Caveat: Venter

Think about all of the things that make your brain itch. These are mine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Five-Question Meme (complete)

In order to liven my posts up, I chose to take the challenge of a particularly interesting meme that David Morgen offered the the first five commenters. I continue, as is the nature of memes, that offer here, so any readers interested in participating should request five personalized questions from me (note that I will have to read up on your blog to form these, but I have been slacking in my blog reading of late anyway). As one commenter noted even before I got there, David gave me only four questions, but I will respond to these and add a fifth when it comes in.

David's questions withmy replies:

1. What do you find so appealing about E. A. Robinson?
My introduction to Robinson was quite accidental. I encountered him in the mid-1980s when my father told me that the Simon and Garfunkel song "Richard Cory" was based on a poem. At the time I just looked it up, read it, and thought how much I enjoyed the music, but I was 14 and not terribly interested in poetry.

I had forgotten about the poem, except that it existed, until the Fall of 1998, when I took a graduate course in 19th and 20th century American poetry from Bob Faggen, who is now the English department chair at Claremont McKenna College (my school, Claremont Graduate University, uses visiting professors from the region, having only two professors now, which is only down one from my day).

Faggen had chosen the topics on which we could each lead class discussion for one hour (we all went over: I, for instance, did two hours on each of two successive days), and the one that most struck me was entitled "Robinson's Tragic Pastorals." Far bee it from me to walk away from so intriguing a topic, so, using the (flat-fee compensated) Faggen-edited Penguin Selected Poems, I dove in.

Having spent three paragraphs rambling, I make no apologies. Here is what I discovered. I am a fan of formal poetry, though don't get me wrong, I love free verse when it is done well. But formal poetry, when managed with skill, strikes me with more force, and Robinson is a master of conversational rhythms. He once described himself as "a fisher of words," and it is evident throughout his work (all of which, save the book-length works, I have read). He is a poet in search of faith, yet a man who could never accept it personally. He loves the hope of success, yet portrays, most often, the failures of his characters. He wants to love, yet he can't escape the darker side of it.

Other poets achieve other effects well, and their work I love for that, but Robinson feels as if he is retelling my youth and making its shortcomings acceptable without excusing them. I suppose, then, that it is personal, in that way, though poetry is always personal when it works for the reader. I feel, leading into the next question, when I read Robinson, that I can write, if not at his level, and say something worth saying merely by addressing those common things around me.

2. You wrote once about taking part in a marathon session of writing and producing a play in 24-Hours: Do you write screenplays in longer periods of time? How much creative writing do you do?

I would love to say that I have the discipline to pursue my ideas for novels and screenplays, but as yet I have lacked that. This is the beauty of the 24-Hour Plays: they demand so much creatively while asking so little temporally. I can engage in a creative exercise without risking the failure of being incomplete.

I did, a couple years ago, take a poetry class and a fiction class, both at a community college in the region. I did this for a number of reasons, but chief among them was that the class put me in a position in which I was forced to write complete works. I discovered that I am probably better at prose than verse, but I have done nothing with either since I last published a poem in a community college litmag in 1994.

I keep thinking of ideas and not following them, or then I decide that they are accidentally derivative of other works I already know, even when they are inspired by others. The most useful resource I have found cost me all of $10. The Writer's Block is a wonderful little book—cube-shaped to make the joke complete—that contains "spark words," writing challenges, images, and stories of writers designed to inspire writers. Flip to a random page and get, perhaps, one of these (vanishes to get the book, returning in no time through the magic of the printed word): debt, write about a parent trying to explain the facts of life to his or her child, bad hair day. Each of these faces a picture that embodies the word or phrase.

Should I write more? Yes. Will I write more? Yes. When? Um . . .

I just came up with an idea Sunday that may get me back into a rhythm: With a friend, I could write a monthly radio play, which then we would produce and edit, using our computers, for distribution. From about age 8 to 14, I used to listen to KIRO 710 in Seattle, the CBS news station (geek alert!), and one thing I loved was Radio Mystery Theater, hosted by E. G. Marshall. This I would do in honor of that introduction to not only small stories but five-day epics such as The Last Days of Pompeii and Les Misérables.

