Saturday, September 17, 2011


If you have an environment where organisms are able to leave but not enter (this is applicable to bacteria in animal intestines, just take my word for it), then you have a fairly unique situation. The population of that environment can expand only by reproduction, but it can be reduced either by death of the organisms or by their removal from the ecosystem. In that case the selection pressure to stay in that environment and the selection pressure to survive are equal. Depending on your beliefs you can look at Earth as such an environment with some other environment beyond, and death and movement to the beyond environment are biologically equal. Maybe intestinal bacteria would think about these things if they could. Dude.

Monday, August 1, 2011

T Par T

It would make my day if an active member of the Tea Party were to complain to me about the behavior of their children. It would be best if their children were feeling too entitled, throwing tantrums until they got their way, or being close minded and unreasonable. I would get a real kick out of that.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


A smart person can win all of their arguments.

A very smart person realizes that if he or she makes every argument about winning, then they won't have very many friends.

A genius is assumed correct before the argument begins.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Memory

Apparently if you spend one feverish night reading every entry in a web-comic, you will retain ideas in your subconscious. Once there, the ideas will be free to roll around for a while until they become attached to something and then return to your consciousness as an original idea. This particular "idea" comes almost word for word from xkcd, which I read once every day and twice MWF. I don't know that I can continue a blog of this type until I learn where ideas really come from.

On the bright side sequence massager is back online in all its painfully bright glory.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sequence Massager

Dear Creator of Sequence Massager,

I don't know who you are or how to find you, but I have something very important to tell you: Please renew your domain name and put your site back on the internet. I use the tools on your site almost everyday and though they were simple I do not want to try to recreate them. If you have no interest in continuing your service to humanity, please email me your source code for the site and I will register the domain. I pine in the absence of your bright yellowness.


Saturday, July 16, 2011


Every once and a while I learn something that I would have been happier not knowing. My typical response is to share that thing with others. The section of the intestinal tract closest to the rectum is called the floating colon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Potentially valuable items being sold by people who do not understand basic grammar? If I was a con artist I would definitely smell opportunity here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Well she did ...

Yeah, I have had a bit of a backlog of thoughts lately. Anyway, best times to say 'that's what she said':

Other person says:

"Well,  that was quick."

"I am not impressed."

"Are you finished yet?"

"Have you even started yet?"

"I guess I slept through it."

For all of the above it is best to hang your head a bit as you give the response.


Batteries are amazing! Today we have cars that can run for miles on a single battery charge, and flashlights can work for days before the batteries need to be replaced! So how come my electric razor battery dies with only half of my face shaved? Some batteries are amazing.

Working lunch

As a biologist working with organisms that smell like bread, the longer I put off lunch to continue working, the tastier agar plates start to look. Basically I get a different image in my head when I hear 'working lunch' than most people do.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cargo pants

The x-axis is education level. The y-axis is arbitrary units. I have never thought that cargo pants were cool, but I did think that they are a step above a manbag for carrying things, until my pants started to get really heavy.

I wanted to ask about a blog post

I bothers me a bit when someone asks a question in the form "I was going to ask you ...". I always want to say "Cool. So what are you going to do instead?"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You can be a leader or a follower

All my life I have heard that you can either be a follower. Experience tells me though, some people just walk alone.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

If you had asked me yesterday if we should kill or capture Bin Laden, I would have said capture. I am against capital punishment, and I do not think that killing someone is a just punishment for past crimes.
I was not consulted though, and when I woke up this morning he was dead. I must admit I feel a lot of relief at this loss of life, but I don't feel that this is in connection to Bin Laden's past deeds. I feel that this is an opportunity to undermine international terrorist movements by taking away their biggest figurehead. Someone has probably already stepped up to take his place, but they will not be a symbol in the same way he was.
I do feel some guilt for having positive feelings about the death of another person, but I feel that the world is a better place today than it was yesterday.

Note: I wrote most of this yesterday, but I am a busy guy and was not ready to post until today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


My perspective is that you are a nerd for a certain subject if you are willing to sacrifice humor about that subject to maintain accuracy. So far this is the only negative thing that I have come up with about being a nerd.

Friday, April 15, 2011


This is a one-player game intended only for those who regularly interact with others who use 'ass' as a compound adjective as in, "That is one sweet-ass car." Gameplay is simple: switch the hyphen and inflection such that 'ass' is no longer part of the adjective, but rather a compound noun as in. "That is one sweet ass-car." Player wins if he/she causes himself/herself/ to laugh aloud at their own unspoken joke.

You can't improve the world with a single thought, but you can improve your world that easily.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Irony deficient

Metaphorically 'biting off more than you can chew' is especially bitter when it causes you to miss meals.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This post only applies to people who believe in evolution, and if you don't believe in evolution than I have some penicillin you might like to buy.

