Evolgen Research Blog

AT THE CONVERGENCE OF EVOLUTION AND GENETICS

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Republican Fear Factor

In this week's cartoon, Tom Tomorrow introduces us to Fear Factor, neo-con style. Among the things Republicans are scared of:

  • They're terrified that their wives could get an abortion without their permission.
  • They're terrified that their religious beliefs might be undermined by secular society.
  • They're terrified that heterosexuality itself will be undermined by gay marriage.

It seems obvious to me that these are irrational fears, but it's not obvious to a large portion of this country. These fears manifest themselves in bigotry and oppression of others. Women are denied the right to any abortion regardless of the conditions. Certain religious beliefs (or religion in general) are endorsed by government, and in situations in which everyone is given fair treatment they claim oppression. A loving couple is denied the right to marry because they don't fit what a small minority has deemed the appropriate union (in my opinion, marriage as an institution should not receive government endorsement, but I'm a bit jaded).

A little background on where I stand on abortion: I think that any first trimester abortion should be allowed regardless of the conditions. There should be no restrictions, and they should be easily accessible. Anything after the first trimester should require the woman to show adverse health risks associated with pregnancy. She should not need to jump through loops to show she is at risk, and these abortions should also be easily accessible. I think I stand in the mainstream on this issue.

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Tips for Purchasing a Llama



The Science Creative Quarterly offers up some tips for purchasing a guard llama. Apparently, this is a legitimate concern, as the author cites five related articles (although I'm not sure if they are real publications, and I'm not ambitious enough to find out for myself). Among the concerns is overqualification (yes, llamas come with different skill sets):

There is nothing worse than an overqualified llama. For instance a llama, trained in the delicate arts of diplomacy, will become depressed and distant if it is only given the task of guarding your ’86 Chevy Cavalier from any would-be vandal. Consequently, it will probably let its guard down and you will be left with a llama with very low self-esteem and an antennae-less ’86 Chevy Cavalier with the words “Wash me” scrawled onto the dirt caked rear windshield.
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evolgen archive

Due to difficulties with blogger, I will no longer be posting at this URL. You can get all of your evolutionary genetics blogging at the new evolgen.

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Best of the Archives

Welcome to the evolgen archives. Here is a list of posts that may be of interest to you:

  • Cryptic Species

  • Human Inversion Under Selection

  • The Cambrian Explosion Never Happened

  • On the origin of life

  • Chimera

  • Random Mutation and Natural Selection

  • The Genotype and the Phenotype and How to Measure Divergence

  • Can You Marry Your Half-Sister's Daughter?

  • Species Sampling for Whole Genome Sequencing

  • A Few Words on Speciation

  • Mean Fitness, Genetic Load, and the Misapplication of Population Genetics Metrics

  • Why Study Speciation Genes?
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50 People Who Suck

The BEAST give us the 50 Moast Loathsome People in America. Of note to Clash, Culture, and Science:



46. Bruce Chapman

Charges: Founder of the misnamed “Discovery Institute.” Despite its pioneering title, Chapman’s organization seeks to make one of the world’s oldest, dumbest ideas the prevailing ideology. Seems to believe a petition signed by 400 PhDs and professors is convincing proof of Intelligent Design’s widespread acceptance. A lazy dissembler, he blames the lack of actual research and peer-reviewed articles on ID on academic “blackballing.” Right, ‘cause Galileo had it easy. Chapman’s sole trailblazing achievement in the field of academic inquiry has been in proving scientists can be even smugger-when driven by theology.

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Does Being a Horse Count as an Ethnicity

A high school teacher who happens to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan (or is he a Steelers fan who happens to be a teacher?) made one of his students take a midterm exam on the floor last Friday because that student was wearing a Denver Broncos John Elway jersey. The kid didn't get the memo: if you're gonna wear a John Elway jersey, go with the Orange Crush look, not the ugly ass angry horsey jersey.


Kid wearing new Broncos jersey (left) and John Elway wearing orange crush jersey (right).

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Is Everyone On Earth Named Steve Smith?

In honor of our favorite punt returner who's quarterback can't get him the ball, here is list of all of the Steve Smith's I know of. Feel free to add more in the comments.

