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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Ch-ch-ch-changes": Evolution of Culture

An interesting paper by Deborah Rogers and Paul Ehrlich was published online in PNAS today. The authors examine rates of change (evolution) in functional vs. cultural characteristics in Polynesian canoes, and turn up interesting (though not exactly surprising) results. Their study found that functional characteristics (things that affect survival/trip success) change fairly slowly relative to cultural ("aesthetic, social, and spiritual decorations") characteristics (p. 2/5). Such a finding is similar to the results of studies of genetic evolution: functional traits/loci that are important for survival tend to be conserved, while traits/loci that under normal circumstances do not affect fitness (neutral) tend to evolve more rapidly.

The authors suggest that their data support studying culture change in an evolutionary perspective, a position that has been debated in anthropology's past. Dare I say the T-word, this is because of a historically teleological view of evolution, viz. that if creatures (and cultures) evolve, then there are better and worse trajectories, optimal physical or cultural states. Of course, all evolution means (generally) is the accumulation of differences over time. Futuyma (1998) defines it, "In a broad sense [as] the origin of entities possessing different states of one or more characteristics, and changes in their proportions over time" (p. 767). So the occurrence of cultural evolution shouldn't be controversial, and is pretty well established. Just as in biological evolution, the authors provide a cultural example that "natural selection apparently slows the evolution of functional structures whereas symbolic [neutral with regard to fitness] designs can evolve more rapidly" (Rogers and Ehrlich 2008, p. 1/5).

It is interesting that the authors regard "spiritual" design elements as having "presumably...no differential effect on survival from group to group" (p. 2/5), because the individuals making them probably thought spiritual designs would have conferred survival benefits. But, hey, maybe people utilizing effective 'functional' designs might also tend to use certain 'spiritual decorations,' causing linkage disequilibrium of traits--just like in genetics! Another genetic analogy is the authors' finding that symbolic traits can evolve more rapidly, possibly by "cultural selection," as a means for culture-groups to differentiate from each other. This reminds me of a study of those damned Drosophila spp. that found greater prezygotic reproductive isolation in sympatric species than in allopatric ones (Coyne and Orr 1997). Ok, it's not a perfect analogy, but it's close enough for me.

One could draw myriad analogies between culture change and biological evolution (ooh, how about cano-evolution in small vs. large populations...), but these might simply be indicative of general rules of change in dynamic systems (like, say, culture and biology). Changes that drastically negatively affect a system ought not last very long (i.e. be selected against), lest the entire system cease to be (I know, I just said, "lest"). Changes with no effect on a system ought to occur fairly regularly and remain in or disappear from a system simply by chance (drift, Neutral Theory). And changes that make something better ought to increase in prevalence (be selected for, like color screens in iPods, adaptive copies of MCPH1, sturdy canoes). Change has become the only thing I know I can expect, and it is exciting to see the predictions of evolutionary theory are effective in other areas. Maybe now I have a milieu wherein I can further develop my theory of Sensual Selection...

References
Coyne JA and HA Orr. 1997. "Patterns of speciation in Drosophila" revisited. Evolution 51: 295-303.

Futuyma D. 1998. Evolutionary Biology, Third Edition. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, Inc. [see p. 25 for an unforgivably awesome picture of Sewall Wright]

Rogers DS and PR Ehrlich, in press. Natural selection and cultural rates of change. Proc Nat Acad Sci xx: 1-5.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Right in your own backyard

As a general rule, I don't trust my neighbors. I don't trust anyone around me, because you never know what sort of trouble they're involved in or what's going through their head, how they're trying to get you. And then I find out at nature.com today that here at the University of Michigan--somewhere very near to where I'm sitting right now--lurks, "The most intense laser in the Universe."

I'm no physicist (some people will attest that I did exceptionally poorly in that field), but with a title like that, I had to check it out. Apparently, however intense the laser is, it is not powerful. Katharine Sanderson reports that the laser (HERCULES) is capable of delivering a mere 20 joules onto a point 1.3 micrometers in diameter for a whopping 30 femtoseconds. What does this mean? No one knows: 20 joules is apparently not very much power; a micrometer is one millionth of a meter; femtoseconds is a buzz word made popular in the 1970s, along with other words like "phallogocentric" (Sanderson, however, says a 30 femtoseconds = (1/10^15) seconds). This adds up to 2 x 10^22 watts per square-centimeter, or "20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter," according to the UM story.

