AFT. After spending nearly 10 years, thousands of American lives, and
untold billions of dollars, our forces have finally tracked down and
killed the son of a bitch who was responsible for 9/11. I understand he
was buried at sea. I just hope he wasn't dead yet when they buried him,
and that they took the time to fill the burial bag with pig shit. I
also hope they kept the head and will return it to the US and put it on
a pike in front of the 9/11 memorial. USA.
I've been making up the last of the solutions for the microchemistry
kits, and my organization (or lack thereof) came back to bite me. I'd
ordered most of the chemicals from two or three standard sources, but I
ended up ordering bromothymol blue from one of the wholesalers I buy
labware from. The price was lower there--less than $10 for 5 grams of
reagent-grade bromothymol blue sodium salt, versus almost twice that
from my other suppliers--so I just added a bottle to one of my labware
orders. When the order arrived, I put that bottle aside, putting it
somewhere I'd remember it. What I didn't do was put it with
So, yesterday I was getting ready to make up a
couple liters of 0.1% bromothymol blue. You guessed it. I remembered
that I'd put that bottle somewhere I couldn't forget it. The problem
was, I forgot just where it was that I was supposed to remember, so I
ended up spending half an hour looking for it.
Colin is now
trustworthy enough that I can leave him upstairs in the
areas while I work in the lab for short periods, so I'll get those
final four or five solutions made up and packaged today and tomorrow.
Fortunately, when Colin has accidents, he now tends to have them in the
hall bathroom, which has a ceramic tile floor, so cleanup is fast and
Colin is now officially a bed dog. The last several
nights, he's slept up on the bed with us. He usually sleeps through the
night, and when he does need to go out he whines to let us know. We're
getting him well socialized. He's already met most of the neighborhood
children, from toddlers to teenagers, as well as many of the
neighborhood dogs. He's experienced bicycles and skateboards and
motorcycles and many other things that we want him to get used to. The
only thing he's afraid of so far is the baby gates we use to block
access to parts of the house that aren't puppy-safe. Those, he's
terrified of, after a couple have fallen with a loud clatter, one of
them actually on top of him. He won't get near a baby gate, which is a
He spends most of the day asleep in my office at the
foot of my chair, interspersed with periods of frantic activity. I
suspect those sleep periods are actually growing periods, and the
activity periods are when he exercises that new growth. His legs are
getting longer, as is his body. He's going to be big for a
Collie. Probably not as big as Duncan, who was a giant among Border
Collies, but well above average.
We'll probably start
free-feeding him soon. At the vet a week ago Friday, he weighed 16
pounds. We're feeding him Science Diet puppy food, which recommends
three cups a day for a 20 pound puppy. We divide that into one cup at
0700, another around 1300, and a third around 1900. Until recently,
he'd usually leave a bit of food in his bowl, but now he's usually
eating all of what we give him. I suspect he's over 20 pounds now,
although we don't own a scale, so we're going to start giving him a
heaping cup at each feeding. The next weight in the Science Diet
instructions is 40 pounds, which is supposed to get five cups a day.
I don't doubt a word this woman says. Her rapist has admitted to
what he did, apparently believing that that makes everything all right.
I know, from personal experience, that this sort of thing happened when
I was in college in the early 70's, and I don't doubt that it occurred
in 1984 and indeed continues to occur today.
I don't remember
many of the details of my own experience, except that I was a freshman
when it happened in 1971. The fraternities were holding pledge parties,
and I went to many of them. At one, I don't remember which, someone
announced that there was a girl upstairs "pulling a train". I confess
that I didn't understand what he meant. When I asked the guy next to
me, he said, "That means anybody can fuck her." I was horrified.
went upstairs and found two or three guys waiting in line at one of the
bedroom doors, which was standing open, laughing and drinking beer.
Another guy had just finished raping this girl, who
was semi-conscious and unable to resist. I don't think we had
date-rape drugs back then, or at least I'd never heard of them. She was
probably a 17-year-old freshman who'd drunk too much beer,
has much the same effect.
I pushed the guys in line out of
the way, none too gently. None of them argued. I guess they sensed that
fucking with me at that point would be a very bad idea. Maybe they
thought she was my girlfriend. I got the girl dressed as best I could
and half-walked/half-carried her, covered in vomit, back to her dorm.
Her roommate was there and helped me get her undressed and into the
shower. At the time, I didn't stop to think that that was destroying
evidence. The girl was by that time nearly hysteric and begging us to
help her get cleaned up and not to tell her parents.
So I left
it at that, to my eternal shame, simply turning her over to her
roommate. What I should have done was called the police and reported a
gang rape and then gone back and beat the living shit out of
rapists. I don't remember which fraternity it was, although that was
the last fraternity party I attended and I never did join a fraternity.
I don't think I ever knew her name, and I don't remember what she
looked like, other than that she had long blonde hair. If somehow she
reads this, I hope she'll forgive me for not doing what I should have
I know that many women of my acquaintance think that I'm
annoyingly overprotective. If so, that's one of the reasons why I am
the way I am. Most men are decent, but there are many who are not. Too
many men look upon women as prey. And, although this happened 40 years
ago and that girl is now, like me, 57 years old, I think about
Jasmine, who's 17 years old and will be leaving for college in the
Colin continues to alternate between halo mode and pitchfork mode.
