An open letter to Chibuihem Amalaha

Michelle Murrain - Thu, 2013-09-26 01:59

Dear Chibuihem,

 

I'm sure this has not been the best week for you. I have no idea whether or not you'll actually read this, but I'm writing it because it just felt like the right thing to do.

 

I read your interview, where you describe that you have "proven with science that gay marriage is improper", with a fair amount of dismay. I decided, instead of greeting the article with derision and ridicule, which has, unfortunately, been the prevalent reaction, to give you a bit of un-asked-for advice. I tend not to do this sort of thing, really (ask my friends.) But I seem compelled to, so I will.

 

You say you want to be the first African to win a Nobel Prize in science. That's quite an ambition, and a laudable one. And one that will take a prodigious amount of work and drive, and you seem to be on the way, at least in that department. But in the science department... not so much. Let me tell you a little bit about science, and, more particularly, since you seem to be focused on homosexual behavior and gay marriage, a little bit about the science of sexuality. I have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, if you're wondering about my ability to tell you about science.

 

Science is really more about asking questions, not "proving" already fully-formed ideas, like whether gay marriage is "proper". Scientists observe, measure, and form hypotheses, which are then tested. A hypothesis or theory  is proven after a long while of many scientists working together over years. Asking whether gay marriage is "proper" using science is not appropriate. What is proper, anyway, in scientific terms? What does that actually mean? And marriage is a human construction, not a biological phenomenon.

 

If you are going to scientifically compare something, you need to use things that are, in some intrinsic way, similar. For instance, scientists often study the brains of rats to get clues to how human brains work. Those are somewhat similar things (They are, actually quite different, but similar enough to give clues and directions.) It doesn't make sense to use what goes on inside a tree for instance, to figure out what happens in our brains. They aren't alike enough. Even though trees have cells, like brains have cells, they are too different to really make any reasonable conclusions about the human brain based on the characteristics of a tree. You might well compare a maple tree to an oak tree. 

 

You've gone even further than the tree-brain comparison. You are comparing human behavior, which very complexly influenced by biology, genetics, social context, and experience to ... a magnet? And acids and bases? Um, no. No can do. That isn't science. They share very little in common. Sure human cells have chemical reactions - that's an essential part of life. And some cells respond to magnetic charge (pigeons are thought to navigate using magnetic fields.)

 

So what would be similar? What would be a reasonable kind of comparison to make to human behavior? Well, how about the behavior of the primate genetically closest to us? Do you think that might make a reasonable comparison? Some people don't, and most of those reasons are, frankly, colored by social bias. That's the other thing about science. It is imperative (although very often ignored) that scientists look closely at their own social location and bias, and make sure that it isn't influencing the questions they ask, and the conclusions they draw. There have actually been many studies (one particular, relatively well-known example is actually in the realm of primate behavior,) where people went back to look at old studies and old conclusions, and found that they were badly influenced by the social biases that the original scientists had.

 

So what about those Bonobo chimpanzees, our closest cousins? You'd blush to read studies of their sexual behavior.  In fact, let's just talk about sexual behavior of all animals. Know what? Homosexual behavior, from the occasional dalliance, to the lifetime pair-bonding, is found in 1,500 species of animals. That's a whole lot. I think it's kinda safe to say that at least when it comes to the behavior of the animal kingdom, homosexual behavior is indeed natural, given how often it occurs.

 

So here's the real advice: stop. Think about what you really want in your life. Do you really want to be a scientist? If you really want to be a scientist, then, get yourself a boatload of books by people like Stephen J. Gould, Carl Sagan, Neil Degrass-Tyson, Diane Fossey, Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose and Jane Goodall. Really. I'll even buy some for you, if you can't afford them.

 

And, let's get personal. Why is this such an important issue for you? Are you trying to prove something to yourself, after all? Have a look at that, will you? It will be fine. Really, it will be. You are loved exactly as you are.

 

Best Wishes,

Michelle

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

More Cloud Fallacy

L J Laubenheimer (Iconoclast Blast) - Fri, 2013-08-09 23:51
...so they outsourced, for example, to Amazon Web Services (server + network administration).
BZZZZT!!! Wrong!! You do not escape "server + network administration".
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

new potatoes

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:19
new potatoes by Br3nda
new potatoes, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

so we “dug up” some of the spuds… really we just tipped them out of the bag they were growing in.

Spuds growing in bag

worked really well – didn’t take up land (just left the bags leaning on a brick wall) and were easy to get out. Will do again

There’s something so very christmasey about new potatoes, freshly dug from your own garden.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

hot christmas

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:16
gopr4381 by Br3nda
gopr4381, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

Christmas was stinky hot all over the place — so we spent a chunk of christmas day in a swimming pool – had some fun with the water proof camera and a gopro.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Tuatara

Brenda Wallace - Sat, 2012-12-29 09:15
Tuatara by Br3nda
Tuatara, a photo by Br3nda on Flickr.

check out this old lady – she was just chilling by the track in Zealandia.

Turatara are awesome because they’re dinosaurs — all their cousin are extinct but tuatara are still hanging out in the sun.

And because they have a vestigial 3rd eye in the middle of their heads… yes. THREE EYES.


Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

What will we count?

What Will We Use? (Maco and Bethlynn) - Wed, 2012-03-21 18:39

Hello Readers…

This blog has been about Microsoft and its market share.

Specifically, on June 2009 I bet my friend Nick that Microsoft would lack a majority market share come June 2011. We discussed the three products that HAD the majority market share as of the summer of 2009:

  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer for browsers
  2. Microsoft Office for office suites
  3. Microsoft Windows for operating systems

Due to personal reasons, we did not conclude this project properly.

