My grandmother’s blog

My mom has been adding pictures to my grandmother’s blog, Vera’s Corner, and it’s looking very nice.  My grandmother wrote out all the blog entries by hand, mailed them to my mom, my mom typed them in and posted them, and then my aunt printed out the blog and took it to my grandmother to see.

She was very proud of being an author.  She had some great stories to tell!

We told our 5 year old about the baby

We told our 5 year old last night that he is going to have a baby brother or
sister … He was very pensive the whole time and thought about it
quite a bit.

We asked what he thought about having a baby brother or sister.
We told him it wasn’t a choice, so he decided it must be a girl since all his baby cousins are girls.

He asked the following questions:

  • Will I have to share my bionicles?
  • How are you going to sleep?  Don’t sleep on your stomach or you might hurt the baby!
  • Are you going to sleep in those clothes?  Won’t the baby fall out
    when you take them off?  (So we had to explain the baby was IN my
    stomach and I showed him my stomach.)
  • How will the baby get out?  (It will be born.  Oh!  I was born.)
  • Can I sit next to the baby on the way home from the hospital?
  • Can I teach it to ride a bike?  She can have my little blue one.
  • Can she sleep with me?  I’ll wake you up if she cries.

It was very cute and a much more thoughtful conversation than I was expecting.

Can your cell phone cause an airplane to crash?

If, like me, you are a bit skeptical that your cell phone, or even more unbelievable, your iPod might cause a problem on an airplane, IEEE has an article that attempts to explain the danger and point to specific annecdotes where electronic usage might have caused navigation problems, IEEE Spectrum: Unsafe At Any Airspeed?.  While I’ll continue to turn my cell phone off, I still maintain that if my iPod is causing problems with the airplane’s electronics than we have much bigger problems with airplane electronics.  I hope they are more robust than that.

Atheist Scientists

Since I just recently blogged about atheists, this article in the Rice Sallyport caught my eye: Natural Scientists Are Less Likely to Believe in God than Are Social Scientists.  According to this study, 38% of natural scientists and 31% of social scientists do not believe in God.  All those surveyed worked at universities, as far as I could tell from the article.

What I found more interesting than the difference between natural scientists and social scientists, was just how high the number of atheist scientists was.  It didn’t surprise me that they were atheist but the number of atheist scientists is surprisingly higher than the average population.  Just for the record, I cannot remember any professor I’ve ever had saying they were an atheist or even talking about religion.

Racism against Atheists

It looks like Americans would rather you believe in a god or gods they don’t believe in than have you believe in no god at all.  Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study : News Releases: UMNnews: U of M..

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Since we don’t do such a good job with religious and racial diversity now, I can’t imagine what would happen if the 3% of America that is atheist grows or becomes more publicly visible. 

This also seems strange to me since so many Americans do not go to church or actively participate in a religion.  I can’t imagine that an athesist lives a life that’s very different than a non practicing Christian.  I doubt they even that they have widely different values.

Mail Service: Netflix and Post Office Experiment

Frank and I set up a Netflix and Post Office experiment to check out our mail service.  I’ve always maintained that the mail service in our little town is terrible and now we are one step closer to proving it.  (As if all the missing post cards I’ve sent wasn’t enough.)

We mailed three Netflix movies back in the same day.

  1. CD #1 was mailed from the mailbox next to our house in our town of 5,000 at ~7:30am on 3/20.
  2. CD #2 was mailed from the post office in our town of 5,000 at ~7:30am on 3/20.
  3. CD #3 was mailed from a post office in Broomfield at ~8:30am on 3/20.  (About 30 miles from home.)

Netflix got CD #3 a full day earlier than the two mailed from our home town.  (The Broomfield DVD arrived 3/21 at 9:30.  The other two arrived at Netflix 3/22 at 8:30am.)

Netflix service note: it looks like they process all of their in coming DVDs in the morning and send out emails at between 8:30 and 9:30am.  I got notices for all three at 8:30am in the morning.  (Two just a day later than the third even though we mailed them all the same day.)

Obviously, without lots of further experiments, it’s hard to tell if the problem is with our mail service, Netflix or the Post Office but in the future we will return all of our movies in Broomfield on our way to work.

Seperation anxiety in dogs

Ever wonder why your dog destroys the house while you are gone?  Bonnie Beaver says in this article, – U.S. is a nation of 360 million — pets – Mar 13, 2006:

Dogs, if we look at the wolf model, would normally spend 20 hours a day with members of their pack. Now we are their pack, and we leave for 10, 12 hours a day and now the dog is alone. And we wonder why they get destructive and develop separation anxiety.

We leave our two dogs home together and one of them still has problems, a major case of separation anxiety.  We have to leave Chase in the bedroom (where he spends the day sleeping on the bed) or he’ll urinate and defecate in every room in the house.  I don’t think Chase is being malicious – I think he’s just that stressed out.  One theory that Julie Yamane gave me is that there’s too much space and not enough rules about what to do when you are home alone.  Since Chase is never more than two feet away from me when I’m home, I can believe that having the whole house to himself might be a bit scary.  Julie recommended enclosing him in the bedroom when we leave him in the house and it’s worked great for avoiding his seperation anxiety.  And great for saving our carpets! 

Do you buy your dog Christmas presents?

Are you looking to get your dog or your friend’s dog a Christmas present?  If you are buying a present for another person’s dog, especially someone who just got a dog, there’s a lot of things that person might need for their dog, like:

Personally, I think the best presents for dogs are:

Our dogs love all of those. Remember, dogs love all food!