Sunday, October 31, 2004

Spicy Roasted Vegetables

I came home Thursday to find my SO roasting this new creation in the oven; it was a delicious surprise. Each vegetable's unique flavor and texture combined to form a tender and moist (but not mushy) dish. Since it was so tasty I can't help but make it this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

5 small-medium potatoes
4 biggish carrots
4 medium onions
4 small-medium beets
3 small turnips
~10 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock

0. Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Peel all the vegetables but the potatoes and chop them all (including potatoes) into 1/2 to 1 inch dice.
2. Put the vegetables into a casserole dish (my SO used a 3 quart glass dish) and drizzle the butter on top.
3. Sprinkle the spices over the vegetables, and toss until distributed.
4. Roast at 350F for approximately 1/2 hour uncovered, stirring once halfway through.
5. Add the white wine and chicken stock, mix, and cover loosely with foil before returning to the oven. Raise the heat to 375F. Roast for approximately 1/2 hour more.
6. Take off the foil and stir. Continue cooking, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until all (or most) of the water has evaporated from the dish.

The ingredients were what we had on hand, so feel free to vary the proportions to your own taste (though the mix above turned out very well). If you can't find turnips (hardly anyone uses them anymore!) you could probably increase the amounts of other vegetables to make up for their absence. We found a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne made the dish surprisingly spicy, though we did just get a new supply from Penzeys, so you might want to use more if your cayenne is older (or you have a high capsaicin tolerance).

The beets turn the entire dish a lovely magenta color, but if you wanted your vegetables to be their usual colors you could probably roast the beets separately and add them at the end.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Political Links

There's been a flurry of interesting posting happening in the blogosphere ... here's some of what I've been reading in the past few days:
  • I got a lot of hits Friday from Google searches like "Bush ad photoshop" (I'm #1 for that search when it's limited to, as someone did). The page all these searchers were directed to was my post on Bush's Yakuza ad back in July, not one discussing the more recent example of photoshopping that Pharyngula covers (CNN article on the recent example). Fascinating that the Bush campaign has now been caught poorly photoshopping content in not one, but two ads. At least they didn't plagiarize this time ...

  • "What happened to George Bush after 10 years?" is a video that compares Bush's speaking abilities in the 1994 Texas gubenatorial debates to the 2004 presidential debates. I was stunned by how well Bush spoke in 1994; I highly recommend watching the comparison. (via BoingBoing)

  • The Bush campaign is apparently blocking access to its website from many foreign countries (BoingBoing post #1, post #2).

  • There's more debate flying around the web that Bush might have had something on his back under his jacket, both during the debates and at other times. Bush has tried to brush this bulge off as a badly tailored shirt/suit, but others have said it could be an audio prompter, a defibrillator, or safety equipment.

  • The Economist has endorsed John Kerry for president, after endorsing Bush four years ago. Even though I don't agree with all their points, the article is very thoughtfully written. "If Mr Bush is re-elected, and uses a new team and a new approach to achieve that goal ["to finish the job he has started"], and shakes off his fealty to an extreme minority, the religious right, then The Economist will wish him well. But our confidence in him has been shattered. We agree that his broad vision is the right one but we doubt whether Mr Bush is able to change or has sufficient credibility to succeed, especially in the Islamic world." I believe the point that Bush has lost all credibility in the Islamic world is a critical one: how can we hope to peacefully work with countries when they have no faith in our leadership?

Friday, October 29, 2004

Iraqi Civilian Deaths

Pharyngula linked to a news article summarizing a recent Lancet article (requires free registration) that publishes the first scientific estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq due to the recent war. The paper compares death rates from before and after the war, and the numbers are staggering:
"Evidence suggests that the mortality rate was higher across Iraq after the war than before, even excluding Falluja. We estimate that there were 98 000 extra deaths (95% CI 8000– - 194 000) during the post-war period in the 97% of Iraq represented by all the clusters except Falluja. In our Falluja sample, we recorded 53 deaths when only 1·4 were expected under the national pre-war rate. This indicates a point estimate of about 200 000 excess deaths in the 3% of Iraq represented by this cluster."
"The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher (95% CI 8·1 - –419) than in the period before the war."

Reading the discussion is also rather eye-opening:
"Falluja was the only cluster where GPS units could not be used to find the random starting point [the researchers used GPS units to determine random locations within a town in which to start their surveys]. These devices have military uses and their possession resulted in the imprisonment and death of many Iraqis during the previous regime. Since interviewers were stopped and searched repeatedly getting into Falluja, the use of a GPS unit could have resulted in the killing of interviewers. Stopping a car in Falluja at a random point at the date of the visit (Sept 20) and walking away from it was also likely to result in the killing of interviewers."

You don't see that type of methodology issue reported in your average journal article ...

The paper finishes with the excellent point that the US military now has no excuse not to provide good estimates of civilian casualty counts:
"This survey shows that with modest funds, 4 weeks, and seven Iraqi team members willing to risk their lives, a useful measure of civilian deaths could be obtained. There seems to be little excuse for occupying forces to not be able to provide more precise tallies."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

They've found their coordination

The mouse babies are now 17 days old, and in the past two days they've suddenly found their coordination. All the kids are now sprinting around the cage, and every now and then they'll suddenly jump a short distance. We suspect they're entering the "flea" stage of mouse baby-hood, wherein they being to jump around, like, well, fleas (though thankfully they don't bite). As a result, we've switched from handling them in our laps to playing with them in a large plastic container.

Aggregate of 17 day old mice
Ace nibbles on a piece of bedding while Runt, Genie, and Narrow Stripey (from top to bottom) rest in the handling bin.

The babies have also changed in a number of other ways. They've started exploring their cage regularly, and a few are even running on the wheel. Probably one of the biggest changes is that they've all started eating solid food; both the puppy chow and the regular rodent diet seem to be popular. I'm sure Rem is happy about that ...

