Monday, November 18, 2013

No Sale! Science Trumps Money in San Diego

The San Diego Natural History Museum today lowered the gavel on several fossils from their collection that were up for auction and science was declared the winning bidder. The museum released an official statement announcing cancellation of the sale scheduled for 19 November. The news comes only days after several notable paleontologists sharply criticized the museum's administration upon the original announcement of the proposed sale.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adjacently Fossilized Dinos: The Science of Selling a Story

Peter Larson of the Black Hills Institute in Hill City, SD caused quite a stir at the 2013 annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Apparently he presented a poster depicting research performed on specimens that are about to go to public auction, which seems to be in conflict with standards set by the scientific community. Larson also allegedly misrepresented his research in his submitted abstract and used the poster session to promote the fast-approaching sale. Unfortunately, Larson's history can sometimes precede him and cast a negative light on his work before it is properly assessed. I find that too much time can be spent examining the intent of an individual when the actions should be the focal point.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Shutdown of the US Government

I won't be saying much about this topic. I merely needed a forum for sharing what I received in an email today from the Veterans Support Center here at MSU-Bozeman. I am fortunate to have enough money to make it through the shutdown, but the impact nationwide on many veterans is impossible to ignore. I understand that this situation affects everyone in the country, but I maintain a small level of bias for my brethren and also have an increased level of valuable information to offer on the subject.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Liebster Award and Other Things Interesting

It's amazing how busy a summer can be for an unemployed college student. I haven't done half of what I intended when the spring semester ended, but I can't say my time has been wasted. As is my usual this time of year, I have spent a majority of the past two months playing babysitter for my sister. For the uninformed, four kids make reading difficult, especially when the book in question has dinosaur pictures in it. Luckily, I have managed to get some learning done and feel that I'm ready to springboard into some of the more brutal material.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dr. Derek Main: Farewell to a Man I Wish I'd Known

I had never heard of Derek Main before news broke Wednesday of his passing the day before. (There are quite a few paleo folks that I'm still not familiar with, so this doesn't surprise me.) Despite this, I have felt a profound sense of sorrow and regret these past few days, presumably because I will never have the opportunity to meet him. I don't generally get emotional about death, but the reactions I've seen tell me that he was a wonderful person and a true credit to his field.

Photo courtesy of the Arlington Archosaur Site Facebook page

Monday, April 29, 2013

Waking the Bats in My Belfry

I'll start by apologizing for the lack of new content over the past several weeks. With baseball season in full swing and family events taking over my life, I've been short on time to put order to my thoughts. With the way ideas fly around in my head, such a task can be arduous for me. I think my greatest hurdle to more consistent posting is my preference for writing each entry without interruption. Now that I've made excuses, I think the time has come for me to sculpt my next compositional masterpiece.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Is God a Monkey?

About 6000 years ago in a place undefined by space, God was sitting in his lab pondering his next course of action. He had just created existence, but it needed time to cool off before he could do any experiments. God had grown weary of being alone and creating a universe for friends to live in seemed like the easiest solution. Turns out that making worlds was quite a chore, as very few of the heavenly bodies God created were capable of sustaining life.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Voices in My Head Discuss Science Communication

Science communication seems like a pretty hot topic these days, but I've been hesitant to write about it. I just wasn't sure if my thoughts on the subject would merit their own post. Despite my reservations, I decided that it couldn't hurt to throw in my two cents. I'll lean toward objective assessment based on personal experience, but that's usually where opinions come from. I try to avoid having those since I know I'll be some degree of wrong no matter what.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vote WTF!!! on Montana House Bill 392

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was between classes and catching up on Twitter news when I was introduced to Montana House Bill 392. As a Montana resident for nearly three decades and a lifelong dino-fanatic, it was basically the worst thing I could have read. In no phase of existence is there a way I could stand back and wait for an outcome. What follows is the letter I drafted opposing the bill.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cannibalism in the Age of Dinosaurs: A Love Story

Many times with science, I've had a question answered before I knew I wanted to ask. This wasn't quite the case with Dr. David Hone's latest venture, but his new research project still made me wonder about something that might not have otherwise crossed my mind. The study itself isn't even the most interesting part. Dr. Hone is attempting to crowd-fund the research for publication in an open-access journal.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Inside the Name of The Joe

In my last post, I brought up the possibility that in the near future I would explain the alias appearing in my blog title. Since I'm not feeling overly serious today, I just as well follow through on this threat. Before I get to that, I have another blog-naming issue to address, brought forward by  Dr. John Hutchinson:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

Given the serious nature of my last post, I feel that I should lighten things up a bit by acknowledging those who have helped expand my audience. Before I get to that, I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read what I've had to write. I would never have guessed that I'd have so much traffic in my first week of blogging. You all are the best!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Improving Upon the Art of Teaching Science

I've been looking forward to writing this post for a few days now. As much as I enjoy the process of storytelling like I did in my previous entries, I find editorial work to be more challenging. A blog post by Sarah Werning, titled "Why Paleontology is Relevant", triggered a brief Twitter discussion between Brian Switek, Jon Tennant, and me. The result was a great question requiring a thoughtful answer which will hopefully provoke further discussion.

Where I'm At and How I Got Here

While I don't plan on writing a post every day moving forward, I figured I've got enough of a backlog of topics to justify more frequent updates. Since I've already given a detailed background of who I am, I felt that the next logical step was to summarize my previous dinosaur studies so everyone knows where I've been and I have a better idea of where I'm going.

To preface things a bit, I plan on only discussing books I've been reading. There are a number of blogs I try to keep up with, but the vast array of topics that are covered would dominate my time if I chose to discuss them. I've provided a list of the blogs I read and will likely make mention of the authors from time to time.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Who I Am and Why I'm Blogging

Hello, everybody, and welcome to my blog. I figured my first entry into this venture should be introductory, as my future writings would probably lack context otherwise. I'm currently enrolled in the Construction Engineering program at Montana State University-Bozeman and have another year or so before I graduate. Before this, I spent over five years in the Air Force working with munitions. As both of these paths were essentially chosen for me by the government, I've decided to wander off and finally learn about something that actually interests me.

I found as much of the set as I could online last year. Abebooks is an awesome resource for used books.