Thursday, August 31, 2006

I, Pluto

In case you live in a cave, Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. I don’t know if this is similar to “gender reassignment” or not, but now it’s been demoted to “dwarf planet.” It’s lost its full planet ranking.

I wonder if that means a reduction in pay as well? Hmmm.

I’m always curious about how perfectly good planets get reassigned. What happens? Do they fall out of favor like so many Soviet leaders? Has Pluto been delinquent in its planetary duties? Just what the heck are planetary duties, anyway?

It’s not a new trend, though. This kind of term reassignment has been going on in biology for years. Every year the powers that be change anatomy terms. It’s no longer the mitral and tricuspid valves in the heart, they’re left and right atrioventricular valves (in some texts). What was so awful about mitral and tricuspid? Did some important anatomist have a lisp?

I think I know who’s behind this sort of nonsense, though — authors and publishers of text books. Think about it! In a science as dead as gross anatomy (not a lot of work is getting done in the field, these days) what else are you doing to do? Sell more books! If we can con the powers that be into changing the names, all the text books have to be changed, and we get to sell new editions to unsuspecting college students and school boards!

Hey, this happened at my school. One of our top anatomy and physiology professors helped put together an (admittedly cool) anatomy text book and voila! The school makes them a required text for all anatomy classes. Better yet, it’s the fist edition. Next year, when they fix all the typos, they can sell the second edition and kill the secondary textbook market.

Okay, so I’m being a bit facetious, but hey. How do you think Pluto must feel?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Decisions Decisions

I’ve pretty well decided to got ahead and retake my chemistry classes. It solves a lot of problems and . . . to get all freaky on you . . . it just feels right.

I can’t explain why, it just feels like the right thing to do. I know, I know. “John! You’re too much of a scientist to just go on your feelings!” Maybe, but I’m also a big believer in intuition and the divine. In this case, I’m just gonna go with my gut.

So I headed over to my school’s website to register for Chem 1200 this fall. Whoops! Did I pull a bone-headed maneuver! I had checked a book out of the college’s library last semester and didn’t bother to return it. In all the hub-bub about my gall-bladder and everything else, I forgot. Rats. Decision making leads to financial aide hold. Crap.

So, I’ve gotta get over to the library with the book and fork over some money so I can have the wonderful opportunity to spend even more money on tuition. These guys have got you coming and going in terms of paying fees and what not.

I wonder . . .  how can I get in on some of that action?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pot and Fat Mice

File these under “food for thought.”

According to at least one BBC article, smoking marijuana may help prevent conception. If this is true, how do college students reproduce?

Just something to make you wonder.

About me, probably.

Here’s another. Some scientists in California have developed a vaccine to stop obesity in mice. I didn’t even know mice cared if they were fat or not. Here’s another solution for fat mice.