My sunburn has finally started to become less painful, my shoulders still being the worst of it, but right now I look as if I should be up in a bell tower crying “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” as my nose and cheeks continue to peel.
I blasted through the rest of The Beak of the Finch last night and it certainly was an enjoyable read. The author’s diversion in the 3rd quarter of the book to describe other observed accounts of “evolution in action” could have been integrated into the work a little better, but overall I found it to be enjoyable and enlightening. In fact, as I was reading I was reminded of some earlier ideas I had about global warming and its effect on ecology, but it seemed like at every turn the Grants or the author had beat me to the punch over a decade ago. The book did make me realize, however, how much I have some to dislike the terms “Darwinist” and “evolutionist.” I’ve discussed my dislike of the term “Darwinist” before, but even though I myself have used the term “evolutionist” it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, smacking of the religious. We don’t go out of our way to say that someone “believes in” gravity or photosynthesis, so I don’t see why we should continue going out of our way to say “evolutionist.”
I also received Lilian MacLaughlin Brown’s Bring ’em Back Petrified yesterday, wrapped up like a Christmas present and with a $2 bill inside (the book was not in as good condition as advertised). You don’t get that kind of service from your local chain book-store. Anyway, the book seems to chronicle the time Barnum Brown and his wife visited Guatemala, looking for Cenozoic fossils. It is interesting to read the book from the perspective of Brown’s wife, Brown seemingly driven to get out and find fossils as soon as possible, his wife preferring to be a housewife, even in the middle of the jungle. What is also curious is that the book contains a number of drawings, some seemingly drawn from photographs, but the faces of the couple are always blacked out (a photo of Barnum Brown is under “Currently Reading” on the right since there seems to be no image of the book’s cover anywhere). I managed to get 50 pages into it last night, and I’ll likely finish it this afternoon before devouring whatever comes in the mail today.
I also would love to write something up about the giant, extinct Peruvian penguins announced yesterday, but the PNAS website does not seem to have any paper about the giant birds. I could write up the story quite quickly like a number of other blogs and news outlets already have, but I would prefer to read the actual paper first, so I guess I’ll have to wait. I still have plenty of posts to work on, though, and perhaps I’ll write something up about a paper focusing on extinction and geographical distribution I came across yesterday in the meantime…