Here's the Carolina Panthers wide receiver (the guy who's quarterback can't get him the ball) and Chad Johnson's junior college teammate that inspired this list. This dude's got a pretty bad-ass tattoo on his upper arm; that distinguishes from the other Steve Smiths. He's the only Steve Smith playing in the NFL (for now), but not the only football playing Steve Smith.

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Weekly Random Ten (22 January 2006)

New Rules Edition

Alright, we're gonna try something new with the evolgen Weekly Random Ten. Here's the new rule: I get 10 songs worth of time to write an entry. I've used this as a rough guideline for the random ten in the past, but I never put it in writing. Once the last note in the last song is played, I must stop writing -- even if it's in mid sentence.

So, I'm sitting in front of the TV in between playoff games. I blew my pick in the first game. Looks like I went with the wrong road underdog to win. I still think the Panthers can win, but it will be quite a feat if both road dogs win in the conference championship. At least neither Delhomme nor Hasselbeck have a goofy beard -- of course, Hasselbeck's got that bald thing going against him.
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Last Second Picks

It's a few hours before the games begin and here are my picks (see the last edition for how it works):

Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
Who I want to win: I'm a Raiders fan, so I hate the Broncos. There is no way I can pull for them. That means that I'm rooting for the Steelers by default. Plus, how can you not be for Troy Polamalu and his hair. And I live in Steelers country, so it's hard to not get sucked into the black and gold fever.

Who I think will win: On a neutral field, the Steelers would win. Too bad this game is being played at Mile High Invesco Field. Broncos will win . . . as long as Plummer doesn't blow it.

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
Who I want to win: Ever wonder what a seahawk is? Of course, the Panther is one of the archetypes of conservation genetics. I would be happy to see either of these teams go to the Superbowl. I'm kinda sick of Sean Alexander, though. If Alexander plays well, I wanna see the Panthers win. If Alexander sucks it up big time, go Seahawks.

Who I think will win: The Panthers have won their last five road games (including two playoff road wins). There is no way they can win another road game. There is no way they make it to the Super Bowl. There is no way I'm not picking the Panthers. Yes, the Panthers will win. Plus, when I see someone as tall as I am excelling at receiver in the NFL, I can't help but pull for him.

Enjoy the games.

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Sports Reporters

What the hell was going on with the Sports Reporters this morning? It was like the editor was playing a practical joke on all of us.

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Prove It!

The Quote of the Day goes to Brent Rasmussen of Unscrewing the Inscrutable:

"Proof" is a word that only applies to mathematics and liquor.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled podcast . . .
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Haven't You Seen My Movies?

Something Awful is missing the caption to this image:


There's a motherfucking snake on the motherfucking plane . . . motherfuckers!


YES THEY DESERVED TO DIE!!! AND I HOPE THEY BURN IN HELL!!!

If you don't get it, you need to get it.
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One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Double Black Diamond

America's favorite drunk-ass skier, Bode Miller (who looks a lot like Edward Burns), has come under fire for boozing while slaloming. Turns out Bode's a drinker with a skiing problem. Slate offers a nice editorial clarifying the whole thing:

Miller tried to clarify his statements, explaining that he didn't actually drink on race mornings, but that, on occasion, he'd arrived at the start with a hangover from the night before.
So, Bode goes out and wins the downhill on Saturday, gets hammered that night, then shows up for the Slalom with some knockin' in his noggin. Sounds ok to me. Rage on Bode, rage on.
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More Sunday Afternoon NFL Blogging

Is this confusing for anyone else?


Adrian Peterson the Chicago Bear (left) and Adrian Peterson the Oklahoma Sooner (right).

