Yesterday I was cautioned by the recounting of an event that occurred in our College of Business. It seems that a lecturer was explaining a concept that required either averaging or the area under a curve, and resorted to writing an integral on the board, by way of illustration. This was NOT a demonstration of technique, nor an explanation of how to perform calculations required in the course, rather just background. However, one student–correctly recalling that calculus was not a prerequisite–took umbrage; he wrote a letter of complaint to the Dean! Holy hellfire sh!t! Just last week I spent 10 minutes explaining to my calculus-averse biostatistics students how the standard normal table was constructed (integration does not conquer all). I had no idea I was skating so close to the edge. Probably because I’m an idiot or a lunatic.
A new species of blood fluke was found infecting the lungs of turtles in Malaysia. This parasitic flatworm has been dubbed Baracktrema obamai, in honor of the President of the United States (who is the fifth cousin twice removed of one of the discovering scientists).
A parasitic flatworm? I thought this was a spoof until I followed the link to the Jounal of Parasitology. For reals.
* Classical reference: Welcome to the Turtle Society. The only duty of membership is to give the correct response to the question “Are you a Turtle?” The correct response is “You bet your sweet ass I am.”
Update: got a like from Julius at Logical Quotes, a great place to get exposed painlessly to some of the great classical philosophers.
Update: Apparently turtles have more going for themselves than we knew. Check out this guy. I actually met this turtle in the San Diego Kids’ Zoo when I was a lad, before he was repatriated.
I suppose men standing around the barbecue burning meat and drinking beer is just another ritual of the Patriarchy.
Mark Twain was hip to this sort of thinking over a century ago:
In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long. . . . There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.