April 18, 2008

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Two posts in one day? Unheard of! But check it. I was reading this article about what the world will be like 50 years from now. Just a bunch of random people guessing about scientific inventions and advances in medicine, etc. I enjoy pondering that from time to time (after all, I enjoyed Star Trek back in the day). But what makes this article blog worthy is that someone predicted that having cats as pets will be a thing of the past! Glory! This article gives me more hope than Obama!
Diseases ranging from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder will be shown to be caused by infectious agents that take advantage of genetic predisposition, says psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, president of the Treatment Advocacy Center. Researchers will be surprised to find that many of those infectious agents are being transmitted from animals to humans. As a result, it will be uncommon to keep cats, birds or hamsters as pets - but we'll still have dogs around, because they've been "man's best friend" for so long that we've already adjusted to their infectious agents.

Wait for me... while I tie my shoe.

While I'm waiting for my defense slides to compile (stupid LaTeX) I thought I'd work on a post.

It's 12 days till my defense. I can't help but feel I should be more nervous and much busier than I currently am. I turned in my dissertation to my advisor early last week. He's dodged me since then. I saw him this Tuesday and the conversation went something like this:

Advisor: Well, I finished that grant proposal I've been working on. I'm pretty happy with it. I guess now I need to read your dissertation. When's it due to the committee?
Me: Tomorrow.
Advisor: Hmmm. Well, let's see. You defend April 29th?
Me: April 30th.
Advisor: We can turn it in Monday. That will still give them plenty of time.
Me: If you say so.

So, yeah. I still haven't received his final edits. I am tempted to be worried about this as he could swoop in and propose tons of changes - but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the document is tight enough. In the meantime, as I've said, I'm working on the slides for my defense. It's actually frustratingly difficult trying to decide what to include. Describing 4 years and 135 pages in 45 minutes is not simple.

In other news - I went to a Graduate Engineering Keg Kill last night. It was essentially Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers versus Biomedical and Systems Engineers. I am ashamed to report - MAE lost. I admit though, I personally wasn't playing to win. (I needed more motivation than winning bragging rights.) Still, props to Rookie and Duda for hosting an enjoyable evening. After all, how could I graduate from an institution such as UVA without having helped kill a keg of crappy, crappy beer?

Afterwards, I headed home and caught the new episodes of 30 Rock, The Office, and Scrubs. For those who care - I'm still freaking out about The Office episode. Soooo incredible. I have long been worried that the writers would try to force Pam and Jim into some sort of Ross & Rachel, overly dramatic, tumultuous relationship. After all, the tension between P & J essentially drove the series for the first several seasons. Creating more push-pull or negative drama between them would keep us all glued ever week. But honestly, I've never felt that's what we all wanted. For once we'd like to see the happy couple get together and stay together. It does happen in the real world you know. And the show will still be funny. I'm ecstatic that it appears the writers aren't afraid to walk down that road (though I admit I am still suspicious as it seems too good to be true.)

OK. The new slides are done. I'm going to mock-defend to see how much I've got so far.