17 day old mice on a hand
Narrow Stripey nibbling on some puppy chow while Genie explores.

Even with all these changes and new behaviors, the babies will still sleep on our hands :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

They're two weeks old!

The babies have passed the two week mark, and to celebrate the occasion they opened their eyes! Actually, all of the babies opened their eyes on day 13 except for Runt, but on day 14 even Runt opened its eyes. Having their eyes open makes them look a lot more like mice.

Mouse baby sitting
Wide Stripey taking a short break from exploring.

The babies are much more adventurous now that their eyes are open. Deuce seems like the most active of the bunch - it was the first mouse to crawl up my arm (which was vertical at the time) and explore my shoulders, and usually is the first mouse out of the nest tin. However, all the mice are quite willing to wander far from our hands and the nest tin now, and they seem to love testing how far they can lean over a slope before slipping off, as well as trying to squeeze into every little space they can find (and then, if it's cozy enough, curling up and sleeping in it).

Mouse baby crawling up
Wide Stripey climbing a "mountain" on its 14th birthday.

Tonight I was handling three babies, and after they walked around my lap for about half an hour, they all chose a different spot to curl up and take a nap in.

We also bought a a new cage setup for the mice yesterday, which they seem to be enjoying. I'll talk more about that in another post, though.

As always there's more pictures on my Flickr page:
Mouse baby crawling down Mouse baby cleaning itself Mouse nursing a 14 day old baby

Note: all of these pictures were taken on Monday night.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The American Conservative endorses Kerry

This is something that I never thought I'd see this year: a conservative publication (The American Conservative) printing an article (by Scott McConnell) endorsing Kerry for president (though they also have dissenting articles). The McConnell article is incredibly scathing of Bush, and a great read.
"Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy. Add to this his nation-breaking immigration proposal—Bush has laid out a mad scheme to import immigrants to fill any job where the wage is so low that an American can’t be found to do it—and you have a presidency that combines imperialist Right and open-borders Left in a uniquely noxious cocktail."
Via the comments in this Pharyngula post.

Voting - paper and electronic options

As a compromise when deciding to allow electronic voting in the upcoming presidential election, the California Secretary of State mandated that all counties that use electronic voting systems provide voters with the option of using a paper ballot instead of the electronic system. It turns out that poll workers in some districts are being told not to inform voters of this right (LA times article; may require registration), and thus the Electronic Frontier Foundation has set up a site ( informing voters of their right to use paper ballots. According to the website, the option to use paper ballots applies in Alameda, Merced, Napa, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Clara, Shasta, and Tehama counties. Consider yourself informed. (via BoingBoing)

For more discussion on the various voting options available (nationwide), and the state of our current voting system, see the excellent Scientific American article, "Fixing the Vote" by Ted Selker (printer-friendly version). This article was the first place I read about using an audio recording as an audit trail instead of a paper record, and the idea makes perfect sense.

[Note: The official California "Voter Information Guide" does include, on the very last page of the handout (pg. 165), a listing of which counties are using which voting type (optical scan, touchscreen/DRE, or datavote). At the bottom of this list is the statement "Counties using touchscreen/DRE systems are required to have paper ballots available upon request."]

Monday, October 25, 2004

The semester so far

This semester has been the busiest I've ever had. I've been working insane hours (just ask my SO), seem to always be running behind schedule, and haven't been eating well (I have about 10 minutes for lunch most days, and sometimes skip it entirely). But, even though there have been a number of problems, this has been the most enjoyable semester of teaching I've ever had.

This is the first semester where I've known, to the day, exactly how far we are through the course (week 9, day 1, out of 16 weeks total). I only have three lab sections and one lecture section, but the problem is that each lab section meets twice a week for three hours each meeting, so I have two new lab preps each week. Considering that I'm writing more than half of the labs completely from scratch, and at least another quarter of the labs are brand new to me, just getting the labs ready for the students entails a lot of work. Combine this with all-new lectures, many of them covering material I've never lectured on before, and some of them covering material I've never even learned before, and we have a recipe for stress (hey, maybe that could be the next end-of-the-week recipe blogging post ...).

The course has been going very well overall; I have almost no drops (<10% so far), attendance has been spectacular, and the students appear to be truly enjoying the labs we're doing. It's invigorating to walk into a classroom full of people who actually want to do the labs, and who want to hear what I'm talking about in lecture. We recently started a long-term plant-rearing experiment, and a number of groups went out on their own time and spent their own money to buy additional supplies to improve their experiments.

Teaching this course has also been fun because, for the first time in my teaching career, I have complete control over how both the lecture and lab are taught (I wrote the official course outline, and am currently the only instructor for the course). I'm finally able to teach what I've always wanted to teach, in the style that I want to teach it in. This is rarer at a community college than you might think, primarily because all of our biology courses have to articulate with equivalent courses at the universities our students are transferring to, which limits our course design possibilities.

I feel guilty saying this, but I can't wait for this semester to end. I love the group of students that I have right now, and I love the course, but I can't keep up this pace much longer. These past three weeks have been especially crazy because I'm teaching content that I'm learning on the fly with my students, and thus my lecture prep time has skyrocketed. Most of my past lectures have been completed less than an hour before I gave them, with very little time to go over the slides looking for errors or focusing on flow. To make matters worse, in the next few weeks my tenure evaluation committee will be visiting my lectures.

So, in summary, I'm having the time of my life, but it's a relief to know that we're finally in week nine, and that I have more behind me than ahead of me. I think I might just be able to do this after all ...

Sunday, October 24, 2004


For this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging, I thought I'd change pace and do something a bit simpler - an Indian yogurt drink called lassi. I've had it many times in Indian restaurants, but only made it at home for the first time yesterday, and both my SO and I loved it. The lassi is creamy, cold, and refreshing, which should make it perfect for those nice cool fall days that are approaching (oh, wait ...)

