Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Archives for October, 2006

Moiety

This fine word is often used by molecular biologists and protein chemists to describe proteins that are comprised of separate subunits. However, this word has a long and distinguished history outside of biology, as I recalled when I found it in a crossword puzzle in a book published by Dell;

. . Does anyone have any doubts as to the extremist nature of Islam when the senior Muslim cleric in Australia and New Zealand blamed women for their own rapes?

OILigarchy: Obscene?

. . . The petroleum giants were raking in money hand over fist while all of us were sweating blood over gasoline prices that had reached $4 per gallon in many parts of the country — all during the so-called “gas shortage” caused by Gulf War 2.

Being Green

Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea. Nelson Farms Preserve, Katy Prairie Conservancy, Texas. NABA Butterfly Count, 4 September 2006. Image: Biosparite. If you have a high-resolution digitized nature image that you’d like to share with your fellow readers, feel free to email it to me, along with information about the image and how you’d like it…

Ineluctable

This fine word also comes from Sam Harris’s book, The End of Faith; Ineluctable (in-i-LUHK-tuh-buhl) [Latin inluctbilis : in, not + luctbilis, penetrable] adj. incapable of being evaded; inescapable. Usage: At the heart of every totalitarian enterprise, one sees outlandish dogmas, poorly arranged, but working ineluctably like gears in some ludicrous instrument of death. .…

… full-flail civil war .. blah blah! I listened to Bush’s speech this morning on TV. I felt like one of the characters from the Peanuts comic strip as they listened to their teacher talk. Basically, Bush’s speech and the following question and answer period were such a tangled web of lies and “spin” that…

Inchoate

I ran across this word today in my reading of Sam Harris’s book, The End of Faith, and I think it’s a fine word to share with all of you. Inchoate (in-KOH-it, -eyt or, especially Brit., IN-koh-eyt) [Latin; incohāre; to begin, to start work on] not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary. just begun; incipient.…

Puddling Butterflies

This is a pictorial tutorial on distinguishing the Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae (individual on left), from the Sleepy Orange butterfly, Eurema nicippe (group on right). This photo was taken just north of US 290 on the east side of Roberts Road at a vacant lot posted “For Sale” for commercial development. Puddling is a social…

Real Men Don’t Use Maps

NYC subway map source. Honestly, I had no idea that straight men even used maps! According to a recent study, gay men and straight women have similar navigational strategies, which are different from those employed by straight men. Women rely on using landmarks to find their way around, whereas straight men rely on a compass,…

Hrm, A Gun or an Abortion?

A 22 year-old pregnant woman, who was unable to afford an abortion, carried her fetus to the middle of the third trmester and then shot herself in the belly, killing the fetus. The woman claims she did this because she was impoverished, she already has two children and because her boyfriend was mentally abusive to…