I know you share my worry: that because of HERCULES we're going to see a repeat of the laser-pointer fad of nearly a decade ago. Now kids are going to run to the store to get their own HERCULESes so they can point at the Teach or blackboard, partaking in the Most Intense Tomfoolery in the Universe. Sure, they're expensive now, but in a few years they'll be a dime-a-dozen. What are scientists going to do with this new laser? According to Sanderson,

Such intense laser light is uncharted territory. The electrons in any material hit by the beam are accelerated to the point that they are almost travelling at the speed of light, transporting those electrons out of the classical world and into relativistic, quantum, territory. Theoretically it could be possible to make the electrons travel so quickly that their mass increases.

Ha! Whatever. And right under my nose.

it's stupid to get drunk on a sunday

a couple days ago, i was writing about the stages of an all-nighter. right now im living the stages of a really, really bad hangover.

1:30 am. try unsuccessfully to go to sleep, can't because of a bad case of the spins

2:00 am. try walking around, but this only ends in you falling on your face because you're stumbling in a circle.

2:15 am. time to worship the porcelain throne.

3:00 am. you can't shake the desire to stay there, cradling the base of the toilet in your arms, thinking you might be able to sleep on the bathroom rug, even though if you were sober, you wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

3:30 am. your friend finally convinces you that sleeping on the floor in the bathroom is not really the best of ideas, and that you might want to at least consider sleeping in a bed.

4:00 am. another trip to the bathroom

4:15 am. finally, you lay down and the room is not spinning.

8:30 am. wake up for the first time, your stomach feels like it is in a vice. your head feels like someone is inside, beating the sides of your skull with mallets. no way are you getting up. no way.

9:15 am. bathroom. maybe some water. but even water makes you feel nauseous.

9:47 am. ugh, why can't you just fall asleep again? why do you keep waking up? you try to drink water again but end up spilling it all over. also, you now notice your clothes hanging from the lamp and your credit cards all over the floor. what is going on? what is wrong with you???? wait...do you have all your credit cards?

9:50 am. panic attack ensues

9:57 am. whew, you do. for some reason, your capital one card is in your shoe.

10:30 am. finally, fall back asleep.

11:00 am. okay, maybe you should drink more water. you almost fall down the stairs going to the kitchen though, and then realize you're only wearing one slipper. and your shirt is on backwards.

11:30 am. water mission is successful and now you're back in bed.

11:32 am. pass out.

1:30 pm. wake up, realize it's ONE THIRTY, and it's a monday and you're hungover.

1:32 pm. tell yourself, "i'm never going out again."

but seriously guys, i'm never going out again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Doc Todd and The MythBusters

The most recent episode of the Discovery Channel's "The MythBusters" featured a question from two of my former profs at the University of Wyoming (only 1 of which they acknowledge): Todd Surovell (http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/SUROVELL/) and Nicole Waguespack (http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/nmwhomepage/)

Background: Projectile points are the most frequent archaeological find across North America and span the Paleoindian colonization through the modern era. Expert flintknappers like Bruce Bradley can produce a projectile point in a half hour, but in the prehistoric world this also requires acquisition of raw materials (flint/chert/etc) and curation of a variety of hafting, production, and sharpening equipment.

Alternatively, it takes only a couple of minutes to sharpen a stick, for which you only need a stick and a flake to produce.


Question: Do these little guys offer more penetration power than a sharpened stick? Or do they convey an advantage in terms of accuracy? Or do they just look cool?


Answer: Hosts Adam and Jamie found that in terms of penetration power and accuracy, a projectile point hafted to an arrow does not provide a significant advantage over a sharpened stick. The only noticeable differences (when firing an arrow through hide-covered ballistics gel shaped like a human for some reason) were a little more penetration (couple cm?) and a slightly larger slice through the hide.

Problems (the scientist in me):
They tested this question with one type of projectile point - nevermind the extreme amount of variability in p.p. forms, sizes, and the kind of animal it is used to kill. Also relevant is the variation in the kinds of wood found throughout the continent - clearly this will have an effect on the structural abilities of a stick to penetrate a hide.