1.5 cups whole-milk plain yogurt (we use Trader Joe's "Cream Line")
6 tablespoons sugar
10 ice cubes (~1/2 lb.)

1. Mix yogurt and sugar together in a blender.
2. Add ice cubes, and blend until well combined (~1/2 minute).
3. Serve.

I told you it was easy.

Other recipes (that are likely more authentic) can be found on the Wikipedia, among other places.

Recipe modified from: Sahni, Julie 1980. Classic Indian Cooking. William Morrow & Co, NY.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

More Mouse Pictures!

Since I'm sure my dedicated readers can't wait to see more of the baby mice, I obligingly took more pictures this afternoon. I wouldn't want to disappoint my readership, after all :)

We're seeing a lot more of the babies now that they're 12 - they're big enough that we can see them crawling around inside the nest box, and every now and then a cute little nose pokes out from the entrance to the nest.

Mouse nose
A baby mouse nose poking out from the nest tin.

Some of the babies have even gotten daring and left the nest: Ace, Deuce, and Runt have all explored the cage a bit. Each baby has primarily explored around the sides of the nest tin, trying to pry their way behind it (which they can't), though they've also wobbled a few inches toward the other side of the cage before turning around and retreating to the side of the nest box.

We've also chosen a name for mom-mouse: Rem. The name comes from the anime series Trigun (and thus is pronounced with the Japanese r/l consonant sound); Rem is a dark-haired, motherly figure who cares for the young Vash and Knives in the show.

Mom looking down at baby
Rem looking down at Runt, who is beside the nest tin.

The picture above makes Rem look a lot more caring than she often is when the babies are exploring: most of the time she's just off in the other half of the cage ignoring them.

As always there're more pictures on my Flickr page. I also shot a few short videos of Runt exploring and cleaning itself today (I used the video setting of my digital camera), though since each video is rather large, and I don't have good video editing software, I'm not sure if I'll post them.

Pet supply shopping

While shopping for new mouse cages today at Petsmart, my SO and I decided to look for a high-protein and -fat diet that we could use to supplement our lactating mouse's diet (we've just been giving her cheese and sunflower seeds in addition to her regular lab blocks). Most of the packages contained enough food for a few thousand mice (and many had scarily vague "animal fat" listed as an ingredient), but we eventually found a one-pound sample pack of "large breed puppy" food that was only $1.50.

Upon checking out, the perky cashier asked, "So, what kind of dog do you have?" After explaining what I was doing (being geeky and talking about fat and protein contents), all I got was an "Oh, interesting."

We were impressed that Petsmart only stocks one sex of small animals at each store, so people can't buy mixed-gender pairs (or accidentally get pregnant animals that were kept in mixed company). This seems like it should help novice small-animal owners from getting themselves in over their heads.

The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) has just released a report, based on public opinion surveys, examining the differences between Bush and Kerry supporters on a number of issues. The report contains the first hard data that helps me understand why Bush supporters still support Bush: a good fraction of them do not understand his positions, the world's view of him, or what the reality of our world situation is. In contrast to the ignorance of many Bush supporters, the report found that most Kerry supporters accurately judge both Kerry's own positions and the world situation.

PIPA has posted the survey questions and answers (PDF), their own analysis of the results (PDF of the full report), and a press-release (PDF). The report is primarily data-based and filled with great statistics ... here are a few excerpts:
"In recent months the American public has been presented reports by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the heads of the Iraq survey group David Kay and Charles Duelfer (chosen by the president), concluding that before the war Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor even a significant program for developing them. Nonetheless, 72% of Bush supporters continued to hold to the view that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Only 26% of Kerry supporters hold such beliefs."
"Despite the report of the 9/11 Commission saying there is no evidence Iraq was providing significant support to al Qaeda, 75% of Bush supporters believe Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda (30% of Kerry supporters), with 20% believing that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11. Sixty-three percent of Bush supporters even believe that clear evidence of this support has been found, while 85% of Kerry supporters believe the opposite."
"When asked (September 3-7) about world public opinion on US foreign policy under the Bush administration, 82% of Bush supporters believed that a world majority either feels better about the US due to its recent foreign policy (37%), or thought views are about evenly divided (45%). Only 17% thought that a majority now feels worse about the US. ... In fact, in the GlobeScan poll of 35 countries, in 30 countries a majority or plurality said "the foreign policy of George W. Bush" had made them "feel worse about the United States" (feel better: 3 countries). On average, 53% said they felt worse about the US while 19% said they felt better."
"Bush supporters have numerous misperceptions about Bush’s international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assumed that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues—the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%); 51% incorrectly assumed he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty--the principal international accord on global warming. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he opposed it increased from 24% to 38% among Bush supporters, but a majority of supporters (53%) continued to believe that he favors it. Only 13% of supporters are aware that he opposes labor and environmental standards in trade agreements – 74% incorrectly believe that he favors including labor and environmental standards in agreements on trade."
After reading the report I am left baffled; what does it take to get through to these people?

The report is titled "The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters" and the principle investigator is Steven Kull (released October 21, 2004; via BoingBoing)

Friday, October 22, 2004

They're 10 today!

The baby mice are now ten days old, and thus it's time for some more cute baby pictures.

A handful of 10 day old mouse babies
Clockwise from the left: Deuce, Runt, Wide Stripey, Ace, Narrow Stripey, and Genie.

The babies were much more active tonight than previously (though they still spent most of their time napping on our hands). They're fastidious cleaners, cleaning both themselves and their siblings, and they do it all by feel and smell, since their eyes haven't opened yet. They loved shakily exploring my cupped hands: crawling onto my fingers, then crawling back and sniffing across that impassable junction of hand and wrist, before heading to curl up in my palm. I even got to share nose-sniffs with a few of them.

Mouse baby cleaning itself
A 10 day old mouse baby, most likely Ace, cleaning its hind paw.