3. What do you enjoy about teaching in the California community college system?

I have to say that this is a bit of a trick question, though David could not know it. I love teaching community college courses, though there are things I will not be able to do at that level. I was a horrid student for most of my life. I never skipped a class until after high school, but I skipped most of my homework, relying on exams and extra credit to pass (when I did pass). I went into the community college system after high school, and there I found my place.

I started working as a tutor in the Writing Lab during my first quarter as a student, despite not having the requisite course history (the director was pleased with my knowledge, earned through years of my being corrected by my mother). I worked in the lab for four years. I spent two years in student government, three years as an officer in the Student Health Awareness Committee, and a year as an editor for Arnazella, the schools litmag.

During my second year as a tutor, I first experienced—I should say I first recognized—a student's "lightbulb moment." I didn't know at the time that others called it that, but it was the only way I could describe the apparent suddenness with which someone comprehended a concept, fully and for the first time. Another student rushed up to me weeks after I had walked her through her paper in search of problems (we only indicated that a problem existed; the student had to tell us what it was); she was from Cambodia and had written about her experiences as a child there and an incident with two armed Khmer Rouge. Brimming with energy, she thanked me for the help and told me she had earned a 3.7 on her paper. I was befuddled that she would be pleased since it had not been a 4.0, but I was immensely pleased that she felt I had done anything worthy of such thanks. I got addicted to teaching.

I teach now in the community college system because that is where I feel my debt should be repayed as I get payed to feed my addiction to teaching. Beat that, corporate America! As for the California component, well that's the trick part. There are few better places to be than where I am now. I am fortunate to have found a department with people I like. It's not that there are such people present so much as that there are no people I dislike or even find myself regarding with neutrality. That's a tough environment to beat. Still, if Bellevue Community College, my alma mater, were to hire me for the Fall (the application is currently under review), California won't even see the cloud of dust as I leave. No school, through no fault of its own, will ever win my heart as BCC has done.

4. Are you considering pursuing a PhD? If so, why?

Yes, though the answer is complex. I am considering it, but what ever may become of that consideration I cannot say right now. I doubt I would pursue work at a university if I had a PhD, though if the right opportunity were to come along I would not walk away. My wife is pursuing an MBA right now, so nothing would happen until that was wrapped up. Furthermore, I will only settle on a PhD program once I know where I am settling with full-time work.

The question of why is, perhaps, interesting to some, though not entirely surprising. It is not about the money, though that would be most welcome. If I return for a PhD, it will be because the program would push me to do more research, more (directed) writing, more learning. What I know of teaching I didn't learn during pedagogy courses I took before abandoning the idea of high school teaching, but rather from being taught. I learned to push students to become better by being pushed. As one who has never fully recovered from his bad study habits, I am intimately aware of techniques that motivate students who need extra motivation (certainly not all, but I have had some grand successes when I have seen my younger self in my students).

Finally, a call back. I want to pursue my PhD because I want that motivation not just to read, to research, and to write, but because I want to focus all of those activities on Robinson. As I noted in an earlier post, I was recently in a discussion with a couple of poets, and as I was preparing to leave, one of them, Robert Wrigley, told me that I needed to go back and get the PhD, doing my dissertation on Robinson because, "he needs to be brought back." I had used the same phrasing elsewhere and with other people many times. Hearing it from a man of Wrigley's stature adds force I cannot express here.

5. You asked a while back about profs using blogs in their classes. Are you plannind to do so next year, and if so how and why?

I am considering it this summer for a transfer-level composition course. One of the things that intrigues me is the possibility of providing the freedom that some have found in using the clicker. The greatest problem in the classroom is not plagiarism or getting students to turn something in, or at least not for me (both are problems, mind you, just neither is the greatest problem). In my classroom, the problem is getting people talking freely about the literature.

In the novel my students will read this summer (a six-week course starting the week of 7/4), there is a scene in which the antagonist, named I-330 (females have vowel designations), tricks the protagonist, named D-503, into smoking tobacco and drinking a something that is, based on the description, absinthe. D-503 crumbles against her, begging her to sleep with him, and she replies by pointing out the time. He must be home in a matter of minutes or face arrest. My students have trouble using the proper language to describe the type of control she exercises from that point forward, much less talking about it. My hope is that a blog requirement will get discussions moving more freely. Oh, and for those who are as squirmy as my students, the word is "dominatrix." If it looks like a duck . . .

