Archive for the ‘Tweets’ Category


TrumpWatch, part 7: this time it’s personal

February 28, 2017

Here’s the latest in my 100-part series on Donald Trump getting under my skin.

As a white cis-gender heterosexual American man, I am rarely if ever the victim of prejudice. Thus, when Trump blames American problems on, say, immigrants, my objections are more intellectual than visceral. I don’t personally experience queasiness, sadness, rage, or fear in the way that an immigrant (or a child of immigrants, or a dark-skinned native who might be mistaken for an immigrant) might.

There’s one partial exception, though: the President’s recent comment (on Twitter, since repeated at CPAC) that the news media are “the enemy of the American people!”

When my ten-year-old son asked me about this, I found myself choking up. “My dad spent twenty years of his life working for a newspaper,” I stammered. “He did his best to gather good information and explain it clearly. What’s so horrible about that?!?” My thoughts turned to my dad’s sister, a longtime copy editor at BusinessWeek … to their great uncle (?) Robert J. Bender, who covered the White House for the United Press Bureau around the time of Woodrow Wilson … to my own forays into journalism. A few tears fell. My son patted my leg sympathetically.

At that moment, there was no room in my head for cerebral ideas about Trump’s rhetorical strategies or how they might relate to his policy goals. All I could think was: the President of the United States has insulted my family and our earnest pursuit of knowledge. That’s not really what he did, of course, but that’s exactly what it felt like.

The moment passed fairly quickly for me. Before long I resumed my status as a white cis-gender heterosexual American man shaking his head at Trump with detached bemusement. But my heart goes out to the truly vulnerable targets of Trump’s rants, who may not be able to move on so easily.


Trump is ever so slightly right about media bias

January 3, 2017

It is no secret that I consider Donald Trump unsuited to be president of the United States. But once he was elected, I decided to get to know him a bit better … by following him on Twitter. (Not exactly march-on-Washington activism, I know. But it’s a start.)

Some of his tweets seemed fine: standard rah-rah campaign rhetoric, shout-outs to his friends, etc. Others struck me as outrageous. For example:

Of course, nobody likes to see negative news coverage of oneself, but here Trump is (A) dismissing the work of an entire profession and (B) disingenuously claiming that he tweets largely to correct media distortions. (Why can’t he just admit that tweeting is fun for him?)

In sifting through his media-related tweets, though, I came across two that sounded more like justifiable self-defense.

Trump was presumably referring to a CNN story whose headline was Conway on Trump ‘Apprentice’ role: He’ll do it in his spare time.

For Trump-hating liberals, that headline is pure catnip. I certainly fell for it. “My God,” I thought, “why can’t he let go of his stupid reality TV show and focus on governing the country?”

But the reporting in the article itself is limited to two unremarkable claims by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway: (1) presidents have some free time in which to pursue non-government interests and (2) Trump is meeting with people who are helping him figure out whether he can or cannot be involved in things like The Apprentice.

In other words, Conway did NOT say that Trump would be working on The Apprentice, yet the clickbaity headline indicates the opposite. In this particular case, Trump’s anger was justified.

In 2017, as we retreat to our respective bubbles and echo chambers, let’s remember that no source is infallible, and that our adversaries are sometimes right.



Twicks and tweets from the past two months

November 1, 2013

24 Oct
A running friend describes a former teammate as “about 5’2″ and shaped like a potato.” But he was a national Div. III 1500-meter champion!

18 Oct
@redbox You send me two emails each time I rent a DVD. How about a reminder email when a DVD doesn’t get returned on time?

12 Oct
Today’s workout: 6 miles @ 6-min pace on a YMCA treadmill while watching the History Channel auction off a stuffed weasel. Definitely a 1st.

10 Oct
Just got an email that says, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Um, no. How about: “Life is short. Do some good while you have the chance.”

6 Oct
Great reading of @justwrought’s play “The Sequence” yesterday! 2 more shows to come. Thanks, @NWABR!

2 Oct
My 6-year-old, on the video for “Smells Like Nirvana” vs. “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: “The cow is different. And the sheep.” So perceptive!

27 Sep
Me: “Capt. Von Trapp doesn’t want to command a German ship.” My 6-year-old: “But that’s awesome! Most army guys would be begging for that.”

27 Sep
As a special treat, my son’s 1st-grade class will visit @CutterandBuck on Oct. 31. Nothing says “Halloween” like upscale golf clothing….

