Dicks I Have Studied
Reblog if your icon is actually you.

A more science-y article about how Richard III drank 3 liters of alcohol a day.


You might like this.

Professor Evals

From today’s Dear Prudence, the advice column on Slate

Q. Online Humiliation: I am a professor who has been teaching for 15 years. When I began teaching I spent a great deal of time obsessing about my presentation of self in the classroom. End-of-semester teaching evaluations and direct feedback from students and colleagues were the cause of great consternation at times. I like to think I am beyond the self-loathing and periodic humiliation that often accompanied self-improvement, but with the ever-increasing presence of public online evaluations I find myself back at square one. Online evaluations are far more harsh than any I have previously encountered—and they are seen by so many more people, colleagues and family included. As such, zinger comments (e.g. “She swallows her own spit when she speaks” or “She thinks she’s something, but really she is a naive wishy-washy hack”) have me reeling as if I were a newbie. Do I need to continue reading these online evaluations? Or can I just avoid the cringing shame and misery by pretending they don’t exist?

A: And how anyone would like to spit on the kid who wrote that first nasty remark. I hope you know that if friends and family are looking at your ratings—and they very probably aren’t—that they would react as anyone would to the examples you’ve given. That is, they’d deplore the fact that snot-nosed, spoiled, know-it-all jerks are given a forum to vent their ugliness. Comments that you’ve cited are their own self-commentary. That is, they say more about the students who wrote them than the professor they’re supposedly critiquing. However, maybe there are some serious students who make helpful observations: “She knows her stuff, but can get diverted into digressions when people ask questions.” Or, “The term paper is an easy A, so don’t sweat it.” My suggestion is that you have a trusted person—a sibling, a good friend—vet the comments for you, and only forward the sincere and useful ones. Let’s hope you get to contemplate some useful criticism, and enjoy the compliments.

And later on:

Q. Re: Online Humiliation: If the prof doesn’t already spend some time talking to her class about the purpose and impact of online evaluations, that might be helpful! My typical spiel—”I’m really, very, very interested in your thoughts on the course and how to improve it! I’ve found in the past, that there’s a certain kind of student that uses evaluations to convey that they not only hate my course, but hate me personally. If you know that student, please let them know that this kind of feedback does a disservice to everyone. I know profs who no longer read evaluations because of this kind of hurtful feedback; this is really a shame, because I’ve found that honest, constructive student criticism is really essential to improving my courses!” In my own case, I’ve found that this works pretty well.

A: I like this idea, but I think the way you convey it sounds a little too defensive. I like that you say that you carefully read student evaluations and look forward to helpful insights about the class. You can add that as your comments about their work will always be respectful and on point, so you would appreciate the same courtesy from them.

Maybe we can construct an online eval-vetting Tumblr circle!


have you ever known somebody so shitty they completely ruin that first name for you?


Thanks for the congrats, everyone. You all are the best!

Best news ever!

I just got hired full-time at the university where I was adjuncting!


It’s a non-tenure-track lectureship (long term, not visiting), but it’s a start. It has benefits and everything. I’m pretty stoked!

I was reading Wikipedia articles yesterday about post-apocalyptic novels and movies, specifically the “last few people left on earth” kind. It got me thinking about how humans might end up like cheetahs (not the run 70 miles per hour trait but the genetic bottleneck issue).

But it also got me thinking about other things. One of the movies I read about featured 2 men and one woman left alive. The movie was partially about the men fighting for her. The woman was interested in one of the guys and not so much the other, but the fight was over which man would help her repopulate the earth.

And I thought: I want to see a “last people left standing” movie or story in which one of the people is an asexual.

What would the asexual do? Some asexuals might have sex in order to have children, but some of us are not going to go there. Would the asexual feel an obligation to have sex in order to procreate or would she/he refuse and think humanity deserved to die out? Or refuse sex because it is his/her right to do that, and the fate of humanity be damned? I imagine I would waver between these poles, and it’s difficult to decide what to pick.

As for the other people, what would they do? Would a sexual person respect the asexual’s decision to not have sex, even for procreation, if it meant humanity would die out? Even if there were a handful of people left, would the other survivors let the asexual “opt-out” or nag at her to have a child for the sake of genetic diversity?

If there were only two people left, one sexual and one asexual, what would happen? What would be a good compromise? Is there such a thing as a good compromise in that situation?

Anyway, I think this situation could be fascinating for ruminating on a variety of topics, such as sexuality and its myriad expressions, respect for the decisions and bodily autonomy of others, and the morality of repopulating the world. A lot of these stories seem to take it as a given that the survivors must procreate, but, at the same time, humans have usually brought about their own destruction through nuclear war (or something of that nature). Do we, as a species, deserve a second chance? And if so, is that second chance worth violating someone’s desires?

This scenario could also play out with other variables, but my mind went to asexual for personal reasons. Plus, I think the prospect of having to debate the necessity and supposed “everybody likes it” nature of sex could make this a cool story.



"Batman: Dark Tomorrow"
GamePro, December 2002 (#171)
The writing credits couldn’t save this critical stinker; it was even awarded EGM’s first Shame of the Month.

Le sigh. 

At least you were the best part of it?



"Batman: Dark Tomorrow"

  • GamePro, December 2002 (#171)
  • The writing credits couldn’t save this critical stinker; it was even awarded EGM’s first Shame of the Month.

Le sigh. 

At least you were the best part of it?



By the way, there are rumblings that the RIII Society’s contributions (financial and otherwise) to the dig and subsequent DNA matching (including John Ashdown-Hill’s painstaking genealogical search) have been either been completely omitted or seriously downgraded. 

FFS, ULAS. I’ve been a bit concerned that the RIII Society has spent more time feeling butthurt over being left out than in drumming up interest and support, but you can’t just leave the entire Society out in the cold. They worked hard to make this happen, and now the City of Leicester and the University of Leicester are acting like the entire thing was their brainchild. 

Obviously, I haven’t been to visit the center, but apparently, some of the displays are also in poor taste? *sigh*

I remain pissed because I was in Leicester from the 11-13th and only then learned that the Center was opening two weeks later!

FWIW, my sense is that Team Soulsby (he puts the “ass” back in “class,” btw) and Co. have seriously alienated the R3S over the course of the last year, especially after Leicester Cathedral rejected their fully-funded (and beautiful) tomb design and started making insulting comments about not wanting the Cathedral overrun with tourists. I will have to dig up the obnoxious pamphlet they published that talked about prospective tomb designs and whatnot. It was so obnoxious.

I also feel the need to ventriloquize my impressions of Leicester itself onto Lego Thor (he loved the pawn shops) so as not to seem too completely obnoxious. Suffice it to say that the city appears to need any tourist money it can get. My husband was also reading a lot about the city’s issues when we got back and found that a lot of residents blame things on the current mayor (Soulsby) who won the election in one of those Bush-era “let’s recount the votes because reasons…” elections.

idk the whole thing has turned into a sad clusterfuck and Richard himself would either be disgusted or he would have rolled in by now and York-slapped everybody into place

I’m glad we can see the grave. I recently read the book about the dig and the woman who pushed for it at first didn’t want any pictures of Richard’s body online. I’m glad that didn’t happen. I wanted to see them.

Maybe it’s because I have no respect, but I don’t find it offensive for us to see Richard III’s bones. I’m not saying all bones are free game (I support the laws we have in the US about native bones), but Richard III is different. Medieval people were not always the most respectful of dead bodies. Heck, they would dig up some bones and put them in an ossuary to make room for new bodies. I think that signals it’s okay to see Richard’s bones.

Plus, I really wanted to, so I’m glad those bones did the internet circuit!