NOVA: Riddles of the Sphinx

January 20, 2010

Last night, Tina and I enjoyed the new NOVA detailing the history of the Sphinx. What better way to spend one’s sick days than watching documentaries about history.

As an icon of the ancient world, I’ve long wondered about its origins and history. There were a few things that stood out that I don’t think I have heard before.

Click for larger image

One, it was carved down into the limestone. If you’ve studied Africa, there are these brilliant buildings in Ethiopia that are built down into the dirt. Their rooves are parallel with the dirt that is level around it. This was done for protection. See this link for picture. This is how the Sphinx was sculpted. Little magic Egyptians dug around the base of the structure and then carved into it.

The little Egyptians didn’t bring stone in like the pyramids, place it down and carve it out.

There are some bricks at the Sphinx’s base that confuse how it was made. It’s as if the bricks once covered the entire animal, but fell away from the top. That’s not what happened.

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Gervais on Creationism

January 16, 2010

Le Café lowers pants, shouts: Hey, I’ve got your blue moon right here!

January 4, 2010

Ethan Siegel

Starts with a Bang! is one of my must-read blogs. Ethan Siegel is a quirky theoretical astrophysicist.

Recently Siegel tackled the phenomenon known as “Blue Moon”. If you have any curious bone in your body, you’ll go read about it. A blue moon is not what you think it is. Or at least, not in the way an astrophysicist says it is.

You should spend a little time over there at SWAB. There was a post about Saturnalia that preceded the blue moon post.

Creative Fertility

December 16, 2009

Tina blogged about her experience over the past 24 hours over at Beautiful Symmetry. Her perception of how things are progressing is not positive.

Regardless of knowing that the first time we tried this IUI fertility treatment that we likely might not conceive, it’s certainly easy to get our hopes up. Tina’s deflated right now. Between the hormones coursing through her body and the sheer roller coaster of emotions and mood swings, she finds herself close to teetering on an edge that she doesn’t feel comfortable approaching.

Although nothing is set in stone. I seem to remember that the nurse told us that indications of an impending period doesn’t mean not pregnant. It means that the body is dealing with a whole slew of information and medicine, and needs to straighten it all out.

So go read her blog and send her a big hug. And if you have a rotary phone, send her a rotary phone text telling her you love her. She could use a real honk right now.

Infertility Monster (NSFW)

October 30, 2009

tina and jer sad about fertility

I drew this illustration, because I don't have a picture of us with a thought bubble coming out.

My wife Tina and I have been diagnosed as infertile with scientific proof to bat. We’ve been trying to conceive for over a year. We worked closely with Tina’s OB/GYN for over three months in the spring to see what she could do. After it seemed that the OB/GYN’s efforts were ineffective, we sought fertility clinic help.

Since September, we’ve been pricked, prodded and probed. Tina had one ultrasound of her cervix that was devastatingly painful. Guys, could you imagine having your penis hole opened large enough to fit a freight train inside? That’s how bad it was. After other various tests, including HIV and STD tests, as well as semen samples from me, we’ve been diagnosed with potentially “curable” infertility.
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Another Vestigial Structure

July 17, 2009

grasping instinct

Just saw this at Jerry Coyne’s blog. Vestigial structures (click here for wiki) are fascinating. Goosebumps, hiccups, male nipples and male uterus-es all connect us to our animal ancestors. A friend of mine told me about the moro reflex recently and I decided to have a baby of my own to try it. Now all I gots to do is get my lady prego.

Thanks to Coyne’s post yesterday, I get to add a baby’s auto grasp of hands and feet(!) to my list of fun vestigial reflexes.

My question, what’s your favorite vestigial structure/reflex?

Further reading: “Why Evolution is True” by Jerry Coyne and “Why Darwin Matters” by Michael Shermer.

Full repost of text from Coyne below the fold:

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July 16, 2009


*Update*: Richard Dawkins released a few videos that I’ll post below the fold.

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Men, Are you Infertile? Masturbate Daily

July 10, 2009

Since masturbation has fast become a theme ’round these parts, I enjoyed this post from PZ Myers even more.

Glorious, glorious masturbation can help infertility! Pass it on.

Quoth the entire post:

William Saletan highlights an interesting study in reproductive biology.

In a paper presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, Dr. David Greening, an Australian infertility expert, reports that 81 percent of the men in his study significantly improved their sperm quality, as measured by DNA fragmentation, through a simple one-week program.

The program was so easy that even the average guy could follow it. According to a summary of the study, “The men were instructed to ejaculate daily.”

He presents it as a conflict for religious organizations like the Catholic church, which frown on masturbation. Unfortunately, Saletan gets it wrong. The Catholic Church can still condemn masturbation as sinful and urge their followers to procreate madly because there’s nothing in their doctrine to favor qualityreproduction. To the simple-minded, human beings are all r-selected. Pop ‘em out and let God sort ‘em out should be their motto.

This is not a dilemma for the church : Pharyngula. Ping.

Glorious, glorious masturbation can help infertility! Pass it on.

Scientists Create ‘Artificial Human Sperm’

July 9, 2009

Well, if I don’t do it naturally, science has my back.

Cheat Sheet with Michio Kaku – Mysteries of The Universe

July 5, 2009

One of my favorite subjects is astronomy. It’s something I learned very little about in high school or college. I’ve jumped into it since then. I’ve read two of Brian Greene’s books. You can watch “The Elegant Universe” on PBS. I’ve read “Cosmos” from Carl Sagan. The leaders of my youth demonized Sagan, so I always thought he was equatable with Satan. They share all the same letters in their names except one. But now I know they feared him, because his ideas opposed theirs directly.

This show called Cheat Sheet is available online to watch:


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