Again, anyone interested in having five custom questions from me, indicate that interest in a comment on this oversized post. The first five commenters who ask, win.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Gates, The True Messiah

It is official. Bill Gates III, hands-off talking head of Microsoft, has spoken the phrase that will save computerdom for all ages. Indeed, in an interview with the BBC, he has promised that next year's Longhorn version of the OS (already late as of this writing) will make malware, a, well, to use his words, "thing of the past" on Windows machines.

Because Microsoft now grudgingly admits that there has been a problem with security in its operating systems, it has decided that it is time to build security into the operating system. This is, for all who use such insecure and malware-plagued operating systems as MacOS X, LiNUX, and UNIX, a shock. We have reached a point at which the music will swell behind every declaration from Redmond. "Also Sprach Zarathustra" is more than just that tune from 2001 and Being There; now it the evocation of Gates' essence.

I envy you readers out there with Windows. You have a future none of us using other operating systems could ever dream of. Within 18 months or so, provided all goes well for deadlines, your computers will be the stuff of the Enterprise-D, complete with Majel Barret's voice, it may yet be. I am sure it will take someone like the Binar's—two programmers working together—to break Longhorn in any meaningful and devastating fashion, but such conditions only exist in Star Trek: The Next Generation, so have no fear.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More Politics

I was chatting with my friend Anton earlier today, and we got into one of our frequent partisan free-for-alls. These are terribly amusing since we are not, on most things, far apart in politics. Our differences, where they exist, have more to do with method than policy. But Anton and I play up the differences for our mutual entertainment.

The jesting reminds me of the tone that members of different parties in the UK take when on interview shows. These people can be quite different in their views, but they always respect one another in a way our own politicians would do well to emulate. Yes, Canadian and British MPs can be pretty loud and rowdy in session, but if you sit them down to talk about an issue and possible solutions, you'll see people who concern themselves with those they represent. I like that. I want that here in the U.S., and not just when talking with my friends.

Stem Cells & Party Politics

The last few years have seen some dramatic changes in the ways Democrats and Republicans function as parties. While the Republicans gained control of both chambers in 1994, it was not until Bush's first term that they began acting like the majority party. That change was seen dramatically today when the House of Representatives voted 238-194 in favor of lifting the embryonic stem cell research funding ban. This required that a number of Republicans broke from the party to pass it. Bush has sworn to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk, and 290 votes are needed to override the veto, so we can't expect this to go anywhere, but that's not the important fact.

Korea (the one on the south side of the 38th Parallel) has recentlly announced dramatic developments using embryonic stem cells, and it may well be that the ideological isolationism Bush has pushed is crumbling. See, majorities feel secure, especially when their party has the White House. The recent elections in England have created discussion similar to this one: Blair's New Labor majority in the House of Commons recently shrank to fewer than 70 seats from more than 160, but that comfortable margin had allowed members of New Labor to disregard whips when they wanted to make statements on specific isssues. The votes still went New Labor's way, of course, and the individual MPs had their say and looked good to their constituents. This is what the Republicans appear to face more frequently now.

As they looked to a nation that has fewer so-called "safe seats" for national office, the individual members have to do what they can to please the people who elected them rather than the parties to which they belong, and that means that the whips have a harder time keeping order among the ranks. Bush will get his bulletproof veto if the Senate passes a similar bill and can work it out in a compromise committee with the House, but such a vote puts Bush on the record with this issue in a way he has so far avoided.

While I may have allowed a touch of glee to shine through in this writing, don't think I am doing this because I am not a Republican. I'm not, but neither am I a Democrat. I am registered as an independent, having more in common with socially liberal Libertarians than any other party. I'm pleased whenever a dogmatic hegemony shows signs of crumbling. The Democrats needed the kick in the ass, and now they are rediscovering themselves. The tides will turn with the Republicans, too, though probably not until they lose one or both side of Congress. If I had my druthers, we'd have at least a third viable party, but short of a change to a parliamentary system, I don't see how that will happen any time soon.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Keeping Doctors Informed

Apparently the medical field is moving a little too slowly for some people. iHealthRecord is fixing this shortcoming, though, by allowing us, the patients, to create secure online health records. While not every physician will opt to use these records, it's worth a little time to get a copy of your records (your healthcare provider can supply you with a copy) and enter the information. Between regular visits and emergency care, there's a lot to be said for having critical information at the fingertips of the people whose job it is to keep us alive.

