Friday, April 29, 2005

It's Good to Know That Not All British Professors Are Anti-Jewish Bigots

Last Friday, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in the U.K. decided to boycott Israeli Universities (via LGF) to protest against the "apartheid" Israeli government and the occupation of Palestinian territory. Hmmm...I wonder if the AUT is also going to boycott North Korean, Iranian, and Chinese universities because their governments commit numerous civil rights abuses? How about Palestinian universities of death where they glorify mass murder of civilians? No? I didn't think so. This is nothing more than blatant anti-Semitism. Why don't these professors PUT DOWN THEIR TEA AND CRUMPETS, AND GET BACK TO WORK teaching at their universities instead of wasting everyone's time shilling for Palestinian terrorists?

I don't have a problem with professors and anyone else being involved in politics, but it's inappropriate to use a professional organization to persecute others in their profession. And that's what it is--persecution of other professors, and it's not that different from what the Nazis did to Jewish professors before WWII broke out.

Fortunately, there are some members of the AUT that are refusing to go along with the boycott (via LGF).

From the Jerusalem Post article:

John Vail, lecturer in political economy at Newcastle University, wrote in an e-mail to fellow academics: “The boycott is blatantly discriminatory and reeks of double standards.” He added: “Although I have no current research links with Israeli academics, this has made me want to go out and develop some just so as to show my disapproval of this motion. I hope that our local branch will pass a motion that expresses our disagreement with the national policy.”

Fifteen academics from the Board of the London-based Leo Baeck Institute signed a letter expressing “dismay” at the AUT resolutions: “All agree in deploring the proposed boycott of Israeli universities and academics who fail to satisfy a political inquisition. Israeli universities, notably the three targets of the boycott, represent the best ideals of the university as a place of tolerance and the free exchange of views, in which Jews, Muslims and Christians study and work together.”

The letter, which registered alarm at the “double standards and hypocrisy” behind the resolution, asked: “Will the tests and the boycott apply to Israeli Arab academics or only Jews?” The letter’s signatories are based in a variety of British universities, and include the Institute’s chairman Prof. Peter Pulzer, and Dr. David Rechter, both of whom lecture at Oxford University.

I was disappointed that there was no mention of the boycott in Science magazine this week. However, there was a small paragraph on it in Nature magazine. I hope more professors from all over the world step up to the plate to condemn this boycott.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Babyblogging: Mmmm...Rice Cereal

Preston has reached that wonderful landmark of sampling solid food...if you can call watered down rice cereal either solid or food. Most of it runs down his chin as he rolls the foreign-textured swill around his mouth. Sometimes he seems to prefer chomping on his plastic bib. His bottom two teeth have finally come in after a month of teething and now his top four are all coming at once, poor kid. Good times! It's all I can do to keep from laughing when his cute face is covered with rice cereal. And then there's the clean-up. It's not easy getting all of the rice out of the chubby little folds of his neck. I can hardly wait to start on the strained carrots and peas next month!


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Twilight For the Enlightenment, Are You Kidding Me?

Well, I’ve been meaning to do some science blogging, but I haven’t found any inspiring research articles that wouldn’t put my non-scientist readers to sleep. I’ve found a couple articles to be mildly interesting, but nothing spectacular. Let's see. There's Comparison of Fine-Scale Recombination Rates in Humans and Chimpanzees where the authors show that although chimp DNA is 99% identical to human DNA, it is regulated completely differently. Hmmmm...this probably is why we don't look like chimps. Then there was the article Do 15-Month-Old Infants Understand False Belief? Basically this explains that your toddler can swipe your keys, hide them from you, and then giggle because you can't find them.

But I did find an editorial in the April 8th edition of Science worth fisking. It’s been so long since I’ve fisked an article, so why not start with the smarty pants editor-in-chief from Science magazine, Donald Kennedy. It was so amusing reading the editorials in Science and Nature during this past election season as the editors attempted to appear like Serious Objective Scientists, interested only in TRUTH not in partisan politics. But sometimes I wonder if the editors got their talking points from one of the political parties--I’ll let you guess which one and their name doesn’t start with an R.

