A strange thing happened. I ate a Walmart fudge brownie, then some peanuts and drank some coffee. It tasted exactly like a memory of waiting for a table at Smitty’s with my grandparents. The yellow wavy glass, the vinyl bench, the smell of my grandmother’s perfume, the sound of silverware, the juice glasses with the distinctive bulgy profile… it all came back. It was clear in my mind to a crazy degree. It only worked once, though. No matter how many brownies I ate.
Unrelated: I’ve been doing some macro photography. I saw this weird moss and lichen on the top of a post. The vibrant red color is very interesting. I would love to know what the pigment is. The red nodules were about 2 mm in diameter. What a fun lens. It made me think of an old comic, A Softer World. So, I tried to make some things inspired by their style.
Draw a straight line to freeze a chicken – GIF – Imgur – A girl in elementary school told the class about a way to hypnotize a chicken. I was skeptical. She was 100% right. I have wondered about that for 30 years.
Hi, I’m Liz – Comic – The bear loves pizza – Comic A bear also wants to know if this movie will make him cry.
What are you doing – GIF – Imgur – This cat loves spa day
Tom Gauld on Instagram: “for @newscientist” – Comic A Plan for Reopening the Lab
I posted what instagram told me to and… – YouTube Swell Entertainment deep dive on whether Instagram knows what will help their users get followers… also has this line that made me laugh: “That was the day I posted the full body thirst trap. Full body minus feet. Because I’m maintaining the potential to sell feet pics in the future. If I ever decide to. So. No feet.”
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start Up Bubble – Book – started out with a quote from Grandpa Simpson: “I used to be with ‘it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ anymore and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary. It’ll happen to you!”
Who knew? – Comic – Oglaf was perfect. It turns out ‘non-venomous’ is not the same as ‘harmless.’ The usual warnings for Oglaf apply: This particular link isn’t porn, but Trudy and Doug draw very explicit comics sometimes. IHOP blocks their site, I’ll tell you that.
REBOOTED | Short Film – YouTube It’s about a stop motion skeleton
A little e-card for the antivaxxer in your life:
Perceptive articles and videos:
Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome – YouTube. This is very perceptive. Imposter syndrome is real – look at people on Youtube who feel like they don’t deserve an audience. If people like viewing your stuff, you’re a real entertainer. Done. If you feel like an imposter, then that’s something you need to work on internally, right? But in many institutions, lots of styles are arbitrarily deemed unprofessional. Does your preferred style fall outside the bounds of professional? Do you have to change it to fit in and make progress? Yeah, you might feel like an imposter. Why is the organization enforcing this style? Perpetuating power. Old garbage ideas that refuse to die.
Stephanie Kelton on Twitter: “All of this is to say that if policymakers fall for what the CRFB is pushing, they will condemn the country to lower economic growth and lock in persistent inequalities, all on the basis of seriously flawed economics.” Terrific piece.
Tolkien’s Philosophy: Why couldn’t Frodo destroy the One Ring? – YouTube. While I was working in the lab, I listened to an essay on “Tolkien’s Philosophy” including his Catholicism. I don’t like his views on sin, or women, or class… but I love that he conceives of evil as ultimately causing its own destruction. He sees kindness and mercy as humans’ main virtues. Humans can’t resist temptation forever or oppose existential evil by their own strength. But we can forgive and have mercy, and these things matter. They matter even in the face of overwhelming, destructive evil.
The 1776 Report – YouTube – Hey, let’s ignore the parts of history we don’t like (or that the liberals say we shouldn’t like, nod nod wink wink say-no-more) and pretend they don’t have any relevance to today!
Nihilism & Howl’s Moving Castle – Movies with Mikey – YouTube – Amazing take, Howl’s Moving Castle is a good movie for our time, and I didn’t even realize it. I need to watch it again.
Princess Mononoke (1997) – Movies with Mikey – YouTube Admirable essay and review. I enjoyed hearing someone else’s thoughts on Princess Mononoke. I love that movie. I wish I knew what questions Mikey was asking himself when he made this video. Was he like “what should people know about this movie?” Or was it more like “What do people want to hear who have seen this movie?” I feel like I am missing a key writing insight.
Academia After COVID by Avi Loeb at Scientific American. Things are going to be different.
Random Media I enjoyed:
Mad Money – Movie. This 2008 film made me anxious, but I liked it a lot.
Bridge of Spies – Movie. Excellent. A cold war drama that really exemplifies what America should stand for: the rule of law, building connections, treating people with dignity. “Winston Churchill once famously observed that Americans will always do the right thing, only after they have tried everything else.”
The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey – Audiobook. This version is abridged, which is too bad. It was such a good book but it’s only OK as a 3 hour audiobook.
Apollo 13 (1995) – Movie. A classic, of course. I had not seen it in 20 years. Feels like a good time.
It looks like my last research paper is out. Hopefully, I can help my student get one more publication – her biosensor review is coming together. It got me to thinking: what was the total number of papers for my academic career? So, I went and counted:
14 First/co-first authorships
12 Corresponding authorships
18 Additional papers
I started publishing in 2003 and kept it up for 18 years. In that time, I was an author on 44 publications. I’m proud of that. It’s a respectable body of work.
Throughout all this, I always felt like research, running the lab, getting funding, tenure, etc. were all in service to getting the “security” to pursue a “real” thing. But I was so busy getting “security” that I never adequately defined what the “real” thing was. Nanotechnology? The next step toward post-scarcity? What do those things even mean in terms of this year’s experiments? Answering ambitiously feels like drinking my own Kool-Aid; answering conservatively feels uninspiring.