It was too time intensive to research the true market share of Microsoft products. It is without question that Microsoft no longer holds the majority market share on browsers, now with about 30% of the market share. The office suite question is still under debate due to Google Apps. Also under consideration is if tablets replace the desktop.

In summary, the question all along should have been “What will we count?” as office suites and operating system platforms instead of “What will we use?”

Without question, Microsoft is struggling to stay relevant as revenues plummet. Indeed, upon 2011 year close Microsoft is a different company. It is sad. I do not want Microsoft to fold. Competition is good even for the Apple and Linux-based products I prefer using.

After-all, I am a MSFT stock-holder.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Ramadan Mubarak

Lilandra - Sat, 2011-08-13 05:10

Ramadan is here again. Actually we are about 13 days in…so almost half way done.

And you’re wondering what could I possibly doing that is new, right?
More pictures of dates and fried stuff?
An artistic shot of a glass of water?

Well I intend to host my very first Iftar.

I’m going to give people food to break fast.

Now my mom is not very happy about this.
She may not like the menu either.

But I had a plan…for how I could cook everything…bake bake bake…I really need a second oven…

However I was saved. I am outsourcing the meat and one side.

I am making one side and salad (well I informed my sister in law that she is making the salad).

I’m excited and petrified at the same time.

Wsh me luck!

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-26

Teri Solow - Sun, 2011-06-26 12:50
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

gothiccharmschool: I don’t care if Monday’s blueTuesday’s gray…

Teri Solow - Sat, 2011-06-25 21:00

gothiccharmschool:

I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday, I’m in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love

I don’t care if Mondays black
Tuesday, Wednesday – heart attack
Thursday, never looking back
It’s Friday, I’m in love

Monday, you can hold your head
Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed
Or Thursday – watch the walls instead
It’s Friday, I’m in love

Via l0vechild

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-25

Teri Solow - Sat, 2011-06-25 12:50
  • One placeholder sentence to replace and I guess I'm ready to figure out this deploy. But, oh, what a sentence. #
  • @travisezell Oh man, he had such a cute little website and now it's contemplating sympathy death. http://bit.ly/kXiWQu in reply to travisezell #
  • Procrastination is a muse and the paradox. @ Reed College – Educational Technology Center http://instagr.am/p/GTxqY/ #
  • Taking my cats to the vet just now was my $500 nam. Seriously, the wisdom tooth extraction Monday was way cheaper and slightly more pleasant #
  • To be clear, the vets were great. It was the screaming murderous cats which were the problem. #
  • @palomint You're supposed to tell us. in reply to palomint #
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-24

Teri Solow - Sat, 2011-06-25 05:50
  • One placeholder sentence to replace and I guess I'm ready to figure out this deploy. But, oh, what a sentence. #
  • @travisezell Oh man, he had such a cute little website and now it's contemplating sympathy death. http://bit.ly/kXiWQu in reply to travisezell #
  • Procrastination is a muse and the paradox. @ Reed College – Educational Technology Center http://instagr.am/p/GTxqY/ #
  • Taking my cats to the vet just now was my $500 nam. Seriously, the wisdom tooth extraction Monday was way cheaper and slightly more pleasant #
  • To be clear, the vets were great. It was the screaming murderous cats which were the problem. #
  • @palomint You're supposed to tell us. in reply to palomint #
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Procrastination is a muse and the paradox. (Taken with…

Teri Solow - Fri, 2011-06-24 20:16

Procrastination is a muse and the paradox. (Taken with Instagram at Reed College – Educational Technology Center)

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-23

Teri Solow - Fri, 2011-06-24 05:50
  • Wondering how many apps I have installed on my phone came bundled with wee web browsers. Guessing 50%. Seems massively wasteful. #
  • @micahjgates It's mostly wasteful in that it wastes my time making me re-login to various places every time I leave a comment or whatever in reply to micahjgates #
  • @darkuncle Instapaper, facebook, tumblr, and others all have their own tiny non-safari browsers. in reply to darkuncle #
  • @ahockley You din't think they already have access to everything you have in the cloud? in reply to ahockley #
  • Kid, to other kid who just walked past me: "Dude, you really shouldn't be ahead of us like that! You might get kidnapped!" #
  • Store! Y U no have creamer?! #
  • Looking down, you realize that most people consider tiny stars entirely disposable. #
  • Video: This really drives home what an amazing song this is. It literally gave me chills. (via 35 YouTube… http://tumblr.com/xp7350z70o #
  • Photo: Living on the edge. http://tumblr.com/xp7353rvk6 #
  • @darkuncle @marco Maybe it's based on safari, I don't know. Since it doesn't use safari's cookies it makes no difference to me. in reply to darkuncle #
  • Watching some awful little songbirds attack a sickly crow :( #
  • A second crow came to the defense of the first. I hope they eat all the songbird's babies. #
  • Good samaritans are my kryptonite. If someone dropped something, LEAVE IT ALONE kthxbai. #
  • @darkuncle Who cares how it's implemented then? A separate cookie jar means it's less useful than if it just used safari. in reply to darkuncle #
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Living on the edge.

Teri Solow - Thu, 2011-06-23 21:02

Living on the edge.

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

This really drives home what an amazing song this is. It…

Teri Solow - Thu, 2011-06-23 18:43

This really drives home what an amazing song this is. It literally gave me chills.

(via 35 YouTube Musicians Cover Radiohead’s)

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-22

Teri Solow - Thu, 2011-06-23 12:50
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

babyjane: i LOL’d

Teri Solow - Wed, 2011-06-22 21:00

babyjane:

i LOL’d

Categories: LinuxChix bloggers

Transmissions from 2011-06-22

Teri Solow - Wed, 2011-06-22 12:50
Categories: LinuxChix bloggers
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