When genetics teaching goes very, very bad

Sometimes, when you’re teaching simple Mendelian genetics you have to make up fictitious scenarios, because real genetics is significantly more complicated than introductory students can handle. It’s an approach with pitfalls, though, because you don’t want students to think they can use your toy examples to model reality. There’s also a history of bad genetics misapplied to imply that genetics is reducible to pairs of alleles with only dominant and recessive relationships. I’ve invented simple Mendelian models for my classes, but I usually do something like make a story problem with Martians to avoid any confusion with reality.

But then, some genetics teachers, like Alex Nguyen of Luther Burbank High School invent story problems with a) imaginary human traits, b) traits that correspond to racist stereotypes, and c) assign them to specific, named students in the school. That’s not only misleading, it’s unethical. It’s shamefully bad pedagogy.

Here are some sample questions he actually used in a genetics test. These questions were so bad that a student quickly reported it to the school administration, and within ten minutes the principal showed up to confiscate the exam. And Nguyen tried to continue the test by projecting the questions on an overhead projector! I guess he didn’t get the message.

In high school, there are individuals who are cross-eyed like (the name of a student) and (another name of a student), which is a dominant trait. We call those individuals ‘weirdoes.’ So, if you crossed two weirdoes (the two students named again), that are heterozygous for being cross-eyed, what is the offspring that would result?

Crossed eyes are not a strongly heritable trait, and calling students “weirdos”?

For some reason, the African American culture has influenced most of the student body. How? In African Americans, they have a gene for the pimp walk, which is dominant. What is the result if you cross (student name) homozygous dominant Latina with a homozygous recessive Hmong like (student name)?

“Pimp walk” is not a heritable trait, the Hmong don’t have an unusual walk, and why is he tying this to a Latina student?

Here at the wonderful school of LBHS, we have certain students who love to sleep in class,” the question said. “I even see students fall asleep during exams! Can you believe that?! I don’t like it when students sleep in class… it’s rude! So, WAKE THE #$%K UP! Well, through much study, I have concluded that the gene for falling asleep is dominant. Not only that some students sleep, they snore in class. This too is a dominant trait. What are the possible offspring if you cross a homozygous sleeping, heterozygous snoring student (student name) with a homozygous attentive, non-snoring (student name) student?

Oh god. Do I need to say it? These are not heritable traits.

Human heredity can be very complicated when dealing with SO many traits. Luckily for you, the most that we have dealt with are two trait combinations. Every person on earth has certain body and shapes and this includes their facial structure. Some people have an oval facial structure like (student name) and other people can have a round face like (student name) while others may exhibit a square facial structure like (student name). That is why we make so many different shapes and sizes of glasses. While focusing on facial struct, we also have to consider people’s heights. There are tall people like (student name), mediaum and short people. Determine all possible offspring when (student name) RrTt person is crossed with an (student name) rrTT person.

Well, good for him for introducing dihybrid traits, but things like the shape of the face are polygenic, and not reducible to a simple Mendelian allele, and height has a huge environmental component.

Alex Nguyen was swiftly placed on administrative leave, and replaced with a substitute the next day. The “investigation” continues, but I don’t see why — they’ve caught him red-handed, they’ve got the exam he distributed, they should just fire him for racism and incompetence. And he’s been teaching for over a decade? That tells me there is something deeply wrong about the teaching of genetics in public schools.

Nobody here but us chickens

I’m still waiting for my black widow egg sacs to hatch out, and I’m getting a little concerned. My lab is still a frigid cold victim of bad environmental controls in my building — 17°C (62°F) — and although I’ve got the little guys packed up in incubators, I also have to worry about very low humidity, under 30%. I’ve been shopping for incubators with both thermal and humidity control, but it’s a terrible mistake to try looking in scientific supply catalogs. $1500? For a little 0.2L box? That’s not going to do.

So I resorted to Amazon, and searched for egg hatching stuff. Here we go — there’s a mass market demand for incubators for chicken eggs, so that’s what I got.

There we go, Egg Incubator, Intelligent Incubator for Chicken Eggs with Automatic Humidity Control and Egg Turning, Temperature control, 15 Eggs Incubator for Hatching Eggs&Quail egg with Egg Candler. $40. I just calibrated it, and am waiting for it to stabilize at 30°C and 75% humidity. I disabled the egg turning, and don’t have much use for an egg candler. I think they need to adjust their ad copy to mention Spider Eggs.

I’m still keeping my eyes open for a used scientific-grade incubator, but this will do. I also think the physical plant people need to get on the ball and get the environmental controls properly balanced — my lab is a refrigerator all summer long, while some of the offices are saunas, I hear. I complain every year, but nothing is ever done.

Anyone else curious what the final solution might be?

I haven’t read this new book by Jack Posobiec, so I don’t know how it ends. Can you guess? While you’re at it, maybe you can identify who the Unhumans are.

If you don’t understand communist revolutions, you aren’t ready for what’s coming.

