March, 2006

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Emma: Solving Your Essay Conundrums Since 1986

Friday, March 31st, 2006

got no parachute: dude i can’t get past page three in this paper
Loweaugen: which paper
got no parachute: i have to have a minimum of five, and i’m out of ideas
got no parachute: Master Peaches of Literature
got no parachute: :-Loweaugen: just do me again
Loweaugen: i always work
got no parachute: how do you feel about irish people?
Loweaugen: ‘And while these great literary works show insight into the times they were written, Emma has contributed much to Irish people.’
got no parachute: LOL nice!!
Loweaugen: ‘This is because they have potatos, and Emma is a great potato advocate, having stood behind the goodness of potatoes for many years’.

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Apparently I’m a Gangster

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

Hi, my name’s Carl and I don’t remember anything from my past. Everybody keeps mentioning it, and I even got arrested for some reason as soon as I got off the plane. I talk back like I’ve got a clue, but that’s just cuz these guys kinda scare me. Apparently I’m from ‘the East Coast’ and I once heard myself claim that I lived in some place called ‘Liberty City’. All of these guys keep talking about ‘the hood’ and ‘Grove Street Families’. One of the guys keeps calling my ‘bro,’ so I assume I am related to him. Apparently my mom is dead, though nobody seems sure why, I think. Or maybe they don’t know how. I can’t get it straight. I tried to get ‘bro’ to talk about it, and he got all moody. The fat guy eats a lot.
I don’t have any money really, so I have a weird haircut and a moustache, since these guys dropped me off in front of a barber and stopped me from doing anything until I entered the yellow tornado and got my hair cut. They ordered me to get some ‘colors’ as well, but none of the stores have a yellow tornado in front of them, so I can’t. They don’t seem too bothered.
I can’t drive worth shit, and have ruined 4 or 5 cars. However, that doesn’t matter much, since I always get a second chance. Once while running from the police, I apparently ran into a police station. They shot me pretty fast, since I was surrounded by about 20 police officers. I constantly get lost, and am always knocking down poles and posts, and people. When driving, I refuse to go anywhere until the radio station is on K-JAH West, which is Reggae. I enjoy punching random people in the street and spraying people in the face with my green spray paint to make them cough.

Having never played any of the other GTA games, I feel a little lost. But it’s ok.

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A Short Story About an Oogonium

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Let’s say you have an oogonium. These are the cells in the ovaries that can either go through mitosis, to produce additional oogonia, or can enter meiosis and end up as an ovum (egg (yes, singular)). So you have an oogonium. It has 46 chromosomes (because it has not yet undergone meiosis). I think at this point most people can unanimously agree that this oogonium is not a life. If you argue that it is, then every time a woman menstruates she’s killing a baby, so stop reading now and go play with your toes, because your brain means nothing to me. So this oogonium is not a life. We can do what we want with it. We can kill it, poke it, jab it, abuse it, encourage it to multiply, etc. So let’s say we coax this little oogonium to multiply a few times, then coax it and all it’s sisters into meiosis, so we end up with some eggs, each with 23 chromosomes. Again, these eggs are not lives.

Now we introduce some sperm. Oop. Our little egg sisters have all been fertilized! Now is the point when many people will argue that the resulting zygote is a life. But… what if there is no way that it can develop into a viable fetus? What status does it have? Is it a person until it reaches the stage in cell division when it will spontaniously abort? Is it never a person? In nature, those who believe a zygote is a life and a person would treat everyone zygote as a person, since there’s no way of knowing that it might not survive. But what if you knew for certain? What if, say, it had been genetically modified so that it was missing a vital DNA sequence so that it was impossible for the fetus to live? ‘Easy,’ one might say, ‘if you’ve modified this fetus to make it inviable, then you’ve taken a life and ended it.’ But wait. Let’s rewind. Let’s step back to before our zygotes were zygotes, before our eggs were eggs. Let’s go back to that first little oogonium. This is not a life. It’s not even an egg. It has a full set of chromosomes and can undergo mitosis. It’s a cell. It alone does not have the potential to be a life, as a zygote does. Again, if you argue that destroying an egg or an oogonium is killing a life, you’re being stupid, and you need to go play with your toes. Millions of eggs are lost every day when millions of women across the world menstruate. If you’re going with the God thing, He designed it this way, it’s cool. If you go with the nature thing, we evolved this way, it’s cool. So we have a oogonium. It is not a life. It is not a potential life, and harming it is not killing a potential life, as one might argue that killing a zygote is. So we take this oogonium, and we homogeneously (on both copies of the chromosome) delete some gene that is essential for a fetus to develop. Now we go through our steps again: the oogonium goes through mitosis, then it and its sisters go into mitosis, and now we have our eggs. These are not lives. These are not potential lives. Now we let loose with the sperm.

Now. We have a zygote. This zygote will never live. It will spontaneously abort due to it’s own checking system. It will self-destruct. Is this zygote a person? Does it have a soul? If we kill this zygote, are we killing a person? If we don’t kill the zygote, it’s going to die. It does not have the genetic structure to live.