As long as we use the current class of antibiotics to cure disease, then the only survival option for bacteria is to evolve or acquire resistance to the antibiotics that we throw at them. This is because antibiotics kill all bacteria, not just the ones that hurt us. if we can make something that specifically targets bacteria that are harming us, then we open the option for them to evolve to be harmless. Yeah, that is a nearly impossible task, but it is nice to think about.

Alternate lifestyle

This one goes out to all the men who believe in infinite alternate universes:
For every universe in which you get the girl, there are just as many where you are the girl. Scantily clad female versions of yourself should be enough to keep any man in their own reality.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Holliday Junctions

Am I judgmental for immediately disliking partial-Holliday Junctions because they are called partial-HJs in the scientific literature, or am I the most immature person to ever understand what a partial-Holliday Junction is?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Online humor is potentially the least expensive commodity. No one with the internet should ever pay for a laugh, and if you have a good source of humor and you want to make money from it, then you had better have a good business model.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


As more and more appliances in bathrooms become automatic, bathrooms become creepier and creepier. I was just minding my own business in the stall of an otherwise empty bathroom, and the paper towel dispenser next to the sink decides that I might then need a paper towel. I have also been in bathrooms when a toilette flushes of its own accord. Eventually all bathroom appliances will be networked so that they can alert staff when they are dirty, out of paper towels, etc. Then they will really start working together against us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Our country is at war; shouldn't we be doing peace reenactments?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Trying to be famous is like trying to win the lottery: you only marginally improve your chances, and you look really silly unless you succeed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I would like to define a new word: malinformation. Turns out I can't. After I spent a brief time with a google, I found that this is a word that already exists and gets some minimal usage.

I would like to redefine a minimally used word for my own purposes: malinformation. I am defining it to be as close to malnutrition as possible, but with knowledge in place of nutrients. People may be malinformed by having not enough of some or all types of knowledge, or they may have an imbalance of different types of knowledge. Edema is a swelling of the stomach that is a symptom of certain types of malnutrition. Egoma is a swelling of the head that is a symptom of certain types of malinformation.

Malinformation is often overlooked and rarely treated since the afflicted tend to avoid help rather than seek it. Recently though, Bill O'Reilly has come forward and presented his malinformation to the world, and I think that this is our chance to bring malinformation into the public consciousness. I propose the creation of the Bill O'Reilly Foundation for Malinformed Adults (BO'RFMA), and I propose that their first action as an organization be to help Mr. O'Reilly himself. The beauty of this organization is that you can make a world of difference for only the price of postage. Here is how it works: if you receive a science related magazine such as Science or Nature, or if there is a science section in another periodical that you receive, send them to
Fox News Headquarters
1211 Avenue of the Americas
NY 10020

with a note saying that they are for Bill O'Reilly or anyone else in their organization who has a debilitating lack of scientific knowledge. If you don't receive such a periodical then find a good website, such as this one, and email it to Mr. O'Reilly at With your support Mr. O'Reilly and those like him can look forward to a better future.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Game 2

Sometimes I like to play the Net Environmental benefit game. In this game you try to use environmental reasons to argue against something that is based on environmental reasons. If you are successful then you switch sides and you repeat until you fail to come up with a good argument. Here is an example of a round of the Net Environmental-benefit game:

In Vermont they don't use salt on the roads or sidewalks because it is bad for the local wildlife for all that salt to be washing over the ground and into rivers in the spring. Instead they put down sand which does not melt the ice but improves traction. Switch. Is there really a net environmental benefit if even one person falls and breaks a bone? What are the costs to the Earth's natural resources of making the x-ray and the cast, and the fact that most everything the patient touches in the hospital will be thrown away afterwards to prevent disease transmission? Switch. The salt affects more than just the wildlife, it also increases the rate of rusting of cars, meaning that more replacement parts must be made from our natural resources, and worthless rusty metal gets put in a junkyard somewhere. Game Over.


Sometimes pluralizing a single word can completely change the meaning of a sentence. For instance when someone says "Substance is really important to me" I think that person is deep, or at least trying to be. If someone says "Substances are really important to me" I think that person is into drugs.


I think that there should be a psychological study into learning motivated by smartasses. I recently realized that I have trained myself over the course of several years to say "water heater" instead of "hot water heater". This could be the birth of a whole new style of teaching.

NOTE: In order to heat water, the appliance itself must be hot. Thus it really is a "hot water heater," jerk.


When I am walking with someone towards an automatic door I try to reach the door a little ahead of them, stop, and say "Here, let me get that for you."

On a related note, revolving doors killed chivalry.


When I see that I have misspelled a word on my computer, I often right click on it rather than try to fix the mistake myself.
The "Learn Spelling" option has been catching my eye a lot recently and it makes me a bit defensive.