Fun with Cloning!

So Slate has an article (as do other newsplaces) about whether we should clone a neanderthal. This idea is most excellent.

Not that I think we should. I like the idea because there's so much to consider! On the one hand, we could really truly find out (to the degree that the scientists are confident they didn't fuck up the clone) whether neanderthals could talk and what they looked like walking around and stuff.

On the other hand, the poor thing would be nothing more than a science experiment and nobody at all would know how to properly parent it. There is no neanderthal Dr. Spock to consult.

On the other other hand, we all remember the hilarity that resulted from a similar experiment in Encino Man. Maybe if we include Pauly Shore in the process it would be ok.

But basically every argument for doing this makes it feel more cruel to the resulting neanderthal. Nobody wants their whole life to be some science fair project.

There's your jumping off point. I wish this could be a Campus Center lunch table discussion, but alas those days are behind me. Please, instead, discuss via comments.


::Looks left::

Woah, my sidebar changed! Now it has a bunch of easy-to-add widgets with things like who follows my blog, whose blogs i follow, and pictures from my it's-been-a-while Flickr page. Basically I like playing with layouts so when Google/Blogger made it easy, I had to try. As soon as they release a "Whose Souls You Own" widget I'll add that one too.

KPd, I'm not sure how I can add myself as a follower of your blog, but if you add the Followers widget (ok there must be a better name for that) I'll try to figure out how to put myself on the list.

Oh also, bsom, you now owe me a link, by your I-link-your-blog-you-link-mine rule =D

So anyway, who's giddy about this election? It's like the night before a first date. I'm mostly excited but a little bit nervous (currently 1.9% nervous1). Tomorrow I'll prepare (vote!), put on a special outfit (i'm hoping to find an Obama t-shirt for sale on the street somewhere) and then get increasingly giddy as the day wears on until at last, following office hours with Professor Google, I'll meet my next president. If I'm lucky, he'll be the man of my dreams—or at least good enough for the next four to eight years. And then, after what I now hope is a perfect evening, I'll finally drop this metaphor.

So Vote! Vote Obama! And if you're a New York State voter, vote Obama via the Working Families Party and the rest of the Working Families Party-endorsed candidates in Row E. Happy lever-pulling!

1. Nate Silver, you owe me a link now too!


Things that are ridiculous

I don't like Sarah Palin. She stands for many, many things I disagree with. She calls me, and everybody at all like me in any way (live in the same city; have the same education level; share any of the same opinions) elitist and anti-American. She doesn't trust me to make my own decisions about what to do with my body.

That said, she doesn't deserve a lot of the criticism that she receives. The latest in this series of undeserved panning has been this business about her clothing. It's one thing for Cindy McCain to have paid over a quarter of a million dollars on one outfit. But I'm not surprised at all that a woman so much in the public eye would have paid $150,000 in a month on clothing. It's been, say 45 days. That's $3,000 per day, or probably about $2,500 per appearance. That's about what a fancy suit costs.

Men can get away with wearing the same two or three $2,500 suits for months on end. As long as they have enough ties to switch in, they're good to go. Women's clothing—even women's suits—come in all kids of fancy colors and styles. And somebody is going to notice at some point along the way if she's wearing the same few suits over and over, or if she's wearing sub-par clothing. Sarah Palin did not create the world that expects women to be pretty and perfect all the time, but she must live in it, and she must do so under severe media scrutiny—more than any other vice presidential candidate, I dare say.

This election cycle brings a set of issues more important than many that have faced this country in a long time. There's a financial crisis; we're stuck in a quagmire1 in Iraq and are losing ground in Afghanistan; we're about to see a sea change in the United States' position in the world. Governor Palin is not ready to face any of these challenges. Her wardrobe has nothing to do with this.

