Friday’s Odds and Ends

Okay, this is not a joke, but it should be. I read this quote in The Dallas Morning News. “The real stumbling block is the ethics.” Italian doctor, Sergio Canavero predicting the possibility of head transplants within two years.

Jon Stewart, where are you?

Moving on from that nonsense, there was a terrific article in the News by Joel Achenbach, “Science Under the Microscope”, that first appeared in National Geographic. The article addresses the ongoing debate about global warming and other controversial topics such as the merits of vaccines.

Before the age of Internet and Google, more of us trusted the studies and reports from scientists, but now….

We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change—faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative.

Achenbach points out that the rational side of us is willing to consider what science has to say, but we tend to go along with the consensus of our friends and family. He quoted geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science, “We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school. People still have a need to fit in, and that need to fit in is so strong that local values and local opinions are always trumping science.”

I appreciated that Achenbach made it clear that studies are ongoing and a hypothesis is always being tested. Very few things in life are absolute. His article is well worth the read.


 This is an actual sign on a building.


And these are actual transcripts from trials. The attorneys I know were not involved. LOL

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep,
he doesn’t know about it until the  next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ..
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the circus was in town I’m going with male.


ATTORNEY: She had three children ,  right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?


“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I love this quote from Anne. I have her book and have read it several times, always finding a new bit of inspiration and good advice. Have you read Bird By Bird? Do you have another favorite book of writing wisdom?

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