Weekday update

I’ve finally returned from the steamy tropics to drippy Chicago, but there are at least two more posts I’d like to make on Colombia: the frogs + birds, and the fruits.  Stay tuned.

News for this week is that I have my first surgery—ever.  It’s completely minor: correcting a sinus condition that’s troubled me for a year.  And it’s a new procedure: balloon sinuplasty (video here).  Instead of the old-fashioned reaming out of your sinuses with knives and other bad stuff, they stick balloons up there and inflate them, pushing the bones into the right places. It’s like an angioplasty in the face.  It’s no big deal—perhaps, like Ashley Tisdale, I should have them lop off a bit of my proboscis on the side.  But I may be out of action for a few days.  I’ll be very curious to see what it’s like to lose consciousness, as I’ve never been under before. (By the way, the fact that you can lose consciousness by the administration of chemicals, and then restore it by their withdrawal, proves that consciousness is a chemical/neurological phenomenon.)

Second, yesterday the website passed four million views, which is cool.  Since this site started in February of last year (you’ll never hear me call it a “blog,” since I find that word grating) , it’s obviously undergone a metamorphosis.  It was designed as a supplement for my book, and I originally intended to publish only new evidence for evolution—and that only sporadically.  This intent has clearly changed (credit it to narcissism), and now I deal with food, literature, kittehs, and even cowboy boots.  I now think of it more as an extension of me rather than an extension of science, and if I don’t publish enough evolution for some readers, well, that’s what I do all day, and have other interests that I’d like to talk about here.  For those who come here expecting only science, I’d urge you to check the many sites (like The Loom, Panda’s Thumb, and Not Exactly Rocket Science), that deal mainly with evolution.  But I’ll never abandon that original intent.

I also suffered from some hubris when I started writing here.  I thought that my job was to dispense professorial wisdom to eager and untutored recipients, hungry to learn about evolution.  Oy, was I wrong!  I had no idea that among the readers would be many scientists and professional evolutionists, many of whom know a lot more than I do about topics I cover.  And not only that, but philosophers, musicians, literature addicts, and even a Nobel laureate or two. I can hardly make a post in which I don’t learn more than I teach. And I don’t think I’ve ever written a single post in which I didn’t say something wrong.  I appreciate the corrections, but it is humbling. (And, as the accommodationists tell us, we all need humility.)

I’d like, then, to thank the many readers who, with their thoughtful comments and regular attendance, have made this website enormously rewarding for me, and, I hope, a source of information and fun for others.

In honor of the 4,000,000 mark, I’m going to institute a contest, involving cats of course. If you have one, start photographing it now (or gathering photos) and writing a paragraph about your felid.  There will be prizes and celebrity judges, and details will be announced later.

And with that, I’ll go under the knife—or rather, the balloon.


  1. Matthew Cobb
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    “I’ll be very curious to see what it’s like to lose consciousness, as I’ve never been under before.”
    Ummm – what about every night?

    Have fun, be safe, and be back soon!

    • Matthew Cobb
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Oh, and happy 4,000,000 views! Yay!

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Oh, sweet Jebus, another mistake! Okay, but that doesn’t prove, in the same way that chemicals do, that it’s a physical phenomenon.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Mmmm, chemicals!

        • beechnut
          Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          So far, every time I’ve been unconscious I have not noticed a thing. Guess why. Before, yes (not so good) after, yes (not so bad) but during…

      • Hope
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Not really a mistake. I’ve only been chemically unconscious once, but it was entirely different than the sort of loss of consciousness that occurs with sleep. It was the weirdest sensation regaining consciousness because I realized that for a period of time I was just gone. I didn’t exist.

        • TrineBM
          Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          I’ve tried chemical loss of consciousness twice. Both relatively minor operations, and I find the moment right after they tell you to take a deep breath ab.so.lute.ly fascinating. I just left the building in the softest, most swirling manner. Whhhooooshhh and I was OUT.
          The first time they gave me too much, and I had the “pleasure” of having a nurse slap my fingers, my hands and then my face, then opening my eyes all the while yelling “DID – YOU – TAKE – ANY – DRUGS???” Well, no I didn’t take any, you GAVE me some. I was still unconscious (sp?)five hours after they’d removed my tonsils …

  2. sasqwatch
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I’ll be damned if I pray for you. 😉 Get conscious soon.

  3. Sigmund
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    You’re having a balloon shoved up your nose and blown up?
    I thought only the pope was inflatable.