Yes. Please. Criticize Sarah Palin. But do it for the right reasons. She's wrong about choice. She's wrong about international relations. She's wrong about health care. She's wrong about offshore drilling. Name an issue, she's probably wrong about it. Fashion is the last thing that matters in this election. The anti-elitism, while proven hypocritical by this whole designer clothing thing, is still only tangential to the core problem with the rabid anti-elitism in the Republican party. So please, leave Sarah Palin alone when it comes to her latest outfit and dig into her politics.

1. Yes. I said it. Quagmire.


What the hell, Wall Street?

Hokay. Here's how I understand this financial crisis:

A bunch of people wanted to buy houses. They couldn't afford mortgages. But they really wanted those houses! So they applied for loans anyway.

A bunch of fly-by-night lenders approved the loans, either knowing full-well that the borrowers didn't have the income to pay them off, or not even bothering to look into the matter.

A bunch of real banks/lenders bought these loans, not bothering to look into where they came from, who owed the money... Essentially they had to clue what they were buying, and didn't bother to look closely at who was doing the selling.

Lots of these home "owners" couldn't pay off their mortgages. So instead of loans, the banks owned a bunch of houses. Easy enough--just sell them again! There's a housing boom!

... No, there isn't. Not when this many houses are being foreclosed all around. It's pretty much a housing bust. Good luck getting even half of what that loan was worth.

So now all these major banks and lenders are SOL because they didn't bother looking at what they were spending oodles of money on.

But not to worry! The government will bail you out! We love welfare! Especially when it's going to a bunch of rich bankers who should have been smarter than to buy things they had no knowledge of.

So now $5,000 of every American's money is about to go toward these idiots who got themselves into this mess in the first place.

This is essentially what would happen if you took how things ought to work and flipped it upside-down. The free market doesn't work if it gets bailed out every time it makes huge mistakes. This should be a never-work-in-this-town-again situation, not a poor-fannie-mae-we-got-your-back situation. Things are gonna suck for a few years because of this debacle, no matter what, but taxpayers already in up to their ears in military spending shouldn't have to bail out a bunch of huge corporations on top of it.


like the "new" cars in Maine...

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

i'm glad somebody else is noticing this.


Summer storms

So yesterday, A. and I went to the Clearwater Folk Festival in Croton Point Park in Westchester. It's only about 25 miles, so we biked up. I also had packed my multitool, and therefore couldn't switch my pedals, so we did the ride on fixed gears.

First we stopped up by Washington Heights for some diner breakfast. Mmm.... grapefruit juice that's really pink lemonade from a powder, and a spinach-and-american omelette instead of spinach-and-feta. Oh well.

Those hills were tough, but great! I only had the guts to unclip once on the downhill. Then the pedals were going way too fast to catch up with them until halfway up the uphill. So after that I just spun really fast.

Then it started to drizzle.

Then it started to rain.

I made up a song about rain, and how great it was, because it was hot so it was nice to get wet.

Then it rained more.

I got sick of my song.

We stopped under a gas station pavilion to wait out the storm for a bit and have some gatorade. We were getting close.

We caught up with the storm just before we got to Croton and to the festival. Yay!

We located the Time's Up! tent and valet-parked our bikes. Then we wandered around a bit, only to discover that we'd missed Pete Seeger and the rest of the performances were rained out. Oh well.

So we explored until we found a bar serving burgers and beer. Then we found the Croton Reservoir, with its awesome dam, and explored around there a bit. Then back to Croton to hop on MetroNorth and come home. Not the day we'd planned, but overall pretty awesome.


i'm free!

no more trials today. now i get a paper that, if i don't lose it, keeps me out of jury duty for the next 8 years. too bad i'm not the greatest at not losing pieces of paper. in other news, a NY congressman fathered a child with his mistress. They have MSNBC on the tv's.

who's bright idea was it to start my last name with an R? they're releasing us in alphabetical order. jerks.

i am le tired. maybe i'll have a nap.

still not on an actual jury...

just sitting in the waiting room. they've called all of 25 names; slow day at the courts i guess.

but i did manage to escape annoying-won't-shut-up-kinda-creepy dude. i made a getaway at lunch! then hid in a different corner of the room. it was pretty harrowing.

