23 October 2008

Exit Poll

Thanks for all your votes in the "Nathan's Halloween Costume" Poll. Looks like Cute Little Bug won by an antenna! I'll take that into consideration.

17 October 2008

Vote! Vote! Vote!

New poll! Vote for a potential costume for Nathan's first Halloween.

If you vote for "Other", please leave your suggestion in the comments.

Everybody needs to vote!

Of course, voting in political matters is important. But this is about something else, entirely.

My beautiful and wonderful friend Sherida entered a photo in a contest, and she is one of the finalists!

Please, please, please go HERE and vote for her (Name: Sherida; Blog: My Life).

[Willow sent me some adorable pictures of the New Boy that I was supposed to submit to this contest, but I got distracted with some life-related stuff, so I never sent them in. Oh, well, Willow's pictures will win next time.]

14 October 2008


I HATE Lauren Conrad.

I know, I know. I shouldn't even mention her name, because just putting it on my blog raises her media profile. We should actually all stop talking about her, pretend she doesn't exist, and she'll just dry up and disappear.

I don't watch MTV, so I'd never even heard of her or The Hills until the Fug Girls (very correctly) panned her fashion show. [Pretty much everyone agrees that the Lauren Conrad Collection, the "line of clothing" that she "designs", is truly tacky, not to mention overpriced.] Since then, I have gradually become aware of how pervasive she is in media, apparently earning lots of money not only from her show, but from lucrative endorsement deals, and maybe even sales of her clothing, even though I don't know who would buy it except blind people and impressionable adolescent girls who idolize Lauren Conrad because they are too immature to realize that she is plastic, shallow, and talentless. Recently, Ms. Conrad even inked a deal to "write" some young adult "fiction" "books". And to think that while she cashes in on her fame-whore celebrity, there are legitimately gifted young designers and writers who are struggling and looking for their big breaks.

The silver lining on this pop culture cloud is the fact that, this world being what it is, Ms. Conrad's proverbial 15 minutes of fame are winding down, and our media will be largely free of her soon enough (within 2 years, is my guess). And after that, she can actually complete her supposed schooling at FIDM, and potentially find her niche as a lead designer for K-Mart, which is pretty much an appropriate aim for someone of her tastes and abilities.

04 October 2008

2008 Ig Nobel Prizes Awarded

The Annals of Improbable Research proudly present the Ig Nobel Prizes, awarded for "Research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK."

The 2008 winners were announced last Thursday night, 2 October 2008, in a ceremony at Harvard University.

NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.
REFERENCE: "The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips," Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence, Journal of Sensory Studies, vol. 19, October 2004, pp. 347-63.
PEACE PRIZE. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.
REFERENCE: "The Dignity of Living Beings With Regard to Plants. Moral Consideration of Plants for Their Own Sake"
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Urs Thurnherr, member of the committee.
ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE. Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo.
REFERENCE: "The Role of Armadillos in the Movement of Archaeological Materials: An Experimental Approach," Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino, Geoarchaeology, vol. 18, no. 4, April 2003, pp. 433-60.
BIOLOGY PRIZE. Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert,, and Michel Franc of Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, France for discovering that the fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than the fleas that live on a cat.
REFERENCE: "A Comparison of Jump Performances of the Dog Flea, Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis, 1826) and the Cat Flea, Ctenocephalides felis felis (Bouche, 1835)," M.C. Cadiergues, C. Joubert, and M. Franc, Veterinary Parasitology, vol. 92, no. 3, October 1, 2000, pp. 239-41.
MEDICINE PRIZE. Dan Ariely of Duke University, USA, for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine.
REFERENCE: "Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy," Rebecca L. Waber; Baba Shiv; Ziv Carmon; Dan Ariely, Journal of the American Medical Association, March 5, 2008; 299: 1016-1017.
COGNITIVE SCIENCE PRIZE. Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido University, Japan, Hiroyasu Yamada of Nagoya, Japan, Ryo Kobayashi of Hiroshima University, Atsushi Tero of Presto JST, Akio Ishiguro of Tohoku University, and Ágotá Tóth of the University of Szeged, Hungary, for discovering that slime molds can solve puzzles.
REFERENCE: "Intelligence: Maze-Solving by an Amoeboid Organism," Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Hiroyasu Yamada, and Ágota Tóth, Nature, vol. 407, September 2000, p. 470.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Ryo Kobayashi, Atsushi Tero
ECONOMICS PRIZE. Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that a professional lap dancer's ovulatory cycle affects her tip earnings.
REFERENCE: "Ovulatory Cycle Effects on Tip Earnings by Lap Dancers: Economic Evidence for Human Estrus?" Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, Brent D. Jordan, Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 28, 2007, pp. 375-81.
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Geoffrey Miller and Brent Jordan
PHYSICS PRIZE. Dorian Raymer of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and Douglas Smith of the University of California, San Diego, USA, for proving mathematically that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.
REFERENCE: "Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String," Dorian M. Raymer and Douglas E. Smith, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 42, October 16, 2007, pp. 16432-7.
CHEMISTRY PRIZE. Sharee A. Umpierre of the University of Puerto Rico, Joseph A. Hill of The Fertility Centers of New England (USA), Deborah J. Anderson of Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School (USA), for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong of Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang (all of Taiwan) for discovering that it is not.
REFERENCE: "Effect of 'Coke' on Sperm Motility," Sharee A. Umpierre, Joseph A. Hill, and Deborah J. Anderson, New England Journal of Medicine, 1985, vol. 313, no. 21, p. 1351.
REFERENCE: "The Spermicidal Potency of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola," C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang, Human Toxicology, vol. 6, no. 5, September 1987, pp. 395-6. [NOTE: THE JOURNAL LATER CHANGED ITS NAME. NOW CALLED "Human & experimental toxicology"]
WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Deborah Anderson, and C.Y. Hong's daughter Wan Hong
LITERATURE PRIZE. David Sims of Cass Business School. London, UK, for his lovingly written study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations."
REFERENCE: "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations," David Sims, Organization Studies, vol. 26, no. 11, 2005, pp. 1625-40.

