Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Exciting Lives of Scientists

Long story, but I found an article about a natural science museum in London. Here's to science with a sense of humor:

There is a genus of clam called Abra. So inevitably, in 1957, when they identified a new species within that genus, two scientists proposed the name cadabra. A few years later, scientists decided that "Abra cadabra" more correctly belonged to the genus Theora, and, says Fortey sadly, "there is nothing very entertaining about Theora cadabra"

I'm with you Fortey. Screw correct classification-I wanna laugh at my mollusks!

Quentin Wheeler, keeper of entomology, and a colleague named a series of slime-mould consuming beetles after the US administration: Agathidium bushi, A rumsfeldi, and A cheyneyi. He also named one after Darth Vader. One day he received a phone call that began "This is the president of the United States." He was about to answer "Oh yes? Well this is Darth Vader . . ." when he realised it actually was the president of the United States, who claimed to feel honoured to be immortalised in beetle nomenclature.

Err....call Bush "scum" and he'll probably get mad. Call him a "scum-sucking beetle" and he'll personally call and thank you.


The only purpose of this entry is to say I'll write a real one in a few hours after I get back from work. Why I'm putting this up for only a few hours is beyond me, but I blame Kristina for making me feel bad about not posting, so now I feel I owe the blogging world (her) an explanation.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Paris, Je T'aime

I seem to recall an entry that prophesied of future entries. Behold, on this day shall the prophecy be fulfilled as I tell the story of...


So long ago (the summer of '06), I was on my way to study abroad in Namibia, Africa. Namibia is a significant country because, as we all know, Angelina and Brad had baby Shilo there that same year. I went for the much less interesting anthropological things there. I mean live with natives for a month, kill snakes, see elephants? Pales in comparison to having a chance to actually see a real celebrity baby! I mean how many times do any of us have a chance to see that anywhere?

I digress...Paris plays a part in all this because my dad was able to find a flight that allowed me to meet my parents in Paris (my dad was going to take my mom to Italy right after for their 25th anniversary, so we were all there) and then fly to Africa.

So the first day that I'm not jet-lagged, I go run around Paris just looking at things, eating things and exploring the city. It's marvelous fun. I stop next to the river Seine to read my map. Apparently this signals "tourist" since not a minute later a Frenchman comes up to me and asks if he can look at my map too. However, I notice that he didn't seem interested in finding anything (at least on the map) as he quickly starts making conversation with me. Let's fast forward to two hours later when we're sitting in a cafe talking. Think American films that take place in Paris are full of stupid stereo-types...?

Ummm...they...really....aren't. Let me give you some highlites of our conversation: (Note that this must be done in a THICK Parisian accent)

"Ah, Laurel, your smile, it is so beautiful. I am not a painter, but you will make me one."

"Bravo, bravo Laurel to your parents for making you. I should send them a bottle of wine."

"I would send my heart to you across the ocean, but I cannot; I only have one."

"Ah, Laurel, your laughter! I must remember it. I am not a writer, but you will make me one."

I literally have a page of these written down because they were just so....French. Did they work on me? Well, if you hadn't kissed anyone for over two years because you were serving a mission most of that time, and a cliche Paris romance knocks at your door, what would you do?

Exactly. Kissing on top of the Eiffel Tower was awesome.