TGSP: Totally Gratuitous Saturday Post

February 10, 2007

This has nothing to do with anything. But what is life without a few grace notes? As narrated by Stephen Fry.

If, in fact, you can find the relevance of this video to the goals and aspirations of GTDA, by all means leave them in the comments.


Visual explanations: what lies ahead

February 10, 2007

I first saw this video by Michael Welsch a couple of weeks ago and was impressed but didn’t think it particularly blogworthy. Then Seth Godin placed it in the proper context.

Publish or perish indeed. Now that the publishing part is free and without friction, and now that a professor can boil down complex topics to vivid videos, why aren’t tens of thousands of professors scrambling to do this?

Welsch’s video has gone totally viral…how many more folks now grok Web 2.0 because of it? Isn’t that one of your jobs as an academic?

You likely have the technology on your computer right now that would allow you to tell a compelling story about your research and at the same time expand and hone your personal brand. If you had to do such a video as a class assignment, what would be the topic?

Always the trendsetter among myrmecologists in the use of new media, here’s a short video by the artiste, Jack Longino (let it load in the background).

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

February 10, 2007

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.

Add this one to your toolbar

February 10, 2007

Cross-engine’s interface

Check out Cross Engine, a meta-search engine with a great interface that is also, amazingly, blazing fast. Choose the media (Web, Images, Video, News, Reference, Blogs) and/or particular websites.

ht LifeHacker