Further, why are they shooting this thing through a piece of hide into ballistics gel? I'm wondering if projectile points do more damage because they are clearly able to penetrate bone.
Mammoth hunts probably involved days of tracking a slowly dying animal - among other things, penetration of the bone would increase the severity of the wound and heighten the stress and infection levels of the animal. Why didn't they pull a Doc Frison and shoot these into some elephants - now that would be sweet.


Problems (the anthropologist in me):
Adam, of course, couldn't help but dress like some sort of caveman, put on fake teeth and a wig, and act like an idiot. Ok, alright, I know this is a t.v. show made for the public. I can acknowledge that, but the fact that they are testing an issue regarding the use of technology made by clearly modern individuals and acting like some sort of Middle Paleolithic speechless Neandertal is both disrespectful and a misrepresentation of what it is we actually study as North American archaeologists.

And p.s., living peoples across the world use projectile points.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

the all nighter

the sweet, sweet all-nighter. some people swear by it, others declare it is insane. some cannot handle it, and others can power through the day on maybe a 20 minute cat nap, maybe no sleep at all. however you feel about it, it is difficult to deny its power to strike fear in the hearts of students, especially when you thought your days of all-night study or paper writing sessions ended with undergrad. i have to be honest, as much as i hate all-nighters, i have done some of my best work at 4 or 5 am. they are always entertaining and crazy stories to talk about in hindsight, but when it's nearing 4 (as it is right now), the story does not seem so funny. in fact, it seems like downright torture. i like to think that an all-nighter can be broken down into stages, which, while they may differ person to person, might look something like this:

9 pm. for some reason, 9 is my magic time. if i haven't gotten something done by 9, i start to panic and either go into work mode, or somehow get nothing done, and then freak out. maybe this is also when you'd start to have munchies and usually end up eating something you'll regret later.

11 pm. other people start leaving, but you've still got a couple allies left in the library/wherever. that girl who has like ten coffee cups and several amp cans and is totally going to crash by midnight. that guy who's walked past your desk like ten times - has this kid done anything of value at all in the past hour, or is he on a nightly stroll? the two girls who are whispering to each other about something stupid, and think they're being quiet but really they are louder than if they talked in normal voices. the guy passed out in the only comfortable chair in the room. but, somehow, you're still somewhat on the ball.

1 am. okay, get off the facebook. seriously. or email. or whatever. the amp girl has totally passed out, and you haven't seen the stroller in at least twenty minutes. the library's clearing out, but now there's some new additions. some guy freaking out about orgo, a girl making some flash cards, and the security guard checking school IDs. but you still might leave. you've got time.

2:30 am. okay, now it's serious. almost 3. and you've still got...one sentence. which says "i want to cry" or something like that. not exactly a thesis statement. now you're starving and would eat pretty much anything that was in the vending machine, even pork rinds, or fifty year old ring dings, or whatever awaits. but you only have like, 50 cents. dammit. so now you're thinking, maybe i could go get some food and come back. and some coffee. lots and lots of coffee. but once you make the pilgrimage for food/caffeine, you are in it for the long haul.

3 am. time for coffee and maybe some sweet fries or pizza or something artery clogging.

4 am. how is it 4??? how have you gotten nothing done???????????

4:17 am. YOU'VE GOT IT. YOU'VE TOTALLY GOT IT.

4:18 am. power writing for the next...however long you can keep going

5 am. wait. maybe this doesn't make sense. maybe i'm insane. but it's too late now, gotta go with it.

6:45 am. okay. this is usable. this paper is not total crap. 10 pages. livable. just have the references left. and if i had an acknowledgements section, the only things i would thank are coffee, mountain dew, and...oh hey look, the strolling guy is back. where has he been the past three hours? ten hours? you have no clue at this point because you've gone insane.

7:30 am. how did it take 45 minutes to type up ten sources?

8:10 am. why are you checking your email? GO HOME.

8:24 am. still have class to go to...have not showered. awesome.

8:30 am. get some coffee and go to class. turn in paper.

10:01 am. pass the EFF out.

does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I think I now understand why Creationism/Intelligent Design is so popular in some areas of the United States. I am studying for my first exam in EEB 516: Principles of Evolution. It is an interesting course, certainly pertinent to my area of interest and academic specializzazione, as we say in Italian. A lot of the genetic aspects of evolution are very complicated, and I am certainly having a tough time wrapping my mind around a lot of the important concepts and methods. But holy effing crap! the worst part of all is how much I have to read about those goddamn fruit flies.

