Field of Science

Links - Jan 10, 2011

This list was supposed to go up much, much earlier today, but I had a panic attack in the late afternoon about my thesis, took my anti-anxiety medicine, and then spent the rest of the day in what might appear to an uninformed outsider as a mild drunken stupor. Sorry. In the midst of all that I even managed to add a whole paragraph to my discussion. I have a great idea that would better visualize my model, but I need to talk to a biochemist to see if such a program even exists that will do what I want to do. Essentially I want a 3D protein beta-sheet with specific residues marked so that I can bind 'things' to them and see how these 'things' would arrange. If you know of something that might help, ping me (my email and twitter are on the sidebar). I'm working mainly with proteins and lipids in this model. Also it would help if it had the ability to import structures, because I really don't want to have to draw a bunch of cholesterol molecules by hand. I don't even know what cholesterol looks like in 3D.

The Mathematics of Beauty. The OkCupid blog never fails to amuse me. This time they use Garfield, game theory, algebra, and body modifications to explain why women with polarizing looks get more attention (in terms of messages sent) from men than women of equivalent average attractiveness but with stronger consensus (i.e. the former woman getting all 10s and 3s and the latter woman getting all 7s and 8s). They conclude that the next best thing to having a man think you're really hot is to have him think you're ugly, and that (assuming you're already fairly attractive) the best thing you can do to increase the possibility that men will approach you is to highlight your imperfections (this is where the tattoos and piercings come in). Generally speaking, things like piercings tend to project a desire to be approached by a particular demographic of men (or women-- being able to interpret facial piercings is an integral component of a good lesbian's gaydar), but I think there's also a threshold. I think it is possible to creep up on the line separating you from being girl who happens to have piercing(s) and being girl-with-piercings, if that makes sense, while still maintaining the interest of the general audience and not pigeonholing yourself into subcultures steeped in body modification (and being able to move between the two if you desire).

Hard Core. I don't really wish to comment on this very much. I am not sure what I would say and I'm sure all of it would be way too much information for me to discuss here, so I'm just going to drop this link here and tell you that it gave me a lot to think about. (Probably NSFW.)

Reading e-books vs. studying e-textbooks. Study shows that college students are reluctant to embrace e-books, particularly e-textbooks. I'm not surprised by this in the slightest. I can't imagine trying to study from an e-textbook.

Could chess-boxing defuse aggression in Arizona and beyond? Guest post on the Scientific American Guest Blog by my blogfriend Andrea Kuszewski. I have refrained from saying much on this topic because I don't like political discussions (and, yeah, this was an attempted murder, but all the talking has been very political). However, Andrea deserves mad props for both a great post and for volunteering to draw an illustration for my Open Lab post. Thanks, chick.

Lemur Week: Ringtailed Lemurs Look Where You're Looking. I have already told Jason that I refuse to engage in any lemur-related activities that don't coalesce into an energetic song and dance number, but I'm still going to link to this post just because it has LEMUR-VISION CAMERAS.

Photo of the day: Bat camp: orphaned critters nursed back to health:


  1. Hey, thanks for the shout out and the link!!

    And holy crap, are those bats the cutest things I've ever seen!!!!!! !!!!!

  2. double anal. who would have thought that would make it into serious journalism?

  3. I know, but I think it is something worth talking about. I am not a woman who thinks porn is inherently a bad thing (go figure), although I have seen it negatively affect people in my life all the time. I think the problem arises when people are unable to separate theater (if you want to call porn theater) with real life. I have known women (more than I'd like to think about) who had boyfriends who would not go near them sexually unless she was waxed completely bald. I also frequent an online sex/relationship advice forum, and there are at least a handful of posts every day from young men (usually in the 18-22 age range) who can't maintain erections with their girlfriends because she doesn't look or act anything like the women they see in hardcore pornography.

    That said, I still don't think porn is inherently harmful, at least not any more so than romantic fiction in all of its forms. Just as boys are growing up with unrealistic expectations about sex, girls are growing up with VERY unrealistic expectations about romance. In terms of what it does to their adult relationships, the whole 'meet a guy, fall in love in 3 days, and live happily ever after' is just as harmful to her future relationships as hardcore porn is to these young men IF she lets that fiction shape her expectations of real life.

    I think the only real difference between the two is that the men and women who star in romantic movies aren't stigmatized for the rest of their lives.

  4. re: porn. one thing i think that needs to be mentioned is a lot of the nature porn is driven by the tiny minority of super-pervs willing to pay for it. the preferences of these uber-pervs is driving a lot of the weird stuff.

  5. That's a very good point. The extremists, or uber-pervs as you call them, drive the demand for content, which in turn affects what the rest of porn consumers wind up watching. In effect it normalizes extreme sexual behavior through mass consumption by young men (and women to a lesser extent) who let porn drive their expectations of real life sex!

    All I have to say is that I really hope 2girls1cup never becomes normal.


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