The Engineer’s Baby – Personal Life Management

I love my wife.

(You know that a declarative statement requires a “but” to be applied after it, you are just hanging around to see how much trouble I’m going to be in.)

I love my wife. But, we don’t get much time together anymore. (Ok, clearly dodged that bullet.)

The fact is, the time in the evenings not devoted to sleep is usually devoted to “unwinding” which is an activity mostly occurring without our respective spouse. The trouble is unwinding what I think I need from what she thinks she needs and what the baby will definitely inform you that she needs.

I’ve seen and heard a lot about the distance that develops between a husband and his wife after the pregnancy. The mother has a full day of love and attention (from the baby) and just wants to be left alone in the evening. The father has a full day of work and is stressed and bothered in the evenings. (This isn’t unusual, with our without the baby. My work runs pretty stressful. I’m sure there are plenty of people who catch a nap at work, get some reading in, and maybe a couple laps at the gym. Not me.) As I stated before, I try to take the night shift so I’m a bit more stressed and bothered because I’m low on sleep. It doesn’t make for a comfortable house.

What to do about it? Well, complain.

Yeah, I know, sounds kind of lame, since as I guy I’m generally expected to “suck it up and soldier.” I’d do that, but women don’t see it. (Yeah, I know, how is this possible?) Frankly, if you don’t bitch and moan, women don’t notice. I’ve had a broken finger for a week and she didn’t notice until I couldn’t get the cap off of a new jar of tylenol. I was trying to go through the day without saying anything, but my hand was slowly ceasing to function at all. I’ve learned to do a mild level of bitching and moaning about injuries, just so she knows I’m all right and won’t panic when she finds out my hip is dislocated or my shoulder or ribs… Suddenly finding out I had a broken bone didn’t work well with her.

I don’t want to lump all women into one category…but… in general, I only see guys sitting around bitching and moaning on TV. I’ve never seen it in real life. I’ve been through a couple wives and a couple dozen female friends – they all do it. I need to “ping” her with my problems on a regular basis, just so that she can put them in her “to do” box.

Yeah, it feels a little weird to have to tell your spouse you need time, but hey, it works.

There is a second thing, and it is equally odd. Women don’t always have a good hobby that you can join into, not like a guy. Now that was “lumping all women together.” I’ve a friend who does art and would love her husband to come kvetch. I know a woman who watches football and her husband hangs out with her all weekend. (She also drinks beer.) Not every man gets that lucky. What do women do that you can join in on? Shop. Yeah, lumping, but just about every woman wants to hit the stores come the weekend. Sometimes, if you want time with your wife, you go shopping.

My lady is already planning this weekend, an arts and crafts show, a trip to Babies R Us, maybe a dinner … if only we had a baby sitter we could do more. It isn’t a romantic weekend, but it gets me time with the woman who means the most to me. Sometimes just time is worth a lot. Yeah, wild sex would probably be better, but that is a problem for another day.

Water Bears are Space Aliens !!!

Stephanie was sending this around, in between advertising her newest book, (speaking of space aliens and UFOs) so I figured I had to try it out. Oh, read the Displaced Detective series, good books.

It is probable, 99.76% positive, that the title of this blog post is as much a lie as my statistics. But take a look at that thing! Space Alien! Ok, so it is only a mm long. Well, maybe it won’t take over the world…wait…it already lives everywhere…ok, it took over the world. This little … Bug? … is the most highly evolved survivor seen yet. It can hybernate through Outer Space. Amazing… and a little bit frightning.

I seriously want to praise the scientist featured here, he didn’t “sex up” the Tardigrades in any way. An amazing achievement for a scientist these days.

The Engineer’s Baby – Long Promised Baby Picture

This is a family portrait taken in the hospital. Baby here is less than 3 days old. You can see that she was just delivered from Remulak. (come on folks, use Google) You can see that I’m beardless and hairless, what is left is gray-ing and thinning. The wife is a bit out of shape due to baby weight, but she has never been more beautiful and we have never been more happy. (I’m out of shape due to laziness, different problem all together.)

I’ll get the pictures from the Aquarium mailed to work so that I can upload them. Everyone should see that expression on her face.

Mad research leads to mad public

Mad research leads to mad public:

some fallacies of student research

By Marina Sergeyeva, scientist and author of Upstairs and Nikki & Nick are great friends to pick!

 written on 9/10/2012, posted

Coincidentally, the day I finally get an opportunity to write a post on a topic I’ve been long meaning to, also happens to be the day of something special and seemingly contradicting to my topic, and Geneva holds the secret to it. That’s right, Sep. 10th four years ago (in 2008) tiny matter made big flashes, into the future and of the past, as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN fired its first beam of protons, and has been running since with minor downtimes. Although scientific teamwork at CERN seems to be on track, especially with the Higgs boson recent news attention, a lot of the researching world has been flooded with subpar analysis. This issue has been considered by scientists and several critics [see b. & c. below] in the past, but I want to discuss a few points that might not have been covered, from a somewhat psychological perspective. I have firsthand experience with college-level research, and since a large volume of modern research arises from institutions, these points could be helpful to note the next time one relies on a study. This is not to say that quality research doesn’t exist, because quality research is what practitioners and other scientists should keep at hand when considering a problem, to make better evaluations and decisions.