16 Sep
My 6-year-old son: “I’m going to watch Dora the Explorer…. Don’t tell any of my friends.”

7 Sep
Great fun today at @WildWavesGOWILD with my 6-year-old. Only disappointment: the ride called “Disko Flashback Boogie Ride” had no music.

3 Sep
Fun day-before-school-starts activity at @ElevatedSportz: dodgeball on trampolines! Genius!

3 Sep
Me, quoting @TMBG’s “Stone Cold Coup D’Etat”: “Daughter reaches for the knife…” My 6-year-old: “I’d reach for a gun. Knives are useless.”


Twittering the summer away

September 3, 2013

29 Aug
My 6-year-old son, at the conclusion of the Madonna episode of “Glee”: “I think EVERY week should be Madonna week.”

28 Aug
In 1991 I saw @ebb663 give a math seminar on cake cutting at @WilliamsCollege. Here’s the children’s book version:

25 Aug
Just finished a “Glee”-watching marathon with my 6-year-old. It was his idea … but that’s not much of an excuse, is it?

24 Aug
Is This the Worst Baseball Card of All Time? (cc: @jayaresea)

23 Aug
Tried to make Double Licorice Tea using a licorice spice tea bag and an actual stick of licorice. Results were disappointing.

20 Aug
My 6-year-old’s Boys & Girls Club went to a farm today. His favorite part: the roller coaster. Agriculture has changed since I was a kid.

18 Aug
Enjoyed a funny @Green_Stage production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” last night. Sat behind a woman in a @NKOTB @ThePackageTour t-shirt.

17 Aug
If ultramarathoner @scottjurek were a British detective:

14 Aug
Simple HTML tables are still useful. I added one to a class web page. Student reaction: “Wonderful! Brilliant idea. Thanks a lot!”

9 Aug
I’m spending the weekend at a Bend, Oregon home once inhabited by a pregnant man!

7 Aug
When one is in the midst of a Cryptosporidium outbreak, suitable apparel is a must. (Thanks, @eupathdb!)

5 Aug
Play dialogue overheard in car: Mel, 8, to twin sis: “Why are you still up? Why are these strangers here? And why is the toilet on fire?”

4 Aug
Me: “Can you sing me a lullaby?” Leila’s 8-year-old niece: “Go to sleeeep… Go to sleeeep… Go to sleeeep or we will huuurrrt you….”

1 Aug
Today’s final @UW Upward Bound class: science-themed parodies of songs by @taylorswift13, @justinbieber, @falloutboy, and @Realtaeyang!

27 Jul
My 6-year-old: “I’m the smallest [of a group of friends], so I’m easy to take care of…. Well, I’m not easy, but I’m not so so so so hard.”

13 Jul
Me: “So how was the Science Center?” My 6-year-old: “I had bad behavior for half an hour, but then I settled down.”

7 Jul
Tonight the Ballard Fred Meyer is, like, totally overrun with teenage girls. Is this where they go once the malls close?


March-through-June tweets

July 1, 2013

28 Jun
Live performance of “Zombies Versus Trypanosomatids” at Seattle Parasitology Conference hosted by @SeattleBioMed:

25 Jun
7:15am, back yard, raining. It’s a who-looks-weirder contest between me (skimpy shorts) & the gal upstairs (old AC/DC t-shirt, not her own).

24 Jun
My son knows there’s no tooth fairy. Isn’t he too young for such disillusionment? He can’t even _pronounce_ “tooth fairy” properly.

22 Jun
Today is the @RunRocknRoll Half Marathon. My left thigh is still bruised from Thursday’s overzealous tambourine-playing at @SeattleBioMed…

20 Jun
Me: “Do you want to do any races this summer?” My 6-year-old: “Only if they have good prizes, like a stuffy or a trophy of an arctic fox.”

16 Jun
My 6-year-old son’s latest idea for a Christmas activity: building gingerbread army tanks. You heard it here first….

14 Jun
Phil’s kindergarten teacher on his future career: “Law. He will create a case for anything, and EFFECTIVELY uses/causes reasonable doubt!”

12 Jun
A colleague’s parent, running into a journal paywall: “What do you MEAN I’m not authorized to read her article? I’m her MOTHER!” #openaccess

11 Jun
In ’80s music terms, this game is Bruce Springsteen vs. Van Halen. 1st goal goes to The Boss!

11 Jun
1st time at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field & Seahawks Stadium) in 17+ years in Seattle! Here for @USSoccer vs. Panama.

