Category Archives: Ramblings

Unfounded celebration of Darwin?

So, I see a lot of people celebrating Darwin on Facebook, but I have to ask: how many of these people have actually read On the Origin of Species? My guess, none of them. It’s cool that you appreciate his work, we all do, but unfounded celebration of his work is pretentious and just social media self appraisal. His work exists to be studied and tested, not for self glorification in a social media context. Without reading his magnum opus, how can you truly praise him in a public manner?

Do these folks truly understand the motivation behind his work? A common misconception I observe are people that think he was the father of evolutionary thought – are you one of these people? If you are, go back to school and read his book.

Taro, out!

P.S. I really want to post this on Facebook to prove a point, but there are too many fragile graduate students out there that can’t handle the criticism, so I’ll keep my mouth shut. But, seriously, don’t celebrate what you don’t understand. You’re making people like me, that have actually read his works, look like a chump. You’re scientists: I hope you don’t cite in your pubs, works that you haven’t actually read.



Actually, scratch the last post, let CCR melt your Wednesday away.

Sometimes, working on poorly known groups is just…

Biologists like to glorify the discovery of new  taxa. Let that be species, genera, what say you. If this taxa has a spinal column and is extinct, contact Nature or Science, your CV points just went up.

In reality, this is not a big deal at all. You work on a poorly explored taxonomic group, you will find new taxa.

Arnett, already said it: the aleocharine staphylinids are the most taxonomically difficult group among the beetles, and represent close to 3% of all described life. Unfortunately, there are very few taxonomically informative characters.

Seevers, one of the deities among aleo. researches, eluded that the maxilla holds a taxonomic gold mine of characters. Unfortunately, he never was able to make sense of it.

All the lacinia you ever wanted

Don’t worry, I’m here, trying to help. A small sub-set of the true diversity, but if you look carefully, there is some sense in nonsense.

The humans are dead

Year 2012, due to global environmental destruction, mankind has self destructed, leaving only robots to rule the world… Remaining robots now explore what is left of the now desolate earth…

The MCMC robot terrorizes tree space in search of high posterior densities.

MCMC robot, artist rendition.

To play with an MCMC educational exploratory program, visit Dr. Paul Lewis’ website and look for “MC robot”. It’s quite fun, we used it in my phylogenetics class this past semester.

On a robotic note.

Check out a Flight of the Conchords stand up show where they sing about a world where robots take over.

To be a grad student

Food essentials in grad school are of course Tabasco and soy sauce.

These two help bring a false  sense that your inappropriate meal is actually food.

Even your staple doesn’t stand a chance.

Your staple is affordable with  your income.

Although in reality you don’t have so many.

Staying awake is essential.

Or more accurately, “you can sleep when you’re done with that thesis”…

But as time goes by you may need alternative motivation.

In reality, you need something to keep you awake as that pot brews.


On a more serious note.

Lawrence got completely snowed in today. I’ve never even seen a snow storm this intense in Ithaca. At least it’s not as cold though. The snow is fine and dry. Man I really want to go skiing.

Yea people were driving around but there was no way I was going to. Plus, in this weather it would have taken me close to an hour to walk to my lab.

Damn, I have a specimen still in KOH. I really hope that it doesn’t melt away…

Tomorrow is a Christmas lunch for the grad school orphans. I’m excited.

Some people like cupcakes better. I for one care less for them.

Good times were had by all

I think hair wise I’m on my way to becoming a famous entomologist. Compare me bellow (from a foray in Ithaca, NY in spring of 2009) and titan Matsuda (on the left).

Me sorting through litter, good times were had during a sunny foray in Ithaca NY, spring of 2009


On a different note.

Cornell has a far better library then KU. In fact, I must say, Cornell’s library system was god-like. Although I must admit that there’s a 40 page limit PDF service here, where they’ll scan and PDF up to 40 pages. This is helpful when you consider my building is a 30 minute walk to campus.

It’s funny, when I interlibrary loan here at KU, most of the material comes from good old Mann Library at Cornell.

There was talk of disbanning the Cornell Entomology Library. This is sad and just shows the global disappreciation for natural sciences. After all, who cares about ants and stuff anyways. I remember the ent-library being a place where I greated familiar faces. Whether it be ent-club folks or fellow staph gurue Rick. I wouldn’t say it was a quiet library, definately an active research library with lively “hellos”.

Anyways – because of Cornell’s superior online subscriptions, I’ve been taking advantage of the lag between my graduating and my Cornell network account to get shut off; downloading papers through Cornell. Yesterday, sadly, this came to an end and my account was closed off. I feel like I’ve finally graduated…

I hate Facebook but nostalgia brought me back, after I lost my Cornell network access,  and I browsed some photos, especially of this summer. Good times were had by all…