That makes it official

I was at dinner with a group of arachnologists last night, and I was surprised when I mentioned that I was from Minnesota and was then told that I was one of the only two arachnologists in the state. I was firstly startled at actually being told I was an arachnologist since I’m still trying to get a good grasp of the field, and secondly surprised that they’re so rare (would you believe there are only 500 people in the International Society of Arachnology?). He qualified it by saying that I was one of two people who had officially registered with the American Arachnology Society, from which I learned a few things.

If you want to be an arachnologist on paper, it’s easy — just send in your membership dues.

If you are a real arachnologist in Minnesota, with skills and expertise and deep knowledge, rather than a wanna-be like me, you’re behind. Send in your membership dues. Otherwise, people will keep mistaking me for you.

Otherwise, if you want to become a real arachnologist, here’s an article on the subject. It recommends starting in childhood and your teenage years, which is a little worrisome, since I waited until I was 61 to start. But you can do it! Unfortunately, unlike being an arachnologist on paper, it’s going to take a lot of hard work.


  1. davidnangle says

    I’d love to see the secret handshake. Hear the pledge. See the hazing rituals.

  2. starfleetdude says

    O.T., but the U. of M. Morris is in the news today, and it’s a pretty big deal:

    Can fertilizer fuel greener tractors? – MPR News

    For about a decade, researchers in Morris have been developing a process to make ammonia with wind power, a process with almost no greenhouse gas emissions. They think it’s realistic to envision a series of regional, wind-powered ammonia production facilities in farm country.

    The infrastructure to move and store ammonia is already in place. While ammonia doesn’t burn well, farmers are used to handling it. So, the challenge was to design a system to turn the ammonia into a more efficient fuel.

    Northrop and graduate student Seamus Kane developed a catalytic converter that uses the heat generated by the running engine to kick-start the chemical process that converts ammonia to hydrogen, a fuel that burns efficiently but is difficult to store and transport.

    That efficient fuel conversion using waste engine heat is the breakthrough technology that makes it all work. …

  3. Callinectes says

    To be fair, the childhood and teen years of preparation include “liking bugs altogether too much” and “showing an interest in biology”. I refuse to believe that wasn’t you in school.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I would choose “applied arachnology” with a view of using GM to provide arachnids with proper lungs, finally enabling them to reach the size of their carboniferous brethren. Also, extra venom sacs.