I was especially annoyed to read an editorial in Nature last year that basically declared that any self-respecting scientist had to vote for the candidate that best represented scientists’ interests i.e. unlimited stem cell research, and therefore they must support John Kerry. As if stem cell research is the one and only issue for scientists when they consider who to vote for. Come on, which biotech company specializing in stem cell research is paying you guys? You know, I don’t care if Science and Nature editorializes about politics. It gives me something to rant about, but I don’t like how they pretend to be the spokesman (or is it spokesperson) for all scientists. They do not represent me and many other conservative members of the scientific community—and yes we do exist. I know of one professor at my school that kept a punching dummy head on his desk. During the 2004 election, he taped a picture of John Kerry's face to the front of it. During the confirmation hearing for Condeleeza Rice, he taped a picture of Barbara Boxer's face to it. His office door was also covered with picture of Reagan and the Bushes.

So let’s start with the title: Twilight for the Enlightenment? Talk about hysterical. Oh no! That Chimpy Christian Crusader Cowboy Bushitler ™ has won re-election and the world is doomed to fall back into the dark ages where holes are drilled in people’s skulls to release demons and leeches are the cure for the common cold. Give me a break!

Then he talks about the Enlightenment and how it brought JOY and PEACE and LOVE to the whole world--or not.

For much of their existence over the past two centuries, Europe and the United States have been societies of questioners: nations in which skepticism has been accepted and even welcomed, and where the culture has been characterized by confidence in science and in rational methods of thought. We owe this tradition in part to the birth of the Scottish Enlightenment of the early 18th century, when the practice of executing religious heretics ended, to be gradually replaced by a developing conviction that substituted faith in experiment for reliance on inherited dogma.

That new tradition, prominently represented by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, supplied important roots for the growth of modernity, and it has served U.S. society well, as it has Europe’s.

I’m a fan of Hume, but he also gave us the Problem of Induction which as my husband translated from philosopherese is correlation is not causation --and everything is correlation. So science isn’t all that in the grand scheme of things. I’m especially annoyed when some correlational study comes out the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) that says this, that and the other is linked to increased risk of cancer or whatever and every media outlet declares that it’s a scientific fact that eating too many Twinkies will result in a HORRIBLE, SLOW DEATH. The CDC just got busted this year for exaggerating the figures of individuals who die of causes related to obesity . So much for the obesity epidemic.

The results of serious, careful experimentation and analysis became a standard for the entry of a discovery or theory into the common culture of citizens and the policies of their governments. Thus, scientific determinations of the age of Earth and the theories of gravity, biological evolution, and the conservation of matter and energy became meaningful scientific anchors of our common understanding.

In the United States, that understanding is now undergoing some dissolution, as
some school boards eliminate the teaching of evolution or require that religious versions of creation be represented as “scientific” alternatives. “Intelligent design,” a recent replacement for straight-up creationism, essentially asserts that a sufficient quantity of complexity and beauty is by itself evidence of divine origin—a retrogression to the pre-Darwinian zoologist William Paley, who saw in the elegant construction of a beetle’s antenna the work of a Creator.

Well, I think he’s being way too alarmist about those fundy Christians taking over our schools and banning all science. I reviewed the cases he’s referring to here, here, here, and
, and I think he’s exaggerating a bit. In Kansas, teaching evolution wasn’t eliminated, they just said it was no longer part of the required science curriculum and teachers could choose to teach it or not. A couple of states wanted to put little sticker that said evolution is a theory not a fact, and he gets all hot and bothered about it. The truth is, evolution IS a theory (a pretty good one so far) and what we claim to know as facts are subject to revision as our knowledge progresses. I think students should be taught evolution, but they should also be able to ask questions about it and see if there are any holes in it.

I personally don’t have a problem with most of evolution. But there are some aspects of it that I think are still pretty foggy e.g. evolution of the first living cell. I don’t really believe that men and apes evolved from a common ancestor either, but I think it’s a pretty good interpretation of the data thus far.

In 1998, I helped the National Academies produce a book entitled Teaching About
Evolution and the Nature of Science. At the press conference announcing its publication, I was asked if I knew that most U.S. citizens did not believe that humans descended from other forms. I said I did, but expressed a hope that things might change.

Well, I hate to tell you this buddy, but until belief in God is totally eliminated from human society, there will always be people that believe that we are more than mere animals, that there is a spark of the divine in us.

Well, things changed in the wrong direction: Alternatives to the teaching of biological evolution are now being debated in no fewer than 40 states. Worse, evolution is not the only science under such challenge. In several school districts, geology materials are being rewritten because their dates for Earth’s age are inconsistent with scripture (too old).