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I have a terrible cold– and that was so funny, I meant to laugh, but had a coughing fit instead. But really, I was laughing. :-))

      Dr. Coyne–it’s really weird coming out of anesthesia, and being under for that matter. I had surgery for a deviated septum–it wasn’t too bad. You just can’t blow your nose for a couple of weeks afterwards–so don’t catch cold!

  4. Dominic
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I recently had a lipoma removed from my jaw – it had its own blood supply & plans to take over the world, & now resides in a penthouse flat somewhere in central London where it sits in a big swivel chair stroking a white Persian cat! Seriously though, they gave me the IV drip, said I would feel a cold sensation in the arm then I was out & next thing wide awake an hour & a half later, no ill effects whatsoever.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself – some of us are not experts on anything. Huxley (TH) said you should try to learn something about everything & everything about something. You do pretty well on that score.

  5. Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Oh, well, you are a blogger despite your odd denial, and a fun one at that. Everybody will miss you, especially those fabulous peacock feather boots. I could keep them company if you so wish.

    • Dominic
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      You make it sound as if JC’s about to peg out!

      • Tyro
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        If he does, JC will pop right back up a few days later, don’t worry.

  6. Kevin
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Of course, Ophelia Benson accounts for about 1.5 million of those views.

    I think she’s stalking you!

    Congrats on the milestone.

    Being put under anesthesia, for me, is qualitatively different from sleep. It’s much more of a total disconnect from the outside world (and apparently the inside world as well — no dreams).

    Good luck on the procedure. Let us know how it works out. I could probably use the same thing myself.

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      “Total disconnect”–yup. I became aware at one point while I was under–heard the doc breaking my septum, my brain’s secretary filed that noise away for later review, and back out I went. Total disconnect.

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Who, me? I – I – I’m not the most frequent visitor am I?!

      Well if I am whaddabout it; it’s a great “blog.”

  7. daveau
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I was out for my colonoscopy a couple of years ago. One minute I’m joking around, the next minute I’m waking up in a recovery area. Still a bit loopy when the doctor came to talk to me, but got over that fast. I hope when the time really comes to go, it’s that easy.

    Wait, is JC saying this website evolved? Congrats on those numbers!

    • Sigmund
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I wish they had put me out the last time I had a gastroscopy examination.
      It was in Japan so I didn’t understand what the doctor or nurses were saying and my wife, whose japanese is a bit rusty at this stage, was doing the translation. The doctor was having a devil of a job forcing the tube with the camera down past my larynx and into my stomach. Despite ten minutes of gargling the most vile tasting anesthetic imaginable I could feel everything in excruciating detail. He seemed to get stuck at exactly the place where my gag reflexes is most responsive (either that or I’m particularly sensitive in that region (which, I suppose, rules me out of one potential career move – sorry Templeton!)
      Anyway, the worst part was that in the middle of what felt like being forced to swallow an entire vacuum cleaner, the doctor turned to the nurse and asked her a question about whether she had used the correct gastroscopy camera. Unfortunately my wife mistranslated the question as whether the nurse had mistakenly used a camera meant for a rather different orifice!
      Needless to say this didn’t do much at the time to allay my gag reflexes.

      • daveau
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        At least it’s funny to you now. Good story.

    • Sal Bro
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      The odd thing about colonoscopy sedation is that it’s usually only conscious sedation, not general anesthesia. That is, patients aren’t completely “out”; they’re just groggy and forgetful. After watching a couple of procedures, I was struck by the role that memory plays in consciousness, as both of my patients were “awake” during the procedure but swore that they’d been completely unconscious.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I was supposedly anesthetized during this procedure, but I was completely aware of everything that was going on, including some pretty severe pain! And when it was over I had no recovery time; I just hopped off the bed and was ready to go. I swear that they must have forgotten the anesthetic!

        • Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Yarg! That’s no good.

          Except for not needing any recovery time. Welcome back. (I am not stalking you.)

        • Posted November 22, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Already? Wow–that was fast! Did they do the “Natural Sleep” thing where you take Valium the night before, more in the morning, and then they give you the anesthetic shots (that was the only bit that hurt me–nose was fine. My arm hurt like *crazy* for days)?

      • sasqwatch
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        My only experience with conscious sedation was during my vasectomy. I remember pulling stunts like counting back from 10, 9, dweee-e-uu-ur…urp… then remarking that NOW I understood the attraction that junkies had for IV drugs, etc., etc.

        I also remember the urologist trying to keep from cracking up as he was cutting into my nutsack. Sedation can make you do extremely unwise things.

