Been putting blogging to the backburner for a variety of reasons – been running around tending to family things, a summer course in Negotiations, alumni events, and a lack of really gripping reading material (besides still shaking my head about Deep Throat revealing his identity).
Finally been inspired to blog, as I’ve now found interesting reading, and as far as interesting reading material goes: Slate.com presents a funny entry from David Plotz, its deputy editor, who has been pursuing a story about Nobel Prize winners who donate their sperm. Plotz’s two year project has culminated in a book, so Slate has some excerpts (the original Slate entries were also terrific, by the way, and Slate has links to them), with this particular excerpt – “The Genius Factory: My Short and Scary Career as a Sperm Donor” – wherein Plotz notes, among other things:
After talking to donors from the Nobel sperm bank, I remained puzzled about why they had bothered with such a peculiar and burdensome enterprise. That’s when I realized that I needed to donate sperm, too. Not because I wanted to, quite the contrary. I already had two children, which seemed more than enough on most days. My lack of desire to donate is why I felt obliged to do it. No matter how often donors explained their rationale to me, sperm donation befuddled me. Why had the repository donors subjected themselves to such inconvenience and embarrassment? Why had they been willing to father children—dozens in some cases—that they could never know? What was donating like? I had to find out for myself.
I dutifully informed my wife about my plan. “No way,” Hanna said. I argued that it was all in the name of research. She was unimpressed. I promised that I would stop the sperm bank before it could sell my sperm. She didn’t believe the bank would make such a deal. I swore that there was no chance they would use my sperm. I begged, which was not a pretty sight. She relented. [….]
Uh hmm. Sure Plotz. 😉 Thumbs up for good reading.
The local PBS is doing its usual pledge drive, and it showed “Journey of Man.” Curiously interesting stuff, wherein Dr. Spencer Wells, geneticist (an admitted blond, European-ancestored gentleman), attempts to show, via DNA, the descent of (hu)man from the cradle of civilization in Africa and migrating and evolving (a brave journey indeed) all over the world (except Antarctica). Dr. Wells posits that race is fictitious, since ultimately, everyone is related to each other. It’s a fascinating documentary (inconsistently cut by pledge drive moments), although you kind of wonder why does Dr. Wells insist on pushing the science when the Navajo Native Americans noted that their own origin stories highlighted the ideas of migration and creation. Watching Dr. Wells interact with the Navajo made me wonder: as much as I’m fascinated by the science, I’m curious by the history – what remnants of ancient humanity remains in our language and ideas (via “myth” or literature or folk stories or traditions and customs), which may or may not support what the science says about human evolution? Have we truly forgotten our past, such that DNA is the only remnants (considering the lack of archeological evidence)? Or maybe history and sociology can still figure something (well, my knowledge of ancient history is spotty, so maybe there are studies out there). I guess Dr. Wells, considering his expertise, can only focus on so much. Nonetheless, fascinating stuff.
And, on an entirely superficial note, the good doctor has an uncanny resemblance to the British actor Colin Firth. Hmm…
Why are they bothering to release John Kerry’s college transcripts now? Anyway, it doesn’t seem that bad – so he had a lousy freshman year and slowly improved. So did George W. Bush. I read somewhere during the 2000 election that even Al Gore didn’t have a stellar transcript from Harvard. I think only Bill Bradley or Bill Clinton might have had lovely looking transcripts (well, they did become Rhodes scholars). I thought our real concern should be how they do their jobs, not necessarily how they did in school…
I watched the 2nd half of “The Ring” on ABC last night. Creepy movie, wherein Aussie actress Naomi Watts tries to figure out how this video tape kills people and prevent herself and her own weird little boy from being victims – an American remake of the (reputedly – not like I’ve seen it) creepier Japanese original movie. “The Ring” reminded me why I usually don’t watch horror movies.
The passing of NYC’s own Anne Bancroft. She and Mel Brooks had quite a marriage, and she had quite a career (more than just “Mrs. Robinson” – but it certainly made her an icon).
Pardon if I go AWOL again. By the way, has YC returned to Asia? Got around to enjoying the sultry NYC metro area weather? Ah, did we even have spring??….