What happened to the idea that the debate of ideas is a good thing in a republic? Is science so infallible that there is no room for debate? I don’t see any harm in the public debating the teaching of evolution. If a state decides to phase it out, and the scores on the science portions of standardized tests will drop, and they’ll have to reconsider their decisions. I think evolution should be taught to all students in their high school biology classes, just one chapter or week of classes if time permits. But students that are taught evolution don’t necessary have to believe it, just know what it is. I made it through grad school just find without being tested on evolution or referring to it in my research. Evolution is a small , but important part of biology. I tend to think evolutionary biologists and other scientists tend to overexaggerate its importance.

For example, Donald hopes that most U.S. citizens will someday believe that humans and chimps evolved from a common ancestor. I think most Americans know about evolution, but don’t buy into all of it. We’re not necessarily a 3rd world backwater like say Sudan because of it, however. The U.S. is still leading the world in R & D in spite of (some might say because of) the high percentage of the population that believes in God.

Meanwhile, President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief policies recommend
“evidence-based” risk-reduction strategies: abstinence for youth, fidelity for married couples, and condoms recommended only for infected or high-risk individuals, such as sex workers. Failure rates for condoms are commonly quoted, apparently to discourage their use by young people for risk prevention. Mysteriously, the policy doesn’t seem able to cite a failure rate for abstinence.

Shocking! Promoting abstinence for the youth, fidelity for married couples, and condoms for high risk individuals is certainly radical! As for citing the failure rate of condoms, I think it would be irresponsible to promote their use as safe-sex and then not tell the failure rate. Condom use is not 100% foolproof, while abstinence (if maintained) is.

Finally, certain kinds of science are now proscribed on what amount to religious grounds. Stem cell research is said by its opponents to pose a “moral dilemma.” Yet this well-advertised dilemma does not arise from a confrontation between science and ethical universals. Instead, the objections arise from a particular belief about what constitutes a human life: a belief held by certain religions but not by others.

And what are these ethical universals, pray tell? Would these be the same ethical universals espoused by people like Peter Singer who believes parents should be allowed to kill their newborn children if they wish? I think Donald’s also picking on Catholics here since they believe that human life begins at conception. But other people besides Catholics have problems with using human embryos for stem cell research. A friend of mine who is Hindu and also has an M.D. and Ph.D. is uncomfortable with the idea of destroying human embryos for research. Hindus have a profound respect for life—all forms of life—since many of them are vegetarians. I think it would be ok if embryos left over from in vitro fertilization treatments were used for stem cells, but only if it was ok with the “parents.” But I don't think human embryos should be produced by cloning for stem cell production. It would be too close to A Brave New World scenario with a subclass of humans (or potential humans) used for the benefit of the superior class.

Some researchers, eager to resolve the problem, seek to derive stem cells by techniques that might finesse the controversy. But the claim that the stem cell “dilemma” rests on universal values is a false claim, and for society to accept it to obtain transitory political relief would bring church
and state another step closer.

I see, Donald. Why should scientists attempt to make the American taxpayer feel better about how their tax dollars are being spent on stem cell research? Scientists should just be able to do whatever they want with taxpayer money since they are so much smarter than the average taxpayer. I’m sorry, but if the American public is footing the bill, we should have a say in what is ethical and what is not as far as research goes. There has to be some kind of acocuntability if public money is used. Private funds are another matter and stem cell research is not restricted in the private sector. Also, California managed to convince its citizens that it was worthwhile to fund stem cell research with state money through a referendum. This is a republic after all, not like Plato’s republic where the guardians (scientists) decide what is in the best interests of everyone else.

The present wave of evangelical Christianity, uniquely American in its level of participation, would be nothing to worry about were it a matter restricted to individual conviction and to the expressions of groups gathering to worship. It’s all right that in the best-selling novels about the “rapture,” the true believers ascend and the rest of us perish painfully. But U.S. society is now experiencing a convergence between religious conviction and partisan loyalty, readily detectable in the statistics of the 2004 election. Some of us who worry about the separation of church and state will accept tablets that display the Ten Commandments on state premises, because they fail to cross a threshold of urgency.

But when the religious/political convergence leads to managing the nation’s research agenda, its foreign assistance programs, or the high-school curriculum, that marks a really important change in our national life.