5 Jun
Saw even more cool #BioExpo13 projects at last nite’s @NWABR dinner — e.g. a contra dance about DNA replication!

2 Jun
From @RollingStone: Hanson Launches ‘Mmmhops’ Beer; proceeds to be donated to Oklahoma tornado relief

24 May
Today I attended a workshop for faculty on why students come to class ill-prepared. 90% of us hadn’t read the assigned article. Hmm….

24 May
New song penned by my 6-year-old: “Little car going fast. Fast little car. Will you stop please? Will you stop? Zoom zoom zoom crash yay!”

22 May
…Just watched UW med students do an “Eleanor Rigby” parody about helminths (“Worms in all the people”) w/ live strings … FOR THE WIN!!!

22 May
Also at #BioExpo13 I enjoyed sampling the flu video game that students are developing in collaboration with @hcdeUW.

22 May
Also notable at #BioExpo13: Glacier Peak H.S. students’ cool protein models of hyaluronidase, fatty acid synthase, etc. made w/ 3D printer.

22 May
Today’s #BioExpo13 highlights for me included a hemophilia fountain sculpture. (It was more tasteful than you might imagine….)

22 May
I’m excited to be speaking at this morning’s Student Bio Expo in the @HUBatUW, hosted by @jchowning and @NWABR!

20 May
Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) according to @philiplbell:

20 May
Had a great lunch at @farestart thanks to a gift card from @CoHoRealty … 2 groups that believe in doing good and eating well!

16 May
A coworker: “Yow! That hot water [from sink dispenser] really is HOT…. I guess that’s why they call it ‘hot water’…”

14 May
Fun crowdfunding week-in-review video from @ilearnthrumusic: Nice shout-outs to me (5:05) & @katiebda (8:13)!

13 May
@philiplbell Thanks for a fun research group session today! Couldn’t help noticing that the phrase “writ large” is big with you all. 🙂

7 May
Time to finalize my Okazaki fragments sing-along for tomorrow night’s genetics song-fest at @univpugetsound.

6 May
@brianglanz I’m *always* happy to hear referred to as an elixir. 🙂

30 Apr
My 6-year-old, summarizing Air Racers 3D: “There were these army pilots, & they stopped killing each other & had a race.” He recommends it.

28 Apr
1st long run in a long time. I’ve got that itch again. Not the itch to run long — the itch of a water bottle holder rubbing at the waist.

5 Apr
Amazing eloquence from NFL player @brendon310 re LGBT rights on @AC30. The “F word” is still ubiquitous in locker rooms, he says.

5 Apr
Me and @UW on @KING5AMNEWS for “Paws-On Science” weekend at @PacSci:

23 Mar
My 6-year-old: “Why is that fire truck at that restaurant?” Me: “Maybe the hot wings got a little TOO hot!” Him: “Uh…what?” Me: [Sigh.]

20 Mar
I’m supporting “Battle Rap Histories of Epic Science” by Tom McFadden on @kickstarter!

18 Mar
@digitalbio Just saw your “Cloning DNA” song/post. Very nice! Have you heard the Carl Winter parody of the same name?

14 Mar
#Overheard one cyclist yelling at another with exaggerated slowness. I couldn’t tell if he yelled “Thomas!!!” … or “Dumb-ass!!!”

6 Mar
My 6-year-old, on my song “Uli Uli” (for Steidl’s b-day, based on “Louie Louie”): “You rocked! You really did!” Why so incredulous, kid?


Andrew Berry on Alfred Russel Wallace, tweetified

May 4, 2013

Berry gave a wonderful, witty after-dinner talk tonight. My tweets (@trappedinlab) didn’t capture this wonder or wit very well, but here they are (in reverse chronological order, as usual).

Wallace’s reaction to “On the Origin of Species”: admiration. Wallace didn’t think he (Wallace) could have produced something similar.

Berry on teaching: If you can’t interest people in how they evolved, perhaps you should get another job.

Berry is one of the “small-print authors” of the book “How Life Works” by James Morris, Daniel Hartl et al. Evolution is the theme.

Berry’s solutions: (2) Tell stories to engage and inspire.

Berry’s solutions: (1) Thematic Content Management. e.g., Wallace organized The Malay Archipelago thematically, not chronologically.

The challenge (according to Berry):
* So much STUFF to communicate.
* Students who are disengaged, distracted.

And now for Berry’s Wallace-inspired thoughts on teaching biology.

