March 15, 2010

Book review: And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

Posted in Books, GLBT issues, Medicine, Politics, Science at 9:41 pm by The Lizard Queen

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
by Randy Shilts
1987

I knew it was bad, though I knew that mostly from other readings, because essentially, I don’t remember a time before AIDS. I remember that in grade school, “Red Ribbon Week” was about saying no to drugs rather than AIDS awareness, but that’s pretty much it. When Ryan White was battling to attend school, I was in first grade. I can remember having assemblies in years not too much later where they talked about how you can’t catch HIV through casual contact, and we can still be good friends and hold hands and hug and everybody’s happy and no one discriminates against anyone! (Of course, that was all, to the best of my knowledge, academic; I’m not entirely convinced that people would have been so sanguine had someone with HIV or AIDS actually tried to attend the school).  Read the rest of this entry »

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December 23, 2008

Fun headlines of the day

Posted in Apropos of nothing, News, Politics, Science at 5:21 pm by The Lizard Queen

From Petulant’s morning roundup: Honey bees on cocaine dance more  [Well, who doesn’t, really?  😉 ]

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In a study that challenges current ideas about the insect brain, researchers have found that honey bees on cocaine tend to exaggerate.

Normally, foraging honey bees alert their comrades to potential food sources only when they’ve found high quality nectar or pollen, and only when the hive is in need. They do this by performing a dance, called a “round” or “waggle” dance, on a specialized “dance floor” in the hive. The dance gives specific instructions that help the other bees find the food.

Foraging honey bees on cocaine are more likely to dance, regardless of the quality of the food they’ve found or the status of the hive, the authors of the study report.

From the CNN Political Ticker: Obama: Put the journalists’ beer on my tab

HONOLULU (CNN) Many Republicans already believe President-elect Barack Obama has gotten a free ride from the national media, so they may not be happy to learn the incoming Commander-in-Chief offered to buy a round of drinks for reporters covering his working vacation on the sands of Hawaii’s beaches and the greens of its lush golf courses.

. . . In a separate pool report for print journalists, Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times added helpfully: “He chatted for a moment, telling the pool to have a beer and put it on his tab. No one took him up on the offer.”

I definitely get where the commenters who are complaining that this isn’t news are coming from.  However, there are other commenters complaining about the fact that Obama is taking a vacation at a time like this (conveniently forgetting that he’s not actually President yet), complaining that buying the journalists’ pool a round of beer constitutes a bribe, and so on and so forth.  (Not to mention the fact that the article itself sounds pretty snarky, but I’m not familiar with the writer, so maybe he’s being tongue-in-cheek and I’m missing it.)  And I’m just like, bees are on the what now?  (Translation for those who aren’t constantly quoting the Simpsons the way Evil Bender and I do: huh?)  I just thought it seemed like a nice gesture, personally.  And being in Hawaii and having a beer on Obama’s dime sounds pretty damn sweet right now…

June 12, 2008

Also…

Posted in Books, Censorship, Feminism, GLBT issues, Health care, Poetry, Science at 3:32 pm by The Lizard Queen

what Evil Bender said.

May 19, 2007

Saturday afternoon roundup

Posted in Animals, Blogging, Environment, Feminism, Government, Politics, Science, Wingnuts at 12:24 pm by The Lizard Queen

Good stuff from the blogs over the past few days. I’ve posted excerpts; follow the link for the whole thing. Enjoy!

Echidne of the Snakes: On The Immigration Bill

First, because the immigration is almost totally from the south of the border the debate often becomes mixed with racism and a certain kind of classism, given that it is mostly the poor who immigrate. Second, the debate about illegal immigrants tends to be about immigration and racism and similar issues, as much as it is about the illegal status of certain immigrants.

Shakesville: Rape is Not Only Hilarious; It’s No Big Deal

Rape is a big deal, and the very least we can do for those who have suffered its excruciating indignity is talk about it with the honesty and gravity it deserves.

Sciencewoman: Scientiae #6

Welcome to the 6th edition of Scientiae, the carnival by, for, and about women in science, engineering, technology, and math! I arbitrarily picked a theme of “mothers and others, those who influenced us along the way” and I got some great posts on the theme topic. But I also saw a ton of great posts on other topics as well, so read all the way through this carnival.

TerranceDC on Pam’s House Blend: Abstaining from Reality

“Uganda was once an HIV prevention success story, where an ambitious government-sponsored prevention campaign, including massive condom distribution and messages about delaying sex and reducing numbers of partners, pushed HIV rates down from 15 percent in the early 1990s to 5 percent in 2001. But conservative evangelicals rewrote this history–with the full-throated cooperation of Uganda’s evangelical first family, the Musevenis.” [Quoted from this article]

Gina Spadafori on the Pet Connection Blog: Pet-food recall: Tainted foods tested in bee colony deaths

“Federal scientists are researching whether the same industrial chemicals blamed for sickening and killing thousands of pets are responsible for decimating the honeybee population. . . . Honeybees in the United States began dying off in unprecedented numbers late last year, threatening the nation’s human food supply, a third of which is dependent on bee pollination. A quarter of the nation’s 2.4 million honeybee colonies died from what scientists dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder.” [Quoted from this article]

Punkass Marc of Punkassblog: Being a sinner is so 12th century, y’all

If you think about it, this kind of self-denial helps explain why so many conservatives continue to refute the existence and consequences of global warming. If all of it were true, then they’d be personally guilty of crimes against humanity, and they simply can’t own such a thing.

August 16, 2006

Our changing solar system

Posted in News, Science at 8:43 pm by The Lizard Queen

It looks like our solar system may soon officially contain twelve planets. Man, and after all that work I put into memorizing a mnemonic for the planets: Mary visits every Monday and just stays until noon, period. (Though I did enjoy the mnemonic one of the posters at the above link suggested: “Moving vans endanger many cats journeying slowly upwards near pest-controlled universities.”)

(Hat tip to PZ Myers)

April 13, 2006

Cool!

Posted in Humor, Science at 5:08 pm by The Lizard Queen

Okay, here’s something entertaining and non-political: what happens when you put a whole pack of Mentos into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke?

😀

April 7, 2006

The science of emergency contraceptives

Posted in Reproduction, Science at 11:38 am by The Lizard Queen

There’s a fabulous post over at Pharyngula about how, exactly, Plan B works. In a nutshell, it prevents an egg from being released from the ovary, thus preventing pregnancy. IT’S NOT ABORTION.

Go. Read. Spread the word. Please.

Thanks to Evil Bender for the link.