Fast Times in Mammals & Evolution

It’s 12:38. We’re all developing a thin glaze over our eyes from nearly two hours of lecture about marsupials and mammals. But then, out of nowhere, my pony-tailed professor pulls out a

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HUMAN PLACENTA

caught between shock, disgust and intense curiosity

He’s got the sterile gloves on to prove its authenticity and deep amusement sparkles in his eyes. This guy is almost nuts, but not quite. An immortal soundbite: “Sadly it’s lost a bit of its colour…”

There’s a marked difference in the humor over here. I really like it. It’s cheekier, sassier, and enhanced by the contrasting reservation of stereotypical Brits.

Some of my favorite funnies since I’ve been here:

(On an ad for a humor festival with a picture of supermarket chickens):
Now is the winter of our discount hens.

This ad for Las Vegas: DSC01050

On a greeting card: How do you approach an angry Welsh cheese? Caerphilly.


Darwin Day is a celebration of all things evolution. It’s held on his birthday, February 12th, and places all over the world offer up lectures and activities to spread the joy of this phenomenon. This year, Richard Dawkins is speaking at the London event and I would LOVELOVELOVE to go but have concert tickets for that night. On that note, if you like music characterized by harmonies, folk, Bon Iver prodigies, and sisters (<3 hey Em!), check them out here!)


Also, since it seems that many still aren’t sure how to contact me, here’s a list of HOT OR NOT to let you know how I can be reached. Trust me, you don’t want to land on the latter list.

Hot:

-Wes email

-QM email (ask if you want it but it just forwards to my Wes one anyway)

-this blog

-texting (I have a UK number)

-calling (UK number)

-skype

-letter!

What’s not:

-Texting/calling my US phone

-any app (snapchat included)

Facebook


And finally, yesterday I used some pink water leftover from boiling my beets to make pink pancakes! They didn’t taste like beets but lovely little scarlet cloud puffs. Here there’s a tradition right before Lent (Shrove Tuesday) of using up your sweets or indulgent foods to make pancakes. It’s occurring the day before my birthday this year and there’s all kinds of celebrations. My flatmates are planning on pancaking all day and I might check out a pancake race!

pancakeme

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I met Darwin’s pet octopus

Yesterday, my Geographies of Nature class went on a field trip to the Natural History museum. I cannot say enough about the experience- I was overwhelmed with adoration and sheer joviality for everything natural history. I wore my Darwin earrings. I geeked out at EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. I sort of had the time of my life.

This is a good time to note that this post will contain some pictures of animals in jars and giant squids and all that good stuff. I’m sure if it’s too weird you can just look away and forget about it after a few seconds but, like my peer said after looking at a preserved animal in a jar, you may have thoughts similar to “Thank god I’m vegan” or “I’m now officially vegan”.

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Highlights:

-Meeting some of Darwin’s pets and original type specimens. These are the animals that are sometimes the first of a species that are found, or are the prototypical specimens against which organisms that are proposed species members are compared for identification. Could be wrong about some of that but I think that’s the gist of it.

-Surviving a close encounter with a GIANT SQUID

Length: about 17 feet long. Keep in mind that this was only a teenager giant squid!

Their eyes are as large as dinner plates and their brains are doughnut shaped. So when they eat, it first TRAVELS THROUGH THEIR BRAIN before getting to their stomach!! #Thisiswhy I love science.

Here’s a striking illustration that really shows off that eye:

-Meeting a new friend, Mo, who was a very fun museum companion for the day. I could tell we’d be friends after, looking at a crack on a big glass case containing a giant moa, he asked, “Do you think it tried to escape?”

the comedian himself

the comedian himself

Darwin fangirl pics:

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And just because you’ve made it this far, have a look at this. Just for laughs.


I also found a wonderland of maps and globes: Stanfords. My jaw dropped when I stepped in. It felt like a sanctuary. I suppose that my inability to buy everything I liked added to this magical effect because I appreciated just looking at it all and not feeling an urge to own it. Just being inside this sort of cartographic museum made me glow with happiness.

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I added a pigeon on the steps of the British Museum for fun. Went there with a class and it was cool. Didn’t see much because I focused on one room for a synopsis of curatorial techniques and the like. Saw the controversial Elgin/Parthenon Marbles.


Talking with my flatmate Joey last night, he saw my slim slice of Neal’s Yard Dairy stilton cheese on the counter and we got talking about (how we can never stop talking/thinking about) food. He told me his story of how after high school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do so he came to London and worked at the deli area of Selfridges. He was quickly promoted to work at the luxury foods counter (!) He said that for most of the day he’d be standing around but one customer might come and spend an hour with him, necessitating a near-encyclopedic knowledge of caviar, alcohol, and cheese. Then they’d drop a few thousand pounds on something they’d consume in a tenth of that time. What a story.


That’s a lot for now. Am going back to the Natural History Museum next week for my museums class and then again for my mammals and evolution class later this term! SCORE!

Also, when I was looking for pictures of the NHM, I stumbled upon the image below and then the link to Zarek’s dad’s webpage. Hi Zarek!

darwinning. Not for darwimps!