I'll admit, it has been a while since I picked up and thumbed through a Bible. But I'm fairly familiar with the text, and I'm pretty sure there's absolutely no mention of Drosophila melanogaster, D. yakuba, etc. None of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt think Drosophila is really sweet." David didn't hurl fruit flies at Goliath. When Delilah cut Samson's hair, he didn't turn into a fruit fly. Noah tried to 'accidentally' leave them off the Ark, but it didn't quite work out. When Jesus died on the cross, he sure as crap didn't do it for those fruit fly bastards. And there are, what?, seven horsemen of the Apocalypse--but I think there are only like three fruit flies associated with the End.

A PubMed search, however, for "Drosophila" turns up 62,907 results; that's not simply how many times the word is used, it's how many papers contain (and probably are all about) that damn genus. If you do the math--which I absolutely refuse to do--that has to be about, I don't know, a billion times the word Drosophila is used, which is unacceptable. If Drosophila species are so effing special, how come God himself doesn't give a crap about them?

Maybe they're not that bad. But I've about overdosed on fruit flies at the moment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

the living and the dead

when i applied to graduate school, i identified myself as a human behavioral ecologist. i was interested primarily in application of evolutionary theory in living populations of humans, though i did study animal behavior quite a bit in undergrad. since coming to michigan, however, various circumstances have brought me to where i am now, in the paleoanthropology lab on the second floor of west hall. i never took a single course in paleo-anything until this year, and got out of my bio anthro requirement in undergrad since i was a bio/anthro double major. and i gotta say, this semester has been...intense. i am not the brightest crayon in the box, but i think i now know how it feels to be the kid who knows the least in all of my classes. i always knew my friends here were smart...and it was a surprise, honestly, that i got into grad school...but this semester has shown me just how much i do not know.

and it is extremely frustrating.

i read article after article, lost in a world of bones that are millions of years old. i hear speculative theory after speculative theory, and it is frustrating when i am used to reading articles and dealing with research that studies living populations, and have sample sizes larger than ten. how is it that you can say, with confidence of any kind, from a tooth and part of a jaw that this organism was a primate, that ate seeds, stood a certain way, climbed trees a certain way, and lived in a house with a white picket fence, with 2.5 children? i know, i'm exaggerating, but it is something i have never, as a scientist, been able to wrap my head around. don't get me wrong, i think it's fascinating stuff, and i keep it a secret by acting like i hate school, but...the more i read, the more i want to read. and the reason is, while the theories in the articles rarely make sense to me, or seem like they have relevance in the real world, sitting here in this room, surrounded by the possible remnants of my distant ancestors, it does seem real.

i was sitting in the lab one night, studying for an osteo quiz. i was looking at the different bones of the skull, and eventually at a full skull to compare something or other (who knows). i turned the skull around and stared into where the eyes would have been. and i wondered who this person was. was it a man? a woman? did s/he live around here? or far away? was she a mother, or was he a father? did this person have any friends? what did this person like to do for fun? how did s/he die? was it painful? was it sad? did anyone mourn for this person? i know this seems intense, but we are always surrounded by these bones, these remains of living things, and no one seems to ever think about this - or if anyone does, no one says anything. i remember the first time i picked up a bone - it was a femur - and i totally freaked out and had to put it down. this was part of a living thing - and whether it was a human, a hominid, a hominoid, whatever - it was alive. it was NOT an it...it was a he, a she, a creature once alive and walking this earth. everyone made fun of me for getting upset, but the fact is, i still get freaked out in class, but i'm quieter about it. is it that i just have gotten used to dealing with the dead?

having lost people that were very close to me recently, and sitting in a room filled with the remains of the dead, i often think about alot of things. i wonder, do the other people who work in here ever think about them? they must. how can we not consider what it is we do? the very human, the very tragic quality each of these bones has - it is eerie sometimes, to be here alone. i start to wonder about the end of life, and what lies there. because right now, i am the only person in the room who does not know.