I have a lot of work to do to get my records fully entered, though most won't need to spend as much time as I will (I've had tuberculosis, pneumonia, and a few other things, in addition to my ongoing treatment for epilepsy). When I am done, however, I can point my doctor to the site (having allowed her access) for any information she might need. Had a physician with the infamous unreadable scrawl so often associated with the profession? No problem. Once it's been deciphered and put online, anyone with permission to read it can know what the proper course of treatment is to minimize risk and maximize efficacy.

Yes, anyone can claim data security, but we've seen how that can get blown in a heartbeat. I know that using a system such as this comes with risks, but what are the possible benefits? We can say that this is a can of worms we'd rather not open, but the simple truth is that most of us will see our data placed into this kind of system before we die. I like that I will get a good look at my information on the way in, though.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Grading Systems

I look at my point-based grading system, and I am pretty pleased. The students know very quickly what their letter grades are for each assignment, and I can so them right on my laptop where they are in the class and what they may need for a given grade (both in terms of future available points and in terms of percentage from that point forward). But it's finals week again, and I am once more pondering my system.

What is it that I am attempting to measure here? I can't measure improvement; that's part of the flaw inherent in standardized testing. I can't be measuring raw skill and intelligence; laziness can undo that in a heartbeat. It can't be just hard work; even the most diligent are not always skilled enough.

Of course, the simple answer is that all of these things are being measured, and probably many more (sleep, diet, stress, etc.), and that is probably all true. Still, I wish there were some way to measure each part independently. Yes, the sci-fi short story "Test Day" (which was made into an episode of the new Outer Limits, I believe, though it could have been part of the second iteration of The Twilight Zone) has a solution: give truth serum to the test subjects so they answer truthfully the whole way. Of course, it was also a method by which the government was able to eliminate those who were intelligent enough to threaten it hegemony, but that's a minor detail.

OK, it is late, and I have strayed from my intended path. My point is that while I love my grading system (no, I am not fond of it because I made it—it is derived from others and enhanced by ideas I had when I was a Woodring student, if you must know), I feel there must be a way to improve it. For lower level courses, I like the idea of a firm late policy that still encourages students to complete work. I like rewrites so they can see how changes affect papers and get practice editing. I like focusing on basics when it comes to tests, yet let my students run free when it comes to essay topics. Yet every semester I think I am missing something. Maybe it is the impending version of academic post-partum blues. The weekend after finals usually finds me drained, and I am already feeling the effects. Oh well. I have a final to deliver in about 13 hours, and I need sleep.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


The Bush administration has asked for the opportunity to see an up-or-down vote on, John Bolton, the President's nominee for U.N. ambassador. The committee, rightly I believe, agreed and forwarded Bolton's name to the floor, though with no recommendation. Now Senator Barbara Boxer (D—CA) is holding up the nomination until the State Department finishes turning over documents related to Bolton's treatment of someone who disagreed with him. This, too, is right. Here's the problem.

The Bush administration insists that the Senate has enough information to make its decision. I'm sorry, but if, as some people in the State Department have suggested, these documents could reveal that Bolton distorted, favorably for himself, the events during his confirmation hearings, Boxer's actions are not only jusified but necessary.

Some suggest that Bolton is the right man for the job because he can push people to reform the U.N. Of course, the U.N. is already working toward the very changes the Bush administration wants. What the U.N. does not need is another liar; deceit is at the very heart of the problems the U.N. is having. And there is another problem.

We have a trust gap. The Bush administration told the Senate back in 2002 that it had all of the evidence needed to provide funds for military action against Iraq. That evidence has since been shown to have been incomplete and inaccurate. Until someone ignites the President and has him speak in Hebrew with the voice of God, I'm not about to rush to accept his claims of "enough evidence" when more is readily available.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I get upset, it's true, when I find people who don't demonstrate, in an argument, sound technique. A couple days ago, my entry on the possible biological impetus for homosexual attraction. The debate got nasty, and it is my fault for taking it there, as my friend Anton was good enough to point out (by the way, people, always keep friends who will smack you upside the head).

I will let anyone interested scroll down and review the exchange of comments. I am sorry to the commenter in question that I let my comments get personal. I like to deal in evidence, and I did not see any, so I got nasty.

