>The Ugliest Cake Ever

>Is it just me or is it the ugliest cake you have ever seen, too?

I wonder what the cake is supposed to symbolize. A jail for Snickers bars? I’m also curious what a psychoanalyst would say to a person who actually gave this monstrosity to their mother for Mother’s Day. 
I found the picture of the ugly cake here. There are many other repulsive cakes on that blog but this one is the definite winner.

>Princess Olga


Princess Olga the Beautiful lived between 890-969. For almost twenty years she ruled Kievan Rus. Her very first act as a ruler was to take a bloody revenge against Drevlians, the people who had killed her husband, prince Igor. She burned down an entire town with all its citizens because her rage was so great. 
At the age of 45, Princess Olga gave birth to her only child and ruled in his name until he became an adult. She was a very active ruler who traveled incessantly around the country, trying to improve life in her realm. Emperor Constantine of Constantinople kept asking her to marry him but Olga remained faithful to the memory of her dead husband.
She was also the very first ruler of Kiev who converted to Christianity. The Orthodox Church proclaimed Olga a saint and considers her to be equal to the Apostles. The name “Olga” actually means “a saint”, so she was obviously destined for sainthood from the very beginning.

>How to Be a Language Snob: From Ktravula


A friend and a fellow blogger just posted this brilliant list on how to be a perfect language snob. I just have to share it with everybody because it’s too good.

1. Whenever you meet someone from a different country tell them “I like your accent. You don’t speak like other _____________ (fill in country name) that I have met.”
2. After meeting someone for the first time, let your idea of a compliment to them be “Oh you speak good English.” For extra points, ask them where they learnt to speak it so well.
3. Whenever someone says to you “I like your accent too”, look insulted and ask in a high voice, “I have an accent? What do you mean I have an accent?” For extra points, be actually insulted by that.
4. Be disgusted by people speaking their local language around you. For extra point, go to them (whether you know them or not) and ask them to speak English instead. After all, they are in America.

As for me, I especially enjoy being told that my accent makes me sound even more exotic and sexy. 

>Algorithmic Pricing on Amazon

>I just discovered the following hilarious but true story about algorithmic pricing on Amazon:

A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly – a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists – consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).

Want to know how that happened? Read the full story here. I still can’t stop laughing about this.

>The First Post From the New Work Space


And now, as promised, pictures of my workspace before I got my first desk in 8 years and now that I finally have one.
Here is the work space before the change. And yes, I’m messy, it’s the end of the semester, no need to make me feel even worse about it than I already do. 
And here is the new work space. Now I can have all my reference books right where I work. There is no need to run upstairs to get them every five minutes or leave them strewn around on the floor.

And this is how the living room looks now that I have removed all the work-related mess:
I’m absolutely loving this new arrangement.

>Quit With the Images!


Recently, I wrote about my annoyance with people who include huge, slow-loading images into the body of their emails. Since that post, I have discovered that some folks take this irksome habit even further. We are at the end of the semester, and everybody’s Inboxes are filled with emails from students, colleagues and administrators. Many of those emails include important attachments that are huge in size. To give an example, my students are submitting their oral exams in .wav files that occupy a lot of space. If the Inbox overflows, the university will freeze my account, and it will take a while to unfreeze it and get my stuff back. Obviously, this is something we are all trying to avoid.
And, of course, this is precisely the moment that an inconsiderate colleague chooses to send an invitation to his talk in an email that consists of an unwieldy message with a set of useless but huge graphics in the body of the message. They take forever to load and clutter up the mailbox. I wouldn’t have blogged about something like this, of course, had it not been for the fact that this colleague immediately resent the same huge graphics-ridden email to everybody with a note that the indefinite article in line 4 from the bottom should be substituted with the definite article. And then he sent the whole thing once again to remind us of his event. And then he sent it once more. 
I really wonder if anybody will come to this colleague’s talk after such a show of disrespect from him.