Petitioning Obama: Build a Death Star!

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This is my #LulzOfDaDay 🙂 Background: the Obama administration provides a web platform — We the People, — for citizens to send a petition to the President, and “if a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.” Among the most popular petitions, you can find one calling for free access to scientific publications arising from taxpayer-funded research or the one asking for the removal of District Attorney Ortiz for overreach in Aaron Swartz case.

Star Wars Cookies, by Betsy Weber on Flickr (CC-by 2.0)

Star Wars Cookies, by Betsy Weber on Flickr (CC-by 2.0)

And here comes one of the most important petitions to Obama ever: “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” Launched on Nov 14, 2012 it has gathered nearly 35,000 signatures thus far. The rationale:

By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.

This makes you laugh? Come on, don’t go medieval on this concerned citizen. The Obama administration took his demand into consideration as it “shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense.” Unfortunately, a Death Star isn’t on the horizon:

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“The Art of Being Still”

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I am my character, pedaling down to the beach after a long day of working as a hotel housekeeper. I see the world through his eyes. I imagine what he is thinking. I use that brief time to become him.

I transform the mundane task of grocery shopping into a writing exercise by studying my fellow shoppers through the eyes of my character, a man who is on the run from the law.

I eye each one with suspicion and dodge any cop who might be trotting along with a grocery basket in hand. I sometimes steal a quirk from a woman nearby to apply to one of my female characters in the book. I am multitasking, but there is stillness at work here.

Silas House on the quietness of writing.

The *pr0n wave

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It is now more or less a public secret that my PhD deals with sexual behaviour, sex-biased genes, and all kinds of sex-related stuff. Until now, it was doing so with flies.

Recently, I started broadening my expertise. Here is some evidence.

It all started with this one. Not my fault, the Absolutely Madness Tumblr blog just bumped into me.

It all started with this one. Not my fault, the Absolutely Madness Tumblr blog just bumped into me.

Flower pr0n.

Flower pr0n.

Turtle pr0n. Captured by yours truly when visiting the Snake Park in Nairobi, Kenya.

Turtle pr0n. Captured by yours truly when visiting the Snake Park in Nairobi, Kenya.

And then, a friend going to Mombasa (Kenya), without me, bumps into this.

In the meantime, a friend going to Mombasa (Kenya), without me, bumps into this.

And today I was pointed to these images.

And today I was pointed to these images.

(source for the last one: La séxualité des dinosaures vue par un artiste)

And a small update (a close friend used to call me Medusa, which pretty much resembles me… 🙂 ):

Medusa :)

Medusa 🙂

Another update: the ultimate pr0n

This is why we fight

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Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…

“He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”, William Butler Yeats

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=os2Z_Ekg-dM]

Size matters?

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Well, I don’t think so. But, since we all know that pessimists are out there, let’s try to convince them bringing some scientific evidence 😉 I found these maps below: you can see the sizes of penii all over the world, but also compare the distribution of the ratio IQ/penis size.

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Fellowships for divesity studies at CERN

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I saw this announcement and thought it might be of interest for people.

CERN  Graduate Fellowship position / Diversity studies at CERN

In keeping with its international and increasingly global character, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has recently appointed a Diversity Officer to develop and implement a policy that will promote awareness and adherence to diversity, one of the established values of the Organisation.

In support of this new initiative, a position is now open to postgraduates in the framework of the CERN Fellowship Programme.
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[Brevia] Looking forward to hearing from you…

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Next speakers @ TED:

David Brooks David Brooks Columnist
New York Times columnist David Brooks is the author of “Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense.”

Session 1: Monumental
Tues Mar 1, 2011
11:00 – 12:45

Felisa Wolfe-Simon Felisa Wolfe-Simon Geobiochemist
With a background in molecular biology, biochemistry and phytoplankton physiology, Felisa Wolfe-Simon seeks to uncover the sequence of events that shaped the evolution of the modern oceans’ phytoplankton and life itself.

Session 5: Deep Mystery
Wed Mar 2, 2011
11:00 – 12:45

Well, folks, don’t forget the popcorn! This amazing piece is one of the worst pseudo-science writing I have ever read really deserves our attention. And of course, who could so quickly forget the exciting story of the presumably arsenic-loving alien on Earth?

Brevia: A new link between art and science, or towards hackerspaces’ funding

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Bacteria on the beachAlt. Art-Sci is the phrase coming frequently in mind when some people talk about establishing a link between art and science. A recent joint workshop gathering representatives from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) but also researchers, faculty members and artists discussed about this indispensable link between art and science.

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Brevia: Teaching the zombie condition at the university

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The Baltimore Sun announced the other day that a class on the undead will be held at the Baltimore University. It is called Zombies 101 and will be taught by Arnold Blumberg, the author of Zombiemania (a book on zombie movies) and the curator of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, which focuses on American pop culture. This class will be part of English 333. The students will watch 16 movies on zombies. If they want, as an alternative to a final research paper, they may write scripts or draw storyboards for their ideal zombie flicks.

Definitely, a class to die for!

P.S. If you want to know more on other fancy courses provided in the academia, check out the catalogue Laura Davis from Belfast Telegraph presents.

Bookmark: Scientopia

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Scientopia is presented as “a collective of people who write about science because they love to do so”. Sounds nice. Participation seems a bit restrictive, though. Haven’t had a closer look yet, but I read this on Pharyngula’s blog (and it is not that far from my first impression):

Although, I do have to say that I’m not a fan of their published code. It throws around the word “respect” way too much, which happens to be one of those words that annoys me, because it is too easily assumed when it should be earned. I don’t respect everyone who blogs on science, and not everyone respects me (nor should they)…but it does put me on edge when a group announces a demand for mutual respect and also lays out a protocol for eviction, when I know that several of the people in the collective had little respect for some others on the Sb network. I have no respect for the pretense of respect.

Read and see.

First entry

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Usually, people say “Hello world!” when they begin a blog. They often discuss why they wanted to begin writing and sharing their thougts and personal stuff with everybody having access to the web. I’m not inspired about doing this, so I won’t do it. Read ahead, you’ll find by yourselves 🙂
P.S. It’ll be a mixture of French and English posts. Don’t accuse your browser of being crap because of French and English words messed around.