Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oh, those crazy Japanese

I just read one of the best blog posts ever. It's about a robot that washes people's hair. When I first read that title, I thought that it was a frivolous expense and worthless invention.


But after reading it I realized how blind that point of view is.

From Boing Boing:

"This hair-washing robot, introduced by Panasonic at a public demonstration in Tokyo last week, is actually a pretty practical idea. Washing your hair involves a decent amount of small motor coordination and finger dexterity, things that people often lose when they have a spinal injury or other kinds of nerve damage. A hair-washing robot could offer those people a bit more independence when it comes to their daily routines. That's a good thing.

But the real reason I'm posting this here is to show you how easy it is to take research that is objectively beneficial, and make it sound deeply silly and frivolous. All you have to do is show that picture (which is a little funny looking already, right?) and frame the story from the perspective of privilege—the perspective of people who have no problems controlling the nerves in their hands and forget that not everybody shares that skill."
It's pretty easy to frame any scientific experiment or research in a way that sounds ridiculous and a waste of money. But instead of trying to see how dumb any idea is, I think I'm going to try to see any possible uses from that experiment.

For example: scientists are wasting money trying to make kitties glow in the dark! Except the florescence gene (which isn't glow-in-the-dark, it just shows up under a UV light) is just a biomarker to help identify an immunity in cats against HIV.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Betting on Power Rangers

I can remember watching two TV shows religiously as a kid: Reading Rainbow and Power Rangers. I remember when I was in the first grade I used to ask my mom if I could watch Reading Rainbow once Chris and Lisa left for school in the morning. It was the highlight of my morning. Levar Burton was awesome.

And in third grade I would watch Power Rangers every Saturday morning. It was fun to watch Power Rangers in third grade because every one else watched them too. I would talk about them with my friends during recess. I once made a bet with a girl on who the Green Ranger would turn out to be. I bet her 50 cents that it wouldn't be Tommy.

It turned out it was Tommy. During the commercial break, she called me to tell me that I lost the bet and I owed her 50 cents.

I didn't have 50 cents, so I decided to earn some money. I grabbed a handful of pretzel sticks and set up a card table on our front lawn. I sold the pretzel sticks for one penny each.

Luckily, I had a customer. Just one. It was a woman who pulled up in her minivan and and handed me a dollar and asked for just a handful of my pretzels. It was pretty sweet.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dynamic views and school

I really love the dynamic views that Blogger put up. This is the kind of thing that I was hoping for while I was posting so much last year. Maybe this exciting new format will encourage me to write more often again.

Speaking of which, I am planning on writing again everyday in November. I hope everyone else does to, OK? OK, sounds good.

Optometry school is pretty hard. I'm taking Physiology, Histology, Optics, Genetics, and a Business class. We sit in the same class room the whole day (room 22) and the professors come in a lecture for 2 to 3 hours and then a new professor replaces them when their time is up. Once they come in they start lecturing non-stop and you do everything within your power to keep up with them and write down what they're saying. After about four hours my hand starts cramping up. Luckily we have a ten minute break each hour.

But school is really really interesting. Way more interesting than my construction management classes at BYU. I haven't even been tempted to fall asleep in my classes yet.