Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the Origin of Species 150th Anniversay.

For the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, the British Council presented a talk by E.O. Wilson. The talk is just under a half hour, but I've been so busy lately I had to split it up into a few different viewings. I think it is definitely worth your time if you have an interest in this subject or scientist.

Wilson is a huge inspiration of mine, as I'm sure he is to many an aspiring naturalist. If you haven't read any of his work, I suggest you go pick something up now. You're in for a treat.
Besides being considered the father of sociobiology, he is instrumental in the modern conservation movement, a leading figure in the theory of island biogeography (I believe he is credited with coming up with the theory itself), and the winner of a great many awards from the National Medal of Science to the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction (actually, two).

Many years ago I wrote to him after reading his autobiography Naturalist. I was surprised when, several weeks later, I received an envelope back in the mail addressed from E.O. Wilson. I was even more shocked when I opened the envelope to find a letter from the great scientist himself, the response giving evidence that he had actually read my letter and taken the time to respond himself.

Things have been hectic lately. Everything from a pointless debate with creationists over at Florida Citizens for Science to trying to figure out school and the kidney transplant issues. Now with heading down South for the holiday and trying to squeeze in my museum volunteering before Wednesday afternoon, I wanted to post this before I found myself completely unable to tear away from life. The last couple of days I have come to a clearer idea of what is and isn't fruitful. As PZ wrote, it is basically pointless to debate with creationists, and after nearly two hundred responses to one particular post with no evidence that we were even speaking the same language, I realized the only thing all the time and energy I put into the "debate" accomplished was to push aside all the other areas I need to focus on in my life at the moment.

In all honesty, I'm sure after the Thanksgiving holiday is over, and we're back in town next week for the daily grind, I probably won't be able to resist dropping back by and engaging in the pointless arguing again. But for now, I'm rather proud of myself that I've resisted the temptation to basically go and do nothing but spin my wheels. I'm one who has generally acted as if I enthusiastically support pyrrhic victories my entire life, but am gradually trying to teach myself that some of these causes are lost---such as an attempt to debate with a great many creationists---and I am merely expending time and energy that could be spent more wisely elsewhere.

Anyway, I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday, whatever you are doing and whoever you may find yourself doing it with. Happy Thanksgiving, and see you all in December!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get me a cup o' this joe!

Thanks to Bad Astronomy for this little bit of outstanding!

Flu Shot

I was able to get my seasonal flu vaccine the other day. The day I received my shot, they got a shipment of swine flu vaccine in. I'm hoping that they won't run out by the time I go back for my nephrology appointment in early December.

I'm still a bit torn about getting the vaccine. Not because of all the crazy bullshit that the anti-vaxers are spewing forth, but because there is some evidence that immunosuppressed patients cannot be assumed to mount a vaccine response. This does not mean you get vaccinated and something awful happens, but rather, you get vaccinated and the outcome may be as if you did not receive the vaccine. I cannoot stress that may part enough. At the moment, the CDC is still recommending transplant recipients (among others) receive the flu shot--not the intranasal, as this is a live attenuated virus.

Despite my initial concerns that I might be taking a vaccine from someone who could most definitely benefit from it, I ultimately decided I would get the vaccine. I will follow the science as it becomes available, to find out if the transplant population benefits from the practice.

And until then, I'll be getting my flu shots.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Free Concert!

The Gainesville Community Band and Buchholz High School Band will be performing today at the Phillips Center here in Gainesville. For those of you in the area, you ought to come check it out. The concert is free and open to the public, and the Phillips Center is a nice venue for those of you who might not have had an opportunity to check it out. It's located on UF campus, on Hull Road which is right off of SW 34th Street.

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I meant to post on this awhile back, but I'm extraordinarily undisciplined. Anyway.

I went through my blog and deleted over a hundred past posts. I tried to make a simple cut off based simply on time. If the post occurred prior to September of this year, I threw it out. There were a few entries that I think would have fit with what I want this to move toward in an overall manner, but it seemed easier and would require less determination as to what was or was not a hanging chad in terms of content to just make a relatively fresh start.

So for the very few who have come here consistently, sorry if I took out something you liked, and for anyone else, I hope to make this a bit less haphazard and slightly more focused.