Wallace was also quite modest. He titled his major work on evolution “Darwinism.” He contributed to his own obscurity, Berry says.

Wallace became a spiritualist, and disavowed the role of natural selection in human evolution.

After the co-publication: Darwin knuckled down and published books on evolution.

Wallace was happy to co-publish with Darwin, whom he regarded as a great scholar. He felt happy to have hit the big time, in a sense.

He was rescued after 10 days at sea.

Returning from 4 years of specimen collections in the Amazon, Wallace lost most of his specimens when his boat caught fire!

Wallace, on the other hand, was very interested on “the species problem” from a young age.

For Darwin, the voyage of the Beagle was simply an adventure — a chance to study more natural history.

July 1, 1858: Darwin and Wallace co-present their theory of natural selection at a Linnean Society meeting.

Speaker Andrew Berry went to Darwin’s high school, Shrewsberry School … which Darwin hated.

Why were both discovers of evolution British? In part, the expanse of the British empire allowed both to travel and study extensively.

At Cambridge, Darwin found William Paley’s arguments on Natural Theology (e.g., the watchmaker analogy) compelling.

Berry: Why is Darwin so much better known than Wallace even though they co-discovered evolution?

More on NWBIO 2013 speaker Andrew Berry:

Pre-talk activity: the sperm whale tooth for hosting NWBIO is passed from Everett C.C. to this year’s host, Columbia Basin College.

(NWBIO = Northwest Biology Instructors’ Organization = )

I was told that Berry’s visit is sponsored by the publisher @WH_Freeman. Thanks, W.H.!

The speaker is Andrew Berry of Harvard, here to help us commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of A.R. Wallace (1823-1913).

Tonight’s post-dinner talk at NWBIO 2013: “100 years on: Alfred Russel Wallace and a few Wallace-inspired thoughts on teaching biology.”


Transitional tweets

February 28, 2013

[from the end of 2012 and the start of 2013]

Feb 24
Phil and I just used his Lego walkie talkies (and Skype) to help locate my missing cell phone. Pretty cool.

Feb 24
My 6-year-old can make a military conflict out of ANYTHING. This morning the orange earplugs are fighting the green earplugs.

Feb 23
My 6-year-old son, after dinner: “I just want to watch [YouTube] videos. I had a rough day.”

Feb 17
The @Pilobolus dance group just performed in Edmonds. They were great, though their piece “Symbiosis” looked more like commensalism to me.

Feb 14
Today’s times (in seconds) for my Ravenna Park hill repeats: 86, 86, 88, 88, 87, 87, 88, 88, 86, 86. Such beautiful temporal symmetry!

Feb 7
Clerk at @theochocolate on whether my 6-year-old can work for free samples: “We’re totally fair trade — except for the child labor thing.”

Jan 31
My 6-year-old had his 1st songwriting class today. He wrote: “When there’s trouble in the streets the cops are there.” Not sure of the tune.

Jan 29
Via @nprnews: My Yeast Let Me Down: A Love Song

Jan 28
Me: “I need to change out of these scrubs. I can’t wear them to work.” My 6-year-old, protesting: “But Dad, they make you look scientist-y!”

Jan 24
I’m awake at 3:30 with an urge to make bread pudding. What is wrong with me?

Jan 22
Amazing course record of 19:35 at @HURThawaii 100 miler by @gary_robbins! Did they pave the course or something?

Jan 18
Latest interview is with genre-hopping autotune wiz @musicalscience.

Jan 11
My 6-year-old is doing homework on shapes. He was stuck on pyramids ’til I showed him the Scooby-Doo episode when the gang visits Egypt.

Jan 7
A jewelry store ad on a Metro bus includes this customer quote (from Pam of Issaquah): “Nothing like finding the perfect jeweler.” Hmm.

Dec 22
Literally and figuratively, I am ending the year several pounds lighter than I started it.

Dec 14
Me: “And they changed the Lenin statue’s hat…” My son, 6: “…because he can’t change it himself.” Not what I was thinking, but true.

Dec 8
Nikki Kimball is probably the toughest endurance athlete I’ve ever met. I’m looking forward to seeing this film.

Dec 6
My 6-year-old: “McDonald’s cheers me up because I make new friends there, one, & I love their food, two.” Now he’s happy but I’m depressed.

Dec 2
Me: “Is it easier to be a kid or an adult?” My 6-year-old son: “A kid.” “Why?” “Because kids can fit into small boxes but adults can’t.”


