Monday, November 26, 2007

Things I never got to...

Each time I see an interesting article that is at least peripherally related to what I blog about, I bookmark it with the intention of writing something about it. I looked at my “blog ideas” folder and discovered that they have kind of piled up. I figure I’m never going to get around to doing them justice. If something isn’t a big enough imperative for me to sit down right then (or very soon afterwards) and do some writing then it’s unlikely I will do it. Based on this self-analysis, you may rightfully infer that these articles are not worth your time. They might not be but, just in case they deal with a subject you find particularly fascinating, I’ll list them with a brief intro and you can follow-up if you want.

First is an article that concerns studies done on people who “blow off steam” by venting to others about their problems. Conventional wisdom would have it that venting is good for us. Philly Chief may be our resident expert on venting and I would love to see what he thinks about this article, Quit Complaining – It May Make You Feel Worse. It says it’s not a good idea – at least unless it’s done the right way!

So what on Earth's the big attraction? provides a list of the great attractions of the U.K. and of the world that visitors are typically underwhelmed at, once they get there. Science writer Bill Bryson explains what’s wrong in our view of these sites.

Why not rile you up a bit? Did you know that For Many Kids, Faith is the Key to Happiness? Well, that’s what the study done here seems to show. Have fun dissecting the problems with this view. I have several responses. One would be, how does the study account for the fact that most religions equate happiness with belief in the religion and anyone answering questions about happiness would tend to respond that they are, indeed, contented and joyful. After all, if they aren't - there is either something wrong with them or with the religion!

Back to more reality based material, I bet not too many readers will be surprised to know that it isn’t just humans that have a big old soft spot in their hearts for infants. The study on Rhesus Monkeys seems to confirm it in Even Monkeys Go Ga-Ga Over Babies.

A guy I have raved about often leads you through a nice video that was on the New York Times. Sean B. Carroll tells us where we are at in 2007 with The Science of Evolution. This is a really short video and, if you are interested in what he is talking about, search my blog under his name and it will take you to other longer videos with him. Personally, I can’t get enough of Sean, so if you run across any other videos with him please notify me!

Speaking of evolution, just how confusing is the ancestry of modern Homo sapiens? It has become very perplexing as the old “straight line” (Afarensis to Habilis to Erectus, etc) has changed drastically in the past 30 years. The Human Family Tree Now a Tangled, Messy Bush. Again, read where we are in 2007 as we are forced to deal with the reality that it’s not a simple, straight line answer.

Continuing on this theme, but on a different form of life – bacteria that could be 600,000 years old! This story is from a few months ago and you may have seen it. If not, are you interested in reading about The Oldest Living Thing Found In Ice? Find out what this tells us about evolution and about the chances of finding life beyond our planet.


The Exterminator said...

Thanks for pointing us to some interesting articles.

You said, I looked at my “blog ideas” folder and discovered that they have kind of piled up.

You may have opened up a can of worms here, because I think this may be an appropriate place to comment on: How do bloggers keep from running out of new things to say?

I, too, have a "blog ideas" folder, which I've used exactly zero times. I've even saved half-written, abandoned posts, also never used. (I was right to chuck them in the first place.) I think many of us who take blogging at least partially seriously have that occasional fear that the mental well will run dry. As a veteran writer of a newspaper column, I should tell you: you won't run out of ideas. They won't all be great ones; some of them might even be terrible. But once you're in the habit of writing regularly, ideas have a tendency to seek you out. They're all over the place: in newspapers and magazines; on the radio and TV; in books and movies; in your conversations with relatives, friends, and acquaintances; and certainly in the blogs you read.

Then you wind up, as you did, with too many of them. If you were really serious, you'd be like some atheist bloggers, and write every single thing that pops into your head. Of course, you'd have one less reader -- me.

PhillyChief said...

I bookmark so much shit you wouldn't believe it. Mostly it's because my memory sucks. I have folders within folders within other folders with crazy categories and such. It really started from my work bookmarking tutorials and other info related to the software I use, and then it became resources and reference images and on and on.

