Monday, April 11, 2011

Potpourri No. 31

Life, served up deli-style, sliced nice and thin…

Job Security
In my previous potpourri post, I mentioned the fact that I’d been given a teaching gig for the latter part of the summer. I’ve since been told that I’m incredibly likely to teach in the fall, too. Rather than logic, however, I’ll be teaching an introductory ethics course in the fall. (Applied ethics, I should say, which means that it’s more about ethical issues than about ethical theory, per se.) I think that’ll be quite fun, though I wish I had more time to deliberate about what to do with the course. I had to choose the textbook for the course today, over four months before the class begins. As a result, I’m going with a textbook that has been used by instructors for whom I’ve TA’d in the past. That gives me some familiarity with the text, though ideally, I’d have more time to consider other options. There are a few ethics textbooks that I’ve seen online that pique my interest, but without being able to look inside of them, I don’t want to commit to them. So, I’m going with the familiar. Bummer. I take some comfort in knowing I can supplement the required text with other readings that I can make available to the class online. Maybe I can spice things up that way.

Feeling Special
I have finally scheduled my special area exam for next Monday, April 18th, at noon. Given that I still have a week to prepare for the exam, I’m feeling pretty good about it. Hopeful. It’s good to be getting to this point. After this, the next milestone in seeking my Ph.D. is to write up and defend a dissertation prospectus. I’m quite happy to say that I’ve had a lot more ideas about this lately. In terms of developing ideas, the last few weeks have been a very fruitful time for me. It’s exhilarating. It makes me hopeful that I can write up and defend the prospectus very, very soon after taking the special area exam. Wish me luck!

Bloody Interesting!
I recently watched a documentary called The Science of Sex Appeal that was available through Netflix Instant Viewing. It was quite fascinating, but one of the most interesting things to me is that when a woman ovulates, she actually becomes sexier, in a variety of ways, to men. In one study, they took two photographs of the same woman—one taken during ovulation, and one taken when she wasn’t ovulating—and put them side by side. They told men that the two photos were of twin sisters, and they asked the men to select which woman they thought was the most attractive. The overwhelming majority of men chose the picture of the woman that was taken during ovulation. Seeing the pictures side by side, there is a noticeable difference, a kind of luminescence in the ovulating woman. Even more fascinating, in a different study, men listened to pre-recorded audio of various women reading the same line of (non-sexual) text. They had the men rank how sexy the voices were. Unbeknownst to the men, some of the voices they heard were of the same woman, but recorded during ovulation. Again, the same woman’s voice was ranked as sexier when she was ovulating than when she was not! I found that quite fascinating. And, if you’re curious, ovulating women are more likely to be attracted to men, too. Ovulating women respond more positively to smelling sweat-stained t-shirts than do non-ovulating women.

Clearing Up Some Clutter
Am I the only one who has a tendency to leave open web pages for future reference, and thus to end up with tons of open web pages that just sit there for weeks on end? Sometimes, I leave something open because I want to remember to share it with someone else. Sometimes, I leave a page open to remind me that I need to do something. If I bookmark these pages with the intent of revisiting them, I never do so, and typically, I don’t want a permanent bookmark to the page anyway. Something else needs to be done. Well, I finally realized that I could just post some of these links on my blog. That way, they’re not completely gone, but they’re not taking up space in my bookmarks either. So, here are some random things from the web that, for whatever reason, I found interesting:

Free Will Being Discussed in the New York Times

The IFC’s 50 Greatest Opening Title Sequences of All Time

And here is a video of “natural hallucinogen” – and yes, it really works:


  1. for one, that hallucinogen was cool thank you. looking forward to checking your other links, they sound interesting.
    so close to your phd, so happy, the whole free will issue just impresses the hell out of me and always has.
    won't leave you a page but good luck with the class, being stuck with the book you picked will just force you to be a bit more creative if you arn't sure about it you know, so could really end up being a good thing... hand in there!

  2. WOmen also dress up more and expose more skin when ovulating.