Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I have to start on a sad note. Molly Ivins died today. Her attitude is one of the reasons, that I accepted moving to Texas nine years ago. True Texas liberals are some of the greatest people in the world. Molly Ivins, Bill Hicks, Anne Richards, Jim Hightower... Three of them are dead. Who's stepping up to the plate? Lloyd Doggett? Not outspoken enough. Kinky Friedman? He's the reason we still have a Republican governor, which I am still pissed off about, and doesn't support the separation of church and state enough. (He does have the one show of Austin City Limits that was never broadcast, supposedly because he said some offensive things. I don't know in what way they were offensive) Now if we could just get rid of the asshole conservatives.

So, I'm teaching one A&P lab this semester and my students seem nice, but they don't seem to be listening to my warnings of how much information they have to absorb for this class, and I have my doubts about whether they are even getting the background material. I did my fair share of goofing off during my first couple of years of college, and maybe it was different at UCD, but the amount of information we're asking them to know isn't unreasonable. A lot, but not unfair. The first quiz average was lower than I wanted, and it was all review from basic biology. They get a lab sheet each week, which is what the quiz and practicals are written off of. It is their study sheet. If it's not on there, it's not on the tests. I've already gotten a couple of comments from students wanting me to make the next quiz easier. "Can't you do multiple choice or matching?" They don't want me to write that kind of quiz, because I can make them harder than a fill in the blank. Now I feel old.

I haven't had a chance to do much fact checking, but if you want to see some of the lies in the bible, go here. Now the bible is a good story, but that's it. The new testament was compiled for political purposes, hundreds of years after Jesus lived. There were many other gospels that were left out (or stamped out) because they did things like promote the quest for individual knowledge or hold that women were equal to men. And it's still being used for political purposes... Fucking Constantine.

Have you been following the Scooter Libby trial? I haven't gotten to as much as I'd like, but it's not painting anyone in a good light. I like how the defence is trying to blame the administration. I'm sure that's making some people squirm. Now Bush is getting implicated. Sweet. I need this t-shirt. See more at OneHorseShy. Why do we have to suffer until 2008 with BushCo? I don't want Bush impeached without Cheney going down also, but the whole lot needs to go. Have you seen the similarity between the current rhetoric on Iran and what was said about Iraq? (the transcripts should be up tomorrow on MSNBC) We all know they were lying then. Don't let them get us into another great distraction in Iran. If they had been willing to talk to Iran a few years ago, they would have prevented the current situation. But, they aren't interested in that. It's all part of their plan.... Fuck, now I'm a conspiracy nut. I hate that, but those goatfuckers don't make it easy to resist.

Oh, and if you want to know the moment when your favorite TV show jumped the shark, now you can.

Boston shut down by Aqua Teen Hunger Force posters


Friday, January 26, 2007

Just got back from a few days of doing fieldwork at Lake Amistad. Luckily we mostly missed the rain. We didn't miss the cold. It only rained a little on the first day, but we were sweating bullets on the way out, driving through pouring rain. The rain pretty much stopped once we got there, but high 30's on a lake at 40mph on a boat with no windbreak is fucking cold. The second day was beautiful, but even in the low 50's it's uncomfortable when you are moving... I wish a picture would do justice for Goodenough Springs. This was the third or fourth largest spring in Texas when the reservoir was filled in 1969. Now it is 20m underwater. In the wintertime it still releases enough water to make a boil on the top of the lake. The water from the spring is 68°F, while the lake is significantly colder right now, so the warm water pushes it's way to the surface. This goes away in the summer, when the lake water is warmer than the spring. A picture doesn't show the effect at all... It's cool. I'll leave it at that.

This is just what I need. Christ, if they ever start putting small batch bourbons in these, I'm in trouble. Like I need any more portable bourbon... hic. The flask might bruise my hip, and everyone will think it's an energy gel. Why does Jesse ride slower and fall down more after he has a energy shot? Oh it's a shot alrighty. I get surly when you question me about it....They even market it for biking.

Take something pure and simple like the bicycle and ruin it. This is not a bicycle it belongs in a kinetic sculpture parade. And besides it's a tricycle.

Religious nutcases have too much time on their hands. How about go out and live Jesus's word, by helping people, instead of putting out lists of gay bands? Hypocritical sacks of shit. However, I am interested that both Metallica and TED FUCKING NUGENT made their lists. The Nuge? I dare you to go to his ranch (outside of Waco btw) and tell him that. He's as much of a homophobe as the dumbshit who made the list. And, he really, really, really, likes guns. He really does. Some of the other ones are funny. Does anyone really listen to Frankie Goes To Hollywood anymore? I mean if you are going to post a list of "popular music", you might want to keep it to things that the kids might be listening to, whatever your agenda... Oh, and their list of o.k. bands is really short and includes Cindy Lauper.