  8. Michieux
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Look, I’ll make it simple. OK?

    Keep posting felids along with the other stuff, and we’re gonna hang around. Got it?

    Mr. Coyne?

    Oy, he’s sleeping already.

  9. Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Just make sure they reduce your turbinates.

  10. jason
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Keep up the great work Jerry. This is the first site I read every morning when I open Google Reader. I came after reading WEIT as a Evolution supporter, but stayed because of the Atheism and Accommodationist posts. As an uncompromising Gnu Atheist myself I found those posts most interesting and thought provoking. Long may they continue as there seems to be a never ending steam of Accommodationist or Gnu Atheist bashing articles out there.

    Although I’m an avid reader, I rarely comment. Slow typing skills being a big factor but also I find I never have to. By the time I’ve read a post pretty much everything I want to say has already been said in the comments (and probably more eloquently and more lucid than I could have expressed).

    I subscribe to over 100 blogs on various topics and I must say the comments here, especially by the regular contributors, are some of the best I’ve read. So major Kudos to the regulars here for playing a big part in keeping me coming back. Some of my favourites are (in no particular order): articulett, Tulse, NewEnglandBob, Michelle B, Kevin, Ben Goran, Eric MacDonald, Torbjörn Larsson, MosesZD, Michael Kingsford Gray, Josh Slocum, Wowbagger, James Sweet and Ophelia Benson to name but a few. Thanks Guys!

  11. Gareth Price
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I have one minor operation and I wondered the same thing about losing consciousness. And I still remember years later what it was like – not at all as I though. The anaesthetist (it was in England!) told me to count down from ten. I said “10, 9,8” and suddenly there was a lot of noise around me and I opened my eyes and a nurse pulled the mask from my mouth because the operation was over! The transitions were so abrupt and it was as if there were time in between either. Very curious and not at all like sleeping – at least in my experience.

    • Gareth Price
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Ooops – typed too fast. That should read “it was as if there was no time in between”.

  12. MadScientist
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t mind if the posts aren’t all about evolution – after all, that’s an awfully slow process.

    Don’t let ’em start talking on their mobile phones while they’re inflating the balloon. Floating about and stuck to the ceiling via the nose sounds awfully awkward.

  13. Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    First, this site rocks. It’s got it all — kittehs, biology, godlessness (excepting the kittehs, of course), food, and the best S/N ratio I’ve encountered since before the Neverending September. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right.

    Next, on unconsciousness. I’ve encountered that a number of times — a few surgeries and a concussion or two. I’m actually going to undergo it again tomorrow as I undergo a rather undignified diagnostic procedure that has me on an all-liquid diet today in preparation…with said liquids exiting my system in rapid fashion a few hours from now. I think unconsciousness is best described as a discontinuity. Even in sleep, you have some sense of time passing; when unconscious, it’s like a tape splice.

    Last, cats. I’ve been privileged to serve three cats in my adult life.

    First was Joanie. A college girlfriend of mine had recently moved in to an apartment with her boyfriend; with the boyfriend came his ex-wife’s two cats, Joanie and Chachi, a brother-and-sister pair of tuxedos. Chachi had started terrorizing Joanie, not letting her use the litterbox and that sort of thing…so would I be willing to adopt her?

    My own landlord consented. Joanie was understandably freaked out in the new surroundings, but we both fell asleep that first night with me holding her paw. We had a wonderful time together the next few years. She especially impressed me with her sense of humor — yes, she had one. She would nonchalantly walk over a ball or other small toy, completely ignoring it. When she had passed over it, while it was out of her view, she would — without looking — flick the ball sideways. When it finally entered her field of vision, she would act completely surprised as this missile that came from nowhere and proceed to give chase.

    Several years ago I mentioned her in an epistle. You can see pictures of her here and here.

    After only a few years living with me, Joanie developed congestive heart failure. I didn’t have health insurance for her or the financial resources to pay for treatment out of pocket. I know now that it wouldn’t have made much of a difference, but it was still very hard back then.

    A couple years after Joanie died, the same college girlfriend…well, her mother had to move into assisted living. She could have taken Tamar to the home with her, but she didn’t feel she could take proper care of her. So, once again, I wound up adopting a senior cat.

    Tamar was a real sweetheart, very much fond of cuddling and being brushed. She was older and slower than Joanie, but still enjoyed chasing toys, at least for a little while, if I waved them in a suitably enticing manner.