Translation: To all you religious types, go ahead with your primitive God worship, but when it comes to politics and science policy, just shut up and let us intellectuals run the show. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind if we raise your taxes a bit to fund all our dream projects. Yep, the defeat of that towering intellect John Kerry was all due to those evangelicals. Never mind that Kerry couldn’t win over those of us in the middle because of his weak positions on terrorism, and his smarmy insincerity (not to mention his limp-wristed salute at the Democratic convention--ugh).

Twilight for the Enlightenment? Not yet. But as its beneficiaries, we should also be its stewards.

Well, I'm glad to hear that not all is lost. Just get rid of the influence of those pesky religious types and everything will be hunky-dory. I think Donald fails to realize that the results of the last two elections and the school curriculum fights are part of a backlash. The average American is sick of being pushed around by anti-religion groups and ivory tower intellectuals, and is fighting back. There will have to be some compromises made. If that means that in some states intelligent design is taught along with evolution, then so what? If the evidence for evolution is so strong, then it should be able to stand on its on. Let the kids decide for themselves. Let the American public decide where their tax dollars should go.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Babyblogging: Springtime in Texas

Every spring it's tradition for us to photograph the blue bonnettes in bloom. This year we can photograph Preston as well. Since he can't sit up by himself yet, Mommy has to be in the picture too. Oh well. It was a bad hair day and Preston was kind of tired so he's not smiling.


But he's got a big ol' grin in the next picture. He just got an exer-saucer and he has a ball playing in it. There are things to flip, twirl, roll, twist, and masticate. Now that he's teething, it's a mega-drool fest every day!


Today was his four month check-up and you know what that means--vaccinations. I'm sure all you parents out there can relate when I say I wish the nurse would give me the shot instead so Preston wouldn't have to feel the pain. But I know that it's best for him to be inoculated against all those nasty diseases. I just wish that shots were like the ones you see in Star Trek episodes--a little puff into the arm and you're on your way. I can dream.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Saturday Catblogging: Omni, My Anti-Muse

Omni is a big-time mama's boy. He just loves to invite himself onto my lap, even when I'm trying to feed Preston or type on the computer. He makes it impossible to get anything done at the computer. So after I've kicked him out of my lap 5-6 times, he finally gets the message and decides to sit ON TOP of the computer. Of course, he's not as small as he used to be (because he eats my other cat's portion of food too) so sometimes he slides off. I try not not to laugh because he looks so embarrassed. I mean, who ever heard of a clutzy cat?


UPDATE: This week's Carnival of the Cats is hosted by Barry at enrevanche.

Women and the Priesthood

I was listening to Dennis Prager yesterday and he was talking about the criticism of Pope John Paul II with regards his refusal to ordain women priests, and it got me thinking about the role of the priesthood in the LDS church. Numerous times, people have told me that LDS women are OPPRESSED by the male hierarchy of our church. But I’m sure they aren’t aware that women were given the right to vote in the territory of Utah in 1870 before it became a state and that many early LDS women were heavily involved in the women’s suffrage movement, such as Emmeline B. Wells.

So I guess by OPPRESSED these people mean that women in the LDS church are not given the priesthood, nor allowed to hold the highest offices in the church. There are plenty of leadership roles for women in the LDS church such as serving in one’s local or the general presidency of the Relief Society (one of the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world), the Primary (a Sunday school program for children), or the Young Women’s organization (a program for teenage girls that includes weekly activities and Sunday school classes). I served in the local presidency of both the Relief society and Young Women’s, and often attended meetings with the male leaders of our church. Not once have I ever felt discriminated against or been sexually harassed because of my gender. I wish I could same the same about my experience in academia, but that's another story.

Only males that hold the priesthood can hold the highest offices in the LDS Church, such as president, apostle, seventies, high priest, priest, and bishop (these offices are based on those found in Christ’s church as described in the New Testament). The LDS church, unlike most churches, has a lay clergy, meaning the officials are just regular Joes and are not required to hold theological degrees.

Gordon B.Hinckley , the President of the LDS church, received a bachelor’s degree in English and had planned to attend the Columbia school of journalism when he was asked to serve in the church. One of the 12 apostles was a heart surgeon, another a Utah state Supreme Court judge, and the rest were lawyers, businessmen or educators before being appointed apostles. Men from all walks of life are called by top officials of the church to serve in various positions and as in the Catholic Church, it is believed that God directs these officials to choose the right men for the job.

