Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ah the Darwin Awards

The briliance of the Darwin Awards it that they are funny and usually appropriate. I find dark humor very funny and this site appeals to me. So, to take advantage of this I wanted to make another fun page on my website using this but I don't always like actually doing the legwork.This is where my students come in. I figured I would make a school extra credit assignment using the site. These are the objectives:

“The Darwin Awards salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those
who accidentally remove themselves from it...”

Your assignment is to scour the website -
and find any such awards that relate to geology. I am not sure if any exist but I am
sure they do. You are to then do the following:
1. Provide a link to the specific award
2. Write up a short description of why you think this belongs in a Geological Darwin
Award category
3. Then let me know if you mind if I cite you as a source for finding this on a future
page on my website (If I think it is a good example).
4. Have fun
I have a bunch of them turned in and most, if not all, of them work well. So hopefully I should be able to post these as I go through them.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

When did Politicians become Scientists?

"But while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes."

Sarah Palin


Why do people who probably had one science class in high school think they are suddenly experts on a subject that I study daily and still don't know everything about? And as my office mates have stated, people need to get it through their thick heads that there is a difference between climate and weather. First off we change weather patterns all the time (smog anyone) and second we are constantly influencing climate if only from our pumping of CO2 into the atmosphere but with a whole host of other influences. I hate, hate, HATE, it when people think they know what they are talking about. It is just as bad as when celebrities talk about politics. SHUT UP, you don't know what you are talking about. Leave it to those who do.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Reason to be a Paleontologist

So I was reading this article for class and it actually gave me a reason to be a paleontologist that you can tell the outside world. Usually I get the question, "So how is this going to help humanity?" and my response is usually one of "I don't care about humanity". But this is useful:

"If indeed a crisis in biodiversity is occurring, what can paleontologists contribute to the understanding? The simple answer is, a huge amount. We are the only scientists who have ever seen biodiversity crises to their end, know consistent characteristics of species at risk, and have some idea of what happens in the aftermath. We are also the only ones who have seen crises of differing severity and can conduct comparative studies of death and recovery."

"We can expand our role beyond informing other scientists and the public about life in the past. We can help inform scientists and the public about life in the future."

Sepkoski, J.J., Jr., 1997, Biodiversity: past, present, and future: Jour. Paleontology, 71(4):533-539.