Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog neglect and other things...

Well, as you may have noticed, I have been a bit remiss in my blogging of late. I'll try to briefly catch up on things.

The Cruise. It's over. I had a time that I can't really call good, but definitely was not bad. It was too busy to be either, I guess. I have several cultures growing (YES!) and a few photos that I'll share when I have some time again. The trip has provided me with plenty of work for quite some time, and the possibility of finding something truly new, which is every scientist's dream, right? I'll post about the cruise retrospectively as I am able.

In short, the boat was OK, the crew was fantastic (very helpful and curious about what the visiting nerds were up to), the sampling gear was barely adequate (better than I had hoped, actually), and I didn't lose the dock rock for about a week.

The Election. James, this bit is for you. Obama won (news flash!). I'm happy about that. For one thing, I can finally watch TV without being assaulted with political ads, so that's nice. For another (few) things, the McCain campaign was the loser. This pleases me. I shall briefly try to explain why.

McCain was someone I could have voted for... in 2001. He revealed himself to not be that person any more. The Maveric(tm) is no more. His campaign pandered to fear, loathing of education and the tribal instincts of our barbarian past that I had thought we might move beyond. His choice of Palin for VP was one of the most shameful, calculated and cynical acts I have seen in a presidential campaign. She is unqualified, removing McCain's argument about Obama's qualifications. She is not only ignorant about the world around her, but proved to be unwilling to learn about it. She is blatantly anti-science. Not only did she deride research on "fruit flies, in Paris, France. I kid you not!", but she has no idea why such research might be (pardon the pun) fruitful. She didn't care that the research was about the olive fruit fly that is a major crop pest to the California olive industry, nor that France was the best place to study the fly because that is its natural range. Nope, just dog-whistle bullshit. "Fruit flies" -- who cares about that? "France" -- Just a bunch of cheese-eating surrender-monkeys! Why the hell should our money go there?!? *sigh*

McCain often referred to the $3mil "overhead projector" that would have gone to the Adler Planetarium. In that statement, repeated often, he revealed his anti-science and anti-intellectual stance. That "overhead projector" was a Zeiss star machine. A planetarium projector that can capture the minds and curiosity of countless children was compared to an obsolete piece of office technology.

Even without getting into the nastiness of the campaign, those few things were enough. The callous pandering to the religious right folks who are proud of their ignorance, the denigration of science, and the use of "elite" as an epithet solidified my vote for Obama.

Is Obama the "Saviour"? Will he fix all our problems? Will he save our reputation in the world? Will he bake me cookies?

NO! (Well, maybe cookies.)

He has a really nasty mess to attempt to fix. I really wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now. All I can do at this point is to wish him well and send letters to tell him when I think he has fucked up. I'll hold him to account. He is no messiah, he's a naughty boy. But he's my president and I'm going to hope that he does the right thing. When (not if) he does something I disagree with, I'll hold it against him. Yes, it's nice we have a progressive centrist in office, but he better do some of what he promised, or I'll... I'll... um... WRITE A REALLY ANGRY EMAIL!!!!!

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