If you're interested, I've got a few more pictures at my Flickr page.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

SC pulls back the curtain

Semantic Compositions has decided to reveal his identity in the coming week. Since SC and I are friends who started blogging at the same time, readers of this blog might wonder if a similar change is in the works here at Rhosgobel.

I write under a pseudonym primarily so people who know me by name cannot simply google me and discover this blog. I have always written with the mindset that if readers of my work were curious enough they could find out who I was, and that this was not a problem. In fact, if the opportunity arises I'd like to meet select readers of this blog, and will happily share my identity with them then when I do.

So why write anonymously?
  • Privacy for the students in my classes: While I always attempt to remove any possible identifying information, by writing anonymously I ensure that students' privacy is maintained.

  • More freedom to explore topics: I'm current untenured, but I want to be free to write about how I believe teaching should be done, to freely evaluate my own teaching, and to talk about opinions I hold in other areas, without fear of reprisal from my evaluation committee. I know that everything I write is public and permanent, and thus I generally try to write so that I will not regret anything if I do become non-anonymous, but it is still freeing to know that my colleagues and students won't be reading this tomorrow morning. I want to be Radagast here on this site, not Prof. Radagast.

  • Personal privacy and security: While I don't write about my deepest feelings here on this blog, I do write about what I'm doing on a daily basis, and what I plan to be doing. This is information that could easily be used for illicit purposes, and thus I'd rather not have disgruntled students or anyone else with a grudge discovering that I'm out of the country for three weeks, right next to a picture of the front of my house.

  • Starting up worries: A major reason for anonymity when I was starting up was best described by bsag at But She's a Girl, "If I crashed and burned spectacularly, no lasting harm would be done."

  • And, finally, I like knowing that I stand or fall based on my words and images alone, not my off-web reputation.

At times I feel like I'm one of the few anonymous academic bloggers who doesn't fit into the "disgruntled academic" category (though I know there are others of us out there).

A still largely unanswered question in my mind is what I will (or should) do if a colleague or student independently finds this blog and then asks me if I am the author. Since anonymity is not a crucial factor in this blog (I've found that the majority of the topics I explore are neither helped nor hurt by anonymity), I am tempted to simply confirm that I am the author, yet doing so would obviously blow my anonymity and prevent me from writing about some topics. It is a situation that has not arisen yet, and one that I am not sure how I will deal with.

This isn't to say that I will never draw back the curtain. Sometime in the future maintaining my anonymity may become more of a burden than it is worth, but, at least for now, I'm quite happy to pull the levers from behind the safety of my curtain.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Tangled Bank #14 is up

Tangled Bank Blutton
The fourteenth Tangled Bank has been posted by Prashant Mullick. I submitted my Manduca pupa post, and Prashant asked (in the Tangled Bank post) whether they had flow away yet; they have not. The pupa are still happily sitting in their cages, and while they still wiggle around every now and then (especially when disturbed), they have shown no signs of eclosion.

They've got fur!

The baby mice are all (except for Runt) covered in an exceptionally soft layer of fur that feels softer than the softest velvet. Now that they're got fur they're definitely looking a lot more like mice (instead of miniature hippos).

Eight day old mouse babies
Clockwise, starting at the left: Runt, Wide Stripey, Ace, hind end of either Genie or Narrow Stripey, and Deuce at the center of the pile.

They're getting more coordinated by the day: they can now scratch their ears and actually hit their ears, they can almost walk short distances, their cleaning behaviors are starting to kick in, and they're yawning regularly, which is darling. They also love to try to dig beneath their siblings:

Eight day old mouse babies
From left to right in the front: Wide Stripey, Genie, and Ace. Notice that Ace has burrowed underneath Genie.

And, because I really should get to bed, we'll top off this post with a picture of a baby mouse face and paw:

Three eight day old mouse babies
From left to right: Wide Stripey, Ace, and Deuce

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Beautiful words

PZ Myers (of Pharyngula) recently went to Seattle to attend his sister-in-law's funeral, and today he wrote a very moving tribute to her (and his brother) titled "A thought for my brother." It's magnificently written, and well worth reading.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More mouse pictures

The babies are now six days old; they've grown a lot in the past two days. They're starting to get the faintest hints of fur, their ears are growing out, they're getting more pigmented, and their tails are longer. They're also getting much more muscle control: they can crawl shakily now, though they're definitely not running sprints yet. Their preferred behavior is still lying in one spot and sleeping, closely followed by scratching their ears.

We had another little photo shoot today, and have also chosen some temporary (wildly original) names for the mice based on their patterns.

Three of the six day old mouse babies
From left to right: Ace, Genie, and Runt. Ace is marked with a dot (and also a small stripe), Genie has what looks like a little lamp on its back, and Runt is, well, the runt.

Three of the six day old mouse babies
From left to right: Deuce, Wide Stripey (who looks much like mom), and Narrow Stripey. Deuce has two dots close together (which you can't see because he/she was being uncooperative).

Six day old mouse babies
Ace, Genie, and Runt seen from the side, with an adult human hand in the picture for scale.

What was mom doing during our photo shoot? Playing in some empty egg cartons we'd stacked up on our coffee table:

Mom mouse playing

There are a few more photos on my Flickr page for those who are interested.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Fragrant Peas and Spinach

My SO and I both enjoy flavorful-spicy food, and thus we've been fans of Indian cuisine ever since we first tried it a few years ago. Since my last two recipes of the week have been rather meat- and fat-heavy, I thought I'd post up a good vegetable-heavy Indian recipe here to break the trend. This is not your typical bland steamed vegetable dish: the spinach, potatoes, and peas combine with the spices to create a cohesive whole that is delicious, and can easily serve as the main entree (or, at least, it does in our household). The recipe below is slightly modified from Sahni's "Classic Indian Cooking," a book I highly recommend to anyone interested in Indian cooking.

