Pithy Phrase

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a woman, I put away childish things.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why I Love Wikipedia

This post begins the saga that shall hereafter be dubbed "Things I Learned on Wikipedia".

I love Wikipedia and you should too.  There's power in having so much information at your fingertips.  I really don't know how people survived before Wikipedia.  Apparently some didn't; curiosity killed the cat you know.  If the cat had had access to Wikipedia, he could have just looked it up instead of ignorantly engaging in lethal activities.  I know there were encyclopedias before, but I defy anyone to find one half as comprehensive as Wikipedia (or as compact!).  Wikipedia is the fountain of knowledge.

I was taught in high school that Wikipedia is not a valid source of information.  I respectfully disagree with that opinion.  Do you know how many times I have utilized Wikipedia in my undergraduate education?  More than once an entire semester project was drawn from a Wikipedia article.

Example 1: Developmental Biology.  An eight page single-spaced original grant proposal?  Holy crap.  My life is over.  Uh, uh, choose an organ.  Okay, heart!  Wikipedia, don't fail me now.  Search heart development.  Result: big article on heart development!  Score!  Read article.  Find this sentence.  "Whether Dickkopf-1* and Nodal act directly on the cardiac mesoderm is the subject of research".  A question that has been researched (aka sources!) but does not have a conclusive answer?  Hallelujah!  Proceed to research topic and write paper, referring back to Wikipedia article multiple times a day.  Final grade: A.  Wikipedia wins.

Example 2: Readings in Biotechnology.  A ten page (mercifully double-spaced) review paper on pretty much anything I want.  Well, that's not too hard--gene therapy!  A great topic!  Hello, Wikipedia, my old friend!  What can you do for me today?  Wow, that's a really good summary of the development of gene therapy!  Look at all those references!  What's that, Professor?  More specific?  Alright, Wikipedia, I need your help again.  Gee, you reference two great studies of gene therapy for retinal disorders!  Add that one retinitis pigmentosa paper Fellowstudent referenced in class and we've got ourselves a topic!  Proceed to analyze the three papers (with numerous visits to you-know-where) and write the review.  Final grade: A.  Wikipedia wins.

Example 3: Bored to tears with nothing to do at work.  Wikipedia, I'm about to die of boredom!  Help meeee!  I've been wondering about the Equal Rights Amendment ever since I read that the LDS church was against it.  Search Equal Rights Amendment.  Wow, Wikipedia, you really knocked yourself out with this one!  Read article.  Notice it discusses the involvement of one Coretta Scott King.  Proceed to article on Ms. King.  Read article.  Wow, Wikipedia, this was one amazing woman!  Look at all the things she did to fight prejudice and promote peace!  Look at all of those awards she won, which you've so neatly organized at the bottom of the article!  Result: time passed pleasantly, boredom remitted, and role model found.  Wikipedia wins.

If I haven't yet converted you to Wikipedia, this surely will:

Nobody could say it better.  Love you, Wikipedia.

*Note: The protein Dickkopf-1 was named by a German scientist.  The name means "big head", because if you take this protein out of the system, the developing organism will have an abnormally large head.  And yes, it is pronounced "dick-off".  It is commonly referred to by its abbreviation, DKK1, for obvious reasons.  I was once reprimanded in a class for using its full name.  One American scientist presenting at a conference said, "Tell the Germans to consult me the next time they decide to name a protein I'm interested in."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hello World

I think usually a blog begins by discussing its reasons for existence.  So here are my reasons for entering the Bloggernacle, in no particular order:

1. I just got married, and apparently young married Mormon couples must start blogs.  Perhaps this makes for a convenient way to tell their extensive family they are expecting, which often happens soon after the nuptials.  Seeing as I have a very small family and do not plan on becoming a parent within the next decade or so, this scenario does not apply to me.  Nevertheless.

2. I have been inspired by the like-minded Mormon feminists whose blogs I've been frequenting since my move to Deutschland.  There's been a lot of downtime at work; blog reading helps kill time and boredom.

3. I always have a million things to say.  Hence the name of this blog.  Anyone who knows me knows that I often get sidetracked in my thoughts and then say, "what was I thinking about just now?" Unfortunately, since none of my associates have mind-reading abilities, some of my best thoughts get lost in the cosmos.  Nevermore!

4. My brand-spanking-new husband often responds to my snarkier commentary with, "that's why you should have a blog."  This makes me believe that some people may actually want to read what I have to say.  Then again, perhaps the larger populace isn't interested in the differences between Mendelian and additive genetic disorders.

5. Which brings me to another point: often my musings are met with apathy, boredom, or disgust.  This sometimes leads to sadness and/or embarrassment on my part.  By saving these less savory thoughts for the virtual world, no one has to sit through any unpalatable discourses.  You can just stop reading, and I'll never know!  Win-win.

Now for a couple things that are not reasons I am starting this blog:

1. To tell the world about my daily life.  Well, maybe a little bit, but mostly my comings-and-goings will be tidbits within a larger context.  If you want to know about our adventures in Germany, please see Hubby's blog.  He's good with pictures and such.

2. To assert how perfect I am/my marriage is/my life is.  I'll just tell it like it is.  No Seriously, So Blessed! here (moment of silence for the now-deceased genius blog).

I conclude this first post by extending a word of caution: this blog, and the things contained herein, may be exceedingly random, revolutionary, ridiculous, heretical, and generally outlandish.  It is not for the faint of heart nor closed of mind.  If you consider yourself prudish, judgmental, or in favor of sexism in any way, you'd better just close the browser.  For the rest of you, enjoy the ride!