A distinguished pedigree

Last weekend, I was in Oregon at a science conference honoring my graduate advisor, Chuck Kimmel. We had science talks, and people gave little speeches, and we had a big ol’ party. One of Chuck’s colleagues and a former advisor of mine, James A. Weston, had something similar some years ago called the JAWFest; we called this one the ChuckFest. Jim told a few stories, and he also recited the intellectual lineage of Charles B. Kimmel, which is an old tradition — like the long recitations of fathers in the Norse sagas, or the begats in the Bible, only this is a chronological list of our educational forebears, and there’s a little less blood and violence.

I got the files from Jim and include it here, which is only fair since it’s also my intellectual pedigree.


Charles B. Kimmel graduated with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, where his advisor was…

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The short-sighted madness of bad science fiction


The happy promoters of giant space projects are at it again. “Should we terraform Mars?”, they ask — to which I reply that we aren’t even close to being able to implement such an undertaking, so your fantasies are silly, and worse…why do you always express it in such palpably stupid ways?

Before we talk about terraforming another planet like Mars, we have to talk about Earth—and whether we should be spending our resources trying to save it, or moving on to another pale blue dot. It’s a grim debate that some scientists say it’s time to have.

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I am full up on science — we had a long day of zebrafish-inspired talks (also sticklebacks! And Amia!), and I am dazzled with how far the science has progressed since my antique days as a graduate student. I’m also impressed with the legacy my graduate advisor has created — great labs live forever.

The science part is done. Tomorrow it’s an all day party at the Kimmel farm. I’ll be home sometime around 5, so if anyone in Eugene wants to get together in the evening (in addition to the meetup on Sunday morning), I’ll probably be hanging about the Valley River Inn bar.

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: A member of the family


Good news, everyone! The US Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that captive chimpanzees deserve the same protection as wild chimpanzees. We’ve been living for years with a peculiar split decision that says it is illegal to experiment on some chimps, the ones still living in the wild, but other chimps, those that live in research colonies, have fewer protections.

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