:::this is the way the world ends:::

Month: May 2007 (Page 1 of 2)

Science Monday — Female killer chimps

From BBC News:

Female Chimps Can Become Killers221847.jpg

Scientists in Scotland have discovered that female chimpanzees can be just as violent as their male counterparts.

The St Andrews University psychologists found examples of female chimps killing the offspring of incoming mothers, previously regarded as a male trait.

The Fife team has been studying chimps in the Budongo Forest, Uganda.

The researchers said only three previous instances of lethal aggression in wild female chimps had been documented in the past 50 years.

The belief was that male and females differed greatly in nature but the psychologists found that if the chimps’ resources come under threat, the females could become just as aggressive as males. Continue reading

Introducing Science Monday — “Where’s My Jetpack?”


For the next few Mondays I’m going to try to post a science related. Today I’ve expurgated Salon’s review of Daniel H. Wilson’s “Where’s My Jetpack”. You can also read the complete review but if you are not a Salon subscriber you may have to watch an advert.

Staring out of my window in Manhattan’s East Village the other day, it struck me suddenly that the street scene below did not differ in any significant way from how it would have looked in 1967. Maybe even 1947. Oh, the design of automobiles has changed a bit, but combustion-engine-propelled ground-level vehicles are still how we get around, as opposed to flying cars or teleportation. Pedestrians trudge along sidewalks rather than swooshing along high-speed moving travelator. 21st century New York looks distressingly nonfuturistic. For a former science science fiction fanatic like me, this is brutally disappointing. Continue reading

Part Time Developments

Some interesting changes I’d like to mention:

First, Jen’s work has changed within Youth Venture. She is beginning to manage the global teams in Thailand and India, which is giving her an even more international scope. This means that Jen will need to travel to Asia probably two times a year. Hopefully I’ll be able to go with her, at least for part of the time. It is likely that Jen will need to take her first trip in this new role in August.

Second, I have arranged with Graywolf to start working as Senior Editor in a new part time capacity. Starting in June, I will be working three days a week–primarily selecting and editing poetry, critical essays, anthologies, and creative nonfiction. I will still be doing some occasional travel for this work–probably to New York and hopefully to Seattle, from time to time. There have been a number of staff changes at Graywolf over the last couple of months, such that this is a good time for me to do this and create some space for my own projects. With my other two working days, I will be teaching a class at Macalester during the fall semester, which I’m quite excited about. I will also be doing some freelance editing, where necessary. But above all, I hope to attend to my own writing. Needless to say, I’m happy about these new prospects, and am eager to see where they will go.

I am just back from three days in rural Massachusetts for a conference, and I will be going to rural Vermont in mid-August for the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. I’m realizing how beautiful that territory is.

Blood Marrow Donation

I recieved this email from a dear freind of mine and rather than forward it I’ve decided to post it.

Everyone needs some odd little cause to support, and this one’s mine.

The National Marrow Donor Program, maintains a database of a whole slew of volunteer marrow donors. As you probably know, finding a match for marrow donation is much trickier than finding a match for blood donation; also, as you probably know, marrow transplants can be lifesavers.

Joining the program is simple. The mail-in kit available online just involves swabbing the insides of your cheeks – they can get all the information they need from that. No blood necessary. If your marrow is a match for someone in need, you can choose to go through the donation process. You can read more about the donation process on the website.

Usually, it costs a significant amount to join the marrow donor program – upwards of $50 – which doesn’t exactly draw in volunteers. Here’s the cool thing, though… for the next two weeks, the NMDP will waive the testing costs for new members. You can get more information on their website. They’ll even mail you the kit – you don’t have to go out of your way to join.

If you’re not interested in joining up, please pass this information along to your friends instead. Sorry for the unsolicited solicitation to join, but this is pretty important to me.


Weekend Music T

A couple of tracks that have kept me going over the past week.

01 Aqualung | Cinderella
02 Aqualung | Outside

03 Until June | The Saddest Song
04 Until June | All I Have

05 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | Weapon of Choice
06 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | 666 Conducer

The last choice, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, features the son of one of my favorite songwriters/performers — Michael Been. The Tob also gets to attend one of their concerts in Lawrence May 19th as part of the Filter Tourzine.

Offset your footprint

I’ve found this site about a year ago, which most people here probably already know about: www.carbonfund.org

It allows you to calculate the amount of carbon you create in a year, advises on carbon reduction, and allows you to choose what projects you want to put your donation toward when you offset through CarbonFund. It also lists partners in the project, which may be a determining factor when you buy your next computer, bike rack, or CD – another way to offset your footprint. Something worth considering.

Another passing

I attended the funeral service yesterday for Bob Hapgood, Sr.  He was of course a neighbor of mine and the father to Tony and Bobby, childhood friends.

His death was sudden and unexpected, but the result ultimately of a food habit. Bob had heart surgery several years ago and had a recent heart attack. As his wife, Jeanne, said, “he went in for the surgery and never came home from the hospital.”

I admit it was a tougher loss than I thought it might be, to see the effects on the kids, my friends, eyes welling, but holding back the floods, bravely soldiering on. Bob was a local celebrity and apparently everyone’s friend; what seemed like the entire town reportedly showed for the viewing of the body the night before.  The wait was over two hours for the entire two hours the viewing was open. I saw the Shotts’ at the funeral service, which was a pleasant surprise.

I have been doing a lot of reflection as we are prone to do in these instances. Bob was 65 — just a couple of years older than my father. The boys are a year older and a year younger than myself. I wonder if I am putting enough into living for the moment, and putting enough of myself into all of the important relationships in my life.

I have also been thinking about the lyrics of the song on Deathcab’s CD, “What Sara Said” and what a powerful piece that is.

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