1 pound frozen chopped spinach
1/4 pound frozen peas
1 pound potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or usli ghee)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped (or pressed)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
3/4 teaspoon garam masala (a common Indian spice mixture)

1. Defrost, but don't cook, the spinach and peas (we use the microwave), and then drain off as much water as you can.
2. Peel the potatoes and chop into moderate-size pieces (~2-3 cm^3, or larger).
3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
4. Add the garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and cook for a few seconds.
5. Add the potatoes, and fry, stirring often, over medium heat for approximately 5-8 minutes (until they start to brown).
6. Add the peas, and cook for a minute or so.
7. Mix in the spinach, approximately one cup at a time, waiting for the spinach to heat up and cook a little bit between each addition (~30 seconds).
8. Mix in the ground ginger, salt, and boiling water, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender (~20-25 minutes).
9. Uncover the pan and cook until the water is mostly evaporated, ~15 minutes. Stir occasionally, being careful not to break the potatoes. Cook "until the potatoes and greens look almost dry and the oil begins to coat and glaze the vegetables."
10. Mix in the garam masala, and serve.

Radagast likes this dish served with steamed rice, while Radagast's SO prefers the dish by itself. Take your pick.

Note: The original recipe calls for equal amounts of spinach and some other type of greens (mustard, kale, collard), instead of peas. We've made it using collard greens, and it was tasty.

Sahni, Julie 1980. Classic Indian Cooking. William Morrow & Co, NY. pp. 319-321.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Baby mouse pictures are here!

Tonight I got my first glimpse of our six new baby mice. My SO handled them for the first time yesterday, though I was at work so I didn't get to see them, and my SO wasn't able to get any pictures. However, that's all changed tonight as, in response to overwhelming reader demand, I made sure we got some pictures of the adorable little guys. Here's how they looked in their nest tin:

Four day old mouse babies in tin
The six baby mice in their nest tin.

The babies are four days old. Their eyes have not opened yet; they are mostly naked, and are very soft to the touch. They have the cutest little tails, and the most adorable little noses and whiskers.

We gently poured all six of them into our hands, and they stayed there the entire time. They did wriggle around some, though most of their movements were pretty jerky (a few did scratch their ears, which was cuter than cute). They made soft clicking noises, and whenever mom wandered by the rate of clicking increased.

Four day old mouse babies
Six baby mice in a human hand.

You can see their future fur colors by looking at their skin coloration. Since mom is a mix of black and white, we're suspecting that the dark colored skin areas will be black, and the lighter areas will be white (though we don't know who dad is, so we can't be sure).

Mom seemed pretty calm during the whole endeavor. She spent most of the time wandering around the couch, and whenever she did come around the babies, she just stepped on them briefly and then wandered off.

So, in summary, baby mice = cute. If you don't agree, then what the heck are you doing reading this blog? Weren't the caterpillars enough to scare you away?

Oh, what the heck, let's throw in another picture here for the fun of it:

Four day old mouse babies
Yet another baby mouse picture. The mouse on the left in this picture seems to be a runt.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Science and Politics

The e-Skeptic, a weekly newsletter from the Skeptics Society, has published two articles looking at how the Bush administration has meddled with science in the last four years: "The Politicization Of Science in the Bush Administration: Science-As-Public Relations" and ""Political" Science". Both articles are well worth reading, especially if you think all this talk of politics influencing science only affects academics sitting in their ivory towers.
"One need look no further than the USDA to see how compromised the research and enforcement environment has become. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman was a former food industry lawyer and lobbyist and her staff includes representatives of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and other industry groups. So it should be no surprise that shortly after a dairy cow from Canada tested positive for mad cow disease a senior scientist came forward alleging agency pressure to let Canadian beef into the U.S. before a study concluded it was safe. Nor should it shock us that whistleblowers accused an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service supervisor of insisting a cow exhibiting symptoms of the disease be sent to a rendering plant before a technician could perform the tests mandated by agency guidelines. But even the most cynical among us might be baffled by the almost cultish devotion to industry pandering exhibited when the USDA refused to give Creekstone Farms Premium Beef the kits it requested to voluntarily test its cattle so it could export to Japan because it might "create the impression that untested beef was not safe." Creekstone may very well go bankrupt as a result."
On the same note, PZ Myers at Pharyngula has a good summary of a recent Science editorial (subscription required) on the current state of American science.

(To subscribe to e-Skeptic send a blank e-mail to

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Pulsating Stars

Sean Carroll over at Preposterous Universe has a snazzy image of "RR Lyrae variables, single stars that pulsate with periods of about half a day". He also links, in the same post, to movies of stars rotating around a million-solar-mass black hole at the center of out galaxy. Wow.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

We may now have mice ...

Yesterday my SO noticed that the mouse (who is, *ahem*, still nameless) was being particularly lethargic; we barely saw her all day, and when she went to her wheel she'd just walk half a revolution or so and then give up. Today, however, the mouse has suddenly become less bulgy, and is sprinting on her wheel. She's made sure to keep the entrance to her nest box completely covered by bedding, so we can't see inside, but if we listen very carefully, every now and then we can hear high-pitched, faint little squeaks coming from the nest box.

Not a good day ...

I spent most of this afternoon pulling my hair out (figuratively, not literally) due to extreme lab setup problems. To make a long story short, when I got to work this morning our lab tech had done absolutely no setup for my lab, and she did not even know what lab we were scheduled to do today (I had given her a detailed setup sheet a week ago; it was clear she had never read it). After I gave her another copy of the setup sheet she said she'd get the lab ready on time, and I heard nothing else from her the rest of the day (I had to prep for and give a leture before lab).

I headed over to lab as soon as I could after lecture (which was only 15 minutes before the start of lab), and found a number of things severely wrong. Take, for instance, the table of gymnosperms: gnetophytes (e.g. Mormon tea, Welwitschia) were completely absent. It is rather hard to teach a lab on gymnosperm diversity if the diversity is not present ...

