I think my brain is full

6 10 2007

I just walked in the door from my long day at NYU (I woke up at 5:30 AM to make sure I made the train) and it was definitely worth the trip. The presentations were very interesting, even if I didn’t entirely agree with everything that was said. Unfortunately I have to run off again, but here’s a preview of some of the topics mentioned today that I’ll write some more about when I get a chance;

– Olive & Yellow Baboon Hybridization

– Monkeys that use their tails as tripods

– The role of populations and demographics in evolution

– The elusive Cross River Gorilla

– Alan Walker’s spear-throwing “fantasy”

– Non-adaptive speciation events (?)

I mostly remember the topics that made me go “I don’t think that’s right” more than anything else, but it definitely was a very informative conference and I’m glad I went. Tomorrow I’ll probably be away from the computer again until the afternoon and then I’ll be off to see the Walking With Dinosaurs Live show before it closes, but I’m hoping to have my new blog up and running for the beginning of the week (with lots of juicy new material, plus some older re-polished gems).

It’s going to be a long weekend in NC

5 10 2007

I know I plug the upcoming NC Science Blogging Conference quite a bit (if you haven’t registered yet, get on it!), but I am really excited to be going. I’m so excited, in fact, that I’m planning on leaving at about 2 AM so I can get down there with plenty of time to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences the day before the conference (a Friday). Even better, the museum has dinosaurs in! The AMNH traveling exhibition Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries will be at the museum, and I’ll definitely appreciate it now that I’ve got a little more background than when I first saw it. I definitely want to make sure I visit Willo and the Acrocanthosaurus skeleton, too, although I wish I had more time during that weekend so I could stop to see the Giganotosaurus mount and Cryolophosaurus skull at the Maryland Science Center on the way to or from NC.

Still, I really am looking forward to the conference, and remember, if you’ve seen something here on Laelaps that you especially enjoyed, please submit it for consideration to the next edition of The Open Laboratory (see the purple tab on the right sidebar).

Finally, the BIG news…

4 10 2007

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had some big news regarding the future of Laelaps. The notion that things were soon going to change caused a little bit of speculation, but despite my desire to tell everyone the news, I felt it best to keep things under my hat until my new plans were fully developed. This brings us to the good news and the bad news;

The bad news; Laelaps, as it now appears on WordPress.com, will no longer exist. Extinction is an unpredictable process, and so it has claimed this blog.

The good news; It’s really a pseudoextinction because Laelaps has evolved, and soon you’ll be able to watch it adapt in it’s new surroundings over at ScienceBlogs! Thanks to the support of many excellent bloggers (and the ever-increasing amounts of traffic and comments from readers like you), a prediction made by my friend Chris Harrison last February has now come to fruition and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

It’ll take me a little while to get the new blog up and running (I have a Soils & Water test this afternoon so I can’t just stay home and blog, as much as I would like to), but soon I’ll post an announcement when Laelaps has been sufficiently acclimated to it’s new habitat and is ready for viewing.

Blog withdrawal

3 10 2007

This week I’m out and about more than I’m in, and I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like (especially since I’m out petsitting at a place where there is no internet). It is good to be disconnected a bit, but I can’t lie and say I don’t wonder what my stats are or if anyone left comments when I’ve been away for some time. I think the following cartoon Julia recently shared sums it up well, I think;


There’s no reason to fret, though; I’ll still be around and be putting up new posts daily, but if you really can’t wait for my to get back to my obsessive blogging habits (or even if you can), be sure to check out Darren’s latest post about yet another sail-backed dinosaur.

Back to business

30 09 2007

Hello everyone, I’m back! Tracey and I had a good day hiking around Bear Mountain and staying the night at Beaver Pond, although I’m pretty worn out (I think I stained my right leg a bit and I got about 2 hours sleep last night). Still, the trails were pretty nice and I was able to find some mammal remains (one canine, one molar, one rib, one leg bone, and one jaw (with premolars and molars intact) from a small omnivore that I’ll look over in more detail later), so it was a pleasant trip overall. I did notice that the latest edition of The Boneyard did not go up yesterday as planned, however, and after I take a brief nap I’ll work on getting all the links together and posting it here.

Into the woods…

29 09 2007

Although I don’t normally write as much over the weekend as I do during the week, Laelaps is going to be particularly bare this weekend. Tracey and I are going to be out camping, celebrating her birthday, but I’ll probably be back on Sunday afternoon (with plenty of new photos to share).

Update on the lectures

27 09 2007

Just because some of you had asked how they were going, I thought I’d write a quick progress-report on the lectures that I had to give this week. Tuesday’s lecture went fairly well (although a little bit faster than I had intended it to go). While some of the students didn’t seem especially interested while I was giving the talk, I got some great questions afterwards about Lamarck, endosymbionts, and other matters. I expected a more low-key reaction, however, just because the lecture was more historical in nature (but it seemed that I gave the students a closer look at Darwin’s life and his scientific accomplishments).

Today I’m giving my ID/creationism lecture, which will be a lot more fun. I was able to find a handful of videos to download (a Creation Museum commercial, a Kent Hovind ad, the Simpsons evolution couch intro from a few months back, the Colbert Report Behe interview, an Inherit the Wind clip, Ray Comfort’s banana mishap, etc.) so outside of providing commentary I’ll be able to let the creationists speak for themselves to a certain extent. I also threw in a few more jokes and illustrations, so while it needs some work I think today will be a more more fun and interesting lecture than Tuesday’s. Many thanks to Peter McGrath of The Beagle Project as well, who has supplied me with some wonderful photos to use in some future lectures and on Laelaps.

I definitely enjoy giving lectures, though, and I certainly hope to deliver one for Darwin Day in February, that is if I can get enough Rutgers faculty interested enough to join in. I’ve got a lot on my plate as it is at the moment, but I hope that winter break will give me enough of a respite to get something organized, although I am much looking forward to January’s Science Blogging Conference, as well.