Adventures in Ethics and Science

To amuse you while I attend to work that needs doing, I offer a picture of an object on my desk at work.


A couple of questions for you, dear readers:

1. What is this?

2. Why do I have it?

(I did not, in fact, get it for myself. It was given to me in a specific context. If necessary, I’ll entertain yes-or-no questions in the comments to help you along.)

The first commenter who answers both questions correctly gets to assign me the topic of my next substantive post.


  1. #1 Nick
    December 4, 2009

    Well, I’m pretty sure it’s an anatomical model of a rectum and the associated bits of large intestine above it.

    As to why you have it, I hesitate to guess. A commentary from someone suggesting you relax your high and stringently-applied standards?

  2. #2 Colin
    December 4, 2009

    1) Model of hemorrhoids.

    2) ?

  3. #3 Rod
    December 4, 2009

    Looks like a cross-section of a bowel showing colo-rectal tumors and polyps.
    maybe you are looking into the apparent heritability of the tendency for colo-rectal cancer to run in families…

  4. #4 PalMD
    December 4, 2009

    I’d recommend an inflatable donut and sitz baths, but what do i know.

  5. #5 chezjake
    December 4, 2009

    The model is most certainly quite anal.

    I’ll hazard a guess that you expressed a desire to present someone with an “Asshole of the Year/Month/Week/Day” award, and that this was offered as a suitable trophy.

  6. #6 Janet D. Stemwedel
    December 4, 2009

    As PalMD’s comment suggests, Colin @2 has correctly identified the object as a model of hemorrhoids.

    Now y’all just need to work out the details of why it was given to me.

  7. #7 katydid13
    December 4, 2009

    Well, the oddest things in my office were passed on from people who are retiring or people who were traveling. I would guess someone is retiring at the end of the semester.

  8. #8 Scott Belyea
    December 4, 2009

    I can only hope that you’re all familiar with

  9. #9 KeithB
    December 4, 2009

    Boning up for your first colonscopy?

  10. #10 Comrade PhysioProf
    December 4, 2009

    Because you’re a pain in the fucking ass?

  11. #11 Janet D. Stemwedel
    December 4, 2009

    katydid13 @7: I would guess someone is retiring at the end of the semester.


    KeithB @9: Boning up for your first colonscopy?

    My possession of the model is work-related. Were I getting a colonoscopy (I haven’t scheduled one as of post date), I presume it would not be work-related.

    FizzyPoof @10: Because you’re a pain in the fucking ass?

    I won’t deny that I can be a pain in the ass, but that’s not the reason I was given the hemorrhoid model.

  12. #12 Jared
    December 4, 2009

    A work related model of a hemorrhoids…

    Where do philosophy and hemorrhoids combine…uhm…

    It’s pulling things out of your ass?

  13. #13 Robert
    December 4, 2009

    “Why do I have it?”

    It was given to you because it is work related.

    Do I win? 😀 😀

  14. #14 Steve
    December 5, 2009

    Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. Is someone at work pregnant?

  15. #15 S. Rivlin
    December 5, 2009

    Sitting on your behind, grading, is the main cause of problems related to the fecal orifice. Truck drivers are known to suffer from this problem. In the case of CPP, it started at the other end of his digestive system. 😉

  16. #16 Janet D. Stemwedel
    December 5, 2009

    Jared @12: While it’s work-related, it’s not related to the philosophizing parts of the job.

    Steve @14: Not related to someone at work being pregnant.

    S. Rivlin @15: Not related either to grading or, strictly speaking, to sitting on my behind.

  17. #17 Kathy
    December 5, 2009

    oh dear, is somebody trying to tell you that you are worse than swollen hemorrhoidal tissue (or in plain people language, a “pain in the a–“. (Internal and external at that!)

  18. #18 Alexander Cheezem
    December 6, 2009

    My guess on why it would be given to you is as part of a pharmaceutical promotion; there’s probably a drug ad on it somewhere.

    Or at least that’s where most of the models of that sort that I see come from…

  19. #19 Steve
    December 6, 2009

    Where the Sprogs inquisitive about hemorrhoids so you asked a colleague for a model?

  20. #20 Kim
    December 7, 2009

    I’m guessing that a grammatician gave it to you to encourage further understanding of the colon and semicolon and the appropriate use of them in all of those term papers you are grading!

  21. #21 ABradford
    December 7, 2009

    Did someone give it to you to as a visual aid for explaining the difficulty of explaining science, in this case medical anatomy, to a non-scientist.

  22. #22 Colin
    December 10, 2009

    Doesn’t seem that anyone is going to guess the other half.

    So as first person to guess half the questions can I suggest that half of your next substantive post be about question 2?

  23. #23 idlemind
    December 23, 2009

    A reference to the “piles” of papers you were grading?

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