Some Xmas gifts plus

Just wanted to share a couple fun Christmas presents I got this year and a couple of gifts I got earlier in the year that I have been meaning to post some pictures of but had not yet got round to doing so.

The first is an amusing caricature of yours truly, drawn by Gabriel Corral (who was, until recently, one of my co-workers):

A caricature of me riding a sauropod while waiving a Darwin-fish flag. The caption reads: "Not scientifically accurate".

A caricature of me riding a sauropod while waiving a Darwin-fish pennant. The caption reads: “Not scientifically accurate”.

He drew caricatures of each of us who work, or worked, at AFS Printing as Christmas gifts.

Next is a painting by my sister, Kindra Pizarro, of a skeleton tree:

An original painting by my sister Kindra.

An original painting by my sister Kindra.

Very cool (be sure to check out her Etsy store: Voodoo Kitty Handmade Oddities).

Finally a couple of neat dinosaur statuettes given to me by my friends Don and Gaynell Frack, I think for my last birthday (or maybe even last Christmas, can’t recall):

A Stegosaurus statuette.

A Stegosaurus statuette.

Triceratops

A Triceratops statuette.

Apparently they bought them, for a very reasonable price, at an art sale put on by a Buddhist temple. Both are very cool, though I think I like the Triceratops best. The only problem is my ever finding a place to display them where the cats won’t be able to destroy them (first world problems).

So that’s it for now, thank you so much Gabriel, Kindra, Don and Gaynell for the thought and the gifts!

I’m now on LinkedIn

Here is a link to my profile. Since my current employment is on shaky ground (I am looking at a possible lay-off in the near future due to slow business), I am currently trolling for connections and endorsements, especially from, but not limited to, sciencey types. So if you’re on LinkedIn and have found my dissections of creationist propaganda informative and or entertaining, please consider giving me a few mouse clicks for support. Thanks!

P.S. if LinkedIn suggests “skills” that are not already listed in my profile, please do not endorse them. It keeps giving people the idea that I have skills that I don’t actually have (honesty is a harsh mistress) and thanks again.

Halloween 2014 (retrospective)

I tried to keep things a little less complicated this year… I think I succeeded, at least I didn’t feel as stressed at sunset this year. Here are a few pics in more or less the order one would see things as they approached the house.

med_skel_2014med_front-house_2014sm_walkway_2014door_ghost_2014We had an OK number of trick-or-treaters, though I had hoped for more on a Friday night. It was threatening to rain so that might have kept the numbers down a bit. Here is a video taste of how I greeted them (got a fair amount of scares in):

Next year Halloween falls on a Saturday, so I am hopeful for a better showing then.

May the 4th be with you!

A personal message on this most auspicious day!

Playing Chess with Pigeons turns six years old today!

6th birthday pigeonWow, they grow up so fast! I can hardly believe it has been six whole years since I started this blog.

Thanks for reading everyone!

Of course it is probably about time it started pulling its own weight around here. Maybe it could get work as a carrier pigeon or something…

Every little bit helps (especially right now). Many Thanks!

A plea for (non-financial) help

journalsOK, here is the situation; I do not work for a university, a museum, or any other educational and/or research organization. I am not paid to do the research on and write substantive refutations of creationist propaganda. I do it because I am passionate about science (especially biology and paleontology) and extremely annoyed by people who peddle lies, half-truths and misinformation about it.

It would be nice if more working scientists could take the time to familiarize themselves with the machinations of creationists so as to be better prepared to counter them but I understand that they have more important tasks to do, like actually doing science. And I —as an interested and more knowledgeable than most layperson— am more than happy to stand in for them in the trenches, without remuneration or recognition. All I ask is that I be given the tools, the ammunition if you will, to fight the fight.

In this case, it is free and unencumbered access to the scientific literature!

If I am doing research, working on a rebuttal to some creationist claim, buying copies of the articles myself is simply not an option as I live paycheck to paycheck and the miscellaneous science journals charge outrageous prices for individuals to download their articles, often as much a $25 or $35 dollars each (if they charged $1 a pop, like an mp3 download, I might sometimes spend the money)!

Instead, to get what I need, I have to pester and cajole, via e-mail, working scientists and/or university professors I am acquainted with to send me PDF copies of scientific papers.  Alternatively, I have to get in my car (which is currently broken down and I cannot afford to fix it), drive to a local university, plug a flash-drive into one of the computers in their science library, and download them, which is a big hassle and still costs money for gas and parking.  

What I would like is to be given some sort of unpaid (though I wouldn’t say no to stipend!), ceremonial position at a university, museum, or other institution that would grant me access to the primary scientific literature to which they are already subscribed (the more the better).

A couple of my university professor friends have tried without success to get me something like this, only to have the “higher up” say no.

So, I am putting out this plea to any scientist, university professor or Dean, or anyone who is sympathetic to my cause and who has influence at their institution, please, please, please, help me to get access to the science I need to do what I can to combat the forces of ignorance that threaten to overwhelm us all.

Thank you for your consideration!

New Evo-T shirt!

There is a new Evo-T shirt available, this time with a little philosophical humor:

“Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”

Womens Solipsism joke shirtThe Men’s version can be found here [note that you can change the shirt color to taste, however if you do you might want to change the text color as well].

As always the (small) proceeds from the sale of Evo-T’s go towards supporting me and by extension my efforts in defending science education. So you can buy out of the goodness of your heart and help support a worthy cause, or we can do this the hard way…

Another new toy…eventually

After my friend Don gave me a microscope he had rescued from being throw away I wrote in a post about it and mentioned there about how I would like to also have a dissecting microscope (something more suitable for examining fossils & macroscopic critters etc.). Well upon reading this Gary Hurd, a long time colleague in the Creation/Evolution conflict, contacted me via Facebook and told me that if I really wanted a dissecting scope he had one I could have if I just came and got it.

So I went and got it…

d_micro_smIt is a Bausch & Lomb 0.7x – 3x with, from what Gary tells me, a storied history of archaeology fieldwork. The base was pretty rusted (which I imagine was due to Gary’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean) but some steel-wool and some WD40 took care of most of that (as you can see).

There is however one tiny little problem with the scope (for which Gary apologized profusely) and this is where the “eventually” comes in, it lacks eye-pieces! Unfortunately the eye-pieces apparently got misplaced, so until I have some extra cash (who knows when that will happen) it will remain a very cool looking (and very heavy) paper-weight in the corner of my office.

hurd_britain

Yours truly and Gary

Anyway, regardless of the missing bits, a big thank you to Gary Hurd for the microscope!

Soon I will have the makings of a genuine science laboratory! Bwahahahaha!!!

Also, Gary blogs over at Stones and Bones, give it a gander.