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About Mokele

  • Birthday 09/16/1980

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  • Location
    Providence, RI
  • College Major/Degree
    Brown University, Biology
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Herpetology / paleobiology / biomechanics
  • Biography
    PhD student studying frog jumping and muscle biomechanics
  • Occupation
    Eternal student


  • Giant Atomic Reptile

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Scientist (10/13)



  1. Cut the passive-aggressive bullshit and own up to your own words. You're the one that trivialized the deaths of minorities, and suggested we should continue to suffer and die in the name of what, politeness? Civil discourse? Bipartisanship? Sorry if our struggles offend your delicate sensibilities. We'll try not to let the funeral dirges disturb your reading time.
  2. Bullshit. Give me a single reason *why* the ability to construct any sort of explanation - rational or otherwise - excuses actual behavior. Do you have more to this bland, useless platitude? Or is it just here so you can sound wise and composed? News flash - just because something worse happens elsewhere does not mean we have to stop caring about issues with a lower bodycount. Are you even listening to yourself? This is some of the shittiest logic outside of "relativity is wrong" threads. Um, because it's people I know and love who are suffering and dying as a result? This is, hands down, the most blatant display of straight white male privilege I've seen in a while, and frankly, I'm disappointed in you. How can you just wave aside the suffering of others as "temporary injustice"? Do you have ANY idea how cruel, dismissive, and warped that is?
  3. So, by your logic, someone who supported segregation in the 1950's wasn't racist? Sorry, but wrong. If your actions (including voting) cause or perpetuate harm to people solely based on inherent characteristics, you are a bigot, period. Words are utterly irrelevant - only actions matter. And if you willingly partake in actions which harm another because of nothing more than who they are, that makes you racist/sexist/homophobic/whatever. It doesn't matter what petty, bigoted rationalizations they may have - what matters is their EFFECT. And this should stop us from pressing forward why? You don't stop after taking just one "step in the right direction". You fulfill the purpose of this and every other legitimate government, which is full equality of all citizens. PG, I hate to say this, because you usually know a hell of a lot about politics, but I have to say you're horribly misinformed about the progressive movement. Yes, there is pressure for change. Which we have in common with every single other political movement, from the civil rights movement to lobbyists for sugar tarriffs to local community groups that want the potholes fixed on Central Parkway. Yes, we regard these issues as vitally important. Not only do we *also* have this in common with every other group, but we've got a pretty damned good reason - these are issues of fundamental human rights (which, frankly, is more important than tariffs or potholes) which *directly* affect prominent members of the movement. And yes, we DO have a long-term perspective. As strange as it may be for you, it IS possible to both care deeply about an issue *and* to realize that it can take time and effort to change. One of my favorite progressive blogs, Shakesville, uses the teaspoon as a logo, based on the saying "emptying an ocean with a teaspoon", and the recognition that these problems will not be solved overnight by proclamation, but by every one of us educating and speaking out over a long period of time. And as for whether it matters, when this change comes, I'll give you a number: 130. 130 people. 130 Trans people died Last year alone, due to society's transphobic views. Do you think those 130 people cared when change comes? We attack the social conservatives and the party which has sold out to them not out of partisan bitterness, but because we see them sheltering, protecting, and promoting the people and ideas which we and the people we care for are suffering and dying from. And before you even think of pulling that "we don't advocate violence" bullshit, remember that if you actively portray people as "lesser" or "other", then you are active promoting the atmosphere in which hate and violence grows. Go to Shakesville. Read the feminism 101 FAQ. Spend the next month reading the blog it. Don't reply, don't dismiss, just sit and listen. Read the comments of people's personal experiences, how these abstract issues can become literal life-and-death issues in horrific ways, and do so far, far more often than you think.
  4. I don't think it's an either-or. You can use the "debt to society" model for crimes with low recidivism (ordinary crimes, stupid mistakes, crimes of passion, etc.). The problem is that we cannot effectively deal with those who, due to built-in drives and urges, have an extremely high recidivism, and thus pose a danger to others. Basically, can we lock someone up due to future danger, if that danger is extremely high (for instance, a known pedophile, or someone who a panel of 10 shrinks unanimously agree is going to become a serial killer)?
  5. According to a recent poll of random, self-identified Republicans, 77% oppose gay marriage. So yes, a strong majority of Republicans hate gays. And read the rest of the questions - by all indications approximated 1/3rd of the rank-and-file supporters of the Republican party are nothing short of batshit insane.
  6. Natural selection isn't the only part of evolution, but it's the only part that's interesting.
  7. Not to be callous, but to add another wrinkle to this situation: Chronic care for those who, regardless of mental state, are in a prolonged state of physical non-responsiveness, is tremendously expensive (which can place a huge burden on the family). fMRI machines are not exactly free in a box of Wheaties, nor are they exactly portable, nor are there many people who are knowledgeable enough to interpret it correctly. So, where does this leave a family with no medical insurance, a kid in a comatose state due to a car wreck, and at a hospital in Nowheresville that's many, many hours from the nearest fMRI? Will they just have to risk it? Will there be legal rules that *prevent* them from pulling the plug, even if all other tests show no sign of brain activity? Are we going to have to funnel every comatose patient in the nation/world through the handful of these machines that exist?
  8. In what sense? I mean, very broadly, zoology studies animals, and animals evolve. Any study of biology involves evolution. If you're after organism-level animal biology in an evolutionary context, try Pough's Vertebrate Life. You can get the older editions for cheap, and they're very good (editions are just a way for textbook companies to scam you out of money).
  9. It's worth noting that the authors themselves, in a letter published alongside this article, cautioned explicitly against using one result to prop up a method that's been shown to fail in so many other situations. I see no reason to suspect it's flawed, and can think of good reasons why it might be accurate (increased religiosity of those in lower income levels, relatively young age of the kids involved). Remember, this study only compared abstinence-only to no sex ed, and showed that there can be an effect in some circumstances. It's very, very likely that comprehensive sex ed classes would have had an even better result. Also, this wasn't "real" abstinence-only sex-ed - it was a form of it delivered by the researchers which, while it omitted things, didn't actually have false or misleading information, which is very often the case with the programs produced by social conservatives.
  10. Rubber, just pick your thickness and use a small gauge needle.
  11. The problem is treating "adaptive" as if it's some sort of trait of the allele, rather than a description of how evolution acts on an allele. It's like saying that proclaiming a book as best-selling as a tautology, because best-selling books are defined by their sales. The correct statement is that populations contain a wide array of traits, some of which propagate more effectively to the next generation than others, and traits which exhibit this trend are called "adaptive". The trait is only adaptive if it's selected - there is no such thing as an "adaptive" trait, in spite of the lazy and imprecise language of some authors.
  12. I need to find a way to link frog jumping to cancer.
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