Thursday, May 22, 2003

Found out today that I have to make significant revisions to one of my manuscripts if it's to be accepted by its target journal (the bad news). However, the good news is that at least half of the information requested by reviewers is already extant in my dissertation. We'd left a lot of it out for brevity; now I have to paste it back in. The rest of the revisions will be a bit more work, but I think I can get it done well before leaving for the New England trip during the first week in June. At the same time, I'm thinking about possibly assembling a poster for a conference (or two), continuing to review literature for my upcoming funding proposal deadlines, and considering my part of another possible proposal that might be a very interesting backup project. I may be technically unemployed, but I'm beginning to feel like a working scientist.

Met with one of my favorite professors from Michigan State today; I hadn't seen her in eight years and had forgotten how much fun she is to chat with. She'd be one of the possible PIs on the possible proposal that I'd be a possible part of.

With bugs, all things are possible. :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The annual mating frenzy of flowering trees is winding down in our area, but if you get just the right combination of sunlight and visual angle, you can actually see huge quantities of pollen in the air. This means that all the wind-pollinated plants in the area are having sex not merely under our noses, but up our noses. All I can say is: Hey, you trees! Get a room!

Monday, May 19, 2003

Yet another one of our somehow legendary potlucks last night; this time, Rick put flyers in the mailboxes of the other three houses on our street that sport peace signs in their yards. One of the couples did come to the party; it turns out that they already knew some of the other people there, and the wife works in the WMU institute for which I did some teaching last fall. We'd walked by each other in the corridors dozens of times without realizing we were neighbors.

Finished The Ants, and am using the "lite" version, Journey to the Ants, as bedtime reading and a general review. Also started reading Crozier and Pamilo's Evolution of Social Insect Colonies, which is more technical but an excellent text for tying up all the loose ends of my scattered knowledge of this branch of evolutionary theory.

Also had a real-live encounter with social insects, when I pulled the old Clot into a friend's driveway with slightly too little clearance to the left, and dislodged a loose stone from the wall between their house and the next. The exposed crevice was swarming with ants -- I suspect Tetramorium caespitum, but I may be completely full of frass here -- and they were NOT happy to have had their eggs and pupae compromised. I reached down to replace the stone, and my hand was instantly covered with a roiling mass of the Ladies' Hymenopteran Nursery and Defense Force. Encounters with ants always make me wonder about A Bug's Life. No grasshoppers would ever get away with shaking down ants for food. They'd be ant food in the space of a few minutes. But that story wouldn't have sustained a full-length animated feature.