Suffice to say that my student helpers, another lab tech, another faculty member, and I spent the first 30 minutes of lab frantically re-setting up the lab while the students waited outside. As a result of the delay none of my students were able to complete the lab, so this setup problem will throw the next few weeks of my lab schedule into semi-chaos.

My students were absolutely wonderful about the whole thing: they didn't complain one bit about the wait, and most of them just sat outside reading over the lab (they're so dedicated!); I couldn't have asked for more from them.

I can't say the same for my lab tech ...

(I think I'll retract my claws now and go watch some Due South to cheer myself up)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Student use of instant messaging

As I've written before, I commonly use instant messengers (IMs) with my students, and I stay logged in to the programs whenever I'm in my office. I'm still here in my office tonight, working on lecture for tomorrow, and thus I've been logged in all evening. My students' first multi-page lab report is due tomorrow, so I've been getting sporadic IMs all evening asking questions about the report (everything from how to turn it in to specific questions on statistical analyses).

Within the past seven hours I've been IMed by slightly more than 20% of the students in my class (and I had multiple IM conversations with some of those students through the evening). Only 6% of the class stopped by my office today to talk about lab reports, and I haven't gotten a single student e-mail or phone call yet today (though 6% of the students did e-mail me over the weekend about the lab reports).

I enjoy using IMs to communicate with my students, and these data seem to show that students prefer to use IMs over other forms of communication.

A new addition to our home

I got some pet rats and mice for my small animal metabolic rate lab a few weeks ago, and after we were done with the lab it became clear that one of the mice was pregnant. My SO and I decided that we'd take care of the mouse during her pregnancy, and we've had her living in a cage on our coffee table for about a week now.


This picture was taken almost a week ago, and you can see how lumpy she was even then. The (empty) tea tin is serving as a nest box, so the mouse has a protected place to have her babies if she desires.

Here's another picture from only a few days ago, showing her bulges even more clearly:


Having her in our house has reminded my SO and I how much we miss having pets. We were originally planning on keeping her, and her babies, only until they were old enough to adopt out, but we're already reconsidering that plan. It's been quite fun watching her rearrange her cage contents every day, and playing with her nightly. I hadn't realized how much I missed the soft prick of rodent claws on my neck and whiskers gently tickling my ear ...

We haven't named her yet, partially because we're not sure we're going to keep her, and partially because we're having trouble thinking of a name. We've been pondering anime-based names, but it's hard to imagine most of our favorite female anime characters getting pregnant. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Election-related links

PZ Myers at Pharyngula has some good posts regarding the recent presidential debate: "A question for W", "My apologies to our Canadian friends", "Your choice: reason or superstition", "The implicit anti-science agenda of stem cell opponents", and "Kerry vs. Bush on abortion: a clear winner".

"G.W. & Crew - Flip Flop" - A mock catalog detailing the flip flops of Bush. (via BoingBoing)

"What Barry Says" - a 25mb quicktime video of one person's views on US foreign policy. The visuals are very good. (via BoingBoing)

"The Voice in Bush's Ear" - a post on the new blog Is Bush Wired asking whether Bush uses verbal prompting though an earpiece while speaking. (via BoingBoing)

[updated 10-10-2004 to include Pharyngula's abortion post]

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Radagast & SO's Bolognese Lasagne

Growing up I adored my mom's lasagne, and thought it was the best in the world. Two years ago my SO and I discovered a recipe for Bolognese sauce in Fine Cooking magazine, and based on a suggestion in the recipe decided to make a lasagne out of it. On that day my mom's lasagne lost its magic, and her lasagne is no longer the best in the world (sorry, Mom). It is thus with great pleasure that I share with you the absolute best lasagne in the world as this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

Bolognese sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped reasonably finely in a food processor
  • 2 medium onions, chopped reasonably finely in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, or other meat (we've used chicken and pork)
  • 2/3 pound bacon, diced
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 14 oz cans tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken/beef stock
  • 1 cup hot milk
White sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (or more)
  • 1 pound dry lasagne noodles
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • more grated pecorino romano cheese
There are three steps to making this lasagne: first make the Bolognese sauce (which can be made ahead and then refrigerated), then make the white sauce, and finally assemble everything and bake it.

Bolognese sauce:
1) Heat 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2) When the butter begins to foam, add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until lightly golden and soft, 5-7 minutes.
3) Raise the heat to high and add the meats and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat until it loses its raw color, 3-5 minutes (the meat won't brown).
4) Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it's almost completely reduced, 3-5 minutes.
5) Add the tomatoes and stock; as soon as the liquid boils reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce at a bare simmer for 2 hours.
6) After 2 hours, add the milk and return to a simmer for 30 minutes. If the sauce is getting too thick before the time is up, cover the pot. If it's too thin, cook longer.

Do the following three things while the Bolognese sauce is simmering, timing them to finish with the sauce (assuming you want to make this in one day):
1) Cook the lasagne noodles in 8 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons salt. Rinse lightly when done.
2) Make the white sauce.
3) Grate the pecorino romano cheese.

White sauce:
1) Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
2) Add the 6 tablespoons of flour and cook for a bit, ~3 minutes.
3) Turn down the heat and slowly add the milk, bit by bit, stirring after each addition.
4) Once you've added all the milk, add the salt and pepper and romano cheese. Stir and cook until the cheese is all melted and mixed in.

Assembling the lasagne:
0) Preheat your oven to 375F.
1) Put a thin layer of Bolognese sauce on the bottom of a lasagne dish (we use a 9x13" glass baking dish).
2) Fill the dish with successive layers of:
a) noodles
b) Bolognese sauce
c) white sauce
d) ricotta cheese [do not put ricotta on top]
3) When you've reached the top, grate a decent amount of pecorino romano cheese on top (feel free to put extra Bolognese sauce on top too). You will have a lot of Bolognese sauce left over (which is great over pasta), but should have almost no white sauce left over.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes. Let cool for 1 Cardcaptor Sakura episode before serving (for those uninitiated, the episodes are ~25 minutes long).

