August 23, 2008
November 26, 2007
Man on Fire Feels Your Pain
Hooray free image hosting.
People may have noticed my "new site" hasn't been updating, and I haven't fulfilled any promises I made towards the internet.
Let's just say Honours has made me really miss working at Hitachi Amity. I wish I was the guy above. At least he gets to dance.
Anywaaay... once I finally finish this gene project, I'm gonna spend a while getting my shit in order, and then hopefully start up again with teh internet projects.
The goal is to stick with "It's Alive" as my main blog - it will deal with the usual shit that was here - science news, rants and the occasional video.
I'm gonna remove any Japan content from this blog, and rewrite it formally in another blog. And it will totally be retconned to sound not quite so whiny, as well as possibly a bit more and a bit less honest depending on the event.
I'm gonna make some more cool T-shirt designs. (...)
And I'm gonna make sure Dekiru actually takes off as a project, hopefully by roping in some friends. The idea is just to have some Japanese language prose written by non-native speakers. Mostly either about an interesting news event (Seal bites surfer's face!) or personal life (kangaroo sushi). It should also be aimed at improving vocabulary and language skills of other non-native speakers.
Nobody is reading this anyway. But I like typing. It's noisy. Ha. Ha.
June 26, 2007
June 09, 2007
The Last Post - Alchemy Facts are Useful
Don't take me too seriously on either of those statements. I'm thinking of trying to move the science-part of Kickin' Moron Ass over to NatureNetwork - which will also include some of my actual in lab exploits (my supervisor is finally getting a move on inductions and having a meeting about risk assessments, I have to write up a supply list too).
Some of the less serious aspects of KMA would be moved to a more link-list style weblog, like my first blogging idol, Lindsay's Bificurated Rivets, which will probably be interspersed with youtube vids too. That will probably be Better than a Knife in the Eye (with a new brand image).
While I'm fond of the good old Kickin' Moron Ass (since 2002) tag, I don't know if it's appropriate for Nature, so any suggestions for a biomedical wannabe mad molecular biologist with allusions of grandeur.
Anyway, this last post needs better content, so following on from some discussion in comments over at Pharyngula - The Scientist kindly dropped this slideshow in my inbox:
"Before there was chemistry there was alchemy. So before there was art about chemistry, there was art about alchemy. For previous generations of chemists, so much of how things work was a mystery, so artwork that featured animals, astronomical objects, and other aspects of nature contained significant symbolic meaning. As time went on, of course, modern experimental methods turned people away from mysticism, and alchemy became a piece of the past."I haven't looked at it all yet, but I get really miffed when people just reject something like alchemy or astrology as outrightly wrong and as if they weren't valid forms of natural observation in their time. Like I said in the comments, what distinguishes something as anti-science is dogma - in their day most alchemists weren't stuck in absolute dogma, and were active experimenters and debaters. Small amounts of dogma existed, but the great thing about modern science is that dogma is gradually being replaced with total paradigms (paradigms are facts that are accepted as acceptable, but can be moved or shattered if something better comes along through further observation and rationality).
I love paradigms. The phrase is already overused in my thesis.
Well, it's been a fun ride kids. Thanks for the memories...
June 01, 2007
The Power of Christ Compels You
To spontaneous epilepsy?
Back when I was trying to formulate a Christian outlook - I really came to the assessment that Evangelicals of the Benny Hinn breed were the devil. You know, those false prophets that were prophesised about.
Jesus never did anything like this, and he certainly did not ask for money. Jesus did some cool party tricks, first aid, and the occasional psycho-hypnotherapy session (hey Legion!) - he didn't make people fall down and speak in tongues. The pentecostal "speaking in tongues" was not gibberish, it was understandable by everyone around - Romans heard it in Latin, Greeks heard it in Greek, Arabs in Arabic etc. that's cool. That's a mega coded BabelFish.
Anyway, now I just see they are all just pretty nuts.
It's psychological hysteria etc. The Beatles made people faint by touching them, I don't think they were Godsend.
Learning Foreign Language Technique
This is a useful training video I guess. It does do a bit more oversimplifying. It's pretty logical that the "putting yourself out there" and actually using your Japanese etc. but it's obviously a technique that is more suited to confident extroverts. So it is also (I'd say quite strongly) a matter of personality.
To me walking up to a strange couple on the beach with a kid is a bit creepy. Could you imagine the reaction to some strange Japanese guy wandering onto Bondi and doing the same in English? It's not just a matter of your personality, but there's as well. I personally feel worse about that kind of situation, if you are just talking/being friendly to practice your Japanese, it feels like a bit of an abuse of the relationship there.
I did like this video though. It also manages to be amusing. When the couple are talking about his shoes, it sounds and looks like they are talking about the size of a certain male body part.
Video Friday... One Night Only
Okay, I going to attempt to revamp everything intarweb over the weekend. It's going to be a total makeover, and its likely going to be a whole new blog (I'll try and pull a swifty and keep the same address). Anyway, enjoy...
