The Professor: an Academic Tragedy

Once upon a time there was a university.

It was a good school, and many of its departments were well-known and respected. One department in particular had international strengths in two programs and was a magnet for talent, not least because of its professors and their reputations.

One of these professors wanted to advance himself. He was already the world’s expert in a particular writer, and much in demand at conferences. He had published several books, and been promoted to a higher salary than most. Ambition did not leave this man. He needed more.

what happened then, uncle substitute?

THE SUGAR BEET HAS GONE INSANE

Rhizomania, also called “root madness” or “crazy root,” has caused significant losses in root and sugar yield. […] The most obvious symptom of rhizomania is a mass of fine, hairy secondary roots that consists of a mixture of dead and healthy roots. […] The disease is so infectious that even a few grams of infected soil can eventually spread to infect entire fields.
crazy root

You have chosen “Slow and Painful”. Great choice!

retrograde

Fig. 1: A 1977 Mercury Retrograde

I despise astrology, but I’m starting to wonder if they’re right about that whole “Mercury in retrograde” thing. I mean, I’m actually doing okay, better than I have in quite a while. Meanwhile, three-fourths of the people I know are having huge problems: substance abuse relapses, serious legal problems, bad government surprises, social disasters, Bad Love, medical “fun”, surprise pop-up angst toys, Personal Itch, and insurance companies.

When your Mercury goes retrograde, my advice is junk it and buy a Honda before you put any more money in it. That’s what I say.

Eating another human is a behavioral disturb

And this just in via random email:

From: ee@mhpea.org
Subject: drinkme
Date: March 14, 2006 4:03:24 AM PST
To: studylink@msd.govt.nz, stuesses@csr.nih.gov, stulife@msu.edu, stulife@southsuburbancollege.edu, stunkard@mail.med.upenn.edu, stuparlm@upmc.edu, sturchb@savstate.edu, and 92 more…

A conduct can be pathological or non pathological (phisiological), no
external or middle case is expected. 90% of the people who killed a parent
is declared mentally healthful, this means: non pathological conduct,
phisiological conduct (genetic or non genetic), good doctor, not vector of
behavioral or anatomical suffering.

free madness! click here!

The face of evil

There’s a new vaccine for cervical cancer caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). In its latest trials, it is 100% effective in preventing precancers and noninvasive cancers. Since 70% of cervical cancers result from high-risk strains of HPV, this is incredibly good news. Currently there are about 10,000 cases of cervical cancer in the U.S. alone each year, and roughly 3700 deaths. The amount of death and suffering that could be saved if this vaccine was universally available is amazing. One estimate is that a quarter of a million lives could be saved a year worldwide if this was widely distributed.

Does anyone think this is a bad idea?

Yes, someone does. Organizations like the Family Research Council, the Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership, and other sexual conservatives think that vaccinating minors against a sexually transmitted disease will encourage promiscuous sex. From their point of view, HPV infection only affects sexually active women with multiple partners and gay men. HPV is also their great example of why condoms “don’t work”, because it can be spread by skin contact other than the penis itself. So, no HPV problem means that condoms are 100% effective; can’t have that.

Some pretty rich quotes from the FRC are in this article from New Scientist.

So, here we have a disease that kills thousands upon thousands of people a year, and causes incredible amounts of fear and pain even when it doesn’t kill. It’s spread by a virus. We have a vaccine that wipes it out. And these people don’t like it because it might encourage extramarital sex among teenagers. Because to their mind their sky god has told them that sex outside of marriage is worse than death.

This why I am no longer a Christian. And why I am not the agnostic I was before Christianity, but a thoroughgoing atheist. This kind of behavior outweighs any good that may result from spirituality. Look, you can do what you want for your religion: wear 17th century clothing, refuse military service, eat a restricted diet, carry a little knife everywhere, wear magic underwear. But if you tell me that a quarter of a million people a year need to die for your abstraction you are my mortal enemy. I’m really uninterested in your arguments.