Consider an environment where you are placed under influential command and have to carry out a task to make yourself and the person over you look good. This is not hard to imagine because at some point we deal with this either in school or at work (even home), where someone else is a boss.  Naturally, humans strive to be perceived as valuable by a peer or a superior. This is especially true of highly intelligent individuals, as they tend to reveal their thoughts/findings only after absolute confidence, so they expect a greater praise because they are held under higher standards. Supportive and jealous peers both contribute, whether unknowingly, to a strong level of self-criticism that develops during school years in smart students. This is the positive feedback loop: being considered valuable (either positive or negative “labels” of smarts, such as ms. cheatsheet, mr. brainiac, etc.) and wanting more of that response, even if peers’ expectations are sensitized and the bar is raised higher, so raising self-expectations and performance. No one wants to disappoint people’s established perception of one’s mental or physical abilities. Thus, by the time this student gets into an ivy league school, self-perceptions have long been molded by outsiders. Affirmatory results might also be associated with this perception, since raising the bar usually leads to greater effort. So yes, good work might come out of these determined students, but all methods will be exhausted to assure such success, including approaches frowned upon in the scientific community. “If you can’t join them, beat them” type of approach, not something normally practiced. This could also partly explain contradictory results between research teams from different institutions. (There are other factors playing a role in inconsistencies, which is a topic for another blog.)

The public reading of studies done from some prestigious colleges identifies with a trusted name, yet they will never know the exact details under which such a study was performed, in fact no one but the unsupervised student may know. Difficulties in the process are not described. What typically happens with research at institutions is the PI (principal investigator, usually a professor), who’s ultimately responsible for a specific topic, assigns tasks (the background of which is a student’s responsibility) to capable, eager students, and “overseas” any difficulties students may have. The PI and all students working on tasks even over the years make up the research team. The professor has many responsibilities and sometimes several investigations going on simultaneously so can’t babysit each student during minor issues, encouraging independent thought. The team of shifting students works on the thesis until a favorable, publishable result is obtained. This is where shortcuts begin. From a student’s perspective, who probably seeks to become a full-time researcher, great performance on this first dip into research feels crucial. A lot of trial and tribulation of one’s desires and abilities can be learned at this stage. Respect, confidence, possible publication, scholarship funding, and sometimes a grade all depend on the outcome. What is a student to do here with all these pressures when something doesn’t come as expected? Surveys on falsification of data reported a good number of students committing such no-no’s. These smart students may know the outcome and can “fit” the data nicely to a results or interpret things to their liking, kind of like what Hawk mentioned in his post on fitting equations to events, and rush to conclude the study before next set of students grabs onto and expands on their work.

This mostly contrasts to the way research is done outside of schools. I suppose the difference here is similar to how an experienced private surgeon and a hospital setting with residents swarming over the patient differ. Cation and careful understanding should be taken with either case, but the amount of contradictory information that comes out from the closed doors of science into the careless treatment of scientific information by the media is enough to make any sane person go mad with the science!

Here are some informative, some humorous information on how to deal with reports:

  1. From National Library of Medicine, how to read health news and clinical effectiveness

  2. Humorous sketch of scientific Inferno:

  3. David Freedman’s “streetlight effect” scientific critique shows some pitfalls of research, and he speculates why they happen.

  4. Studies that this doctor encourages his peers to know:



The Engineer’s Baby – Bottles

I wasn’t going to get interested in specific products, but you might as well know what I’ve found out. The new Wide-mouth bottles have advantages…but more problems than advantages.

This is a comparison between Tommy Tippee and Dr. Brown, two top of the line bottles. Both of them have air-control inserts to reduce gas/colic. They are overall good products. Baby bottles now come in two different sizes. I don’t mean how much they hold, but how big the diameter of their mouth is. Tommy Tippee’s are wide, Dr. Browns are normal.

Tommy Bottles

They are easy to fill, the scoops fit in the hole. This is really only an effect if you are mixing dry formula in the bottle. I am.

They are more like natural nipples than small bottles. If you are only feeding the kid from artificial sources, this is supposed to be better for development. If you are feeding the kid from multiple sources, it gets more complicated.

They essentially teach kids to chew on nipples to tell the difference between Mama and Plastic. It makes a difference on how they drink, so they have to have a method. Normal bottles are a lot different than the wide mouth bottles, the kid doesn’t seem to have much problem figuring it out. Bottles have a lot higher rate of flow than breasts, so the kid will drown herself if she isn’t paying attention. (Baby D manages to breathe and drink at least once a feeding. A bit aggravating.)

The new nipple design pulls away from the side of the bottle when the kid chews… all my clothes smelled like milk anyway, but I want a higher percentage of milk in the baby than on my shirt. So we’re going back to Dr. Browns.

Dang it, I’ve got great new pictures of the kid looking at fish in the Tennessee Aquarium…can’t get them onto this computer.  Here is a stolen shot from somebody’s vacation. Love the TN Aq… expensive but a nice place to visit.