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I gotta do my homework!


It’s the sixth and final week of my online microbiology course – finals due Sunday – and I ain’t done nuffink. It would be just like me to fail at the last hurdle, so I best get a move on.

This last material should be pretty easy, though — it’s all about the American Gut Project, a combination of crowd-funding and citizen science. Basically, you give them money, you give them a (ahem) sample, you get a detailed report of their findings, your data gets added to the giant rolling pool of gut data.

Four years, over 10K guts analyzed, $1.5M raised.

I suppose the cynical take is that you get played for a mug coming and going, but I love this idea and projects like it, I do. It’s like the people who told me “ZOMG 23-and-me is selling your genetic data to big pharma!” and I’m like “Whoa! That. Is. AWESOME!

Anyway, their website is above. Their Fundrazr is here. Yes, there’s a British version. No, I haven’t signed up yet. No, you don’t have to touch the poop (you get a perfectly good swab sample from toilet paper). Yes, you can have your cat’s gut analyzed (good luck getting him to use toilet paper).

The idea is probably a lot more exciting after six weeks of studying gut microbes, but I’m pretty jazzed. I’m saving my pennies.

Good weekend, y’all!

addendum: I’m adding this to the main post so you don’t miss it. First, if you haven’t played with today’s Google Doodle, do. (hee hee! Googledoodledo!). I never heard of Oskar Fischinger before, but that music thingie is fun to play with. No direct link, alas, so it probably will be gone after today. ALSO, starting Monday at 11 PT, they’re doing the longest ever MST3K marathon on Twitch. Yes, classic episodes. Thirty eight of ’em. (Has anyone seen the new one? Is it as rubbish as it looks?).


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: June 23, 2017, 7:23 pm

I dont get it. First you became a Chickenologist and now a Poopologist? Where will it all end????

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: June 23, 2017, 7:26 pm

Guessing that a sample of chunky peanut butter submitted by P. Pan wouldn’t be thought humorous.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 23, 2017, 8:44 pm

You pay your $99 and you can submit a Snickers bar for all they care.

Ric Fan, I have the intellectual consistency of a magpie. If it shiny, will peck.

Comment from dissent
Time: June 23, 2017, 8:57 pm

I dunno Ric. It seems, at least the rear, end is near.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 23, 2017, 9:27 pm

Stoaty—Have you received any more reports regarding your DNA testing?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 23, 2017, 9:30 pm

They’ve just revamped the 23andme website, Deborah, so the data is changed up a bit. I have gone back and answered more questionnaires since, but I haven’t looked to see if there’s any more interesting data. I get notifications of new distant cousins regularly.

I have failed to get either of my brothers to take the test, which pisses me off because i want that Y chromosome data!

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: June 23, 2017, 9:51 pm

I thought you already found out you’re neanderthal?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 23, 2017, 9:57 pm

3.6% Neanderthal, which as it turns out is below the European average of 3.7%. I was bitterly disappointed, because I’ve come to believe the Neanderthals were awesome.


After they’ve re-jiggered the data, it turns out I’m in the 94th % of Neanderthal variants. That means I have more Neanderthal variants than 94% of the people they’ve tested. What does that mean? I don’t know! It means I’m HELLA Neanderthal, I guess.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 23, 2017, 10:28 pm

I need for two male cousins to take Y-DNA tests for me since I don’t have any brothers. I’m trying to prove my line so I can join the DAR, but I can’t prove my third Great-grandfather.

Re: Brothers. Blackmail or bribe 🙂

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: June 23, 2017, 11:17 pm


Comment from AliceH
Time: June 24, 2017, 2:00 am

DeborahHH, what are the benefits of joining the DAR? I’ve got the documentation, but can’t think of a reason to send in an application (and a check).

Comment from p2
Time: June 24, 2017, 2:50 am

the new mst3k sucks very much badly…… dont waste yer time…

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 24, 2017, 2:59 am

Alice, the DAR is a women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism and honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War. Moreover, the Daughters are sold our for our veterans. Much of what they do is to support our veterans, especially those who are in hospitals.

