break-from-the-usual Friday: bonobos!

July 27, 2007

Bonobos are a species of chimp, and were for a long time confused with the common chimpanzee. Bonobos are awesome for many reasons:

1) Whereas common chimps solve interpersonal and intergroup problems with violence, bonobos solve them with sex. Human tend to do some of both, and are about equally related to both bonobos and common chimps. Overemphasizing our similarities to common chimps makes us look like nastier critters than we actually are, and remembering our relation to bonobos is something of a check on that self-image. (It’s not that we’re *not* violent, as a species. We have plenty of capacity for violence, and also plenty of capacity for intimacy, love, and yes, lots of gettin’ it on.)

2) Male bonobos are nice and gentle, unlike chimp males who tend to be aggressive. This is because female bonobos have, over evolutionary time, formed female-female coalitions that prevent aggressive male bonobos from gaining sexual access to females. So they didn’t get to have little future-aggressive bonobo sons.

3) Momma bonobos play airplane.

Break-from-the-usual Friday: The hottest thing since Johnny Depp

July 20, 2007

What could be hotter than Johnny Depp, you ask? The answer is: the sexiest, awesomest citation manager ever. No, wait, don’t run away (skip to the bonus picture of the baby miniature donkey, at least). Zotero is a Firefox extension that captures citations from the webpage you’re viewing (automatically, if you like), along with associated full texts, webpages, images, and more. It stores everything for you, lets you tag entries with multiple tags, lets you store as many notes as you want on an entry, and they’re working on collaboration support, so that you can share your library, contribute to mutual libraries, etc. It not only solves the problem of having to switch between Word, a reference manager, and your browser, and cut-and-paste and retype things manually, and it lets you keep track of lots and lots of information and organize it in ways that let you make better use of it. In short, leaps and bounds better than anything that existed before. Big step forward in helping us do better research, and helping humanity, and all that warm fuzzy stuff that I sincerely believe in, and the kind of thing that I want to (after I’m finally out of school) help make happen.

And now, the baby miniature donkey!

Baby miniature donkey

So cute. So awkward.

break-from-the-usual Fridays: schizoaffective disorder researchers wear Muppet gloves

July 13, 2007

I kid you not.  He’s wearing Muppet gloves.  There’s some stuff in there about overlap between symptoms in bipolar disorder and in schizophrenia, but the point is, he studies psychotic disorders and wears big, bright orange, fuzzy Muppet gloves.

(thanks to VelvetElvis of support site CrazyBoards for the link)