### I stand with DNLee

 Come correct or step to. Presumptuous blog editors, you don't want none of DNLee.Image credit: DNLee
For background, check out Sean Carroll's excellent overview over at Cosmic Variance. The gist is that a minority woman postdoc (DNLee) was asked to contribute to a biology blog. When she turned down the invitation, things got all nonlinear:
[A]n editor named “Ofek” at Biology-Online.org asked DNLee to provide some free content for him. She responded with:
But I will have to decline your offer.
Have a great day.

Here’s what happens less often: the person asking for free content, rather than moving on, responds by saying
Because we don’t pay for blog entries?
Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?
Read those two sentences from Ofek again. There's a lot rolled up in there. It's almost like fine wine. A full-bodied set of isms: sexism, classism, racism. You don't get that explicit taste in modern isms, with all their subtleties and subdued, implicit textures. Modern isms are like flavored water. This here, this is the real deal. Ofek's statement has a rich aroma of insecure frustration that assaults your palate before the first sip. Once on your lips you realize: oh my! This is a big one. Complex, seductive in its simplistic reductionism (she only wants that cash money!). The juxtaposition of "urban scientist" and "urban whore" all in one line. How does it fit?! It's almost overwhelming if it weren't for how short the statement was. And the finish! What flourish as you think on it a bit more. Do I taste citrus? Lemons? No, that's the presumptuousness you only get with the angry hurrumph of an entitled old man. So complex, this one. Savor it while you can, because it's going underground again, only to reemerge over colloquium dinner as a jumble of microaggression and bad assumptions.

You know, I almost admire Ofek for just tossing it out there in the open where it can be addressed head on. Whether it was a slip of the tongue (keyboard) on a bad day, or a cry for help, at least he was honest, unlike most of the remaining sexist/racist thoughts in people's heads. Note to self: I'm not exempted.

DNLee writes:
My initial reaction was not civil, I can assure you. I’m far from rah-rah, but the inner South Memphis in me was spoiling for a fight after this unprovoked insult. I felt like Hollywood Cole, pulling my A-line T-shirt off over my head, walking wide leg from corner to corner yelling, “Aww hell nawl!” In my gut I felt so passionately:”Ofek, don’t let me catch you on these streets, homie!”
Fortunately, she pulled it together and wrote a beautiful retort. Sean Carroll reproduces her full blog entry. I highly recommend that you mosey on over there and check it out. As for my part, I'll repost her video response below.

I sincerely hope that I could respond with such maturity and eloquence if this happened to me. I stand with you, gurl, and I'm learning from your example. I also subscribe to her blog now. Check out this entry on camel crickets.

I <3 DNLee!

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…