How to find images for your lectures…and a brief rant

We are visually-oriented primates: images add intellectual spark and emotional punch to your talks. (A lecturer to most other forms of life might wish to avail herself of Odorama).

Here is a wonderful Wikipedia page that is a clearinghouse of public domain images. Sure, you could use Google Image, but it returns a mix of images, some copyrighted, some not. Furthermore, these clearinghouse websites are often pleasingly retro. Giving a lecture on field biology? Howabout a photo from a University of Chicago field class from sometime early in the last century?

University of Chicago

MK at La Selva Biological Station 1989

It’s worth just a minute to consider why one wears white into the field. Thermoregulation on a steamy afternoon? Perhaps, but anybody who can stay immaculate while tromping around in the field, well, that’s the handicap hypothesis all over, ain’t it?

I’ve always thought wearing white field clothes is a way of advertizing to potential ecological competitors (and by that I mean other grad students working at the same field station and likely entering the same bloated job market at the same time as you). Nothing says “I can collect a Nature paper’s worth of data one quarter the time as your sorry ass” like an ensemble of painter’s pants and surplus Air Force dress shirt. Or is that just me? Your alternate hypotheses as to the adaptive nature of wearing white in the field are, as always, greatly appreciated.

And for that matter, what is the fashion for field gear in this 2008 season? Can we please leave that uninspired “ripstop camouflaged field pants plus ironic t-shirt” in the trash-bin of natural history? Time to move on people!

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogpost.

What do you do if you’re giving a lecture on social mammals? Herbivory? Or cuddlesome social warm-blooded herbivores? Just type in “prairie dogs” and…..

Prairie Dog

Ahwwwww. I obtained this image from rom PicFindr whose tag line is “Search the Free-Stock-Photosphere”. It’s worth a look all by itself.

So have add it; add images to your talks, keep the visual vertebrates in your audience on their toes, and know that you’re not taking money out of the pockets of hardworking artists and photographers.

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3 Responses to How to find images for your lectures…and a brief rant

  1. Scott says:

    White field clothes are obviously so that you can see the tick-bomb creeping up your leg before you push yourself up hands-on-knees and then scratch you face. This is not a great joy, and I recommend white field trousers for this reason.

  2. Mike says:

    Ah, I can see a future BFW Friday post:
    Tick bombs, Odontomachus Fun Parties, and the field biologists that love them.

    And one can easily see tick bombs against pale yellow trousers, or even an engaging puce.

  3. Retro clothing is the bomb! My favorite place to find it is Goodwill or any thrift store. Ebay is also a great place to find what you are looking for.

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