Alaska photos!!!

Yay, I finally found a way to transfer photos! I’ll just share some of my favorites here with you:

Eating at Pike’s Place on the Chena River. Good food, but even better view.

This was so hilarious that I almost bought it. It was in the gift shop for the Alaskan Salmon Bake, which is basically this hokey gold mine theme park we went to that had all you can eat salmon, halibut, cod, prime rib, and all the fixings.

This was the best part of the theme park. Weeeeee!

I also learned that polar bears tend to spontaneously combust in Alaska.

Creepy human-turtle zombie sculptures on campus. Thankfully it’s daylight 24/7, so no real worries of zombie attacks.

Downy woodpeckers! I took about a billion photos of these two, it was impossible to just choose one.

Doing the touristy thing with the Alaskan pipeline. Kind of anticlimactic, actually.

Caribou at the Large Animal Research Station!

D’awwww baby caribou.

Muskox! And my new arch nemesis, the seventy bajillion zillion mosquitoes of Alaska.

Muskoxen sparring! I am SO lucky to have gotten this photo.

In the Army Permafrost tunnel!

Pirate Jen!

Ok, those photos of me modeling our club shirt I posted yesterday were absolutely horrible. So horrible I feel like I need to redeem myself. Here, have some photos of me from our Pastafarian preaching from Talk Like a Pirate Day 2008. Like always, click for larger images.

Drawing the posters was fun <3Notice my developing sunburn. Wasn’t fun.I love my club members so much.

College is a random place

I’m out of insightful things to say at the moment, so I’ll leave you with this this scary photo I took with my phone’s camera today (pardon the crappy quality):
In case you can’t tell, that’s a deer head. In a tree. WTF? This is in the yard of the house across from my apartment complex. I walk past this location every day on my way to class, but I never noticed it until now. I usually take a different path back, so I had only seen it from its nubby behind which I guess just looked like a branch. I wonder how long this creepy thing has been watching me, gah!

College, the only* place where you can find taxidermied animal heads in trees!

*I hope.

Nebraska Trip Mini-Recap

I was in Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend for the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (that’s some exciting stuff right there). It was a ten hour drive through brown, empty farmland. The only highlights of the drive were crossing the Mississippi (took a couple minutes to figure out what that giant body of water was…doh), seeing all the cool giant wind turbines, and this gas station:
Is this seriously a chain out in the great plains? That’s the most horrendous name ever. I was giggling like a 13 year old for a while over this one.

The University of Nebraska Lincoln had a really nice campus. It was a total ghost town though…not just campus, but all of Lincoln. There were no people or cars anywhere. Did they hear the evolutionists were coming and leave or something?

Anyway, the conference itself was pretty good. I got to hear great talks by David Quammen, Svata Louda, Randy Moore, and David Hillis. Randy Moore was the winner of the Discovery Institute’s Award for Most Dogmatic Indoctrinator in an Evolutionary Biology Course, and his talk was about the history of creationism in the US. Pretty interesting, since I only knew about modern figures. Since we talked a lot about people like Dawkins and PZ Myers in the Q&A, I introduced myself as the President of the Society of Non-Theists afterwards and got a loud “Good for you!” Woot!

My favorite part was that our poster session was held in Elephant Hall, a natural history museum on campus focusing on mastadons. Their statue pretty much owns our lame Neil Armstrong statue at Purdue:
It was pretty wonderfully random having a poster session surrounded by fossils and fake elephants. It’s also home to the largest mastadon statue ever discovered (at least, according to the little informational thingy). I’m really glad these things aren’t around anymore. Except for the dwarf mammoth. That thing looked adorable, and was the size of a medium dog. Apparently the ancient Greeks used to think its skull was from a cyclops, since its nasal cavity leaves a weird hole in its head. I just sort of want it as a pet <3

They also had an Irish Elk skeleton, which is my favorite story of runaway sexual selection ever. Not to mention a gigantic armadillo thing:

In conclusion, nature is fucking awesome. This is why I love being a biologist <3