Live, work, be passionate

While eating my morning toast (with saskatoon jam!) and tea I ran into what seems to be a perennial conversation on science Twitter. Specifically: how much time should a student put into their research and related studies and how much into the rest of their lives? This is a good question, and there are at least as many answers are there are practitioners, so the best I can do is present my own answer as…

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An ode to the muskox in the lab building basement

  Imagine for a moment that you’re a muskox and it’s damned cold and even more damned windy. You scrape your hoof over a rock to get at a veneer of moss under a drift of snow which incidentally is blowing around you and your herd in diagonal-horizontal mini-tornadoes. A threat appears out of the snow gusts and like you have so many times before and like your ancestors have done for eons eons eons…

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Vast. Silent.

Around 1.3 billion years ago, a vast distance from where you are sitting, two massive black holes completed their eons-long spiral tango and merged into a blacker (is that possible?) hole. A massive event; a collision of pure darkness. But one that no one could have heard in the vacuum of space, were anyone actually there to witness the cataclysm. Outward streamed light-speed, invisible waves, on an interminable journey through the cosmos. Ripples in spacetime,…

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A tiger in your back yard?

When we think of endangered animals, among the first things to come to mind may be creatures like rhinoceroses, tigers, or condors. Large animals, lots of press, and pressing concerns. There are an estimated 799 eastern black rhinos, ~400 Siberian tigers, and 237 California condors left in the wild. In some cases, as with these animals, their numbers have been reduced by human assaults of various sorts. In most cases there are plenty of ongoing issues, often related to…

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Rezoning of Prince George parks – my letter

This evening the Prince George City Council will be discussing the rezoning of park-designated land for development. The planning philosophy of selling park land to presumably pay for maintenance of other park land seems to be something of a growing and unfortunate trend in our city. In response, I wrote the following letter to Council. —– To whom it may concern, I am writing to express my concern with the proposed rezoning – and presumably…

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Flying solitude

Between 7 and 21 November I flew across the country and back two times. Once for the Entomological Society of Canada Joint Annual Meeting (in lovely Montreal) and the other time for the annual CCUBC meeting (again in Montreal). I don’t normally travel this much, let alone in such a temporally concentrated manner. As a bit of a homebody, I am not a big fan of travel and prefer to keep my periodic migrations to…

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Skiffs and shifts

Over the past few summers, I have been spending about a day a week (give or take) on the Crooked River just north of Prince George. This little river, just a few dozen kilometres in length, flows north from Summit Lake into McLeod Lake. Its source is just on the north side of the Arctic watershed, which in itself makes the river somewhat unique compared to the rivers just to the south. Its low-gradient, meandering…

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Book review: Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra

Field Notes for the Alpine Tundra by Elena Johnson 2015, Gaspereau Press 48 pages $17.95         One of my favorite poets, Dylan Thomas, once wrote the following in response to being questioned on his definition of poetry: I, myself, do not read poetry for anything but pleasure. I read only the poems I like. This means, of course, that I have to read a lot of poems I don’t like before I…

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Book review: The Book of Beetles

The Book of Beetles: A Life-size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems Edited by Patrice Bouchard Contributions by Patrice Bouchard, Yves Bousquet, Christopher Carlton, Maria Lourdes Chamorro, Hermes E. Escalona, Arthur V. Evans, Alexander Konstantinov, Richard A. B. Leschen, Stéphane Le Tirant, and Steven W. Lingafelter 2014, University of Chicago Press 656 pages, 2400 color plates $55 (cloth), $33 (eBook) Last autumn, while I was wandering around the poster presentations at the Entomological Society…

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