General exam: Passed

I am now the current owner of the General Exam Hat.

Excuse me while I go pass out.

I’m off to the Women in Secularism conference!

On a typical day I’d still be sleeping for four more hours, but right now I’m in the airport. And in a couple more hours, I’ll be in DC for the Women in Secularism conference! I’m super excited (well, excited as you can be at 5am and about to fly to an opposite coast). The lineup is amazing, and I’m honored to be a part of it. Can’t wait to see all of my godless friends!

Watch #WISCFI on Twitter for con updates. Of course, we won’t be tweeting the top secret lesbian rituals or our plan for worldwide castration, but…

I’ve said too much.

My flight will be just as fun. I get to read a dozen papers on multiplexing microRNA for high throughput sequencing to study for my general exam! Wooooooooo! …man, when I scheduled this conference a year and a half ago, my schedule was a little less hectic. Oh well. Honestly I’ll probably get more studying done while trapped on a plane without distraction (aka the internet).

If you’re at the con, say hi!

I’m busy sciencing!

Sorry for the lack of posts. My written thesis proposal is due today, and I’ve been working overtime lately to get it finished. To tide you over, I give you what I wish could be my entire Significance section:

Instead I get to ramble for a page about expanding the knowledge in a field and evolution and cancer. Okaaayyyyy…

Bristol Palin’s advice to Obama

The advice:

“While it’s great to listen to your kids’ ideas, there’s also a time when dads simply need to be dads. In this case, it would’ve been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that’s not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage. Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids’ worldview.”

My summary: “You should have raised your daughters to be ignorant bigots who are unable to think for themselves and parrot crap that has been repeatedly disproven by science, just like my mom did!”

Thanks for the advice, hypocritical teen mom abstinence shill!

Ask Edwina Rogers anything on Reddit

The SCA’s controversial new Executive Director is doing an AMA on Reddit. I know a lot of you had questions about her, so now you have a chance to ask her directly.

If you need inspiration for a question, check out this “interesting” interview Greta conducted with Edwina. “Interesting” meaning “frustrating as hell.”

I am jealous of Canada yet again

First you hoard all of these strange delicious candy bars from me. And now you have a new quarter featuring a dinosaur? With glow in the dark bones?!?!

I hate your awesomeness, Canada.

Happy April Fools

In case you didn’t take a look at the calendar yesterday, I wanted to clear up some things for you. Greta isn’t leaving Freethought Blogs due to lack of rage. I’m not leaving Freethought Blogs because I’ve become an MRA. And the rest of Freethought Blogs is sticking around too.

Sorry for all the heart attacks we caused yesterday. Mwahahaa.

Just to make you jealous…

Tim Minchin touched me.


Greta Christina’s new book: “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

You all should know who the fabulous Greta Christina is by now. And now she’s become even more fabulous by writing a book!

Available on Kindle and Nook

I was originally going to wait for the print version since I don’t have an ebook reader, but I couldn’t stand the wait. So I downloaded the Kindle App for my iPhone, prepared to squint at my screen during my flights to and from the Reason Rally. Then I made the mistake of starting to read it early… and I plowed through the whole thing in a day. I couldn’t put it down.

But it’s not surprising. Greta has always had the special power to calmly and pointedly explain even the most rage inducing or complicated topics. I often find myself reading her posts on a topic I’ve talked about, thinking “I wish I would have said it that way!”

And this book is no different. As someone who has been reading Greta’s blog for 6 years and has been an atheist activist for 5, most of the stories and arguments weren’t new to me. But they were put so eloquently that I still gobbled them up, and stored them away in my brain for future debates. Especially the various hilarious quotes involving peanut butter, hair dyers, drowning in chocolate, and parrots.

So in short: buy it now. You won’t be disappointed.

Blag Hag meetups at the Reason Rally!

With the Reason Rally predicted to get 30,000 to 50,000 visitors, you probably won’t run into me randomly. But here’s where you can find me on Friday and Saturday, in case you want to say hello!

On Friday, March 23 I will be going to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. If you want to join me and let me be your unofficial genetics/evolution geeky tour guide, meet me outside of the main entrance at 2:30pm. This is assuming I don’t have any major flight delays – make sure to check my twitter feed for updates.

