Saturday, March 21, 2009

So since I've been busy...

Yeah yeah yeah, the last month of college is pretty hectic. Yinz understand, I'm sure.

I'm graduating in a month though! :D :D :D

So while I'm running subjects and analyzing datums and studying my ASS off and writing papers, and thus unable to blag as well as I'd like, you guys should go over to Isis' haaaaaaus. She's sponsoring this awesome undergraduate award thingy, and clicks on her site = moar cash for awards.

So if I bore you, go visit her! Lots!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

So. Animal rights, eh?

I've been running around my future graduate school this weekend for an open house, so forgive me for not posting.

I'm being a slacker today, but I still don't generally have time to post. So I'll just reproduce a comment I wrote on a (vegan, animal-rights-supporter) friend's facebook.

Hai there!

There's some cool stuff on right now about animal rights/welfare/testing, because some animal rights supporter wrote an article for huffpo about "Why I Take Animal-Tested Drugs". There's some good links, so I figured I'd link you up to the discussion, and maybe chat about it.

Original article: http://www.... Read More

A couple Scienceblogs responses (in case they're off the front page by the time you get this):

The gentlest response:

Discussion of the many and varied rules/committes etc. for animal research:

Good writing, but somewhat... insolent. ;)
I honestly think DM's post is the most important of all of them, because of comments like this one, wherein someone says (quoting an earlier commenter),
If animals have the same rights as people, then they should also have the same responsibilities, right? After all, we don't give underage children full legal rights and we don't expect them to bear the same responsibility as an adult.

We do give children a minimal right not to be murdered or tortured. And we do not impose responsibilities in return.

Scientists do not -murder- or -torture- animals. Hokay? Look, in fact, there's lots and lots of controls to make sure we're not -murdering- or -torturing- animals.

We do kill animals, sometimes. (Many labs use the term "sacrifice" which is truly more like what we do.) Dr. Free-Ride's post helps to explain why it's ethically acceptable to kill these animals. In my humble opinion, a comfortable life followed by a swift, painless death is pretty much the best that any vertebrate can hope for.

And maybe, with continued research (yes, even animal research) we can figure out enough stuff so that we can make the lives of people and other animals better than ever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


... is apparently not so deadly after all.

This looks to me like "normal" has been inappropriately defined. But hey, what do I know...

Dear Dr. Isis,

I like being your little chicken.

But I am getting cranky waiting for ze evidence. You teased me this past week, you did!

You started out all promising and stuff, and quoted that dude who said that faith is, contrary to what many people seem to think, actually based on evidence. And I got all excited and read frantically ahead...

But I was let down. Because neither you, nor him, have actually cited any evidence. (My own sneaking suspicion is that the evidence will be identical, in spirit if not in wording, to one of the already-covered arguments that everyone's heard a million times...) But I shall not get ahead of myself. After all, you said yourself that it's not something you can just sum up in a single post.

And also, it seems like a large part of your faith is derived from its very personal meaningfulness to you. Which I cannot (and would not, even if I could!) argue against. But, as I said, I'd still very much like to hear why reasonable, intelligent people disagree with what I consider to be the very reasonable, intelligent estimation that God's existance has a low probability.

Bleh. So I'll keep waiting. BUT KNOW I HAVE MY EYE ON YOU.

With love,


If I do not have time to write about science, I can at least point you to those who do!

Neurophilosophy has an amazing post up about the reconstructive nature of memory.

Also, Neurotopia reviewed the serotonin system(s). Ahh, 5-HT... I know so much about you, yet so little.

Steph Zahn at Almost Diamonds told us this nice story about propranolol. I like to see the personal side to these things. (Read about the science of propranolol, I don't know, anywhere really. ;)

Speaking of, Not Exactly Rocket Science writes very impressively - as always - this time about horrifically spiked beetle penii. Eeeeeeh, my cervix is twitching with anticipatory fear.

Orac chats with us about animals in research, particularly dogs. I have a personal stake in this subject, because neuroelectrophysiology is bangin' cool, but kind of requires the use of rats.

There's the most interesting science-y things I've found recently. Feel free to share more links in the comments!