Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Darwin!

It is 200 years today since the birth of Charles Darwin (many happy returns Chuck, we love you!). There's a Nature special, some of which is even open access, Scientific American has an awesome podcast, with Darwin himself speaking and the ever wonderful David Attenborough discusses why you'd have to be incredibly blinkered not to believe in evolution. Enjoy!

For he's a jolly good fellow... and so say all of us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

If today were a Covenant game

Motifs: "Torrential rain", "Windowless spaces", "Grey", Emergency vehicles".

Conventions: "If I keep doing stuff, I'll make it through to bedtime", "Laughter makes life bearable", "Tomorrow will be better".

I think my character has a story level consequence of "Makes bad choices".

Unsustainable development

We have emergency services stickers with cool fire engines and ambulances.

J was dry overnight then did wees in the toilet. Then he got dressed, including asking which drawers his clothes were in and finding them for himself.

I am running out of stickers!

*Edited to add. Tonight he did poos in the toilet even though he already had his nappy on, went to bed beautifully and was miraculously asleep by 7:40... but we used the last ambulance!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who is Dr Bunny now?

As you can see, I finally updated my profile last night with some actual words... It's too long so I'll change it soon, probably to something less job-oriented. I'm posting it here, so it doesn't get lost because I think it is an interesting part of the refocussing process I'm going through (thanks to Giffy for pointing that out!)

I'm a single parent with two beautiful boys J, aged 4 years, and T who is 19 months. I feel very lucky to be their Mummy and am learning with them as they grow! I was once (and forever) a plant biochemist, but recently fell prey to funding shortages and my poor publication record. I'm now working as a Science Facility Manager or "Compliance Guy" (what my position was called before I was appointed). I'm finding the transition difficult, but starting to see the funny side... Compliance Guy would make an awesome super-villain. In fact, one of my current performance objectives is "to build my evil empire of beautifully compliant scientists." My boss even approved it; but told me I had to word it more subtly to disguise my blatant ambition! Mwahahaha! I also think it would be cool to make a Reality TV spoof called Extreme Compliance, but I don't have the skills or technology (and it has probably been done).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Beware... voracious computers may consume you!

"Warning, computers fed off this board" says the sign on a grey metal cupboard at work. Sadly, the sign doesn't tell you when it will be feeding time. and I've never seen the zookeepers or their hopeful charges.

T spoke sentences

"Apricot not yum".

"Out there blow... pffffffffffff" (He was telling me it was windy and I must have looked blank, so he blew to illustrate).

"Oooo look, Jessie... ball" (his friend had a balloon)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another study states the obvious... but nothing will change

"Our study [also] indicates that children and adolescents who may face the greatest risks of vitamin and mineral deficiency are the least likely to be taking supplements," said Ulfat Shaikh, lead study author, assistant professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine and a clinician at UC Davis Children's Hospital.
"The study findings seem to bear out the hypothesis that cost is a barrier to children getting vitamins. Among households considered below the poverty level, 22 percent of children used vitamins. The number jumped to 43 percent among those not considered poor. Among households not enrolled in the federal Food Stamp Program, 38 percent of children used vitamins. But in households using food stamps, vitamin use was around 18 percent. Children in 36 percent of households where there is no hunger use vitamins; only 15 percent use vitamins in households where there is "food insecurity and hunger.""
U.S. families living in poverty are less likely to be able to provide adequate nutrition for their children or to supplement their diets with vitamins to compensate... I'm guessing the situation is probably similar here... so, how do we change it?

Monday, February 2, 2009

"I don't think 9 billion [people] is better than 1 billion"

James Lovelock, the scientist who originated the Gaia theory has written a new book (The Vanishing Face of Gaia) and New Scientist has an interview with him.

Read it... It's pretty extreme stuff:
"I think it's wrong to assume we'll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less."
I don't really have enough background to assess this at the moment, and I'm very sure my values differ from his a whole heap, but if this was a marketing ploy, it was effective, because I definitely want to read the book now!

Terraforming planet earth

Now you can replant a forest by dropping seedlings out of helicopters... Awesome! Has anyone got a spare helicopter lying around for a wee bit of ecoactivism? I fancy reforesting the Manawatu!

Should I delete the last entry?

Or should I let it stand as a record of a bad couple of days?