March 15th, 2009

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Writer's Block: Big Debates

Do you think stem cell research is good, bad, or dangerous? Should it be funded by the government?
Everything's dangerous, including eating, breathing, walking....not doing something (not eating, not breathing, not walking) has its own dangers.  So research, even if dangerous, can be just as dangerous NOT to do.  Stem-cell research is less dangerous to the public than many other kinds (atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, for instance) and the potential benefits are high.

Stem cell research is, like many other kinds of biological research, essential to understanding how living things "work."  It has high potential for advancing therapeutics, and thus falls into the "not just good but important to do" category.

Basic research should be funded by the government as well as private entities, because private entities often choose to use research results for private profit, not the welfare of the whole.  Research is scientific infrastructure, the way that roads and bridges and water treatment plants are physical infrastructure.  We need to support that infrastructure.   In a straitened research budget, stem cell research might not have priority over something else--but if there were funds enough, it certainly should be publicly funded.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

How do I fix the time thing?

I thought I fixed the date/time function on this machine a week ago, when DST hit.  This machine did not automatically update.  I can't swear to that, though.

Then today, I installed the personal clock program.  My computer's displayed time is an hour behind "real" time.   The personal clock program correctly indicated the time for this zone (nearest large city).  However, when I tried to change the time displayed on the computer (that little thing in the lower right corner of the task bar in Windows machines) it's still wrong.   When I change it, the personal clock program ramps up an hour and then it's wrong.

Faint screams waft through my head.

It's !**! Central Daylight Savings.   Why can't they both get it straight?


woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

80 Acres: Sun! Water! Grass! Crawdad! Bluebonnet!

The clouds shifted east and the sun came through about 4 pm, so I dropped what I was doing, grabbed the camera, put on shoes, and was out the door by 4:15.  Left a note for Richard on his desk (he & Michael weren't back from the city.)    It was gorgeous outside, still cool, but with a south (not north) breeze.  The ground was soft enough to take footprints.  I made one mistake (OK, two) in my eagerness to get out--I grabbed the cap I got at Weta in NZ last spring, and not my real sun hat, and I also didn't put on sunscreen.  I love that cap, but two hours in central Texas sun is too much with just a cap.

The near meadow had water running across it a few days ago, in the rain, but not today of course, which made walking easier.  The near meadow swale, below the #3 gabion, had clear water in it...and a crawdad had burrowed back up, raising a mound (not a proper chimney, but the sort of desperate eruption of mud a crawdad who'd nearly died of drought *would* raise as it clawed upward.)   I got a picture that just shows the claws (if you blow it up.)   There was water behind the #3 gabion, with water still trickling in from both the ditch and the natural drainage.  I walked the natural drainage all the way to the highway--several little pools, all clear.   The greenest things out there were invasive non-native weeds, of course--sow thistle and the like.  And I hadn't brought either work gloves or a week stick, silly me.
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