I raise this question: would it be ethically ok, in the minds of those who believe zygotes are people, to use these zygotes for embryonic stem-cell research and therapy? (Let’s assume that the deletion, while preventing the zygote from forming a child, would not prevent the zygote from dividing into a blastocyst and the cells that make up this blastocyst (stem cells) from becoming heart cells, liver cells, etc. independently.) I emphasise again: This zygote never had the capability to be alive. Never. Never ever. It was ruled out from becoming another person back before it was a life. Back when it was an oogonium. In this line of cells, there was never any chance that another life would occur. There was never any chance that a live baby might be brought into the world.

By deleting the gene did we kill a person? Did we end a life? True, we did prevent a life. The same way we could have prevented life with non-modified eggs by never introducing sperm. The same way abstinence prevents life. Preventing life does not seem to be a moral issue, that seems to be ok. So is this ok?

Another question: do decisions on whether it’s a person or not change depending on at what stage of development the fetus will abort? If they abort at 100 cells, are they a person? If they abort after they take the recognisable shape of a human, are they a person? Remember: nothing has changed but the passage of time, and the organization and specialization of the cells. From zygote to 100 cell cluster to fetus, it is still not alive, and it still is doomed to abort. Does it matter if it aborts after the first brain waves are detected? Is it a person if it aborted after it started producing brainwaves?

Another question: is this clump of cells a person by their DNA? Are they a human by their DNA? Is something that has the DNA of a human but not the DNA to ever be alive, a human? A person?

Does God only give souls to zygotes that he know will live long enough to be born? What about babies that have genetic defects that allow them to live only a few hours after being born? Does exiting the uterus decree life? If we could look at that genetically defective zygote back when it formed, we could know it was going to die. It has no potential for life: it will die. But it will die later. After leaving the womb. Many would say this is a life. What if it’s going to terminate while still a ball of cells? Is that a baby dying? Is that a life ending?

What is life?

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A Little French in Your Life (In English)

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Gmail is down, which pisses me off. But on the happy side, the Babelfish translation of my French test essay amuses me so much, I decided to share it with you all:
(Note, ‘bof’ doesn’t really have an English translation, but you can probably figure out what it means.)

1: I am much hungry!
2: Me too. The meals here are excellent!
1: Good! What will you take?
2: I think I will take the menu of 15 euros. Like entry, the salad is very good for my health. I will take some. And you?
1: The salad? It is tedious. Me, I prefere rich meals. I chose the menu of 22 euros. I will take twelve oysters.
2: Twelve oysters? Of agreement. And principal dish? Perhaps chicken? It does not have many fat content.
1: Pff! If it does not have fat content, it is not good! It is bof! I will take the duck net. And what you will take? A lettuce sheet? A tomato section?
2: I will take the fish skewer. Fish has the fat content good; they are called Omega-3.
1: Bof. Look at, I have a third plate before the dessert! The meals here are really excellent!
2: A third plate before the dessert?? If it were not the salad, you would grow bigger.
1: I am rather thin, like a carrot.
2: Yes, and you think as a carrot also… you do not think.
1: I do not listen. What did you say?
2: Ah… nothing.
1: I like the dessert better. As dessert, what you will take?
2: Nothing for me. I will take an apple at home.
1: An apple?? Really?? Do you have a disease?
2: Not, I have very good health.
1: I will take creams it burned. They is delicious!
2: Ah! I forget! What would you like to drink?
1: I would like a Coke. And for you, water, I think?
2: Yes. It is –
1: I know, I know… ` good for my health… ‘ Bof.

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Breaks, Summers, and Cadavers

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

I’m busy as all fuck this week, and the one right after spring break, due to a big biomed ethics presentation/paper and the start of my biology paper, on top of all the regular things. Siiiigh. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll be able to relax at all over spring break, or just be worrying about what’s coming up? Hopefully not, I’ll probably have an aneurism if I do.

The awesome thing is, I get to end spring break on an awesomely high note because the famous ‘Body Worlds’ show is in Houston right now, and my aunt is taking me to go see it the Sunday we disembark the ship. ‘Body Worlds’ is the controversial exhibit where bodies are ‘plasticized’ and then put on display in various positions (and various states of anatomical undress – skin removed, organs removed, both removed, etc). Find out more by going to the website.

I still don’t know exactly where we’re going on this cruise. We’re stopping three places, but eh, it’ll be a surprise. We’re going Carnival, if anyone was wondering. I do finally have clothes (and shoes – more pairs than I think I’ve ever gotten in such a short period of time) so I’m looking forwards to the cruise more, as I won’t have to wear jeans and black tshirts. We’re doing some activities, like I think something with rafting and something else, but those will be a suprise too. Overall I’m just looking forward to a break in work work work.