The DAR also build and support schools in remote areas—on reservations and in the Appalachian Mountains. They provide college scholarships and my chapter provides nursing scholarships, too. Also funds for local Junior ROTC units, and the ladies devote hours and hours to dozens of service projects.

The Daughters don’t just wear white gloves—they wear grubby work gloves, too. And oh how they work. Go explore at the website. http://www.dar.org/

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: June 24, 2017, 3:51 am

The second episode of the new MST3K is a film even worse than The Final Sacrifice. And sadly, the banter and jokes are nowhere in the same league.

The new mad scientist, Kinga Forester, (Pearl’s granddaughter) is kind of cute. Her main henchman is Patton Oswalt so sometimes funny. They do have guest appearances now and then from the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill, Jerry Seinfeld.

But sadly I find myself focusing more on the crappiness of the selected film than on the banter.

Comment from Bob B
Time: June 24, 2017, 3:59 am

Completely Off-Topic, but perhaps appropriate for the Chicken-Lady’s Blog: New York Post headline Morons Busted Trying to Steal Cop’s Cocks. http://nypost.com/2017/06/22/morons-busted-trying-to-steal-cops-cocks/
Enjoy and have a happy weekend!

Comment from AliceH
Time: June 24, 2017, 4:07 am

Thanks for the info and the link, DeborahHH. It was very helpful.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 24, 2017, 7:20 am

Gosh, Deborah – you should do PR for the DAR! My first cousin enlisted and so has done all the work on my father’s side. I kind of dread what’s on my mother’s side, though.

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: June 24, 2017, 10:51 am

Direct link to the Oscar Fischinger Doodle:


Comment from Monty James
Time: June 24, 2017, 3:06 pm

I’ve seen eight of the new MSTs, and they really suffer from the lack of Michael J. Nelson as head writer. They’ve gotten better as they progressed, mind, but the writing just doesn’t match up to either Joel or Mike era shows, and fancier sets and more polished production values don’t do anything to offset the weak jokes and no cultural reference older than about twenty years. They don’t come off well in a comparison with Rifftrax, or Cinematic Titanic. I am saddened by this, I had high hopes for the return.

If your cat won’t use toilet paper, you’ll simply have to do it for him. Science is a stern calling.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 24, 2017, 4:27 pm

@AliceH—Best wishes to you. I hope you’ll seriously consider the DAR.

Stoaty! If your first cousin is a Daughter, you are the luckiest girl in the world. You can be a member-at-large since you don’t live in the U.S., but there are two DAR chapters in London. One formed in 1925, and the other in 1990. You will need to provide documentation for yourself and Uncle B, your parents, and your Dad to his Dad, probably. Things like birth, marriage, and death certificates are most common, which establish the links between the generations. But everything you need to know is at that DAR link.

And even if you are not interested in the DAR, exploring your mother’s family will add a profound dimension to your life. I am grateful and astonished by what I’ve discovered about my own family: soldiers, preachers, Indians, slaves, the Confederacy, trail-blazers, sod-busters, and the Texas Revolution. As the lady said, “Texas is heaven for men and dogs, hell on women and horses.”

Comment from dustoffmom
Time: June 24, 2017, 6:28 pm

Likewise, my first cousin is a member and has done all the work. Her Mother and mine were sisters so we share our maternal relatives. She sent me everything, all I needed was my own birth certificate and one generation back, that being my own parents proof of marriage.Easy I thought. I have mine, just needed my parents. I know when they married, and where, or so I’d been told all my damn life. Couldn’t find them anywhere, even checked all neighboring states. Nothing. So, called my Father’s house, his current wife answered, hey, I need a copy of his old marriage certificate or barring that, a where and when. And she spouts out Dec. 1951. Well that’s awkward, says I, why she asked, uh, I was born 04 Jan in 52 and was decidedly full term. And in an instant she was off the phone and he has been unable to speak on the phone ever since, or answer a letter. I can not find the info, from anyone or family member since. Everyone goes deaf if I ask about it. So there it stands, I can’t join coz I can’t prove my direct maternal line!! Sometimes digging in this stuff can fracture a family.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 24, 2017, 9:15 pm

@Dustoffmom. Have you joined a DAR chapter yet? You’d be a provisional member like me. The chapter registrar and genealogy gurus in the chapter will help you with problems like this; they are highly skilled, and know how to follow every bunny trail.