A variation we've thought of for making the Bolognese sauce (but haven't tried) would be to fry the bacon first and then add the onions and carrots, cooking them using the fat released by the bacon. This would cut down the total amount of fat in the recipe.

And yes, this is the second recipe in a row prominently featuring bacon, cheese, and tomatoes. I promise I'll do something different next week.

Caggiano, B. 2002. "Ragu alla Bolognese." Fine Cooking #53, pp. 64-67.

[Updated May 2007 to clarify some wording and fix some minor capitilization errors. Pondered changing "lasagne" to "lasagna", but Google has 3+ million hits for each spelling.]

Friday, October 08, 2004

Going out for sushi ...

It's been a very long two weeks, and for the first time in a while I've managed to get home before 7:00pm. My SO and I are going to head out for some dinner, and then I'm going to collapse and enjoy a relaxing night at home. No presidential debate, no blogging, and no work ... it should be a nice night.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Manduca sexta pupae

This past weekend, the last of the Manduca sexta caterpillars from my recent batch of eggs wandered off of their tomato plants and began pupating. At about the same time, the first caterpillars that had wandered were finishing forming their pupal cases (it took them about a week; in case you're just tuning in, see my posts on 1st instars, 3rd instars, 5th instars, and wanderers for more information about the caterpillars' development.)

Side view of a newly formed Manduca sexta pupa. The shed fifth-instar cuticle is positioned above the pupa. The wings are visible in the, er, wing-shaped area covering the top half of the body.

What used to be a caterpillar has now molted and become a pupa. The pupa looks much more like an adult than a larva: you can see the developing wings, the pointed abdomen, the head and eyes, and even the tongue. The pupa is covered by a sclerotized (hardened) cuticle; it cannot feed, and has no mobile appendages, though the abdominal portion can rotate somewhat.

During pupation the insect's body undergoes a major reorganization. The nervous system grows drastically and restructures itself, new sensory structures are added (e.g. antennae), muscles are removed and rebuilt, adult locomotive features are constructed (e.g. wings), the digestive system is reorganized to adapt to a new diet, and the tracheal system is modified to provide for all these new tissues. All of this is done without feeding; the required energy comes solely from stores laid down during the larval stage.

The stem-like structure that comes out of the pupa's head is actually its developing tongue. The tongue grows out from the head, forms a loop at the base of the stem-like structure, and grows back towards the head. This long tongue enables the adult moths to feed on the nectar of deep flowers, such as Datura / angel's trumpet. The tongue will normally be coiled up inside the moth's head once it is an adult.

Top view of a Manduca sexta pupa. The head is at the top of the picture, and the wing attachment points are visible as small lumps on the thorax (the smooth surface just above the highly segmented abdomen).

I showed off the pupae during our recent campus open house, and the first question I was usually asked was, "How long before they turn into adults?" Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question.

As you've probably gathered based on M. sexta's three-week larval period, M. sexta can easily go through three or four full generations in a year. However, once winter arrives, M. sexta's host plants start to die out, and the cold weather hinders M. sexta's performance (they are ectotherms, after all). Thus, M. sexta would much rather wait out the winter and pretend it didn't exist.

To avoid the winter, M. sexta pupae can enter diapause, a state of delayed development. In their fifth instar the caterpillars measure the day length, and if the days are shorter than a given length, the caterpillars figure that winter is coming on and enter diapause immediately after pupating. During diapause the pupa may slowly develop, but the insect will not eclose until conditions have become more favorable (often measured by temperature). However, if the days are longer than the cutoff (I seem to remember 14 hours, but can't find a source to verify this), they will pupate normally and eclose into adult moths in only a few weeks.

Since I know neither the specific day-length cutoff of M. sexta, nor the number of hours of light these caterpillars were receiving, I'm not sure whether these pupae are going to diapause or not. So, I may get adult moths eclosing in a few weeks, or a few months; we'll just have to see.

It's interesting to note that not all insects have a pupal stage. Moths and butterflies (along with flies, beetles, and some other groups) are holometabolous insects, wherein the adult form is typically quite different from the larval form, and the two are separated by a pupal stage. Some insects' juvenile stages are very similar to their adult stages (e.g. grasshoppers and praying mantises), and these insects are said to exhibit hemimetabolous development; they do not form a pupa.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Interesting political news ...

While eating dinner at my desk tonight I had a bit of time to read up on recent political happenings, and found a number of interesting articles. Here they are:

Tangled Bank #13 is now online

Tangled Bank Blutton
Sean Carroll at Preposterous Universe has posted Tangled Bank #13, which has a record-breaking 19 submissions. It looks like a great collection of posts, and while I haven't read most of them yet (neither my lab nor my lecture is finalized yet for tomorrow), I suspect my favorite is likely to be PZ Myers's submission, which I read when he first posted it on Pharngula.

I submitted some of my recent caterpillar posts for this edition. When I last wrote about the caterpillars they were just starting to wander; some of them have now finished forming their pupa, and I hope to have a post including pictures of them up in the next day or two.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Work and Family Life Blog Conference

Laura at 11D is hosting a blog conference regarding the intersection of work and family life this week. It looks like a lot of people are contributing, and she's already written a bunch of posts, so it should be thought-provoking.

Unfortunately, I won't have time to read much of it or contribute this week, which is frustrating (I just got home an hour ago, after spending all day putting in equipment requests, entering grades, and lesson planning, and I'm still not even ready for tomorrow's lecture yet); I do hope someone contributes ideas from the coupled, childless academic perspective ...

Monday, October 04, 2004


A college friend living in the Portland area IMed me a while back to tell me that he'd gotten a new job with a small startup. Since he'd been frustrated with his old employer for a number of years, this was great news.