AJ’s off to Panama (his mother’s side of the family is Panamanian) today for his spring break, he’s taking two weeks off. Wish I could do that. He’s going to meet his great-grandmother, plus a lot of other family members he’s not met before, so that’s very exciting. Just so long as he doesn’t get eaten in the rainforest or catch yellow fever, anyway. There’s not much in the way of internet or phone (without being very expensive) down there as I understand it, and I’ll be on the cruise next week anyway, where there is also only very expensive internet and phone, so we won’t be communicating much, if at all, in the next two weeks, which is sad, but we’ll both survive, of course. Usual, though, since even with all my travelling these days, my cell phone usually works, which means we can talk through texts.

Anyway, he’s also off to Greece for a few weeks this summer with a UTA group, which is also very exciting, and I know that will be great… Greece is so beautiful, I’d love to go. Katie is off to Italy, I believe, for a few weeks as well. Amanda I think might be going to Germany to teach English to some kids. Tri is of course going to Vietnam. Lots of travelling! My own travelling plans have not materialised yet, but I’m sure they will be fairly usual, unless I can get my own little idea inserted somewhere. (Speaking of which… anybody have an idea for how I can make about $2,000 by June? Legal ideas only, please…)

So summer approaches, slowly but surely. But you know, summer’s just holding your breath before school starts again, and it looks like I’ll be summer-schooling to make up on some missed hours, and that sucks. It’ll be at UTA, and I’ll probably be doing my usual observation of some sort at the same time. So if anyone’s thinking of taking some kind of required course, like history or something, in the June summer school session at UTA, let me know : ).

Well, I’m off to go get shit done. See ya.

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Four Emmas?!?!?

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

I’m taking a quick break from my smothering biomedical ethics project to fill in this little survey thing. Yea, they’re annoying,. Whatever, they’re fun.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1) student (unpaid)
2) assistant teacher (unpaid)
3) observing pre-med student (unpaid)
4) …student (unpaid)

Four movies I watch over and over again:
1) Kill Bill
2) Love Actually
3) LOTR Trilogy
4) tie between Shrek 2/The Full Monty/Dawn of the Dead (21st century one)

Four places I’ve lived:
1) Arlington, Texas
2) Georgetown, Texas
3) Stavanger, Norway
4) Aberdeen, Scotland

Four shows I watch:
1) Law and Order (preferrably SVU)
2) Who’s Line is it Anyway?
3) Waking the Dead (UK)
4) Midsomer Murders (UK)

Four places I’ve vacationed:
1) Brazil
2) Portugal
3) Switzerland
4) Holland

Four websites I like: (by no means a complete list)
1) BBC News
2) gmail.com (does that count?)
3) Babel Fish Translation
4) Google Maps
(I decided to exclude blogs, link-listing sites, and webcomics..)

Four of my favorite foods:
1) mince, dumplings, potatoes, carrots, peas, fried parsnips, yorkshire puddings
2) frozen burritoes (my obession is back!)
3) potatoes
4) Tony Roma’s Ribs (the one his restraunt chain makes.. not his personal ribs)

Four places I’d like to be right now:
1) Arlington
2) on the cruise (means spring break is here)
3) in bed watching a dvd because I have no homework
4) Barnes & Noble

(Taken without remorse from a weird website I came across while trying to find info on stem-cell stuff for biomedical ethics.)

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Emma Is Nice Sometimes

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Today I showed my humanitarian side. No, not by doing a good act to a person, but by doing a good act to my drosophila. Two good acts actually. It’s strange. I hate those things, I really do. I hate the way they look, they way they buzz around, the way they twitch under the microscope, the way they squish so horribly easily, the way their nasty vials smell, and the way their nasty FlyNap smells (and makes me smell, after I work with it).


This was totally going to be a picture of drosophila for you, but you know what? I am so sick of looking at them I just cant do it. Have a kitty instead.

However, while I was trying to harvest some virgins, I accidentally tapped my flies down too hard, and one got stuck into the gooey food at the bottom. being short of virgins as we are, I decided to try and rescue it. First I pushed it further in. Not good. When I finally got it out, the poor fly was covered in blue goo. I really felt bad for it. It’s one free leg was waving around so panicky, not understanding why it couldn’t move its other legs or its wings. I moved it onto an index card and slowly started scraping the goo off of it’s body. I tried really hard to clean it up, and finally got 4 of its legs free, though it’s back two were stuck to its wings, which were also stuck together. I let it sit for a while, to see if it would start it’s little fly-cleaning routine and clean itself up, but it never did. Finally I had to throw it in the morgue, since I didn’t want it dying and getting all rotty in with the other flies. Oh well.
My other good deed was to move my old, no-longer-needed flies into a fresh new vial. I didn’t need to, since we don’t really need them anymore, but they were just so crowded, and their vial was so dirty. There was a layer of dead flies all across the bottom of the vial, blocking the food, so I figured they must be starving, too. So I moved what I could to a new vial, and sure enough they immediately started sucking up the food. So anyway, they should be happier now.

I feel nicer to my flies today than I do to people in general. At least flies just do fly things. You can’t really mess up with a fly. And if you do, you just kill it. There’s always more.

(this person really likes their flies)

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