How to fill out a form

Apparently, jurors have trouble filling out forms. The NYS court system seems to think this process needs to be explained at least four times: once on the form, once when you arrive, once after the movie, and again right after that just for good measure. i'm not sure i would trust somebody who doesn't know how to fill out their employment information on a form to be on my jury.

A history of Jury Duty: brought to you by 1992

It's the 'make you feel better about being here' video portion of the morning! Highlights:

A bunch of medieval people just threw a dude into the water.

Its Ed Brantley of 60 Minutes! And some 90's-tastic generic hopeful music!

"... and, what is this service called jury duty anyway?"

"The romans threw out [the idea of the jury] and substituted it with judges and [something]..." [picture of Jesus!] Nothing like religious guilt to make people want to serve on jury duty. Especially that Hasid next to me--that Jesus thing will really get him into it.

Now it's Dianne Sawyer! I bet the South Dakota court doesn't have this kind of star power for their jury duty video.

And now for a who's-who of the courtroom, featuring "the opposite of the stereotypical person for each job!":

 - the black female judge!
 - the white male stenographer!
 - the racially ambiguous cops!
 - the black dude and white woman lawyers (hey, it's just like the democratic primary!)

"If you are excused during [jury selection] it is in no way a reflection on your intelligence or integrity." ... Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they try to dismiss the really smart people.

Woah. it's a dude with that shaved-on-the-bottom, ponytail-on-the-top haircut from middle school.

Jury duty wooo!

Maybe people wouldn't hate it so much if they got to sleep later. 8:30? That's like high school early.

... For real this time

So due to blogger being blocked by the brooklyn supreme court, and to my postponing jury duty, my little liveblogging experiment failed. But no worry! I'll try again tomorrow, with the awesome post-by-email function! I'll also be madly trying to finish my last homeworks of the semester, so we'll see just how much of each gets done. Oh, also I should probably be juring or whatever.

But I have high hopes. So see y'all tomorrow! Er... later today! Word.


ooh i need a badass EVENT TITLE

holy carp! i fell behind. though not as behind as i am on my homework, so you can't be too angry.

to make it up to you, this wednesday, the 23rd of april (hey, that's today! ... technically), i'll be...


so, if you're the sort of person who checks your friends blogs from work, via rss feed or by clicking the reload button every 5 minutes, boy are you in for a treat!

disclaimers: there may be very little to post about. and if i get a really good idea for how to next debug my homework, there may be some dead air for a bit. or perhaps a clogging of the tubes. but i hear the NYC courts have very good wireless, so that part shouldn't be a problem.


my very own randall's island adventure

so i know a number of people who've gotten lost on randall's island. this is just what happens when you ride a bike and have to get between upper manhattan, queens, and/or the bronx. so whoever's experienced this rite of passage for themselves will know this story already.

so i was going from harlem to astoria. looking at the map, it was just so much faster to take the triborough than to ride all the way down to the queensboro and back up. and i'd taken that route twice already in the other direction, how hard could it be?

so i set out. found the manhattan side of the bridge NO PROBLEM. i RULE! i just had to remember how to do the rest of it. luckily, at the bottom of the bridge was a sign directing me that queens was to the left. RAWK!

unfortunately, this sign was intended for cars. before i knew it, but not until it was too late to turn back, i was on a highway onramp! oh carp! then i was on the shoulder of a major highway. there's an experience i don't need to repeat. EVER.

but lo! what should appear but a separated pedestrian/bike path! i hopped the cement divider and quickly discovered that this path has been closed for a long time. no matter, i can handle a little trash! and debris! and construction cones... and... broom handles...

what i can't handle is when the path ends and empties back onto the highway. at this point i'm starting to remember DB and NJ's story of their heroic journey from the bronx back to queens last year sometime. so like our motto in ireland ('cows have been here!' meaning, there's cow poop on these rocks so they must be navigable), the thought 'bikes have been here!' was at least a little comforting. that and the realization that a path that has an end must also have a beginning. ...and the hope that that beginning is not a 20 foot drop into sewage or something.