Yesterday he slept most of the day, but spent most of the evening being
demonic. Still, as puppies go, I'll give him an A. Maybe an A-.
of the kit solutions I still haven't made up is starch indicator, which
is used to test for the presence of iodine. I realized yesterday that,
although I had the soluble starch itself, I still hadn't received the
thymol I needed as a preservative. (The "h" is silent, as in parsley,
sage, rosemary, and thymol.) I could autoclave the tubes after I made
them up, but as soon as a kit user opened the tube it would inevitably
be contaminated by a starch-loving mold, which would then grow over
weeks and months until the contents were useless.
considered substituting salt as a preservative, making up the starch
solution in a saturated solution of sodium chloride rather than water.
Nothing grows in a saturated salt solution. But I really didn't want
the indicator to be in a concentrated solution of chloride ions, so I
emailed the vendor to ask when the backorder would ship. Half an hour
later, UPS showed up with the thymol.
granted, John Dvorak's prognostications are pretty much a joke, and
have been for at least 20 years. When I need some comic relief, I go
read what he has to say. But this time he's
outdone himself. Dvorak actually claims that ebooks
will make print publishing more
profitable. In reality, of course, the asteroid has already struck and
the traditional publishing dinosaurs are about to become extinct.
Dvorak's predictions are often ridiculous, but this one takes the cake.
I just finished writing an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for each
of the 40+ chemicals that will be included in the chemistry kits. What
a waste of time. No one will ever read them, and if they do they'll
find the information is so overly cautious that it makes everything
sound equally dangerous. I mean, I actually have an MSDS for vegetable
oil and another for a 200 ppm salicylate solution. (Think one aspirin
tablet in a 2 liter soda bottle.)
I really miss the days when
warnings actually meant something. If it were up to me, I'd use
warnings like, "Drinking this stuff will make you really sick" or "This
stuff will blind you in 10 seconds flat" or "This stuff will eat holes
in everything, including you". One of my early chemistry teachers used
just such warnings, on an escalating scale. For stuff that was only
moderately hazardous, he just assumed we'd use standard precautions in
handling it. For nasty stuff, he'd warn us, "Be careful with this
stuff", "Be really careful with this stuff", or even "Be really, REALLY
careful with this stuff". That gave us some idea of the actual hazard
involved. He used that last warning for stuff like concentrated nitric
acid. Of course, these were the days when our high school chem lab
stock shelves held stuff like pound bottles of potassium cyanide, which
anyone was free to use after checking the real hazards. And we not only
never lost anyone, I don't remember any accidents more several than
minor cuts and burns.
- I see that two of the five candidates in the Republican
More than leaning, actually. Both are pretty pure libertarians. The
only real difference is that Ron Paul is personally anti-abortion,
while Gary Johnson is strongly pro-choice. On that basis, I'd prefer
Johnson, but either of them would be worlds better than the others who
I'm hoping that the Republican Party wakes up and
realizes that it doesn't need to cater to the Religious Right. I mean,
who else can the Religious Right vote for? Democrats? Both
libertarian-leaning Republicans offer the best of both worlds:
small-government fiscal conservatism and personal freedom. Which is
exactly what we need a large dose of right now.
- A link on Jerry
Coyne's blog reminded me of singer-songwriter Lauro Nyro,
someone I hadn't thought about for years. I listened to her when I was
in college. She never became a huge name, and was better known from
covers by less talented musicians. Here are two of her works, both
written and performed before she turned 18 (these tracks
were re-released in 1973, but recorded in 1965 or
Bell Blues, popularized by The Fifth Dimension, and And When I
Die, popularized by Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
- Barbara took the day off work yesterday so that we could
go look at
SUVs to replace her Trooper. We debated whether to buy new or used, and
finally decided to look for a recent model crossover SUV with low
mileage (kilometerage). Our credit union runs a used-car buying
service, so we went down and visited their lot and walked up and down
the rows of SUVs. She ended up picking out a 2011 Chevrolet HHR with
about 18,000 miles (29,000 kilometers) on it, and driving it home
yesterday afternoon. We ended up trading in my white Trooper rather
than her blue one, which we'll keep for occasional use as a utility
vehicle or in bad weather.
And I see that a leopard in a Kansas zoo learned a
lesson that many wild predators already know. People, particularly
children, may look helpless and tasty, but it's a mistake to try to eat
one. All of its friends show up and beat the crap out of you. That
learned its lesson Friday when it snatched a 7-year-old child.
Bystanders rushed in and beat the crap out of the leopard. The child
will recover. No word on the condition of the leopard.
- As long as we keep producing kids like this, there's hope.
Colin is now fast, which means we don't dare let him get away from us
outside. He's so fast that when he brings me a ball to throw down the
hall, he's waiting at the end of the hall literally before I can throw
the ball. I'd forgotten just how all-consuming a puppy is.
All-consuming in terms of not just time and attention, but of anything
gnawable or eatable. His favorite snack right now appears to be clumps
of dirt from the yard. This, too, shall pass. Outside, we hope.
well into series two of Numb3rs, and the plots seem to be increasingly
far-fetched. I'm not enough of a mathematician to follow everything
going on, but most of what I can follow seems at least reasonable, if
often a bit of stretch, particularly when they get away from pure
mathematics and into the sciences. Still, it's good to see a popular
television series in which mathematicians and scientists are the
protagonists. And Colin is watching TV now. He seems particularly
interested in the formulae.