There’s a simple reason why women in both the LDS and Catholic churches are not ordained in the priesthood (and this may sound weird to atheists or agnostics)—God has not willed it to be so. The definition of priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name, and thus both churches believe that the priesthood is given by God to man and passed down according to His direction. The Catholic Church believes that the priesthood was given to Peter directly from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and then passed down from Peter to every pope until now.

The LDS church, on the other hand, believes that the priesthood was lost from the earth after the death of the Apostles because of apostasy or falling away from the true church of Christ. It was then restored to the Earth to Joseph Smith and others through administration by John the Baptist (for the lesser priesthood known as the Aaronic or Levitical priesthood) and by Peter, James, and John (for the greater or Melchizedek priesthood). (Melchizedek was the king of Salem in Canaan during the time of Abraham in the Old Testament and was also a high priest of God). The doctrine of the LDS church states that the priesthood was given to Adam in the beginning and has since been passed down through the generations to males only. The priesthood line has been broken only once—after the death of the Apostles.

Now the question is why does God allow only men to hold the priesthood? Well, at one time only males of the tribe of Levi were allowed to hold the Levitical priesthood and administer in the temple (see the Old Testament and the story of John the Baptist’s father Zachariah in the New Testament). LDS theology holds that after the fall of Adam and Eve, men were given the priesthood while women were given the gift of bearing children. Now believe me, giving birth doesn’t seem like such a gift when you’re in the middle of labor pains, but it is something special that men will never be able to do (except in a Schwarzenegger/Devito comedy). Plus, I’d rather not be the bishop of my church and have to a kazillion meetings and appointments on Sundays and during the week in addition to my duties at home and/or work.

In LDS theology, men and women have different roles in God’s plan—men are primarily expected to provide for and protect the family while women are expected to bear and be the primary caregivers of children. However, allowances are made when women and men are forced to switch roles due to hardships such as divorce, death, or chronic illness. The priesthood is to be used by men to bless and serve others-- his fellow man but primarily his family. Men holding the priesthood give blessings for the sick, dedicate grave sites, and administer church ordinances such as baptism and the sacrament. It is not something to be used to dominate others, especially not one’s wife and children. This is clearly spelled out in LDS scripture (Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:34-46 and in the New Testament, Ephesians 5:22-33).

I believe the feminist movement and liberalism in general has taken religion and the priesthood, and turned it into a political tool. Feminists demand that women be ordained in the Catholic and LDS churches because they want women to be EQUAL i.e. the same as men. Dennis Prager, when discussing this topic said, “Egalitarianism is their religion rather than the religion is their religion.” I think it is arrogance to demand something from God without knowing if it is His will that they receive it. Either they believe that the leaders of these churches have been ignoring God’s will all these years in not giving women the priesthood (and they know better), or they don’t really believe that the priesthood is from God.

Really what feminists want is for the pope to do the P.C. thing, and one day declare that any woman that wants to be a Catholic priest may be ordained to the priesthood. What they don’t think about is what happens later on that night when the pope is praying. “Dear God, I gave women the priesthood today. Er, I hope that’s ok with you.” The priesthood is not the pope’s to give to whomever he chooses. In contrast, Protestant churches (except for the Anglican Church), believe that all members are universally endowed with the priesthood rather than receive it through succession, and therefore have no reason NOT to ordain women as priests.

The LDS Church got a lot of heat in the 60’s and 70’s for not giving the priesthood to those of black African descent. It wasn’t until 1978 that that was changed. The primary reason for this was that it was believed that God had withheld the priesthood from the lineage of Ham, who was cursed as to the priesthood because of wickedness (see Genesis 9:22-28). Now this did not mean that people of Hamitic descent (i.e. black Africans) were bad people, but that they were restricted as to the offices they could hold in the Church until God saw fit to give them the priesthood. Elijah Abel, a contemporary of Joseph Smith, was an exception to this ban because of his faithfulness.

In 1978, the President of the Church Spencer W. Kimball, after much fasting and prayer throughout the Church, received a revelation that ALL worthy males were to receive the priesthood. Skeptics might say well he was only giving into societal pressures at last so that the church could expand. But believers would say that God, through the faith and prayers of those that desired the priesthood for themselves or for their brothers, relented and lifted the ban. See this link to an article by the Elijah Abel Society for more info on blacks and the priesthood in the LDS Church.

Anyway, it may be that someday God will permit women to hold the priesthood, but it will be on His own timescale, not because of the whining of a bunch of feminists. As for Pope John Paul II, I believe he was a decent man with a true love of God and his fellow man. I hope the next pope is as inspirational as he was and as strong in his convictions. May God bless his soul.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Babyblogging: If the hat fits...