I also do not have any plans for dinner on Friday night. If you would like to join me for dinner near L’Enfant Plaza around 8pm, leave an RSVP in the comments. I need to know how many people are interested in order to pick a dinner location. I will update this post and tweet the final location by Friday morning.

EDIT: I have a reservation at 8pm under “Jennifer” for a big group in the dining room of:

Jenny’s Asian Fusion
1000 Water St SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 554-2202

Please bring cash because they won’t do individual bills. And I’m not buying, haha. They have a full bar and are open until 11pm.

On Saturday during the Rally, you can find me at the Secular Student Alliance table in the sponsor tent from 1pm to 3pm and then 4pm to 6pm. Note there are two different tents next to each other that will each have an SSA table – so if I’m not at one, I’m at the other.

Finally I’ll be at the FtB/Friendly Atheist afterparty here. Well, maybe. Only the first 150 get in and I have to help the SSA take down their tables, so I may not even get into my own event. But I will try my hardest, even if it just results in me sadly peering into the window as you all point and laugh.

Who’s excited?!?!?!

On complaints about Reason Rally speakers

It’s 5:30am, I’m boarding a flight in 10 minutes, and I’m typing this on my phone, so I’ll be brief:

What PZ said?



Hemant nailed it.

I also can’t speak for the Rally as a whole, but I can speak from my personal experience. I’m on the board of the Reason Rally as the representative for the Secular Student Alliance. I’ve put hours and hours of volunteer work into making sure this event will be as fun and successful as possible. Did you read that? As possible.

And right now, it’s impossible to find the “perfect” atheist politician. Some of the celebrities are going to have said stupid or sexist bullshit. But the Reason Rally is about getting secular people who have never heard about the atheist movement to know it exists and to get involved. If we crossed off every name that ever said something wrong, we’d have no draw or media appeal.

So, am I jumping for joy that Penn Jillette, Bill Maher, and Lawrence Krauss are speaking? No. But you know what I’m going to do? Go use the bathroom during their talk.

You know what does make me jump for joy? The Parks Department estimates 30,000 to 50,000 people will attend the Reason Rally. Yes, you read that figure right. That’s tens of thousands of people who have never heard of an atheist movement or organization that will now know we exist. And that’s what this event is about. It’s not a science lecture, and it’s not an attempt to convert people to atheism. It’s making our numbers larger and motivating our existing members so our movement grows stronger. So that in the future we will have skeptical atheist politicians, and will have celebrities that don’t make us occasionally cringe.

It’s just a flesh wound

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. On Saturday I received my car back from the cleaners, and it looked pristine and didn’t have a hint of mold smell in it. And it ended up costing less than my deductible, so I don’t know why I even bothered with State Farm other than to find out they’re massive assholes. But kudos to Mr. Detail for being very helpful and saving my car. And thanks to everyone who randomly made donations during my car crisis! Your acts of kindness cut the cost way down and I really appreciate it :)

Then on Sunday I had a door slam on my finger. Yaaaay.

I was closing my boyfriend’s outside door when a huge gust of wind came by and slammed the door shut. It pinched my finger and I yanked my hand out as reflex. Which was a poor choice, since that only succeeded in ripping a large chunk of skin right off the end of my finger.

Thankfully my boyfriend is the son of two doctors, so he threw 394271 types of disinfectants and bandages at me as I was sobbing and bleeding into his sink. The only highlight of the situation was when he said “These will definitely make you feel better” and appeared with Jesus novelty bandaids.

There was really nothing to stitch back together, so I just kept it under ice for the night. Went to the student health center this morning where they wrapped me up better than bandaids and noted that yep, I pretty much ripped my epidermis clean off the tip of my finger. Hurray. I bet it’ll leave a scar, right? I wonder if I’ll have a fingerprint there.

Thankfully it’s my middle finger so I can type with only minor inconvenience. Especially since my first committee meeting is tomorrow, so I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon finishing my PowerPoint presentation. As long as I don’t accidentally flip off any of my committee members tomorrow…