I will continue allowing anonymous comments. I will endeavor to control my emotional responses in the future (and I shall let stand the evidence of my past failures in that regard), though I will NOT back away from my demand that people provide evidence when making claims here.

My initial post includes a link to an article about the study. One of my responses includes links to relevant information that directly refutes the claims the commenter made. This is the kind of evidence I ask of those who make claims. I don't think I am asking all that much, really. I understand that people feel some things deeply, and this is clear enough in my losses of control, but evidence is what matters.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

An Old Theme

We had a rather disappointing experience last night (it was game night). Now, it's true, we had four friends over, and the laughter and alcohol were both plentiful, but one of the highlights, we had hoped, would be a new DVD-based game entitled Shout About Movies 2. Parker Brothers publishes this thing, so perhaps we should have lowered our expectations, but let's be real here: any game supposedly built around people's shouting wildly should actually be at least as well paced as a championship game of chess. This game drags during the the track searches and score totals, and while there are eight rounds to each of the twelve games that are spread across four DVDs, it might well take a month to get through the entire thing. After that, too bad. There are no more clips and scenes and lines. Bah!

How is it that garbage like that can make it to market while games like mine (and many more that must be superior) languish unpublished in garages because these companies have no reasonable submission policies? This is why I need money, though angels are difficult to find in the game market. I want to create Brain In Overdrive games. I want to run a company that produces reasonably priced games that are fun and challenging, not the usual eye-level dreck that fills shelves in Wal-Mart and Target. I want a development team of game-loving geniuses who play with drawings and markers and tokens every day, looking for something that will get game enthusiasts more enthused. Then again, it's just another form of publishing, and the publishing industry is about as bad as any out there.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An Ambivalence About 1,000

My meager readership has finallly carried me over the 1,000 visitor mark, here four months into this little thing. What bothers me a little is that the 1,000th visitor found me via That in itself would not be distressing, especially since Google runs, but the search term was "silly bridge bidding systems," and I was 23rd on the list. Mind you, the proximity of the words to one another was not great, so at least it doesn't reflect poorly on me, but it still feels a little, well, anticlimactic. At least bridge was involved, though.

Homosexuality, Biology, and the Gay Marriage Debate

Yesterday the Los Angeles Daily News ran a story about chemicals derived from testosterone. Apparently, when subjects who identified themselves as homosexual smelled the chemical, they showed brain activity that subjects who identified themselves as heterosexual did not. While this doesn't conclusively prove that homosexuality is biological, it is a strong piece of evidence in favor of that argument.

Now, if it turns out that what we are talking about here is effectively pheremones, then there is a biological, not social, issue at hand. If that is the case, the denial of equivalent rights under marriage laws is akin to the denial of other rights based solely on biochemical factors. No, equating gay marriage to the civil rights movement of the 60s is not quite right, based on the conclusive evidence we have right now, but this study moves us toward a validation of that position.

It gets worrisome, however, as my friend Jim pointed out in a conversation today. What happens if Bush's "scientists" (selected for what they believe, not what they can prove, in too many cases) decide that homosexuality is a disease, and one that we should "cure"? What happens if we revert to the position once held by Freud (he later recanted) that homosexuality is abnormal? What happens if we end up with a country that tries not only to deny equal access to marriage rights for homosexual but to the freedom to live as their bodies—not their minds—are telling them to live?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Computer-Graded Essays

Once more the news has dropped a story about computer grading into our laps. Now, for most people, this would probably amount to the need for a quick shrug, if anything. Who cares, after all, whether artificial intelligence (AI) starts taking over the behind-the-scenes tedium of academia.

It's not as if I think a computer will replace me any time soon. What I do in the classroom, no computer will achieve in my lifetime. However, what concerns me here is that the best AI, at least in an English classroom, is going to ding each student for each error, whether or not any specific one should be counted as an error. Fragments have there place. In papers, even. While we could improve the software to make educated quesses (and it's true that not all humans would agree on the value of any one case of a broken rule) in such cases, but that still falls short.

Shame on any English instrctor or professor who leaves out of remedial and first-year composition classes a complete explanation of the rhetorical situation! Students must learn to write with an audience in mind—a human audience that cannot be fooled by creative sprinkling of the word "chimpanzee" throught an essay. They have to consider occasion, voice, and purpose. I assume, perhaps inadvisedly, they are aware of the topic when they begin. What does a computer know? Can it identify appropriate use of humor? Does it know the difference between writing for a wedding and writing for a funeral? Will it find, without penalty to the student, a delayed introduction?