Werd... J

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well it was really more ice/slush tubing. We found a hill by Kristen's house that was fun to slide down. I did manage to protect the beer. Everything has melted off...

Break was effectively extended a week by the ice storm. For those that are in places where ice and snow are regular things, in Texas if more than three flakes fall out of the sky everything shuts down. And you want it to, because you don't want to be driving with those idiots who've never seen ice and think that 70mph is still a reasonable speed on the highway when it is iced.

So I'm back to teaching A&P this semester. I was going to IA, Reservoir Ecology this semester, but no one signed up for the course. That's fine, it would have been nice to be teaching a graduate course, and I think we could have come up with a good class project. I can scare undergrads again. Only one section. The rest of my (lowly paid) time will be continuing work on the Amistad project. Other than that only one class this semester. Aquatic microbial ecology. I'm actually looking forward to it, since that is a bit of a hole in my knowledge. One of the groups of bacteria that the professor studies, are the main group that methylates mercury, although he doesn't look at the mercury aspect of the group.

I'm not into conspiracy theories, and I can poke holes in this all day long, but it is interesting. Was 9/11 an insurance scam? It's long. I hope not, because if it is, we're a lot more fucked than I'd like to hope we are. Not that we aren't being fucked by Bush & Co. already, but I refuse to believe that they really are that evil. I know that at EVERY step they have made wrong, self-serving, pigheaded decisions. Finally, even his own party is starting to distance themselves from the insanity. I'm more than a little tired of politicians and pundits refusing to acknowledge that it was the US that destabilized Iraq. Yeah, Saddam was a jackass. He was horrible to his own people. But he wasn't a threat to us. Never was going to be. If Shrub really wanted to effect the region, we would have stopped at Afghanistan, and would concentrate on that like we did Japan and Germany. If we could have taken the 10+ years to show that peoples lives were getting better in Afghanistan, people would start seeing through the fundamentalist lies. All the last 6 years have done is give fundamentalist Muslims an imperialist enemy to hate. At every step along the way, we play into their rhetoric, and do exactly what gets them more converts. The current Iraqi government is a sham. It's obvious that it is a puppet government. I hope that people in this country start seeing through the neo-con views, and begin to see that Bush & Co. are just as much fundamentalists as those in the middle east. Fundamentalism is wrong. The flavor doesn't matter. Fundamentalism breeds fascism.

So, if you follow cycling at all, the anti-doping crusaders are looking more and more rediculous. Now the French are trying to bust another for his asthma medicine. I still think they need to come up with the unlimited class. If you get caught doping, you get bumped into it permanently. I don't support doping, and I'm sure there are cyclists who do cheat, but I do think cycling has been unfairly targeted. I think track, baseball, football, soccer, etc. are all at least as dirty, if not more-so, but the press (at least the press I follow) concentrates on cycling. I'm not going to blindly support Lance, Floyd, Tyler, Jan, Ivan, or any of the others, but come on. The French are just pissy, since they haven't had a contender in the Tour for years. It wouldn't suprise me if it comes out that Floyd was framed. Oparacion Puerto is one of the most bungled investigations ever. I think that it is wrong that a lot of careers were derailed on speculation. Bust people if you have proof. Just because an athlete may have talked to a certain doctor is not reason to suspend them.

anyways, rant off for today....


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's rare, but it does snow sometimes in Texas. It's funny how when you don't deal with snow all the time, it makes people happy. I don't know how much will stick, probably not much or for long. I think it's supposed to warm up in a day or two. I think I must go skiing behind a truck....

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Went caving over the weekend. It seems like we've been working on the Blowing Sink project for years. Oh, right, it has been two years. I want to go in a different cave. For those that don't know, Blowing Sink is a cave that goes down to the Edwards Aquifer, and this is a project Bev has been leading. We've been working on stabilizing a passage so that the City of Austin can get better and safer access for scientists to study the aquifer. Also, the fire department wants to use the cave as a training cave for their cave rescue program. It's in a less consolidated formation, and the passage we are working on was succeptible to collapse. We've poured approximately 2000lbs of concrete in the passage. Each pour consists of about 3-4 trips of hauling equipment, building forms, and finally mixing concrete in small buckets to pour into the forms. The pic below is from a previous trip. That's Mark from the city on the left, Nathan in the front, Bev on the Right. I forget who is in the back. This is about 90ft underground. Yes, this is what I do. (Well when I can)

This is a pic that my friend Trevor took. I like it:

The new pit transportation for your next lawnmower race: Cruzin Cooler
Oh yeah, we all need one. You can even get a trailer for it (Thanks Naomi).

This is probably the calmest I've ever seen Lake Amistad (The reservoir where I do my fieldwork, on the border between Texas and Mexico. Thats Texas on the left and Mexico on the right):
Glass all day. Days like this, fieldwork is easy. I know there will be payback... Next time the waves will be crashing over the bow.