Just when I had some free time yesterday to do a couple of posts, Blogger goes down and then my comcast connection goes out. Argh! So I'll try again today.

I've never been into photography. Mostly I've just snapped a few pictures of special family occasions or scenic views on trips IF I remember to bring my camera along, which is not often. My husband on the other hand, is an excellent amateur photographer and can take hours waiting for the perfect shot. On our honeymoon in Cancun, he waited until Chitzhen Itza was closing to get the perfect shot of the Temple of Kukulcan without a flock of tourists around it. I was kind of annoyed because we missed seeing the Observatory ruins.

But now that I have a child, I'm using our digital camera like crazy, just trying to get the perfect shot that captures the essence of cuteness that Preston exudes. Unfortunately, Preston is not interested in sitting still or smiling for the camera, so most of the shots are blurry or show Preston with a funny look on his face. One of the baby magazines (yes, another thing I'd never subscribe to) has a contest for the cutest photo of your baby wearing a hat, and I thought I'd try to get one of Preston. But he dislikes hats, so here's the best I could do this week. He looks pretty surprised in his Winnie-the Pooh hat and probably is thinking, I can't believe you stuck this silly-looking hat on my head. Just wait until I can pick my own clothes and then you'll be sorry!


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I'm Not Dead Yet!

Don’t worry, my blog friends, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I was suffering from a temporary bout of baby/blogging blues. You know, the kind of blues where you question whether blogging is worth the time invested because probably no one bothers to read your rants, and you find yourself having a small identity crisis because life at home with your baby is altogether TOO TRANQUIL with not enough mentor- and thesis-induced CHAOS with daily intellectual overstimulation as you dissect tiny fly heads in the dark while listening to loud music and the myriad of social and political issues on talk radio, frantically reading and re-reading every paper on fruit fly vision, typing and editing over and over until your thesis is just so while at the same time managing to get into political and theological debates with every co-worker that has free time on their hands.

To summarize, I’m having a hard time adjusting to life at home all day with an infant after spending the last eight years in several research labs. Don’t get me wrong, I love being with Preston all day. It’s fascinating watching him grow and develop. Each day I wonder what new thing he is going to do, whether he’ll trying to wiggle out of his infant seat or say something almost like “mama.” And he’s just so darn CUTE! I wish I could capture all the precious moments on film where he just looks at me, and my heart melts.

But it is rather lonely at home all day with no one to talk to except a 4-month-old baby and two cats. I’m an introvert through and through, but I can talk up a storm around friends and family—just ask my husband. Unfortunately, during tax season my husband’s work heats up so he’s been working long hours. And when he comes home exhausted at night, he’s not ready for his wife to talk his ear off for the rest of the night.

So my pent up oral energy has gone unspent, day after day. I started leaving on the T.V. all day just to have something besides silence permeating the house and to have some sort of adult interaction that didn't involve actual people. I also developed an unhealthy addiction to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and although I’ve had lots of thoughts rolling around in my head, I just didn’t have the motivation to form them into any type of essay for my blog. I had lost the will to blog! Pathetic, eh?

So upon further reflection, I think blogging is the perfect activity for someone like me. I get the chance to “talk” through my posting to whoever is reading (or not), and I can correspond and debate with my friends and critics over a myriad of issues. I’ve never been interested in garnering fame and fortune from blogging, and I’d prefer to have a small readership because I really don’t think I could handle all the hate mail that “famous” bloggers attract. Through blogging, I’ve established friendships with several wonderful people that I would have never met otherwise.

So I’ve decided that I need to continue blogging. To better focus my energies on writing and other daily tasks, I’ve started a one-month moratorium on watching T.V. It’s been hard when lunch-time comes around to not flip on the tube and see what nasty demons Buffy is skewering this time (I've been told I have a morbid sense of humor). I also started a regular exercise routine that includes aerobic training and weight-lifting. Exercise is always great for easing mild depression, and it’s a good time to think about topics on which to write.

Anyway, I’m going to continue baby and cat blogging as well as add more science and politics blogging. I think it would be great to start a Carnival of the Babies (or Carnival des Enfants). If anyone is interested in participating, please leave a comment and we can get something started. I know there are tons of cute baby pictures out there that people are just dying to share with the blogosphere.