One thing that comes with having a good season is increased TV coverage. I've seen a lot more of the Chicago Bears this year (and now in the playoffs), and I've become familiar with some of their players. When I heard that Adrian Peterson was their running back, I thought, "Wow, he wasn't at Oklahoma very long." It turns out there are two Adrian Petersons. In a couple of years, Adrian Peterson, the younger, will be starring in the NFL, only adding to the confusion.
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Why The Patriots Lost

They didn't give the ball to the Diet Pepsi Machine. Tom Brady threw 36 passes, none of them to the Machine, despite the fact that machine has good hands (what hands?). Let's just hope Pepsi stops running those stupid commercials. Pepsi should take a lesson from Burger King if they wanna incorporate NFL footage into their adds. The latest one with the King as Steve Young is absolute magic (I can't find a link to the ad).

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Toni Tony Tone & A Tribute to Troy

We're all gonna rag on Peyton Manning for losing the game (or Mike Vanderjagt if you hate idiot kickers) -- Manning has never been able to win in college or the pros, providing solid evidence for the Ewing theory when Tee Martin won a national championship at Tennessee after Peyton graduated.

But I'm gonna be a total asshole and claim Tony Dungy should shoulder a lot of the blame. Sure, his son just died. And, yeah, the dude's a man of faith (whatever the hell that's worth). But Dungy's got a bit of Ewing theory going for him, seeing as how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl the year after firing Dungy. Dungy deserves some props for turning the Bucs into winners and leading them to the playoffs, but he's gonna be remember as a guy who couldn't win it all.

The Dungy-Manning pairing may make it impossible for the Colts to ever make it to the Super Bowl. The Patriots seemed to be Manning's NFL version of the Florida Gators, but this year (following one of the best starts to season in NFL history) the Colts couldn't even win a single playoff game. It's another year and another flop in the playoffs for Dungy and Manning. I wonder if Dungy never bothered to come back to Indianapolis after his son died or if Peyton got injured while his offensive line could not protect him, would the Colts have fared better in the Playoffs?

So, let's stop treating Dungy like a sacred cow -- the dude's got more choke in him than Michelle Kwan. Yeah, I went there. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Oh, and my boy Troy was all over the place today. Even if he can't catch, the man can defend the pass better than any other safety out there. Don't let anyone cut those Samson locks; his hair is the secret to his power.

Read the full post >>

Toni Tony Tone & A Tribute to Troy

We're all gonna rag on Peyton Manning for losing the game (or Mike Vanderjagt if you hate idiot kickers) -- Manning has never been able to win in college or the pros, providing solid evidence for the Ewing theory when Tee Martin won a national championship at Tennessee after Peyton graduated.

But I'm gonna be a total asshole and claim Tony Dungy should shoulder a lot of the blame. Sure, his son just died. And, yeah, the dude's a man of faith (whatever the hell that's worth). But Dungy's got a bit of Ewing theory going for him, seeing as how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl the year after firing Dungy. Dungy deserves some props for turning the Bucs into winners and leading them to the playoffs, but he's gonna be remember as a guy who couldn't win it all.

The Dungy-Manning pairing may make it impossible for the Colts to ever make it to the Super Bowl. The Patriots seemed to be Manning's NFL version of the Florida Gators, but this year (following one of the best starts to season in NFL history) the Colts couldn't even win a single playoff game. It's another year and another flop in the playoffs for Dungy and Manning. I wonder if Dungy never bothered to come back to Indianapolis after his son died or if Peyton got injured while his offensive line could not protect him, would the Colts have fared better in the Playoffs?

So, let's stop treating Dungy like a sacred cow -- the dude's got more choke in him than Michelle Kwan. Yeah, I went there. Whatcha gonna do about it?

Oh, and my boy Troy was all over the place today. Even if he can't catch, the man can defend the pass better than any other safety out there. Don't let anyone cut those Samson locks; his hair is the secret to his power.

Read the full post >>

Detecting Natural Selection (update)

I previously remarked that I would be posting my series "Detecting Natural Selection" at Clash, Culture and Science. Well, I changed my mind. The newest installment of "Detecting Natural Selection" has been posted at ScienceBlogs.

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Happy Friday the 13th



It's Friday, January Thirteenth. Don't walk under no ladders. Don't let no black cats walk in your path. And don't shake hands with no lepers.

Ok, I made that last one up.
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Fuck You, Rate My Professor

To anyone who has ever received a poor review on RateMyProfessors.com, you can now stake your revenge at Rate Your Students.

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