Monday, October 28, 2013


When they make you turn off all electronic devices on the airplane, I’m pretty sure they’re just messing with you. Because, if there was even the remotest chance you could do any damage, they wouldn't let you have them. They don’t say, “If you’re travelling today with any explosive devices, please be sure they are disarmed and securely stowed during takeoff and landing. ” You probably couldn't hijack a plane by threatening to turn on your Nook. Then as we deplaned, I saw a Sikh driver holding a sign that said “Christian White.” And I thought, “That man is mislabeled.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hey good lookin'

Rule of thumb, here: Mutations tend to persist in a species if they meet one of two criteria. Either they are adaptive and help an individual to survive (big brain, opposable thumbs) or they are so inconsequential as to have no effect (male pattern baldness, rollable tongue). Mutations that are bad for you tend to go away pretty quickly. Now, alcohol rots your liver, makes you stupid and lazy, gets you into fights that aren't worth winning. So why do so many humans tolerate, even crave, this toxic fluid? Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may convey an important reproductive advantage.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Imagine canine cologne.

We have peculiar relationships with other lifeforms. For instance chalk. Because, if you were a diatom, think how horrified you'd be to discover that billions and billions of the skeletons of your ancestors where being scraped across sidewalks for purposes of hopscotch. Then there's dogs, who have to eat food that's designed to smell good to people. Seriously, if dogs formulated it, dog food would smell like a blend of sun-ripened carp and cat feces. And I just read that researchers have found a promising treatment for multiple sclerosis in mice. Shouldn't we be investing in cures for humans first?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Velcro was a blind alley.

This is an age of wonders. I suffer no risk from diphtheria, polio, or smallpox. Cheap shipping makes it possible to locate the menial underlings who serve me far enough away so I never have to see them. My communications are enhanced by a little apparatus that keeps me in touch with people all over the world while ignoring the human across the table. I have a water filled chair that rinses away any substance I put in it, allowing me to urinate and defecate right inside my own home. However, my shoes are still held on with knotted strings.