Insomnia, Slightly Beer-Induced

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep until 7:30. Graah! Is all I have to say to that. And, I met a set of potential housemates last night, for beer, which motivates today’s Oracle question: if it bothers you that your housemates don’t replace the toilet paper roll, but you suffer in silence until you’re about to move out and you complain about it to your prospective new housemates, what does that mean?

  • Funniest thing I’ve read all week:

    But the practice of geology requires a certain amount of perspective; this tends to put the egotists and their self-importance in their properly insignificant place. Everyone in Earth science knows that, no matter how grand their theories or widely applicable their methods, Mother Earth is smarter than they are.

    Or perhaps not so much the funniest thing as the most well-put untruth.

  • Excellent word of the day yesterday:

    brummagem \BRUHM-uh-juhm\, adjective:
    Cheap and showy, tawdry; also, spurious, counterfeit.

    How did I live nearly a quarter-century without learning that one?

  • Why HR 4337 is a queer issue
  • Where are all the Midwestern radicals?

    Where are they? Are they talking to Conservative Mexican or White Christian? Are they explaining to Soccer Mom and Working Dad and Single Mom and Rebellious Teen and Lonely Single why they feel so queasy when they watch the late night news? Are they telling these folks what they *could* be doing to alleviate that sick feeling? Are they sharing their knowledge on how to organize a press conference, how to write a Zine, how to talk to a congress person?

    Or are they sending yet another eloquent article that details why Howard Stern sucks and Michael Moore isn’t radical enough into their local political magazine?
    Conservatism is a *learned* social behavior, just as radicalism is. So when radicals dismiss an entire block of people and actively encourage other radicals to leave the misery of the Midwest for the glory of the East or West coast, they are not only denying the ability of a “red neck” or a “baby breeder” to think critically and become an ally or a fellow radical, but they are also inadvertently contributing to the structure of oppression that tells us there are red states and then there are blue states, and there is no room in the system for anybody else.

    Well, I’ve run off to the more pleasingly rocky fields of California, where we make hilariously erudite radical jokes about Judith Butler at the dinner table, burn the state flag of South Dakota to stay warm in all this crazy rain, and drink the blood of Republican babies. So hell if I know where the other Midwestern radicals are at. But if anyone can find me some Bay Area progressives who do nothing but mock the breeders in the Midwest, and never ever talk to their more conservative neighbors or their families back in Iowa, I’d appreciate it – you’d think finding enough people to form a redneck baby and red state flag bulk buying cooperative would be easy here in Berkeley, but nooo, everyone’s all shut up about your crazy radicalism, we have to look sane for the little old ladies in Dubuque! and how can we protect abortion rights if we’re eating their babies for breakfast?. Pfft.

Oracular househunting advice and search requests under the fold.

  1. The Covering: The Occasion – Ease Away
  2. The Crossing: Björk – Unison
  3. The Crown: Cordelia’s Dad – Leave Your Light On
  4. The Root: Kékélé – Lili
  5. The Past: Noe Venable – Happiness
  6. The Future: Acoustic Mayhem – Red Haired Boy
  7. The Questioner: Nightnoise – Après-Midi
  8. The House: Walt Michael – Wind in the Hollow
  9. The Inside: June Tabor & The Oyster Band – Mississippi Summer
  10. The Outcome: Nightnoise – Timewinds

Apparently this woman’s apartment has some terrible drafts. Hmm. I think the answer is to not live with her, no matter how nice her cat might be.

Search Requests

  • time free attack bubblebots maths
  • inurl:sex ‘Warning: main(‘ ‘failed to open stream’
  • are people with with moles are ugly or cute?
  • photos of Princess Carl Philip of Sweden nude
  • cock of the rock coloring page


  1. Lab Lemming wrote:

    Which is untrue?
    That egotism is detrimental to the practice of geology?
    That this detrimental effect impacts on researcher’s careers?
    Or that everybody knows this?

  2. yami wrote:

    All of the above, I think. But it’s the idea that earth scientists are humble that really made me snerk into my soda.

  3. Lab Lemming wrote:

    To whom are you comparing them? The deferential venture capitalists of Silicon Valley? The meek ambulance chasers of the New Jersey Bar? The unassuming political strongmen of Washington’s halls of power? I mean really, how many geologists have tried to take over the world?
    OK, Colin Powell was a geologist. But he didn’t take over the world; heck, he retired after trying. And aside from him?
    I will admit that some geologists are arrogant. But it is my hypothesis that their arrogance will have a negative impact on their research, which should become apparent within a few decades of their demise. Sure, Lord Kelvin died thinking that he was the bee’s knees. But what is he now? The namesake for a brand of refrigerators.
    -The Lemmingator

  4. yami wrote:

    Well, I’m comparing them to physicists and astronomers and biologists. The earth scientists I know aren’t any humbler than other scientists – though as with all science, that ego gets expressed in some weird ways, for sure.
    I suspect that if ego comes into it at all, there’s a weak anti-correlation between humility and career success, at least in modern funding structures where you can only do research at all if you can convince your peers to give you money. When done with a bit of panache, egotistical self-aggrandizement is better known as “marketing”. But actually arguing the point would require some overly candid assessments of my colleagues, so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree
    Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover were both geologists.

  5. Lab Lemming wrote:

    Any further argument on this topic would require a definition of what a successful scientist is. As far as I know, that hasn’t been figured out by anyone yet.
    As for funding, I would suggest that there is a moderate anti-correlation between the amount of funding and the quality of the research, for precisely the reasons that you have given: It is easier to attract funding for gaudy, press-release, highly interpretative “science” than it is for the nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts, fundamental stuff that most of us simply aren’t smart enough to understand, much less evaluate.
    I’ll name Bay-area names in a separate reply, so that you can delete it if an advisor is mentioned.

  6. Lab Lemming wrote:

    KL is both less arrogant, and more valuable to science, than WM.

  7. yami wrote:

    I haven’t yet met either of the people you mentioned (I switched their names to initials for the benefit of Google) so, no comment. We could throw names, and projects, around all day, but that’s the sort of thing that’s best done over a few beers – do you ever make it up to fall AGU?

  8. Lab Lemming wrote:

    I’m a technician. Scientists go to AGU. We just pull the strings that move their jaws… and wave their arms.
    I might sneak off to Goldschmidt in August, though. Coming down?

  9. yami wrote:

    A whole week of geochemistry? *shudders* – there have got to be nicer junkets than that.
    One of these days I’ll get truly crafty and find an excuse to make it down there – perhaps to present my ongoing work on the fracture mechanics of alcohol-lubricated fault zones and the seismic hazard implications of drinkin’ too many fruity girl drinks. Or maybe I’ll just flunk out of grad school and get a nice mining job…

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