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  11:23:39 pm, by Nimble   , 280 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Isolated Big Baby Syndrome

This baby has still not arrived, but it is getting huge! At the ultrasound this morning, we got an median estimate of 11 pounds 7 ounces plus or minus a pound and a half... so basically, anything from 10 to 13 pounds is what we're expecting.

(As to why it's so much more satisfying to get baby weights in pounds than in kilograms, I don't know. Maybe it's the magical number 10?)

The technician this morning noticed something about the placenta, which I am surmising may help figure out why this baby is so big despite there being no diabetes or gestational diabetes involved, or even any family history of big babies.

She was taking some sort of measurement of the blood flow from the placenta to the baby, and indicated its value was 1.6, which she found very unusual, since at this point in the pregnancy, it is supposed to be down to 0.8. 1.6 is a more typical value from 30 weeks, not from the 40+ weeks we are at.

I'm not sure if giving the baby so much more blood is actually the reason the baby is so big, but we lack other reasons why this baby is so much over the 90th percentile in growth rate.

Armed with such a weight estimate, the maternity clinic has moved up our induction date to this upcoming Sunday, a mere eight days after our due date. I'm not entirely sure what to expect... will they keep us all day, will they send us home for a while, will they keep checking on us... but I'm glad it's sooner rather than later - it was going to be next Wednesday!

We will keep you posted right here on Monster Baby TV!


  03:13:43 am, by Nimble   , 86 words  
Categories: Distractions, Science

Peeing in The Colours of the Rainbow

Why must it always be the same colour, anyhow?

Well, different colours is usually a bad sign, but who knew there was such variety?

With appropriate health warning provisos, here is a list of things that can make your pee change colour. Doing it on purpose seems, for the most part, to be very nasty.

A few drops of methylene blue seems to be a favourite science prank from time to time, though.

Phenolphthalein... well, it's a laxative on top of everything else.

Safe peeing, everyone.


  05:56:20 am, by Nimble   , 189 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Science

An Even Better Moon Landing Anti-Conspiracy Site

I really enjoy Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy site, and it has much to recommend it apart from its eminently sensible anti-hoax pages, including its oft-updated blog, notes on good and bad astronomy and really good forums.

My new favourite on the anti-hoax front specifically for the moon landings, though, has got to be the Clavius site. It's even more penetrating than Plait's site, and goes into great detail on the individual photographs, the failure of studio lighting as an explanation, the silliness of presuming flat surfaces, and countering the ever-present "but all the photos look so good" with a bevy of the not-so-good that quite frankly don't make for great newspaper material... and that's just a small sample of the photography section. All that, and it's done without the angry tone I know I'd find it hard not to impart.

It's not just good for the anti-hoax pieces. You get to learn quite a bit about the equipment, how they prepared to take footage of the first step, radiation and how much radiation the Apollo missions got, etc.

Fondly remembering Buzz in one of his more recent, righteous moments.


  08:55:26 pm, by Nimble   , 71 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Science

George Kenney's Halton Arp Interview


George Kenney of Electric Politics interviewed Halton Arp back at the beginning of June.

I have transcribed the interview here.

Here is the original podcast.

Arp was a little hard to make out in some spots in the interview, so if you know any of the names I missed or spot a transcription mistake, please leave it in the comments section.

(I'll have plenty to say about the interview later on :)

  07:34:03 pm, by Nimble   , 545 words  
Categories: Internet, Spamming

From Nigeria to U.S. Soldiers

Oh boy - the sources of free money just keep moving around, like some sort of Quantum Leap scenario. Who's got tons of cash and somehow needs me as a willing partner in crime this time?

Full story »


  09:26:39 pm, by Nimble   , 1021 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Ethics, Religion, Science

A Week Of Anti-Science Nutjobs

Wow, it's been a banner week so far, and it's only half over!

In recent news...

