There is more to Clarence Darrow than I thought. As the old story goes, the famous litigator slyly distracted juries with his cigar. He supposedly threaded a thin wire through the cigar to keep the burning ashes from falling. Enthralled juries would watch the ashes with anticipation instead of listening to the opposing counsel. True or not, the story has longevity for every negative attorney stereotype. Darrow’s most famous cases – The Scopes Monkey Trial and the murder trial of Leopold and Loeb – are noteworthy for their fame and sensationalism. For these bits of trivia, I quickly dismissed Darrow in my early days ofRead More →

1. Our avatars, our projected selves — A Jezebel bit about how men respond to female avatars, and a discussion of racism and sexism in Second Life. Rather predictable, but still something to talk about. One blogger inaccurately cites another writer’s claim that 40 percent of the folks come to SL looking for sexual activity. The writer corrects the mistake; a more accurate number would be closer to 15 percent.  Sorry, I call BS on that. If you have to purchase genitals for your avatar, you can bet there’s lots of

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Students stumped me this week over my information literacy quest about how to peel a hard-boiled egg, which is now a homework activity for public speaking. First, a bit about the activity: The homework requires the students to follow a list of the sources and determine the best way to peel an egg. The point of the assignment is to evaluate the credibility of internet cites and learn that (1) the first Google hits aren’t necessarily valid, and (2) credibility isn’t necessarily obvious at first blush. A colleague who is a librarian mentioned once that people rarely look past the first page of search engineRead More →

No one knows the right way to peel a hard-boild egg. Ages ago I had a dispute with a friend over this issue. She swore by her mother’s wisdom that the freshest eggs were the easiest to peel. I swore by my grandmother’s wisdom that cold water does the trick. The debate was heated and emotional, probably due to our investment in our maternal relatives’ kitchen knowledge. Food and family, as we know, is a potent combination. So, this morning my hard boiled eggs came out sort of eh, reminding me of the disagreement with my friend. Time to turn to the eggsperts (lame pun).Read More →

Randomly, I wondered whether or not cats can taste sweet things. According to this link, they cannot. Apparently, they lack the gene and the taste receptors, whatever that means. Actually, my wondering wasn’t so random. My cat keeps trying to get my grapes, but when I finally offer them to her, she turns her nose up at them. I suspect it is because they are still covered with water from when I washed them. Or perhaps she just wants to play with them.Read More →

An article about Internet Addiction from CNN.com asserts that internet addiction is a fact, but it struggles to do so, since there is no real evidence to suggest this is true. The term they use is “clinically addictive.” The article states: Red flags should start flying, however, if time spent vanquishing electronic enemies or keeping up on e-mail results in reprimands from your employer and arguments with loved ones. Which is true for anything. What is addiction, exactly? Addicts can be addicted to anything, whether it is the internet, or television, or anything else. At least the article admits this much. You’d think that, afterRead More →

Women can see variations on red better than man can, according to this CNN bit, because women have double hits of a red-seeing gene. People are too casual about the outcome of genetics. The article reports this red-seeing gene as a fait accompli, and never once questions the causal, teleological relationship between a gene and its manifestation or itsexpression. The article even goes so far as to attribute this gene’s presence to CAVEWOMAN days when women foraged for berries. What should we call these trivial assumptions. I find I cannot ignore them. They are like crackerjacks. I hate crackerjacks. I hate peanuts. I like theRead More →