    Having learned my lesson from Joanie, I signed Tamar up for health insurance the very day I took her home with me. And it’s a damned good thing, too, because she developed a bladder infection some months later — I later learned it wasn’t her first, and it certainly wasn’t her last — and the lab results from the blood tests she got at that appointment revealed that she was in the early stages of kidney failure.

    That was quite the roller coaster as well, and not the good kind. However, I was able to give her at least a year more quality time than she would have gotten without good medical treatment. The dear even started looking forward to the daily sub-cutaneous fluid injections because she knew she’d be getting her favorite snack as soon as we were done.

    Those of you who follow the Endless Thread on Pharyngula might have read my accounts of her last days. I hope y’all won’t mind if I prod too deeply into those memories…it was just this past summer.

    Anyway, you can see what she looked like here.

    The most recent addition to my family is Baihu. A couple years ago, before I bought the house and long before Tamar was symptomatic, I had put some garbage — including empty cat food cans — outside the front door in preparation for making a trip to the dumpster. When I next opened the door, I caught a glimpse out the corner of my eye of a cat making a mad dash for safety. So, I started setting out some food. Eventually, I spotted a young tiger-striped kitten and his calico mother. Mom never let me get near her, but the kitten would wait longer and longer each day before running away. Eventually, he let me pet him while he was eating. Not long after, I invited him inside, and he’s been an inside cat ever since. Here he is a day or so after he moved in, and here he is in the bedroom of the new house.

    Baihu is a happy, healthy, energetic, playful, and loving young cat. My hands are both his favorite pillows and his favorite toys. They’re constantly scratched up, as are my shoulders — he loves to ride on my shoulders wherever I go in the house. I often have to type one-handed as he naps, curled up around one of my arms as I rub his belly. Losing Tamar was really, really hard…but Baihu has made the transition to a Tamar-less life less painful than the transition to a Joanie-less life was.

    As much as Baihu and I are inseparable, he’s absolutely terrified of other humans. The trombonist in the quintet gives me a lift to rehearsals; the instant he even hears his (modern, quiet) car pull up (through closed doors and windows), he’s off like a shot to one of his favorite hiding places.

    I can see now that I’ve already typed waaaaay more than I should have, so I’ll shut up, now. Feel free to prompt for more…if you dare….



    • daveau
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I can’t keep up with the endless thread (funny thing about infinity, it’s really big), so I didn’t hear about the loss of Tamar. I’m very sorry. We had our own loss earlier this year, Bryxie, a British Shorthair. We lost her to Severe Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Mercifully, there was only a few bad hours right at the end, and she never minded all the drugs and stuff that she took for years.

      • daveau
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink


      • Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. I can’t keep up with the Thread, either, but it was good to have it there for those few days.

        Frankly, I don’t understand how anybody can keep up with it, but that’s another matter….


        • daveau
          Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          They either have no job or no life. 😉

    • JBlilie
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Tamar was a very cute kitteh! You gave her a good hunk of life. That’s all any of can do for our beasties. It’s either longer or shorter — you never can tell.

      • Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Tamar was too a gorgeous cat!

        I’m rather fond of that picture. She was a soft and fuzzy and cuddly a cat as ever was, yet that picture of her shows her as all angles and disjointed hard lines.


    • JBlilie
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      The hardest things I’ve ever had to do was to take my two previous kittehs on their final trips to the vet (8 years apart). They both let me know it was time, they went painlessly, and I was holding them when they passed.

      I gave them good and long lives (the longer-lived one was 22 when she passed). That’s about all we can do: Give them good lives, whatever the length turns out to be.

      Sometimes, we just can’t afford extreme treatments to prolong life. I opted out of several for my first cat. It was not to save money; but to save him pain. When the path is plain before you, sometimes it makes more sense, for their sake, not to prolong life.

      I feel the same way about myself and have communicated this clearly to my family.

      • Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree completely. When I learned that Tamar had congestive heart failure on top of the renal failure…well, Dr. Bastek shot her full of lasix there in the hospital. That plus the standard pill dosage didn’t do much to help her breathing…so Dr. Bastek told me the maximum dosage that wouldn’t cause immediate side-effects. That brought her breathing back under control, but it brought on symptoms of her renal failure.

        I was able to find a precarious balance that kept her reasonably comfortable for a day, during which she mostly napped as I rubbed her belly. The traveling vet arrived late in the afternoon. He left with her body a short while later….

        As I explained to Tamar, it was what I would wish for myself, so how could I do any less for her?


        • Posted November 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          “As I explained to Tamar, it was what I would wish for myself, so how could I do any less for her?”