Adnan Oktar, the nut behind the pen name Harun Yahya, distributor of glossy, expensive textbooks full of creationist fantasy, got the Turkish courts to have the entirety of WordPress blocked off from access in Turkey, unless they take down sites that Adnan Oktar deems slanderous (without, from what I can tell, those sites having been proven slanderous in court)

Stuart Pivar, the nut who produces the book Lifecode, sent it to a developmental biologist, and since said biologist rightly cackled and pointed out that, although pretty, Pivar's magnificent morphing doughnuts are pseudoscience and don't even resemble the way embryos actually grow, he is suing the biologist and Seed magazine for $15 million.

Last but not least, we have the illustrious and gullible Ben Stein partaking in an astoundingly anti-science, anti-evolution movie documentary called Expelled, that from the looks of one of their press releases takes as truth the so-called 'persecution' of Richard Sternberg and Gonzales Guillermo.

I'll spend a little time on this last one...

Full story »


  03:17:51 am, by Nimble   , 2810 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Religion, Science

Evolution Is Not "A Fantasy"

The lady who plastered anti-evolution billboards around Minnesota has a website. It is full of, as I would deem it, anti-evolution propaganda, including various quotes mined out of context. Some of them might seem quite damning, like Brian Goodwin's quote:

"Neo-Darwinism has failed as an evolutionary theory that can explain the
origin of species, understood as organisms of distinctive form and behaviour. In other words, it is not an adequate theory of evolution. What is does provide is a partial theory of adaptation, or microevolution (small-scale adaptive changes in organisms)."

You might think that would indicate Brian Goodwin thinks evolution is bunk and/or didn't happen. Well, if you think you might need a little more context, you'd be right:

But far from concentrating on the development of theories of organisms and ecosystems, Neo-Darwinism concentrates on genes as the fundamental entities in biology.

This cannot succeed because it leaves out too much. Organisms are large-scale physical systems that grow and develop, run, fly, produce leaves and flowers, and generate patterns of relationships with each other. Some of them even love and write poetry. Genes do none of these things, and neither do molecules.

Ah, so concentrating on the genes is only part of the picture, in his opinion.

Regardless, the more interesting part of the web site is the forum, where you actually get to see a little bit of debating going on.

Full story »


  01:56:23 am, by Nimble   , 413 words  
Categories: Reviews, Cooking

Gold Seal "Tunaesque" Salmon

Here's something that might not last, and that'd be a bit of a shame: tinned salmon without bones.

It's Gold Seal's Flaked Pacific Pink Salmon, Skinless and Boneless. They have affixed an explanatory note to the top of the can:

NEW! Mild, tuna-like taste

Enjoy all the nutrition of salmon in a tuna-like taste and style. Try it in all your tuna recipes! Great for casseroles, pitas and sandwiches, or salads and spreads. Good for the whole family - kids love it!

Flaked Salmon that taste like tuna! Omega-3's without the fishy taste!

When I saw it on the shelf, I initially made a "yuk" face, but I don't know why. The mere idea of salmon without those awful bones in it seems like a wonderful idea. I think they probably should have pitched it that way (but I bet they sell the regular salmon, too :) Perhaps the entire pitch made me think that I didn't know what I was getting into ("am I being oversold on this?"). My head overrode my initial instinct and I bought a couple of cans just to try it out, but they did initially sit on the shelf for a couple of days.

Well, I finally decided to brave them by substituting this salmon in for tuna in a tuna melt.

You know what? It's pretty good. Surprisingly, it does taste a bit like tuna, though not as strong, and the salmon flavour is a mild aftertaste. It's barely pink, which does a bit more to further the illusion in a dimly-lit kitchen.

The finished "salmon melt" was pretty good, too. It was a little less dry than tuna in the chunks I hadn't broken up, and the taste stayed pretty much the same as pre-cooking, i.e. good and mild.

For those to whom it matters (not me), you don't get tuna smell in your pee, either :)

I hope it sticks around. I've avoided tinned salmon like the plague from memories of crunchy fish vertebrae and my poor wife has been slow to warm up to "good salmon" (marinated salmon filets) due to a similar sort of trauma. Nice to have a good experience with salmon in a can. Seems like somebody listened to the complaints about tinned salmon, though I do find it amusing that they seemed to want to address all of the concerns in a single product (at least that's what it seems like by choosing the tuna-iest salmon they could as well :)


  05:16:46 am, by Nimble   , 3216 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Religion, Science

Parade of Foolishness

There's an extremely short blurb referring to Ham's creation museum over on Parade.