i turn around, re-braving the broom handles, construction cones, debris, and trash, and find my way to the beginning of the path. and it begins at a closed chainlink fence. but through the chanlink fence is a parking lot where i've been before! hoorah!

i find a spot from which to drop my bike (::sniff::), then go and climb over the fence. i retrieve my bike and it seems to have no permanent damage (yay IRO! so tough!).

oh! i forgot! before hopping the fence, there were some very seedy characters driving and running around the parking lot. they were probably just fucking around. but in the dark, with my already-adrenalized mind, i decided to duck in case they were committing some crime for which the only kind of witness they needed was a dead witness. nobody wants to be the next true story an episode of law and order is based on. so i ducked. they left and didn't seem to notice me.

anyhoo, i got over the fence, retrieved my bike, and continued on my merry way. i found the road down the island—the bike safe one!—and saw, in the distance, a blinky light! i followed the other bike, trying to be as un-creepy about it as possible, until it turned on to the queens triboro bike path.

smooth sailing (well, besides those pesky stairs that aren't very well marked and that, luckily, i knew were there) all the way into queens. success!


in which i return to blogging

if all goes well1, this post marks my triumphant return to the blogotubes.

a lot has happened in the six or so months since my last post (and, i admit, republished-comic-as-blog-post is weak. even if the comic itself spoke to me on a deep personal level. so maybe let's say the seven or so months since my last post). what are these lots of things, you ask? let's see...

::time-travel-indicating squiggly lines::
(     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (
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 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
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 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
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 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
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 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
(     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (
 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
(     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (
 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
(     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (     (
 )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )     )
::/time-travel-indicating squiggly lines::

  • i got hit by a car
    some official vehicle made a right hand turn into where i was riding my bike. neither i nor my bike was badly hurt, but mom replaced my helmet just in case. bastard never sent me his insurance info.
  • i quit my job
    no more soul-sucking no-appreciation advertising work for me! i'm entering the wonderful world of student loan debt. living off of loans entirely, until i hopefully find the elusive paid internship this summer, and then again until i hopefully acquire the even more elusive google summer internship next summer2, i will soon be a master of computer science.
  • i started school
    see above.
  • election 2008
    ... continued. granted, i hadn't really said much, or anything, about it. but according to jon stewart, the gloves came off last january. then they came off this january. how many pairs of gloves are hillary and barack wearing, exactly? i'm so ready for this primary season to be over.
  • writers' strike
    proving that reality television can hold the networks over for quite a long time. and that jon stewart and stephen colbert aren't half bad at ad-libbing.
    in which a bunch of dirty queer anarchist punks go up to maine for an extended weekend of lounging around in the woods by a lake. then we go to the beehive collective where we explode from all the mutual crushes, and from the awesome power of the megaflute.
  • lots more biking
    including a 95-mile century3, getting lost in queens at least 3 times, riding into a whole nother state (jersey!), riding around in a whole nother city (philly!), and getting 5th girl at cranksgiving, my second real alleycat. resulting in losing so much weight i started to wonder if i eat enough4.
  • a wedding on the beach
    not my wedding, silly! my cousin sarah. there was even a rainbow.
  • a wedding on a ranch
    still not my wedding. stop that. this was my cousin annelisa. it even had barbecue, and flashy-light wine glasses. and i wore my cowboy boots. and at least 3 people brought up my wedding and when will that happen and what will it be like and blah blah blah, which is just so much fun when you're single and 25.
  • everyone took their links to my blog off of their blogs
    well, everyone who still blogs. i'ma have to send this out to them special delivery.

that's it for now! maybe i'll explain the above picture next week! who knows?

1. read: if i don't just forget this grand plan a week from now. this plan is about one post per week, starting with this one.
2. any help you, dear reader, can give me in this endeavor will be much appreciated.
3. i invented the 95-mile century, biotch.
4. don't worry, i'm right smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range.