Open Thread: What's on Your Minds?

Okay, as promised, here is my weekly Open Thread where I celebrate you, my readers, by chatting about anything that’s on your minds. For example, is there a current event that you wish would receive more news coverage? Is there a particular feature you’d like this blog to have? Have you read a book or watched a movie you want to recommend to us? Do you have a question that you wish to ask? Did you recently do something that, as a kid, you swore you’d never do? Did you just meet the love of your life? Did you go jogging at midnight with your underwear on your head? Are you a lurker who has never commented on a blog before? If so, I am especially interested to read what you have to say. Basically, I am interested to read anything that you’d like to share. Well, mostly anything.


One update: one of my readers, Rob, asked if ScienceBlogs could incorporate an optional feature where readers can receive email when a comment thread has been updated. I mentioned this to the tech people and several other sciencebloggers jumped in, agreeing that this is a very desirable feature. I have no idea how long it will take for the tech people to incorporate this, but the message was delivered and the idea is appealing enough that it will happen at some point (hopefully soon).

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Open Thread: What's on Your Minds?

  1. Bob O'H says:

    Henry Gee (who will be at the London soirée) has had a good end to his week.
    Better than mine – I spent all day failing to extract data from web pages.

  2. There are dangerous heat warnings all over the local news and the air-conditioning in my departments building broke last night. It’s supposed to reach 105 (deg F) today, maybe I head over to the greenhouse to cool off. Blah.

  3. Elf Eye says:

    My daughter, her friend, and I went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for the first time this past weekend. It was just the latest experience that makes me think I ought to move away from eating fish, even though I am very fond of salmon and tuna. The toll of factory fishing is just too great. My daughter has been pretty much a vegetarian for several years. She only consumes eggs and milk products and–occasionally–chicken. Given the environmental and health costs of meat production and consumption, I think she’s made a good choice.

  4. speedwell says:

    I have two plane tickets to anywhere in the 48 continental United States, given to me as compensation for volunteering to get bumped off two flights in January. I need to use them by next January.
    One of them is going to get used to visit my grandmother in another state, but I’m at a loss where to go with the other one. I also have to take time off from work or I will lose the accrued time. So I’m thinking of taking up to a week’s vacation between mid-October and the end of the year. I live in Houston.
    Do any readers know of a place to go to relax that is quiet and friendly, with good places to eat and shop, but doesn’t require a car rental?

  5. speedwell says:

    Elf Eye @3:
    Farmed fish are not my biggest worry… it’s the wild caught seafood that worry me.
    Here on the Texas Gulf Coast we catch a lot of shrimp. The shrimp boats are notorious for throwing away any fish that are not shrimp, even if they are perfectly good to eat or sell. The wasted fish are dead; they don’t swim away like Nemo. Also, the water out there… ewww. It’s supposed to be better the farther out you go, but where is the seawater really safe anymore?
    I find I can’t eat wild-caught Texas catfish, only the farmed kind. Interestingly, I can tolerate its close relative basa, which is “farmed” in a filthy Vietnamese river. But the time or two I had it, it was represented as “farm raised catfish,” so maybe it’s not a good test.
    I’m also a vegetarian, but instead of chicken, my downfall is sushi. I would give my left arm for a really good vegan fish substitute. But the best we can do is those fish-cakey soy things they sell in the frozen case at the Asian supermarket.

  6. Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD says:

    Bigfoot. They claim they will present DNA evidence. I’m waiting to see just how laughable that turns out to be.

  7. Even Stephan says:

    Robert Lanza, M.D. is considered one of the leading scientists in the world.

    Or so his web site, <a href="http://www.robertlanza.com/robertlanza.com says. An interview of Lanza appears in the September 2008 issue of Discover magazine:

    You have suggested that reality is determined by the conscious observer. Most physicists view consciousness as an accident.
    There was a paper published in Science this February, and what it showed was that if you do an experiment with a photon, put it in the apparatus, that what you do right now actually changes an event that already occurred in the past. Now isn’t that bizarre? That is the same universe that you and I are in. How can the physics in this experiment actually show that if you do something right now it retroactively changes an event that has already happened? You can play your little games with it, but any way you cut the pie, if you observe something it acts as a particle, and if you don’t it acts as a wave. It is not an artifact of the system. Those experiments are real. Get over it.
    You’ve said physical laws are exactly balanced for life to exist.
    If there were one-billionth of a difference in the mass of the Big Bang, you couldn’t have galaxies. If the gravitational constant were ever-so-slightly different, you couldn’t have stars, including the sun, and you would just have hydrogen. There are 200 parameters like this. We now have people out there talking about an intelligent design, saying “God” is the explanation. But it is really because quantum theory is right: Everything is observer-determined and the past and present are relative only to you, as the observer. It all fits, but the problem is, you then do need to accept what people will not accept: When you turn you back to the moon, it no longer exists.

    I hope his grasp of stem cells is better than his grasp of physics.

  8. Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD says:

    Bigfoot hunters produce no evidence at press conference

    …Although their press release indicated that they would reveal definitive DNA evidence that would prove the frozen body in their freezer was Bigfoot, the two hypesters did nothing of the sort…

    I’m sure you are as shocked as I am by this omission.

  9. bob — it’s .. er, nice (i think) .. to read that a NATURE editor has a sense of humor. one sometimes wonders about such things ..
    mistressofscience — it must be hot if you are going to a greenhouse to cool off. is it also humid, like it gets here? do you live in arizona or texas?
    speedwell and elf eye — i am also concerned about eating seafood (i LOVE seafood) and am reading and will review a book that will interest you: Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.
    even stephen — well, i hate to point this out, but an MD is not a scientist, especially not a physicist. and a good MD, like a good scientist, recognizes their limitations, too.
    tegumai — hahaha! very laughable, apparently!