I wasn't expecting the comments section to be one of the strangest, most worrisome indicator of the intrusion of a new American Dark Ages I have seen in a long while.

It really does not matter how many times things are debunked. When the big things aren't understood, the nuances don't even have a hope.

I pulled out a representative sample of quotes, but be warned if you follow the original link that it goes on for pages and pages, and is festooned with 80% dyed-in-the-wool young earth creationist blether.

Full story »


  08:59:40 pm, by Nimble   , 391 words  
Categories: Announcements [A], Distractions

UC Baby

Dena found this one outfit in town that did "3D Ultrasound".

The concept was pretty interesting: getting a decent idea of what your baby will look like, while it's still in the womb.

If you haven't seen regular ultrasounds, there is a lot of activity on them, but the sound penetrates quite a bit, giving slightly disturbing images like a "zombie baby face" since the ultrasound is showing quite a ways into the nose before you can see other facial bits. See Dena's prior posting for our baby on a 2D ultrasound. That's a great thing to send to relatives, but what if you want to spread even more pre-love? 3D seems like a pretty nice way to do that.

What does the 3D trick entail, I wondered, on the way to the clinic? Is it a special kind of sound?

Full story »


  07:22:41 pm, by Nimble   , 1068 words  
Categories: Internet, Spamming

Another Slight Variation on 419 Scams

I have seen a remarkable decline in the variant of the 419 scam with civil servant/general needing to get millions of dollars out of the country and having chosen you to help with this sub-legal endeavour.

The slightly newer take seems to be asking people to "be their company representative", and that it is "inconvenient" to do the cheque cashing or payment transfer themselves, and that you could do it for them for 10% of the take.

This type of scam has been floating around for a little bit (since late 2005 at latest) but things usually don't cross my e-mail pile until the technique starts to become more popular.

Why they would choose you, at random, instead of any number of myriad merchant services with a known track record is, of course, the important question, and the essence of the scam, I should surmise.

Here are the first two scam variations I received:

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  01:21:59 am, by Nimble   , 543 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Ethics, Internet

Jerks And Their "Malware Scanners"

We show no referrers to the world, but we still get referral spam, i.e. something pretends to have visited your site through someone else's clicks. Referrals used to be a fun way to show who was visiting you. Spammers have crapped all over that feature.

I went to ban a number of them that have come recently from, which doesn't even seem to have decent cover as a free hosting site, never mind anything for bloggers. I accidentally launched the site in question instead (probably blinded by my rage over discontinued dinnerware patterns) and got treated to the loveliest set of lies I think I've seen on a web site in a while.

Full story »

  01:06:57 am, by Nimble   , 383 words  
Categories: Distractions

Cool Dinnerware Always Doomed

Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating, but I feel the sting of lines of dinnerware and flatware being discontinued because it seems to affect the stuff I really like... disproportionately.

When you're on the hunt for plates and such, you generally have choices of kitsch, flowery, arse-plain, or every now and again, 'interesting'.

Full story »

  12:22:57 am, by Nimble   , 666 words  
Categories: Thoughts, People, Religion, Science

Nut On The Run

Wired picked up on the saga of an overly-enthusiastic off-kilter creationist making escalating insults and threats to University of Colorado professors, as well as a few other folks online.

Well, he has absconded.

Full story »


  04:36:57 am, by Nimble   , 361 words  
Categories: Thoughts, People, Science

Labour Mythology

We're learning all sorts of things in our pre-natal classes, and there are a few things that were mythology-dispelling. Where do we pick up on such mythology? Television. Well, at least, according to what I've learned so far, I have not witnessed proper labour on-screen... or, if I have, then I fear for the habits of the medical profession ;)

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