It's dangerous ground, and we've been walking along it too long already. Until we can show—and this would take years of testing, revision, and re-norming against human-scored samples—that a computer can do the work of a human in this manner, I will take my long days and night scoring by hand, thank you. It's the worst part of the job, but it is that last one I am willing to hand off.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Santa Maria (for Bill)

While Santa Maria, like much of wine country, is nothing much to look at, there is something to be said for the dining. Radisson usually does better than the one in Santa Maria, but we were not too terribly concerned with the accomodations. We wanted to get out of the city, have a couple of decent meals, and enjoy the scenery. We managed all of that, but the best part was the food.

When we arrived last Saturday, I got a list of local eateries, and paging through, I noticed the word "steak" in parentheses by one name. Then I noticed the name: The Hitching Post. Now, if you have seen Sideways, you may be familiar with the name, but the one we went to was the original, in Casamalia, not in Buellton. This place looked more like a shack or barn from the outside than a restaurant.

The decor was more like the restaurant in which Jack, in the film, picks up the waitress Cammi: animal heads and dark wood all about. Among other historical gems, the BBQ pit was lit in 1984 when the Olympic torch passed through. The same pit has been burning constantly since 1988. Sunshine ordered an 8-ounce filet mignon, and I had a 7-ounce top sirloin. Throw in salads (they make all of the dressings on site), an assortment of fresh veggies on which to nosh while waiting, and dessert (ice cream or sherbet, the latter being pineapple the night we were there), and things were off to a great start. Potatoes, of course, are a given in such situations.

Now, I am a steak sauce kinda guy, but having said that, the steaks could have been served to us in a rubber room with plastic cutlery and nothing but our imaginations to alter their flavor since they left the grill; we still would have been able to cut them with ease and dined in bliss. Sunshine thinks she may have just had the best steak of her life there, and I am ready to say the same. And I have had some fantastic steaks. Tender, truly medium rare (as we both like them), and perfectly seasoned, primarily with coarse-ground pepper.

And while that was a fine meal, we were faced the next day with another problem: brunch. We were prepared to throw in the towel and go to the nearest IHOP, but it was in the wrong direction, so, after checking out, we headed back toward home, trusting to small towns along the way. I finally decided that we had seen enough pavement and got on in Los Alamos. Heading south through that town takes patience. There is really quite a dearth of, well, anything until you hit what passes for downtown. Once there, there is very little more than anywhere else, but we found the Twin Oaks, a quaint diner that was serving brunch.

Trusting the general look of the place, once inside, we sat and studied menus that seemed almost too fancy for such a place. Perhaps it is sad, but we ended up ordering the same thing as one another: eggs benedict. Neither of us had had the dish in ages, and we felt the call at once. Hollandaise sauce, like many of its cousins, is a delicate creature, but whoever put this one together at the Twin Oaks understood perfectly well how to achieve the proper consistency without turning the concoction into scrambled eggs. The poached eggs had viscous liquid yolks, perfectly cooked. At that point, almost any ham and English muffin will look good, but even there the owners and chefs didn't skimp. Throw in two coffees, and we had brunch. Try finding perfect eggs benedict for nine dollars most places, and you'll go hungry.

In all, one can do well by escaping the city. The distractions of fast food and the prices of everything else in the city make the drive out to these quiet corners worthwhile when seeking something with the power to clog arteries while making the consumer not even care about the health effects.

Area 51 Renamed

Recently I learned from a professor emeritus at a small Southern California college that focuses on science that Area 51, the reputed secret lab set up to study alien technology has been renamed. The professor, whose name I will not use here, claims to have been a member of Majestic in its waning years. A source within the government apparently indicated that too many people were aware of Area 51, so changing its name restored plausible deniability.

He is not certain of the new name, but he has speculated that it may have been the one he suggested in the early 1950s: the G-Spot, so called because it was where government scientists (hence the G) who didn't have a lot of freedom on the outside got to play with toys. In future comments on Area 51, you, my readers, would do well to improve your odds of bothering the government types (at least until we have confirmation of the new name) by using the term "G-Spot."