Today's the big day when he starts his new job (after a week off between jobs), so I just wanted to send him a note of congratulations! It sounds like this new company is really excited about hiring him, which is neat.

Tangled Bank #13 Reminder

Tangled Bank Blutton
Tangled Bank #13 will be hosted by Sean Carroll over at Preposterous Universe this Wednesday. All you have to do is submit a recent science-related post (to carroll [at], and assuming it's accepted, you'll have joined the prestigious ranks of the few, the proud, the Tangled Bank authors. It looks great on a CV ... really.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Off to work again

Well, I'm off to work again today, this time because we're having another campus open house, and yours-truly volunteered to open up the lab. If it's anything like the prior open houses, it should be a fun-filled day of wowing kids and parents with some of our more-prized specimens, so I'm looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, however, the open house comes at the end of an already overly long week; even with my work yesterday, I'm still buried under a mountain of grading and lecture planning.

Dermestid Beetles 1, Army Ants 0

My dad just e-mailed me about a very neat article of Ant vs. Beetle, and since his summary of it is better than anything I could write, here it is:

"The SF Chronicle had an article today about the loss of part of an exhibit of ants at the Academy of Sciences. They had a 500 square-foot case housing a colony of Eciton burchellii, otherwise known as 'army ants'. They accidentally introduced some hide beetles, Dermestes maculata, into the case. more ants. The fast reproducing beetles wiped out some 1.2 million army ants!

"The beetles were introduced as larvae or pupae hiding among the lots of live crickets purchased as food for the ants. The larvae hatched into adult beetles, which multiplied as follows; a typical female beetle lays about 400 eggs during a 100 day lifespan. Eggs hatch in three days, are adults within a month and are ready to mate and lay eggs five days later. The beetles ate the ants' food, as well as the ants themselves, it seems. And why couldn't the army ants, the scourge of the tropics, simply eat the beetles? The beetle larvae have long hairs on them which prevented the ants from biting them. Besides, they contain chemicals making them indigestible. So in a few months, the beetles had wiped out the ant colony completely. The curators couldn't even find the queen.

"So here we have a native species defeating an exotic. Or do we? How did the beetle vs ant situation become a zero-sum game? Probably because in the artificial ecology of the display case, there were no factors acting to reduce the beetle population. At least none capable of controlling the beetles sufficiently to keep them from overwhelming the ants.

"It doesn't help that Dermestes is the little beetle that museums use to clean bones. According to the article, they eat almost anything organic including leather, feathers, and horn."

Thanks dad!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Crustless Quiche with Bacon, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

My SO and I are happily subscribed to Fine Cooking magazine, from which we've gotten many of our recent favorite recipes. A few weeks ago we made a savory crustless quiche from the current issue (Oct/Nov 2004) that had bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese in a light egg batter. Since it was exceptionally delicious, I thought I'd share our version of the recipe here as my first end-of-the-week recipe blogging post:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 jumbo eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • Sprinkle cayenne
  • Butter for the pan (optional?)
  • ~1/3 pound bacon (I used thick sliced), cut into 1/4" strips
  • 4 ounces shallots, chopped (~3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (they called for balsamic/sherry vinegar, I used red-wine vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • ~1/3 pound Polder Blanc Gouda (a goat cheese), chopped into slivers
  • ~3 ounces chevre (another goat cheese)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used 2 tablespoons reconstituted dried)
To make the filling:
1) Cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it starts to release its fat, then add the shallots. Cook the bacon and shallots until they begin to brown (a total of ~8-10 minutes for the bacon).
2) Add the sugar and cook until the bacon and shallots are well browned (~4 minutes more).
3) Remove from the heat and add the vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes. Let cool while you make the rest.

To make the batter:
1) Whisk ~1/2 cup of the milk (pouring slowly) into the cornstarch.
2) Add the eggs and mix until smooth.
3) Slowly add the rest of the milk, cream, salt, and cayenne.
The batter can be refrigerated for a day, or used immediately.

To assemble the dish:
1) Arrange the filling on the bottom of a suitable pan. The recipe suggests a 7x11" or 8x11" Pyrex dish, we used a 9x13" Pyrex casserole dish without issue. The recipe suggests greasing the pan first, but there's enough bacon fat in the recipe that this is probably not a requirement.
2) Sprinkle the two types of cheese and parsley over the filling.
3) Whisk the batter again and then pour it over the filling.
4) Put the dish into a preheated 425F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until softly set and the top is browned. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

There are two critical things to do when making this dish:
1) Do NOT think about the nutritional content of the recipe.
2) Plan to exercise after eating this, primarily to counter your feelings of guilt after failing to follow #1.

The article includes a few different suggestions for fillings, and encourages people to try out their own variations. Enjoy!

Price, R. 2004. "Tonight, Try a Crustless Quiche." Fine Cooking #67 pp. 50-53.

End-of-the-week recipe blogging

Since my SO and I both love to cook, I thought that it would be fun to share some of the recipes we make. Thus, starting this week, I'm going to post a recipe sometime at the end of each week (Friday, Saturday, or Sunday).

Part of the motivation for this is that we just got finished putting a lasagne into the oven. The smell is insanely tempting, and I can't wait to dig into it (before I head into work, grumble).

Update: The archive of end-of-the-week recipes is located here.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Some Links

Here's a few more good links from BoingBoing, which has had a very good past few days:
  • A Wall Street Journal reporter currently in Iraq has verified that she did indeed write a personal letter describing the horrible conditions there. Read it. (BoingBoing link)
  • The American Chemical Society is now doing movie reviews from a scientific perspective (BoingBoing link).
  • BoingBoing reported that ABC News published a report about the presidential debates before the debates had even occurred. This site describes it more, and an archived copy of the article can be found here.
  • Since changing your opinion seems to be a bad thing these days, CBS News reports on Bush's top ten flip-flops (BoingBoing link).