Fall Cleaning

I am working on cleaning and organizing stuff (and goodness knows, it's way beyond needed). Thus, I emptied EVERYTHING out of Nathan's diaper bag. This is what I found:
  • Four diapers (no surprises there)
  • Changing pad (came with the bag)
  • Small container of Butt Paste diaper rash ointment (Despite the silly name, this is quite good stuff for diaper rash.)
  • Small packet of Huggies Sensitive baby wipes
  • Regular container of Huggies Cucumber and Green Tea baby wipes (I swear I am not getting a kickback from Huggies, but I've found that these wipes are the only ones that do not give Nathan a reaction.)
  • One burp cloth
  • Re-usable Target bag (www.greenbag.info)
  • One packet of Sweet-n-Low
  • One disposable changing pad
  • A pacifier cover (But no pacifier; gotta find that.)
  • A rubber-covered baby spoon
  • Plastic bag, folded up
  • Several napkins
  • A tissue
  • Packet of spearmint Trident that has seen better days
  • Eye drops that expired 10/04 (Huh? Why didn't I throw that out 4 years ago?)
  • Six ball-point pens
  • One felt-tip pen
  • Three Sharpie pens
  • A bottle of homeopathic teething relief tablets (No matter what I think of homeopathic "medicine", these, at least, really work.)
  • Small tube of Ora-jel (also really works)
  • Small container of lotion, obtained from hotel room
  • Business card for Kim Lentz, hair designer in Phoenix (Recommended by Bekah Farber, 602-363-1624-- There's some free advertising for ya, Kim!)
  • Little brochure on the Five Love Languages
  • Granola bar (which I don't really like, but keep in case I need emergency blood sugar boost)
  • White onesie (I always keep a spare in the diaper bag, in case we need to change him.)
  • Four pairs of baby socks (No wonder the supply in the baby drawer was dwindling...)
  • Two small pads of scratch paper (likewise obtained from hotel rooms)
  • Box of matches from the Vintage Press restaurant in Visalia
  • Two moist towelettes
  • Eight sterile alcohol towelettes
  • One tube of lip gloss (pink)
  • Two sets of keys (still current)
  • One bag of sour candy (from Elizabeth)
  • Two sets of Fry's VIP rewards cards
  • One expired driver license
  • One temporary driver license
  • Two 3x5 cards
  • Two checkbooks
  • Paper copy of health insurance card
  • Dell packing slip
  • Receipt from ob/gyn appointment
  • Insurance information sheet from pediatrician
  • Tape measure
  • Eight cards from friends and family, including three gift cards to various retailers
  • $$ in cash
  • Lovely blue set of regular polyhedra. (I just like to carry my Platonic solids with me wherever I go.)

Scary, no?