You didn’t say your parents were divorced, but if they were, then the divorce record is a public record and you can examine it. The record could include when and where they married.

Best wishes, Deborah

Comment from dustoffmom
Time: June 24, 2017, 11:42 pm

DeborahHH, no, I am not. Honestly, after skeletons started falling everywhere and the bad feelings I just let it go. Hopefully, I will decide to try it again at a future date. No, they were not divorced. Sadly, she died very unexpectedly in the car, at age 37. We were told it was cardiac at the time and never thought to question it. But, oh, he was driving at the time and refused an autopsy. Seems I come from a very secretive family! have to chuckle I guess or begin crying

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 25, 2017, 9:23 pm

Whoa. That’s seriously food for thought, dustoffmom.

Only in recent years was I able to put together some of the pieces in my family — for example, the reasons for my mother’s contentious relationship with the rest of her family. And then finally decided they were all dead, it didn’t matter and I didn’t want to know more.

Comment from Niña
Time: June 26, 2017, 4:45 am

I’m also DAR eligible, I think from both sides of my fam. My mom also told me I could join the Daughters of the Conferdacy, but I’ve never checked that out.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: June 26, 2017, 1:02 pm

Dysfunctional Families: Saturday morning I received a message via Ancestry.com from a first cousin I hadn’t seen or talked to since my father’s funeral in 1966. Her mother and my father were siblings. Her husband is a genealogist and found my family name genealogy.

She is 75, and doesn’t know who her father is. She was a teenager when she found out the man she thought was her father—was not. Her mother refused to tell her anything, and when she approached our aunts for information, she was told her father was dead and to just stop asking questions. What a monstrous thing to have done to her, and I am furious on her behalf, though she’s had her whole life to deal with it.

Recently she found a photo of a man with a name on the back and she was calling all the relatives she had left (old enough to know anything) to ask if we recognized the name. I DID recognize his last name, and after two days of work, I found the man who could be a genuine lead for her. He’s dead, but he had four sons, and now we have DNA testing.

I swear every family I know has a bunch on knot-holes on the family tree.

Comment from eirik
Time: June 26, 2017, 2:00 pm

On the MST front, I really liked the new season! It does get better as they progress. My only complaint is the riffing comes a bit fast at times. I’ve now seen every new episode twice and will go back and go through them again before summer ends.

Comment from Jon
Time: June 26, 2017, 8:17 pm

The new MST3K is ok. (Fair warning: I donated to them, so buyer’s remorse can apply)

Comment from blake
Time: June 26, 2017, 9:55 pm

If you’ve done 23-and-me and want more data, there was some the gov’t made them remove, apparently. Dr. Rhonda Patrick has a thing you can do to get that data back, though:


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 26, 2017, 10:13 pm

Different government, Blake. The UK version never had the health portion removed.

Comment from blake
Time: June 26, 2017, 10:14 pm

For myself, I looove the new MST3K. So many great improvements. As a reboot, it’s near perfect. I blogged about it:


Yeah, I donated big time. And then got tix for the live show. So, add that salt to whatever dish of skepticism you’re preparing.

But if I toned down my love of “Reptilicus” from the TV viewing–it was hilarious in a theater with a 1,000 MSTies–the stretch of “Starcrash” starting with:

“You’re concerned but still sexy. Perfect! That’s lunch!”

and going into the Storm & Paul Beach Boys-UFO song, and then ending with:

“Now turn around.”
“And look serious, like you’re the public defender in the opening of a cop show.”

Is one of the best riffing streaks I can think of.

Comment from blake
Time: June 26, 2017, 10:15 pm

I thought that might be the case, Stoaty, but it occurred to me that maybe you had done this before your expatriation.

And for US peeps, you might not even be aware that the data had ever been available.

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