Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Climate change

Today I ordered the 2001 assessment on global climate change. You can download it as PDFs here.

Read about this report and BushCo's response to it here, in an article where Chris Mooney talks about the guy who blew the whistle on Philip Cooney.

I am ordering a hard copy of the report, because it is pertinent to my work as well as personal interest. I'll let you know what particularly interesting bits are there. In the meantime, you should check out the publications of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), something I'm particularly proud to have been a part of.

Something you won't see on Animal Planet

Spider Kama Sutra

If you have never visited the wonderful world of Pharyngula, please do. This entry is about how spiders have sex (very carefully). Includes some really cool photos. There are also articles about squid and octopus sex that you should not miss, but the articles that track the attempts by the wingnuttia to change the very definition of science are hard to beat, and most of the comments are first rate.

He sounds kinda outraged to me

The NYT talks about the film The Aristocrats:

But one conservative commentator said that the lack of a rating was just an attempt to create controversy for a movie that would otherwise die in indie obscurity.

"I don't see it as an assault on anything, because it's not a film anybody's going to see, it's not a film that anybody cares about," said Michael Medved, a syndicated talk show host and conservative writer. "What we're seeing here is a desperate attempt to get attention for a project by outraging people, and I stubbornly refuse to be outraged."

Several months ago, Frank Rich of the same NYT told a wonderful tale of hearing a version of this joke from comic Gilbert Gottfried at some kind of roast dinner. It was during the time after 9-11 where everyone was afraid to tell jokes. Rich says this was just so in-your-face, it was like Gottfried was just daring the audience to laugh. Yes, it certainly sounds like a shocking and even juvenile joke, but Medved makes such a point of being the public prude that his dissing is more of a recommendation than a dismissal.

I get a little sick and tired of this....

Some idjit commits suicide-by-cop in the Seattle Federal Courthouse, and has some people feeling sorry for him:

Manley, to be sure, espoused views many would consider extreme. He believed the pro-choice movement was unconstitutional because it gave women rights that men do not have. A woman, for example, may decide whether to abort, adopt or keep her child, while men, he felt, are simply fathers, required to step up if she so demands.

Look, fellas, if you don't want to be responsible for children, don't father any!

If the court denies you custody, you still have children that you are responsible for. I am under the impression that joint custody is the norm in Washington State, and the court has to have some reason to grant custody to one parent over the other. If dads behave irresponsibly (or criminally for that matter), then they can lose custody, and then their responsibility to their children defaults to contributing part of their paycheck to help raise them. They may only get to see the kids supervised, on holidays. I don't know why Manley lost custody, but I am inclined to think maybe his ex had reason to sue for sole custody. Apparently Manley thought this was unfair.

I have a poor view, generally, of the "fathers' rights" crowd. My observation is that the courts try to keep joint custody arrangements in place even when it is not in the best interest of the child - for example, when the father has remarried, has little connection to his "old family," and the child doesn't want any contact with the dad. The kid doesn't get a say one way or the other until they are considered old enough for such input by the court (12 or 14), even if they come home from a weekend at dad's angry and acting out.

Women have been forced to deal with the long-term ramifications of having children as a matter of course, including losing contact with them (or just losing them, period). It's about time men did the same.

Really, this all about sex, and control of women's lives and bodies. Sometimes women don't consult men when they decide whether or not to bear a child. But the father is always present when a baby is being "made." That is the point at which men need to acknowledge their agency in the process. Don't give me sob stories about not being consulted about whether to have the child or not - men are capable of putting on a condom or of simply keeping it in their pants if there is going to be an issue if an embryo gets implanted. I'm sick and tired of men taking no responsibility for sex, but then assuming they have the right to determine the outcome.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Boy, I'm sure glad Bill Frist isn't my doctor. I am so glad to have a doctor who actually examines me in person, and even insists on the occasional screening or diagnostic test. I am so glad I have a doctor who doesn't try to diagnose major brain injuries via selected bits of videotape.

Isn't it against medical ethics to make a diagnosis without even examining a patient? Will some brave soul lodge a complaint against this charlatan's medical license?


Cooney hired by Exxon

Philip A. Cooney, the former White House staff member who repeatedly revised government scientific reports on global warming, will go to work for Exxon Mobil this fall, the oil company said yesterday.

I have no doubt there will be very good jobs waiting for all the crooks and liars in this administration....even Kommamder KooKoo.

I don't think other oil companies are really any better, still I am proud that I have never filled up at an Exxon (or Mobil) station since March of 1989. I worked on damage assessment for the Exxon Valdez spill, and got hints of how it affected Native communities in the area around Prince William Sound. Many of these people are subsistence hunters and fisherfolk - even now obtaining a significant part of their food from subsistence activities. Our lab has done a lot of work over the years with people in Alaska and British Columbia who depend at least partially on "country foods," that is, traditional diets. They seem to be a lot more aware of where their food comes from, and the threats to their food supply, than those of us who just go to the market to obtain food. I have also begun to appreciate the importance traditional diets, and everything surrounding them, still has in the daily lives of Native peoples - from the knowledge needed for harvesting and using traditional foods, to the social networks the trading of food engenders and strengthens.

Exxon is still dragging it's feet regarding payouts for damage from the spill. In hiring Cooney, they further broadcast their contempt for all of us who care about the environment, about environmental stewardship and responsibility. Remember that next time you fill up.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I've been a bad blogger lately.....other things have gotten in the way the last few weeks.

I have been finding some interesting science blogs, though. Many of them can be found on Blogspot.

Some interesting science blogs are Effect Measure (about epidemiology) and Pharyngula (evolutionary biology). I also like Bouphonia's Friday nudibranch blogging - it sure has cat blogging beat!

Oh, and via Atrios (I couldn't find the story at any newspaper sites), it looks like the guy who doctored those reports on global climate change for the White House has had to resign! I wonder how that came about.