          That made me cry… :-((

    • nlgirl
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Baihu is beautiful! Looks much like our boss, Corky, though she is not quite so lovely. She is now getting on at the age of 11. A completely indoor cat so we may only be halfway to the end. Full of beans but not the most coordinated and graceful of felines. As a matter of fact, my husband had me lift her off a cabinet this morning (she wanted a mint that was up there) as he was afraid that when she tried to get down she would miss the jump back onto the table. She hurt her paw jumping onto a scratching post that is only 2 feet tall….

      • Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Baihu really does cut a striking figure. Right now he’s doing the curled ’round the arm thing again, leaving me to type one-handed. His coat is almost fractal…dark and light stripes, but the light stripes are themselves composed of dark and light hairs….

        Anyway, as a young’un of only about three years old, he’s still quite the athlete. He can climb and jump like you wouldn’t believe.

        Tamar…well, at the end, she needed help just to get into my lap.

        I’m a bit nervous about Baihu…as much as I’m hoping to keep him healthy and fit indefinitely (if I may channel a bit of Ray Kurzweil for a moment), if he ever does have trouble getting around…well, reckless athleticism is a big part of who he is. I don’t want to see him hurt himself, of course, but I also don’t want him to loose his joy in bouncing off the walls (and everything else).

        Speaking of bouncing off the walls…he’s hilarious when he goes into turbo mode. He runs around, full throttle, making (I kid you not) “Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!” sounds exactly like a little boy with a toy car. And woe be unto the toy at the terminal of his trajectory! We often wind up chasing each other, and then alternating chasing with face massages….



        • nlgirl
          Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          You should get some video of that. I want to hear the vrooms.

  14. Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we’ve all (I’m guessing) noticed the metamorphosis. It’s a testament (so to speak) to the possibilities of the medium. At its best the “blog” is a brilliant thing – a Pepys, a Kilvert, an Anne Frank, a Montaigne on every block. Your other interests make a shared treat.

    Best wishes for a speedy recuperation!

  15. Insightful Ape
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Dr Coyne,
    Thanks you for running this site and best of luck with your surgery.
    I come here every day and it enriches my life.

    • lamacher
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      I second this opinion. A wonderful, refreshing stop every day. Get entirely better, immediately!

  16. JBlilie
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Love your site Dr. Coyne!! Please please keep it up.

    You’ve had one helluva run to have no surgery until now! Good on ya!

    Regarding general anesthesia: The first time I had it, the anesthesiologist says, “now count backwards from 100”

    Me, “OK, one hun …”

    Next thing I was waking up in the recovery. I remembered passing out, vaguely and waking up.

    Last time, different drugs, mainly gaseous (less of a hangover, yay!), the anesthesiologist is chatting with me and seemlessly, I’m groggy and chatting with the recovery room nurse. Totally seamless. No impression of being unconscious at all (is that and oxymoron?) or having missed some time. No judder, no winking out of faculties, just instantaneously transported from one room to another (and given instant groggy potion.) Wild.

    • JBlilie
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Seamlessly, that would be.

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      “You’ve had one helluva run to have no surgery until now!” Especially as an American male….

  17. JBlilie
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and: Here’s wishing you a quick and complete recovery (and sinus improvement.)

  18. Vall
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I just want to add my thanks for the site. I enjoy many topics so I will never complain about non-evolution posts. You can’t go wrong with kitties.

    I’m not a scientist or Nobel laureate, but if you ever post about naval weapons systems and need correcting I’ll speak up. I don’t think that is very likely, so the high quality of regular posters will have to keep you on your toes.

  19. Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “you’ll never hear me call it a “blog,” since I find that word grating”

    We all have our tastes in words, but I’m curious why you find it “grating”.

    It seems to me that “periodic online journal, followed by readers’ comments” is a concept that needed a name, and it hadn’t occured to me to object to “blog”.

    It’s unusual in being abbreviated from the beginning, like “‘burbs”. Do you find that grating too? (I do, rather, but more because of its connotations.) “‘flu'” is appreviated at both ends, so how about that? Taking one syllable off a two syllable word hardly seems worth doing.

    If it’s the sound, you obviously don’t dislike “frog”, so how about “flog” or “blob”?

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Jerry can write for himself, but I’ve never liked “blog,” “blogging,” or “blogger,” either. And “blogosphere”! Gah.

      Just because English is as flexible as a Chinese acrobat doesn’t mean we should pretzelize everything, wordistically hypothesizationally verbalizing.



      • still learning
        Posted November 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Permalink


  20. Sili
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    This intent has clearly changed (credit it to narcissism), and now I deal with food, literature, kittehs, and even cowboy boots. I now think of it more as an extension of me rather than an extension of science, and if I don’t publish enough evolution for some readers, well, that’s what I do all day, and have other interests that I’d like to talk about here.

    So it’s a blog?

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s a website.

  21. Diane G.
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad I found this site! A host who’s a helluva writer with not only beaucoup scientific chops but an array of outside interests I find most entertaining, and an elite group of commenters making it even more compelling. Thanks, Jerry & the Crew, for improving my life.

  22. Jack Bentley
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    There is a strange phenomenon which I experience under anaesthetic. On waking – or being woken, I have no sense of time having passed. The first time I underwent surgery (stapedectomy), on waking I was initially certain that I had been under for only a few seconds.
    The sensation is very different from waking after a nights sleep, when I know that time has passed.
    I have not explored whether other people have the same experience.

  23. Doc Bill
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    So, Jerry, after all those years of watching Welcome Back Kotter you’re telling me “up your nose with a rubber hose” is true?

    Next thing you’ll be saying is that Travolta can really dance!

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      You tell me, Doc Bill:

      What a great movie that was: “He’s the king out dere, fadda!” “I love your new haircut! I love your polyester look!”

      • Posted November 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Thanks so much for that!
        I loved both the BeeGees and John Travolta (except I couldn’t see the movie when it came out–I was about 13 and it was R, wasn’t it?). (Too bad Travolta became such a nut.)

        This is why I love your site, you are just so very cosmopolitan.

        I’m glad you are out of your surgery. I’ve had a couple and going out completely is really cool. My last surgery was my favorite though and I wasn’t even out. C-section.

  24. Charles James
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Welcome back Senor. I’ve had 12 surgeries, a few with spinals with the accompanying happy juice. For the others, the lights were put out. My opinion is that the latter is preferrable. The biggest problem is trying to take the first pee after the surgery. Bonne chance!

  25. tomh
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    “For those who come here expecting only science, I’d urge you to check the many sites (like The Loom, Panda’s Thumb, and Not Exactly Rocket Science), that deal mainly with evolution.”

    This sentence reminded me of one of my favorite sites that I never see mentioned – maybe everyone knows about it? – called this week in evolution. The author (usually) discusses one published paper on evolution every week. Some of them are too technical for a layperson like myself, but most of the discussions are not only informative but entertaining.

  26. abadidea
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Like Jack and probably other people have said… my experience with anesthesia is a complete lack of awareness that time had passed. Completely different from sleep. It was “Well they are putting me under now, I wonder what it feels ‘Hey get up it’s over'”

    • J.J.E.
      Posted November 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been sedated and put completely under. I don’t remember much during the sedation (for oral surgery, but I do remember one part) but I remember absolutely nothing after counting back from 10 to 9 when I went completely under (for back surgery).

      In fact, for my back surgery, the gap in memory is seamless to my current self (this seamlessness was attained fairly rapidly after surgery). I remember counting backwards to 9 and immediately afterward being asked about how I felt on the way back to my room. Weird…

  27. blue
    Posted November 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Better than Pharyngula!

    thanks for the kick ass site, Jerr-, err, Dr. Coyne.

  28. Posted November 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I never know what to expect here but it’s always a great read, thanks. You post so prolifically I don’t see how you get any real work done.

  29. Ysor
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Your website has been an interesting and intellectually stimulating (not to mention, enlightening) read so far, thank you very much, Prof. Coyne! To my chagrin, I discovered your website only last June, and have been an avid follower ever since.

    Just out of curiosity, which Nobel laureates have visited this website? Apart from the few iconic ones’, e.g. Einstein, Marie Curie, Feynman, etc., I am not good at recognizing their names.

  30. daveau
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Like it or not, what may have started out as a unidirectional website, has become a web log (or ‘blog) where you chronicle your experiences and your readers comment and enhance the experience. I find the term uncouth, as well, but it is what it is.

    Similarly, your new-found fame makes people feel like they know you, and, thusly, call you Jerry, even though you haven’t met. We feel we know you to a certain extent and tend to use the familiar. I have settled on JC, which you probably don’t like either, but it strikes a balance, I hope.

    If I have to, I’ll trot down to the south side and introduce myself.

  31. Sean P
    Posted November 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Great site Jerry. Hope all goes well with your procedure. Get well soon!

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