I’m still alive!

I’ve been busy with talks and discussions with Indian evolutionary biologists (the community is small, but a few decades ago it was nonexistent). The good news is that the professors and students are smart and doing cutting-edge work, which bodes well for evolutionary biology in India–so long as the present government, which appears to be cutting way back on science, doesn’t keep up that trend.

Much “scientific” support appears to be woo-laden and heavy with confirmation bias designed to support the ruling ideology. Remind me to tell you about the “five benefits” institutes devoted to showing that products of cows achieve miracle cures (one link is here). Even the program’s name belies the confirmation bias that permeates this ideology-driven “research”: “Scientific Validation And Research On ‘Panchgavya’ (concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee).”  Those are the five miracle products of cows, which, of course, are considered sacred by Hindus and now are achieving the benefit of scientific validation.

I haven’t written much as the wireless was out in my hotel for a day and a half, which was annoying. I’m writing this on the wireless at the Bangalore airport, waiting for my flight to Trivandrum, which is delayed half an hour.

Everything has gone smoothly so far except for the two Disco Evenings of Nightmare (I had one on Xmas eve in Bangalore)–and it’s been a wonderful trip. Kudos to my hosts Shashi, Vidya, Amitabh, and Ray for being so hospitable.

I have many photos to show, but no time right now to put them up–besides, it’s 9 pm in Chicago. Some include the unique food of Karnataka, the state in which Bangalore resides.

As I must depart, enjoy a photo (taken with this computer) of my sitting next to a Buddhist monk using a smartphone. I’m tired as I was up at 5 a.m.


  1. Michael Scullin
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Tired? And up at 5.00 AM? Very bad for your telomeres

  2. rickflick
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Hang in there. Maybe sleep will come on the plane.

  3. mordacious1
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s going down to -5 tonight in Chicago, so welcome back.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how you can keep up such a punishing schedule. I get a little depressed if I travel too fast but perhaps that’s from the inevitable migraine increase. Hope you get time to relax soon.

  5. DrBeydon
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm. Seems to me bullsh*t is sacred in American politics, too. Safe travels, Jerry!

  6. Posted December 27, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    One wonders about the Disco Nightmares. But safe and happy travels!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      🤣 Now I’m imagining disco nightmares and they are pretty funny though annoying, as they ARE nightmares!

  7. lkr
    Posted December 27, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    I can’t say I’ve had much experience with ghee, but as a kid I was very much exposed, and at times immersed in the first four products, in descending order from Jerry’s list.

    No way to prove this, but I think the microbial bath contributed to my more-than-adequate immune system as an adult.

    Of course, this assumes one makes it to adulthood…

  8. Mark R.
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Ghee is not a miracle, but for those who haven’t had it, the first taste may seem so. The French got clarified butter right, but they just didn’t take it to the next step. Or if they did (maybe some deserts?) they never embraced the beauty that is ghee.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      India must have great expanses of unexplored areas teaming with evolutionary marvels. Or at least teaming with marvels that haven’t been thoroughly appreciated. You observed that a few decades ago, there were no evolutionary biologists that you knew of and now there is a movement of sorts and they’re smart. (You said they’re smart, so that means they’re smart.) That gives me hope. And I also hope contributions to field biology and saving species like the tiger are influenced by these smart, ambitious biologists that India seems to be fostering despite the government’s apathy.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:13 am | Permalink

      deserts…oh boy….the grit. And why the two separate posts? argh! I give up. Sleepy time.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I take the last paragraph as a Moment of Zen

  10. Charles Sawicki
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know that Hindus practiced the same or idiocy seen among Muslims, with conferences on “scientific miracles” in the Quran. Camel urine is also touted for its many benefits. Why is it always pee? With the Hindu fundamentalist government in power, science is bound for degradation in India. Another benefit of religion!

  11. Posted December 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m waiting with bated breath to hear more of the Disco Evenings of Nightmare. Wha’ happened?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      The worst auto correct ever, is what.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    From your header, I take it rumors to the contrary have been greatly exaggerated?

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