Natural selection in modern humans

Last year, John Hawks and team wrote about how evolution has been accelerated in recent human evolution, esp. in the past 40 kya or so. A day or two ago Barreiro ed amici wrote about recent natural selection in modern humans. When it comes to genetics (and to science, as long as we're being candid) I'm fairly green, so if you want to read a good news brief about this interesting paper, check out Ann Gibbons's coverage in Science. Basically, the selection-seeking squad analyzed 2.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 210 people from Africa, Asia and Europe. They identified hundreds of genes that appear to have been the targets of fairly recent selection. In some areas of the genome, esp. those related to diseases, negative selection appears to have reduced differentiation between the three continents. Conversely, positive selection has increased diversity, presumably as populations have adapted to local environments.

The authors point out that their methods pave the way for important research to be done on diseases with genetic predispositions, esp. those correlated with ethnicity. It's pretty cool stuff, but another thing I found really interesting was this paragraph:
Of note, among the highly differentiated genes with known functions, several control variable morphological traits in humans (Table 1). Furthermore, most of these genes are pleiotropic: that is, they are individually involved in several different traits. for example, EDAR regulates hair follicle density and the development of sweat glands and teeth in humans and mice [24, 25]. In humans, selective pressures on EDAR favoring changes in body temperature regulation and hair follicle density in response to colder climates may have influenced tooth shape, although this trait probably does not affect population fitness. This anecdotal example shows how 'phenotypic hitchhiking' in genes under positive selection may have substantially increased the observed number of physiological and morphological traits differentiating modern human populations. (p. 4)
One of the shortcomings of paleoanthropology is poor understanding of the genetic basis for various aspects of skeletal morphology, which is just about all the benevolent fossil record gives us; that is to say, it can be difficult to determine whether characters (i.e. "brow ridges") are determined by genes, environment, complex interaction between genes and environment, complex interaction between different genes (epistasis), etc. Because of the pleiotropic effects of EDAR, discerning which aspects of the phenotype were shaped by selection becomes difficult. In the course of human evolution, did the loss of body hair (compare most humans to any primate) coincide with dental evolution, and if so, how does this affect our understanding of selective forces shaping hominin evolution? Or, can hominin dental evolution tell us anything about the evolution of body hair or sweat glands? These are interesting questions that could really only be asked as the functional properties of the genome begin to be uncovered. Of course, they can probably only be best answered when we know more about the true functions and frivolities of genes.

References
Barreiro LB, Laval G, Quach H, Patin E, and Quintana-Murci L. 2008. Natural selection has driven population differentiation in modern humans. Nat Genet xx:1-6. [I need to review how to cite advance-online materials]

Hawks J, Wang ET, Cochran GM, Harpending HC, and Moyzis RK. 2007. Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution. Proc Nat Acad Sci 104: 20753-20758.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fatherhood

No, Dr. Bill Cosby (of Cliff Huxtable fame), I'm not trying to plagiarize the title of your book. Rather, I'm talking about an article published online today in PNAS by Charpentier and colleagues about paternal care in yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus). I'm no expert on primate behavior (even though when I GSIed Primate Social Behavior last semester I read a billion student papers, many of which were about various forms of baboondom), so I won't get too in depth here. The interesting finding of the authors' study was that paternal investment in this species (or subspecies of P. hamadryas, if you lump like me) can have a "non-trivial" (to quote a famous primatologist) effect on offspring's reproductive success. Paternal presence in the offsprings' social group tends to cause offspring to mature faster, though only if the father was of high rank for male offspring. Faster maturation means one can begin his/her reproductive career earlier, potentially increasing reproductive success.

Paternal care is, arguably, a normal thing in modern human life, so it might be surprising to some that the behavior is relatively rare in the mammal world. But in many mammal, viz. primate societies, there are lots of reasons why it may make more sense for males not to invest in parenting. For starters, males have countless sperm, which are produced throughout their mature lifetime, whereas females are born with a set amount of eggs: gametically, males are millionaires, but females more penurious. On top of that, females bear the burden of pregnancy and nursing, which are very resource-draining. So females have more to lose from negligent parenting than males. Furthermore, in many primate societies, especially polygamous ones, it can be near-impossible for males to be certain of their paternity--why care for an infant that might belong to someone else? Plus, time spent taking care of one potential offspring is time that could be possibly better spent trying to sire a new one. Thus, in the primate world, paternal care is a fairly rare behavior, though the authors note that when there is paternal care, the species tend to be 'monogamous.'