The old rules are over. The old order is over. Accusations are evidence. Activism means bigotry and hate. Criminals are allowed to roam free. Citizens are locked up. An appetite for vengeance is unleashed—to deplatform, debank, destroy. This is the daily news, yet none of it’s new. Patterns from the past make sense of our present. They also foretell a terrifying future we might be condemned to endure.

For nearly 250 years, far-left uprisings have followed the same battle plans—from the first call for change to last innocent executed, from denial a revolution is even happening to declaration of the new order. Unhumans takes readers on a shocking, sweeping, and succinct journey through history to share the untold stories of radical takeovers that textbooks don’t teach.

And there is one conclusion: We’re in a new revolution right now.

But this is not a book about ideology or politics. Unhumans reveals that communism, socialism, Marxism, and all other radical-isms are not philosophies but tactics—tactics that are specifically designed to unleash terror on everyday people and revoke their human rights to life, liberty, and property. These are the forces of unhumanity. This is what they do. Every. Single. Time. Unhumans steals their playbook, breaks apart their strategies piece by piece, and lays out the tactics of what it takes to fight back—and win, using real-world examples.

Unhumans is the essential read for every concerned citizen both of the US and worldwide. We must stop what is coming.

I have a sneaking suspicion that he might be talking about us.

Maybe the reviews will give us a hint.

“In the past, communists marched in the streets waving red flags. Today, they march through HR, college campuses, and courtrooms to wage lawfare against good, honest people. In Unhumans, Jack Posobiec and Joshua Lisec reveal their plans and show us what to do to fight back.”
—J. D. Vance, Senator (R-OH)

“Jack Posobiec sees the big picture and isn’t afraid to describe it. He’s been punished for that, but it makes him one of the rare people worth listening to.”
—Tucker Carlson

“The far Left murdered 100 million people in the twentieth century and have repeatedly shown that they will stop at nothing to achieve their totalitarian goals. They have torn down countless societies using a sophisticated playbook of propaganda. The only way to stop them in the future is to use their own subversive playbook against them. Unhumans reveals that playbook and teaches us how to deploy it immediately to save the West.”
—Donald Trump, Jr.

“We are now living through an era of irregular warfare. This is a gray-zone communist revolution by new means. Unhumans exposes their battle plans and offers a fifth-generation warfare system to fight back and win.”
—Lt. Gen., USA (Ret.) Michael T. Flynn

“Jack Posobiec and Joshua Lisec have written one of the most important books of the year—or any year, for that matter. Unhumans teaches that the events Americans are living through now are not without precedent. There is a pattern to these events—a ‘gray-zone communist revolution’—and if we do not wish to repeat the pattern, we must act intelligently to stop the destructive plans of the ‘unhumans.’ This is truly a must-read book for every patriotic American.”
—Robert Stacy McCain, The American Spectator

“With beauty, rhythm, and prose more often seen in fiction, Unhumans is a breakneck adventure through millennia of human history. Posobiec and Lisec guide the reader through Ancient Rome, Maoist China, Franco’s Spain, and more as they chronicle the awesome and ancient battle between civilization and uncivilization, humans and unhumans. Placing the current culture war in historical perspective, Unhumans teaches readers to combat the tyrannical forces that have crumbled empires—and that have come for our own.”
—Dr. Peter Boghossian

I appreciate that those fascist scumbags are willing to put their names on their odious ideas, at least.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another

I woke up this morning with terrible sharp pains in my knee — I guess I’d been sleeping too hard. Naturally, an article titled Assessment of the efficacy of alkaline water in conjunction with conventional medication for the treatment of chronic gouty arthritis: A randomized controlled study caught my eye. Maybe it wasn’t about sleeping in an awkward position at all, but rather, I hadn’t been drinking sufficiently alkalized water! That would be easily fixed. I waded through all the statistics to get to the final summary diagram.

Mechanism diagram of alkaline water treatment for chronic gouty arthritis.

I am reassured that my tibia and fibula, and that unexpected third lower limb bone, have not yet begun to regress and break up into little tarsal bones. I don’t know about whether I’m full of pink and purple crystals, but who knows? Maybe my knee crystals were triggered into deaghtin citcliaell geucis.

This paper was the work of the Guangdong Provincial Hydroelectric Hospital & Paper Mill. How can you not trust it?

What happened to the New Atheism?

I’ve been a bit withdrawn lately, with concerns over personal matters. As I tend to do, I retreated into self-absorbed uselessness. I did get three lectures organized for my new fall class, though, so that’s something…and I also started thinking about a far less productive question. What the heck happened to the New Atheism? I used to be loosely associated with that “movement,” although nowadays I’m more inclined to repudiate it.

Transcript down below
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If you’re wondering where I’m at

This morning, I wrote an obituary and contacted a probate lawyer, so that’s where I’m at. I did post a video that I’d mostly written last week, and this morning I’m going to spend some quiet time feeding the spiders.

I’m also actively avoiding human contact, but that’s mostly normal for me.

My sisters have been gathering photos for a memorial service next week. Here’s Mom in the 1950s with her beau:

And the last photo I have of her, looking dignified and a bit tired: