cuttlebone and Radula!
On Nautilus, Onykia, and smug Argonauta!
Go up to the porch to that uncircumsised guy!”
And once they had done so, what did I espy?

A bottomless case of both beer and vermuth
What treasure, what wonder and what generous couth!
Said PZ “Now, sir, you must tend back to Jen
For methinks she is waiting for some lovin’ again!

I reached in the case but more than beverage I saw
T’was a coupon for pizza, poutine and cole slaw!
I thanked him and smiled, both some horny and famished
When PZ he pointed, “To thy bed ye be banished!”

Away he then flew with his wet, squishy crew
Into the cold night back to blog and review.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight:
“Happy Christmas, now back to pleasure Ms. Jen McCreight!

Man, you guys were great! I’m looking forward to seeing YouTube videos of these pop up closer to Christmas. Well, maybe the last one doesn’t need animation…

Thanks to everyone who participated!