Yellow baboons are not monogamous, and they live societies with many mature males and females. But these baboons are fairly adept at knowing which offspring are theirs, and males often behave in ways beneficial to their offspring, through protection from both agonistic interactions and infanticidal males, and by helping forage. The authors show that such paternal behavior helps offspring reach sexual maturity earlier (hybird females also tend to mature faster, possibly a heterotic phenotype...?)

In some episode of The Simpsons whose details I forget, Lisa Simpson berates her father, calling him, "Baboon, baboon, baboon!" But perhaps this such a slur was not so slanderous. Perhaps his involvement in parenting (or his coresidency in the polygynandrous town of Springfield) will in some way bolster her reproductive success (though not in earlier maturity). Indeed, it would be interesting to determine exactly what role parental care played in human origins. Lovejoy posited that it was the watershed event that led to the emergence of hominins--something about females dropping so many babies ("Hey, wha' happen?!"). . . . While the Charpentier et al. study suggests that the behavior could well have been a good paternal reproductive strategy, I don't know that the idea is easily testable.

References
Charpentier MJE, van Horn RC, Altmann J, Alberts SC. 2008. Paternal effects on offspring fitness in a multimale primate society. Proc Nat Acad Sci 105: 1988-1992.

Lovejoy CO. 1981. The origin of man. Science 211: 341-350.

a rant

i know that i can be annoying at times. we all can. but there are certain things that i have no tolerance for. and they are, in no particular order, as follows:

1. people who walk in the center of the sidewalk on rainy days with huge golf umbrellas. you don't need a huge golf umbrella because you're not playing golf. AND if you insist on using a huge umbrella (perhaps there are exceptions i'm not taking consideration of), it would be nice to either hold it higher so other people can pass, or walk to one side of the sidewalk. you can't have the middle of the sidewalk AND a huge umbrella. you can't have your cake and eat it, too.

2. people who can't decide which side of the hallway, so they walk on BOTH SIDES. why is this necessary? pick a side, walk on it. the end. ps - this also applies to stairwells.

3. slow walkers. this has GOT TO STOP. maybe you don't have anything to do, but there ARE other people who do. i'm not saying i've got a whole bunch of really important things to do, but if i have a class to go to, i'd like to get there before it's over. you don't have to walk 100 miles an hour. but please...a reasonable speed.

4. when you're shopping and looking through the sale rack at j. crew (or wherever you like to go), and there's someone like ONE INCH from you just waiting for you to move to the next section so she can steal that cashmere sweater on sale for 50% off. i don't THINK SO. back OFF.

5. people who talk on the phone in quiet areas of the library. the sign says QUIET AREA. seriously. what more of an indication do you need to stop talking?

6. people who interrupt you in class. yes, i know that geertz and marx really get your motor running, but just because i pause for a minute to think about what i'm going to say doesn't mean that you can just jump in and cut me off. please let me finish a thought.

7. people who like to show off how much more they know than you right before an exam. you know all the features of the mandible, but THEY have memorized the entire section out of the book, word for word. that's nice that you know everything, but some of us don't, so please keep your vast knowledge to yourself unless i ask for help.

8. listserves that reply to everyone on the listserve when you're trying to just reply to the person that sent the email. sometimes i guess that's useful, but most of the time, you just get 50 replies to an email you don't care about.

9. people who feel the need to point out the weaknesses in everything you like. you say, "i like food at so and so a place," and that person says, "yeah, but blah blah is better for you. and they're more eco-friendly." what does that even mean? as in, how do i even know that it's really "more eco-friendly?" do you know that for a fact?

10. if one more person tells me that drinking diet coke is bad for me, i'm going to rip my hair out (and possibly theirs) by the root. it seems like everything is bad for you. we pick our poisons. some people drink coffee, some people smoke, or eat fatty foods, or drink alcohol...most people do most or all of those things. so stop telling me that i'm hurting myself, because chances are, so are you.

okay i know this is really angry...but i kind of had a bad week last week. and i'm unsuccessfully trying to write a grant proposal that's going no where, so i'm a little bitter. the next time i write something, it will be less angry, i hope.

but tell me, how many of these things have bothered you too??