Archive for May 2nd, 2007

Open laboratory 2007

May 2, 2007

Coturnix has a short post on Science Blogging Conference 2008 and The Open Laboratory 2007. Submit the best posts that you have written or read–to make the process easier, I have a link to the submission form on the right top corner of this blog. Happy Science Blogging!

In praise of grandparents

May 2, 2007

I cannot imagine my childhood without my (paternal) grandparents. If it was my grandfather who made us read aloud while he corrected the pronunciation, gave us dictation, tried to teach us a language that was not part of the standard school curricula,  made us write ten sentence essays everyday and corrected them, help us maintain scrap books, teach us Sanskrit poems and prayers, and help resolve disputes between us siblings, it was my grandmother who taught us all the mythology, home remedies, folk wisdom, and sense of fair play. Of course, we also had the benefit of long distance (mere 40 kms, though we visited them only twice or thrice a year) grandparenting from our maternal grandparents.One charm of RKN‘s books for me is his portrayal of grandmothers–be it his autobiographical Grandmother’s tale or his novels like Swami and his friends–with which I could completely identify.

Now, Anne Holden at Inkling has a post about the origin of grandmas; via Seed. The piece has some very interesting information:

For thousands of years grandmothers helped with child care, domestic chores, even food gathering. In fact, anthropologists have argued that the effect of grandmotherly care on child survival was so potent that it shaped some of our most basic biology: menopause, cognitive decline, even longevity itself.

Take a look!

Shakespeare’s sister will be born

May 2, 2007

I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young – alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the crossroads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives, for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh.This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so – I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals – and have £500 a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born.

Virginia Woolf in A room of one’s own. Reprinted here; via Maud Newton.

What is doing science like?

May 2, 2007

It’s taking all of my energy and every minute of my time. All other aspects of life have stopped. I’m down to eating take-out Chinese night after night cause all other food in the house has been eaten. I have run out of clean knives and forks (still plenty of spoons!) and coffee cups and wine glasses. (Yes, come midnight or so, I need a glass of wine to relax!) I wash each (knife, fork or glass), one at a time as I need it. All 4 suitcases and 6 boxes from my 2 month stay at Fermilab (I don’t travel lightly) are scattered about the house, essentially unpacked, except for where I have ravaged through them looking for something. I did find the leftover girl scout cookies. My tomato plants, lovingly replanted as seedlings into 4 inch pots 2 months ago, are now 2-3 feet tall and are begging to be planted into their big pots for the summer. Birthdays and Mothers Day are coming up and I haven’t done anything. I have referee reports past due. I haven’t read my email. My bills are not paid. I’ve sat so long in front of the computer that my back truly aches and my eyes (and carpel tunneled wrist) have gone. I put my trash out at the curb tonight thinking it was Wednesday, only to discover it’s actually Tuesday and now my neighbors will think I am nuts.

JoAnne at Cosmic Variance.

Some links, scientific and literary

May 2, 2007