@trappedinlab’s tweets for November 2012

December 3, 2012

24 Nov
Yes, Thanksgiving is over … but it’s still FAR too soon for QFC to be playing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” as done by Michael Bolton.

22 Nov
My 6-year-old just hurt himself by bopping his nose with his knee. I’m thankful not to be that flexible.

16 Nov
My son had music today. He came home singing, “This is my message to you-hoo-hoo….” I love that he’s learning Bob Marley in kindergarten.

16 Nov
To supporters of the crowdfunded album by @musicalscience: here’s another worthy project (by Dr. Lodge McCammon).

15 Nov
Today’s science karaoke: “Thermal Melt With You” (Modern Science version) with Glacier Peak High School biotechnology students visiting UW.

10 Nov
Drunk Nate Silver is only going to get 13 of the 14 NFL games right this weekend.

7 Nov
In the movie “Santa Buddies,” we find out the chubby pup’s name is BuDDerball. Doesn’t sound like much, but for me that was the high point.

3 Nov
I’m voting to approve Referendum 74 in WA (marriage for all). I’m not going to lecture, but let me know if you want to talk.

2 Nov
Villain in the Lego movie scolds his minion, who’s holding a green-brown fruit: “I said to bring me a minifig[ure]! This is a REAL fig!”


Twick-or-tweeting from October

November 1, 2012

28 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
My son: “Throw me in the [imaginary] river, Dad! You’re the 2nd-goodest ninja in the whole world, and if I die then you’ll be the goodest!”

28 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
My 6-year-old son, to another boy at the playground: “My dad is a *great* monster. He didn’t even need training!”

26 Oct funky49 – steve rush ‏@funky49
@trappedinlab Maybe it was Always trust your Cape… like Cape Canaveral? 🙂 #wishfulthinking

25 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
I just heard the country song that advises, “Always trust your cape.” Hmm. I think I’d rather trust the engineers who build planes.

23 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
I dreamt of my clothes-conscious 6-year-old son last night. He made a “pwesentation” to Nike reps and was negotiating a sponsorship deal.

19 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
Great chemistry magic show at @UnivPugetSound last night. It was even better than in 2002, and my 5-year-old was mesmerized!

10 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
“How was kindergarten today, Phil?” “We had Music and Art.” “Cool! What did you do?” “We did music in Music and art in Art.”

6 Oct Greg Crowther ‏@trappedinlab
Saturday morning with my son: wrapping each other in duct tape, followed by the game “Is this my hand or my dinosaur?”


@trappedinlab’s September 2012 tweets

September 30, 2012

27 Sep
My 5-year-old asked, what if an alligator climbed on the Fremont karate studio? Beats me. Maybe some students would switch to samurai class?

25 Sep
Having a 5-year-old son is the perfect excuse for renting “Herbie [the VW Bug] Goes to Monte Carlo.” Possibly the *only* excuse.

23 Sep
Heading to the park with my son, his soccer ball, his bike, 7 mini American flags, and a roll of duct tape. Your guess is as good as mine.

23 Sep
My 5-year-old: “Now put your body inside these [cardboard] boxes.” Me: “But I can’t fit.” Him: “Just be cweative … like Clutch Powers.”

20 Sep
What Mitt Romney Doesn’t Get About Responsibility via @BloombergView

19 Sep
Tonight in a restroom with a chalkboard: “We should write something,” says my 5-year-old son. “How about . . . TRANSPORTATION?”

17 Sep
Day 2 of running comeback. Cross-trained for 1 hour … and ate 2 grotesquely large donuts. 1 step forward, 2 steps back?

16 Sep
Running Comeback 2.0 (yes, you can call it a comeback) starts now. If all goes well, I’ll be kind of fit for 5K racing in about 6 months.

16 Sep
My comment on a manuscript: “‘Periplasmic’ is a single non-hyphenated word.” I wanted to write “nonhyphenated,” but it looked bad.

13 Sep
#Overheard in lab: “What’s that reagent for separating erythrocytes from Plasmodium cells?” “Saponin.” “Not much; ’s happenin’ with you?”

5 Sep
I say the plural of “consensus” should be “consenses.” Officemate says “consensi”; dictionary says “consensuses.” What a divisive word!

2 Sep
My 5-year-old’s go-to drink of the moment is a virgin whiskey sour (a.k.a. “special juice”). Where did this kid come from?