Monday, March 23, 2015

Prejudice against women's leg hair and why it has everything to do with everything

I think it is fascinating that most people (at least in the present-day United States) think that women's leg hair is gross. I think it's even more fascinating that pretty much no one is interested in talking about that prejudice, or even admitting that it's something worth talking about. As explained in detail in the following exchange, I think the leg hair issue is a very useful issue to talk about because it is a fairly benign (funny even) topic that people nevertheless have strong opinions about and are reluctant to discuss, so it is useful as a kind of model for self-examination, and a test case for fighting prejudice. Below is an interesting discussion of the topic I had on Facebook a few weeks ago. I edited it slightly to remove personally-identifiable information. My favorite part is where we come to an agreement that the only way to really solve the problem of leg-hair bias is to destroy the whole world. I've also been collecting web-links and academic papers related to the topic, which I will annotate and post later sometime.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DNA and RNA Nucleotide Structure and Mnemonics Video

I've been planning to do a video about DNA and RNA nucleotide mnemonics for quite a while. I finally got around to making that video. I think I have a unique take on the mnemonics at least that may be helpful for some people. Hopefully this will make up for all the other goofy/useless videos I've been posting... I need to get something for my mic that makes it so it doesn't amplify my breathing so bad. Also, I need to say "umm" less, and instead of making half-under-my-breath asides, I should just say those things loudly like everything else. Other than that, I think it's a good video.

In summary:
The nucleotide mnemonic I use is:
GACT. I like it because it's goofy sounding, so it's easy to remember. The purines are before the pyrimidines (just like purine comes first in the dictionary). you can rearrange it like so:
to remember that G binds to C and A binds to T. GC bonds are stronger than AT bonds. So that pair comes first.

for RNA, it becomes GACU (pronounced: "Gackoo"). Everything about GACT is also true about GACU. If you can remember both, you will easily be able to remember that U replaces T in RNA.