I know for myself, I don't have to hunt for something to write about too often. Like Ex said, there's no shortage of stuff around everyday. Eventually something either makes me laugh or pisses me off and I respond.

Speaking of which, that venting article was for dim-witted girls, not for me. Of course most of what I bitch about I can't directly change like our idiot President's bullshit, but there's always the possibility that something I write serves a purpose somewhere. I never simply bitch and moan about real world problems I can fix or worry about shit like that article speaks of. I'm very blunt, I deal with people head on and I don't fret about it. I'm also the guy people always tell their troubles to because I'll tell you the truth, which is probably what you don't want to hear but you know you need to.

When all else fails, I take the body dummy out and pound on him. I only wish I had somewhere to hang my heavy bag. My old place I had it hanging in the living room. I couldn't convince my wife to let me do that once we moved in together. I also miss sparring. There's a lot of truth in the movie Fight Club, at least the beginning.

John Evo said...

Guys - personally, I don't fear running out of ideas. If I have no ideas, I go to your blogs and comment instead! Several times I've come up with a new idea from stuff I've read at your places or others in the Atheosphere.

My "blog ideas" folder is really about things I intend to blog about. As a newspaper guy, Ex, you know that ideas need to be fresh most of the time. Once a story has been out there for awhile I usually back off of it.

Now, that could be silly because I'm guessing that anyone reading this post will find at least a couple of stories they hadn't heard about at all, let alone read an editorial comment on it. But it's just how my crazy head works.

Philly - my son works out at a gym in Tucson and spars on a regular basis; mostly just for enjoyment. If that's what you are into, maybe you should join a local gym. I hear tell they have one or two of those in the City of Brotherly Love. It beats pissing off your wife over a punching bag in the living room.

PhillyChief said...

I've never tried standard boxing. I studied Tang Lang Chuan and trained for Sanshou and Kuoshu fighting. It's hard to find a chinese martial arts school, then to take it further and find 7 star preying mantis, it's rough.

The problem I have is I can't do things casually, which is why I didn't keep up with training. My work demands so much of my time that I can't justify training. I think even going to a gym to spar occasionally would get me amped up to train more and then eat more of my time.

Ute said...

Idea folder... that's good. :) I have no such thing and I am so out of things to post right now.

Thanks for posting those links.

John Evo said...

@ Philly - I hear what you are saying, but even if regular boxing isn't exactly your thing, martial arts are, it's similar, and it would give your hostilities a good workout!

@ Ute - I wouldn't worry about ideas. You're an intelligent woman. They come when they come. But here's a guaranteed way to come up with a blogging idea - just read all of our blogs. I promise you that you will find something you see in quite a different way. Take that, go back to your blog and write about it (but don't forget to add a link back to the post that got you thinking)! :)

the chaplain said...

I may need to set up a file for blogging ideas. Right now, I just keep things stuffed inside my head. That may mean that my head's really empty and there's room for lots more stuff, or it may mean that it's getting full in there and I'd better find somewhere else to keep some of that stuff.

John Evo said...

Chaplain, I guess it's not a bad idea. I don't use it very effectively, but that does indicate a problem with the tool as much as we the worker. It might work great for you.

Plonka said...

Thanks for linking to some excellent stuff.

I have a folder full of partially finished essays. Sometimes I go back to them, sometimes I don't. I'm guess I'm like you. If something gets my goat I write if not, I comment. But there's more inspiration in this world than you can poke a stick at, so something interesting is bound to come along eventually.

John Evo said...

But there's more inspiration in this world than you can poke a stick at, so something interesting is bound to come along eventually.

I agree. I don't know why I keep the folder. The stuff just seems interesting when I read it and I guess I can't bear to do nothing with it!

Plonka said...

The stuff just seems interesting when I read it and I guess I can't bear to do nothing with it!

Me either. Where you've had one thought, you may at some stage have another. I figure they don't take up that much space, so it's better that they're still there if want them than not.