Friday, February 12, 2010

The Lab Manual

The idea of writing a lab manual for comparative osteology has been floating around for a while.  There just isn't a good one out there and one of the best was written well over 100 years ago and has greatly outmoded jargon and few illustrations.  What students need is a lab manual that they can go to that tells them how to tell similar bones from different mammals apart and what to look for.  A few people in my lab have suggested that we pool together the best drawings from our class and publish a manual together.  What would be better I think would be an on line, searchable wiki that students can contribute to from many universities.  It should offer people the ability to submit drawings descriptions and dicotemous keys as well as edit/ confirm those submitted by others.  The wiki should include all fields of comparative anatomy and not be limited to osteology, thought that would be a good starting point.  Most importantly, the site should be free an open.  Artists that submit drawings and photos should be able to decide as well whether their creations should be freely available and modifiable.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Study Nature

-By Georges Cuvier, Henry M'Murtrie

Monday, November 02, 2009

Possible Longest Wrong Number Ever!

Generally, text messaging speeds up communication.  You can say succincltly what you want and get on with your day while you wait for an answer.  Yet text messaging has also made it so that a simple wrong number has become a gigantic hassle.  This is how the texting went:

Unknown Number: Heyy what are you doing =-)
Me: Who is this?
Unknown: Dang how many girls do you give your number that you can't remember?
Me: my phone isn't showing a name so all I can tell is it's a person in or from Calif.
Unknown: oh remember we met last weekend when you got off work and we went out and got drunk =-)
Me: No, you have the wrong number. I'm in TN and haven't been out in a while
Unknown: no I don't this is bibi right

I don't like wrong numbers.  I don't like it when people play games to make you guess who it is on the phone because they somehow think they're special and I especially don't like being told I'm wrong when I know I'm not.  Consiquently, I called the number so I could resolve the issue once and for all.  That went roughly as follows:

Me: Hello
Unknown: Hey, what's going on?
Me:  You've been texting me today and I want to let you know you've got the wrong number.
Unknown: Well, what number is it?
Me: 714 (767- ####)
Unknown: Hey, just a sec, let me check (continues conversation with person in the room with her).  No, that's the right number.  This is Bibi right?
Me:  No, I'm telling you.  I'm not Bibi and I don't know how you got my number but you either misdialed originally or something!
Unknown: Oh come on Bibi, why you got to be like that?
Me:  Why do you refuse to believe me?!  I'm not Bibi, I don't know any such person and even if I was Bibi, you should have taken this as a hint a long time ago that either way, I don't want to be hearing from you!  You've got the wrong frickin' number.  Don't text me again.

The first text was at about noon.  The end of the conversation was at about 6:30 in the evening.  A six and a half hour wrong number has to be close to some kind of record.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bird puns

People hate my puns, I know, 
and so on the internet they shall go.
to see these puns you might
have intentionally visited a pun filled site
The American Museum's collection of birds
have provided woodpecker puns, abundant, absurd.  

The woodpecker, a two part name; phallic each.
Dryobates one resorts to when lube's far from reach.
The downy woodpecker is Picoides pubescens 
Though calling the hairy woodpecker, one could easily defend

And though this verse could get much sicker
One gets no Melanerpes when one Dryobates,
But do beware the Flicker

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I am a paleontologist

The awesome alternative rock band "They Might Be Giants"  has a new science themed album out and one of the songs is titled "I am a Paleontologist."  The lyrics are as follows:
I love diggin' in the dirt 
With just a pick and brush 
Finding fossils is my aim 
So I'm never in a rush 
'Cause the treasures that I seek 
Are rare and ancient things 
Like Velociraptor's jaw 
Or Archaeopteryx's wings 

Now all the kids 
Who wanna see 'em 
Are lining up 
At our museum 

I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 
I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 

Could it be an herbivore 
Crushing plants with rounded teeth 
Or ferocious carnivore 
Who moves so quickly on its feet 
It's like pieces of a puzzle 
That I love to try and solve 
It's so fun to think about 
How a species has evolved 

And all the kids 
Who wanna see 'em 
Can check 'em out 
At our museum 

I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 
I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 

Is it a T-rex? (I keep digging, digging, digging, digging) 
(Digging, digging, digging, digging) 
Maybe a Triceratops? (Digging, digging, digging, digging) 
(Digging, digging, digging, digging) 
Or a Carnotaur? (Digging, digging, digging, digging) 
(Digging, digging, digging, digging) 
(Digging, digging, digging, digging, diggin') 

I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 
I am a paleontologist 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am 
That's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hidden Treasure

I hid a quartz crystal and a note behind the mirror when my sister remodeled the bathroom.  It's my hope that someday, somebody else remodels the bathroom and gets a kick out of finding hidden treasure and an old-school video game reference. In case you can't read the small print.  The note says "Congratulations, you found the treasure but the princess is in another castle."

Saturday, August 29, 2009


For a hermit, the choice of one's hermitage is not the most important of things.  A place is a place so long as one is comfortable.  However, some hermitages stand out from others as having exceptional taste, even by hermits' standards, which may be regarded as significantly higher than the next persons (why do you think we spend so much time away from the next person?).  I've decided that if given the choice, I think I'd like the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.  The weather certainly could be better, but I think that the decor makes up for it.  I think that with that hermitage and the occasional company of an intelligent and beautiful woman, I could be truly happy for a while.  With over 15 miles of art galleries I could certainly fill my days with pleasant walks even on the colder days.