This Frog did NOT eat a cat. I was so disappointed. I wonder if it has got something actually wrong with it, or if it is trying to sound like that.
via Pharyngula, via greg, via dan
May 29, 2007
Almost Human: That's So Raven
grrlscientist has the goss on avian intelligence.
Apparently Ravens have very logical minds, indeed too logical. While being able to work out that they could get a piece of meat dangling on a string by pulling it up, when the situation was changed so that the raven now had to pull down to get the food up it was a little bit harder.
This sort of abstract thinking is a trait, AFAIK, that really gets into what made Hominids human. While being able to logically associate things is pretty basic biology (even microbes are chemoitactic); and memory is something a lot of animals have (even goldfish, against all prejudices). Imagination and innovation is a pretty limited trait, along with self recognition.
Something that was probably included in the original SCIAM article would be what age-equivalent this level of intelligence makes the ravens. At what age to humans have the capacity to work out that you can pull down on a string and make it go up in certain situations. Such a figure would be quite subjective, avians have far superior memory skills (I keep forgetting where I put my mobile and keys, I'd starve if I had to remember 1000s of food cache locations without a map) and are also adept at deception and mistrust.
May 25, 2007
|You scored as Spiritual Atheist, Ah!|
Some of the coolest people in the world
are Spiritual Atheists. Most of them weren't
brought up in an organized religion and have
very little baggage. They concentrate on
making the world a better place and
know that death is just another part of life.
What comes after, comes after.
What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
History of Japanese Bashing in Queensland
Today I was teased for "thinking too much", which is true, IT HURTS! This was followed up with, "How do you know all this stuff?" To which I answered "Reading". Seriously. Reading makes you learn stuff. I read it somewhere.
And it's not just wikipedia. Though I've got to admit, wiki-technology and the internet in general makes it all so much easier to access information. But I read lots of things. I've read the Bible, Shakespeare, National Geographic, Australian Geographic, Childcraft, Newton, textbooks of various kinds, Tolkein, Fiest, Rowling, Laurel K Hamilton, Mercedes Lackey, news@nature... and since about mid-way through high school I've grown into an ever increasing multimedia whore, embracing video, DVD, documentaries, mp3s, avi downloads, watching the news, Media Watch, The Glasshouse, Warcraft, The Chaser, South Park, Eat Carpet, podcasts, vodcasts, rss, technorati... really, all you have to do is get literate and pay attention: the world is your smorgassboard of information.
I love it.
And so I'm going to present a nice essay that combines some interesting facts about recent Queensland history, politics, intolerance, racism in Australia, Japan, economics and Asia-Australia relations:
Last Post for the Gold Coast: Heart of a Nation and the Japanese "Colonization" of Queensland. by Narrelle Morris
Basically, Back in the 80s, with post-WWII Japan becoming a large economic power, much investment came to tropical Queensland way. Being moderately closer, and certainly a lot larger than tiny tropical Hawaii, the Sunshine State was made all the more appealing by old-school (some might say corrupt) government under Sir Joh. Concern mounted in 1988 with "Heart of the Nation" a community concern group that was totally not-racist in its economic proposal which was simply getting all those foreign influence back where they came from. Heart of the Nation's hypocrisy in character was outed rudely when its primary proponent, Bruce Whiteside, was shown to actually be a foreign investor himself - from New Zealand. One hasty citenzenship ceremony later, and a clarification that Kiwis are Oz's little cousin, whereas Japanese are totally different, HotN continued on its merry little agenda. Media involvement didn't exactly do much to prevent excacerbation of the situation, which resulted in attacks on Japanese education in Queensland schools, misleading figures about Japanese ownership, and even the Japanese media retaliating against the Gold Coast tirades against their country. Despite several attempts to clear itself of any racist agenda, Heart of the Nation was gradually subsumed into Queensland One Nation and Pauline Hanson support to protect against the "yellow peril" of Asia.
Hooray Queensland! Seriously, this is an odd story. Particularly that the entire movement against foreign investment was stirred up by a foreign investor himself, under totally non-racist motivations.
The poor thing about all this is, while Labor Federal has been pushing for Japanese to be brought back into schools (though I don't think too many Queensland schools dropped it), as a Japanese guy I recently met mentioned to me, China is the new asia-pacific superpower. I think it's a bit sad that Japanese language missed the boat - while still fairly complex, it's nowhere near as complicated as Chinese language. I suspect Chinese (Mandarin) will become an Asia-Pacific language more so than Japanese unless the Japanese government pulls some swift manouvering. Mandarin definitely has numbers, area, and political power on its size.
May 22, 2007
Chimps dig the Hot Mammas
Well, its actually pretty old news, dating back to a behavioural observation published in November 2006.
I really like how the behaviour gets so totally compared with humans: "...despite their promiscuous mating system, chimpanzee males, like humans, prefer some females over others. However, in contrast to humans, chimpanzee males prefer older, not younger, females."
And even we accept this diagnosis; far from being a demonistic paedophillic trend, youth-preference in humans has something to do with monogamy or something. I don't think there is very much evidence that humans prefer monogamous relationships, meaningful ones, maybe - but not necessarily life long, early in life or with only one partner.