Friday, 4 November 2011

By on November 4th, 2011 in Barbara, biology, dogs, writing

08:27 – Here’s the final front cover image for the biology book. There may be a few changes to the text, but otherwise this is pretty much what it’ll look like. Thanks to Mark at O’Reilly, who took the cover image I shot and did his Photoshop magic on it to get rid of the lighting flaws and other artifacts.

About the only change I suggested other than minor tweaks to the text was the background color. The chemistry book uses blue, and I thought it was obvious that the biology book should use green. And the forensics book, once we get around to actually publishing it, should be red (or at least maroon). Physics, when we eventually do that one, should be black.

Barbara worked a full day yesterday, and was delighted to do so. Unexpectedly, Colin was no worse than usual. True, he did pester me constantly to go out, but there was nothing new there. Colin did disappear briefly while we were on a walk. Like all Border Collies, Colin wants to herd anything that moves. This time of year, on breezy autumn days, he has his work cut out for him, herding blowing leaves.

The incident occurred as we were returning from our walk, approaching our house. Our next-door neighbors have a huge pile of leaves at the curb. As we approached it, Colin took off in pursuit of a blowing leaf. He went airborne just short of the leaf pile, and plunged into it. So, there I stood, holding a roller leash that extended into the leaf pile, with no dog visible at all. After a moment, the leaf pile started to ripple and shift, and a Border Collie pup burst out the other side. In his mouth, he carried one leaf. I can’t swear that it was the same leaf that he took off in pursuit of, but I suspect it probably was.

I was working on a new group of lab sessions yesterday, and I couldn’t decide what to name the chapter. As I mentioned to Barbara later, as a librarian she’s used to a well-defined taxonomy that doesn’t change other than to make room for new subjects. Biological taxonomy, on the other hand, changes like dreams, particularly with the advent of DNA analysis. A species may be moved from one genus to another, or indeed may be assigned as the sole member of its own new genus. A genus may move, in whole or in part, from one phylum to another, and even phyla may be moved from one kingdom to another. Even the framework changes. What is a kingdom in one taxonomic system may be a sub-kingdom or even a phylum in another. For that matter, some scientists make a convincing case that the whole kingdom system is invalid and that if we are to have a valid taxonomy it must be on a monophyletic basis. But the real problem is that life is messy and doesn’t fit itself into a convenient two-dimensional matrix. I suppose it might eventually be possible to classify all life in an n-dimensional matrix, but I sure wouldn’t want to attempt it.

Oh, yeah, my chapter title. It started out “Investigating Protista”, changed to “Investigating Protozoa”, and then changed again to “Investigating Protists”. I finally settled on “Investigating Protista/Protozoa/Protists”.

14:45 – I’ve sometimes posted Pat Condell videos here, often noting that I generally agree with Pat but that he’s a bit mealy-mouthed for my taste. Actually, I’m sure that Pat hates and despises islam as much as I do, as evidenced by his latest video.

7 Comments and discussion on "Friday, 4 November 2011"

  1. SteveF says:

    “Investigating Protestors”? Do you expect the home-schoolers to drive to Wall Street to get a protestor to poke, prod, and vivisect, or are you going to provide them in the kit with the rest of the gear? And what about safety measures? You’ve mused about accidentally breeding a supergerm. If you’re not careful, you can turn an OWSer into a superparasite.

  2. eristicist says:

    Frankly, I’m of the opinion that Wall Street workers are larger parasites than the OWS protesters.

  3. OFD says:

    What eristicist said above. Word.

    The parasites who ran their scams from Wall Street in connivance with, or at least under the negligence of, our overlords and masters in Mordor On The Potomac caused orders of magnitude more damage to this country, its economy and its citizens than a few hundred generally peaceful protesters around the country.

    And now, once again, as in previous years, they are giving themselves gigantic bonuses, with OUR FUCKING MONEY, the money that we gave them to bail their sorry thieving asses out.

    I happen to agree with a lot of what the OWS people are yelling about, but their tactics resemble throwing snowballs at a Tiger tank. Also, their credibility suffers a tad when they can go back home to mom and dad and be snug as a bug in a rug this winter while texting around the world on their nifty little Apple devices. Meanwhile, once again this winter, there will be people up here in the north country, either unemployed, or under-employed, who will face having to choose between groceries and heating oil.

    Not bums, not protesters, not communist scumbags, but regular working American citizens from whom this country sends its children to one miserable failure clusterfuck war overseas after another, and who are repeatedly bled white by punitive, confiscatory taxes, and who are pushed around and treated like pariahs in their own land.

    This will not stand. (As The Dude said.)

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, I don’t think there’s much doubt that the OWS is a left-wing movement of about 99% “useful idiots” being encouraged by far-left ideologues. That said, I’m certainly in sympathy with their anti-corporate stance. Large corporations are as much a threat to us as government and organized religion.

    Actually, it’s not the corporate structure itself that’s the threat. I do, after all, have my own LLC. It’s size and scale that cause the problems. If corporations were limited to 100 or even 1,000 employees, not allowed to have any ownership role in any other corporation, and permitted to have facilities only in one state, I’d have a lot less problems with them.

  5. Miles_Teg says:

    Doesn’t your last paragraph contradict your libertarian principles? I mean, if people want to form a company the size of IBM why shouldn’t they?

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    They should, of course. I have no problem with a company that has 100,000 or 1,000,000 employees, as long as they’re not incorporated. The whole concept of a corporation–an artificial person–is bogus, originally built around the idea of limiting liability, which obviously also limits accountability. Ideally, I’d get rid of corporations entirely, but as an intermediate step I’d be willing to allow them so long as they were restricted in size to prevent them from becoming dangerous.

  7. OFD says:

    The combination of gigantic and unaccountable corporations and their “culture” and the political ramifications thereof, in collusion with Our Nanny the Almighty State, comprise what is known as corporatist-fascism. Mussolini would love it. Both are essentially in control of our armed forces and the associated industries and political groups. Ditto the police, and, of course, the vast Leviathan bureaucracy, which goes on decade after decade unaccountable to anyone, while elected and appointed nabobs come and go.

    Eventually we get a situation where the gigantic corporation is said to be ‘too big to fail’ or it is said that any attempts to cut it down to size, make it accountable, or do away with it entirely, are now a threat to ‘national security.’ Which can mean anything the nabobs say it means. Which is what they have been doing for a very long time now.

    Throwing snowballs at Tiger tanks might be fun and exciting for a while, but this whole Leviathan or Behemoth or whatever will not come down and out short of a major upheaval in our society, and I believe that day is coming. Robert gives it five to ten years and that sounds about right. The OWS people, the Tea Party, social media, and the economy tanking are all forerunners of the apocalypse to come, and I am being rashly hopeful when I use that word in small letters.

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