Thursday, April 02, 2009

sharks and weiners

Left to right clockwise - Richard Fitzpatrick, Dean Miller, Mike DeGruy and M. Sanjayan on board the Undersea Explorer holding down a whitetip reef shark as they prepare to take data and film the documentary Mysteries of the Shark Coast at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia
Copyright (c) 2008 Wendee Holtcamp


I am not quite sure why I'm not blogging so much lately. The more time that goes by the more it seems overwhelming to begin to blog, so I better just do it. I've been insanely busy - but then again when am I not? I am struggling with the thought of my book needing to be completed by June 1. I got a whole lot done in the early months of this year and then sort of stalled due to other deadlines. I had that article on cyanobacteria due, and then Tuesday I gave a talk at my son's school called the Tree Huggers Revenge: Why People Need Trees. I am trying to put a copy of my Powerpoint from my tree/forest talk online but the PDF I made using Adobe Converter turned everything sideways. Harumph. Any ideas on how to turn a PPT file into a PDF without it turning weird like that?

Oh. My. God. I just laughed so hard at this essay about a dad and his young daughter's obsession with weiners on the blog Wind In Your Vagina by Black Hockey Jesus (don't ask, just read...). It will make you laugh!! Weiners.. The comments are especially hilarious too!! Such as, "She does have a point. It is considered polite to keep your weiner in your pants. Especially at a restaurant."

Speaking of weiners, I'm working on an article on shark virgin birth - aka parthenogenesis - and why sex evolved in the first place. There are costs and benefits, evolutionarily speaking, to sex as opposed to asexual reproduction. My article will discuss several recent cases of virgin birth in various species. The two that have been genetically confirmed are a hammerhead (bonnethead specifically) and blacktip shark but they've now found suspected and probable cases with white bamboo sharks and a whitetip reef shark - the same species I saw in Australia when I wrote the Discovery Channel Expedition Shark blog. That means that sharks that give live birth and that lay eggs can reproduce asexually. So why do they have sex? Why did sex evolve? That's the question of the hour...

One kind of cool thing that happened was one of the scientists that I interviewed for my article said that Mysteries of the Shark Coast was one of the best documentaries he'd ever seen (that's the documentary I was blogging about the filming of in the Expedition Shark blog), and thought it was cool I was there during part of the filming. This scientist is actually doing a similar project to what Fitzpatrick and colleagues are doing on Osprey Reef but on the Eastern Shore Board of the U.S. and he - and another shark scientist - invited me along with their research. Hell ya!!! Now I just have to find a magazine to give me the budget...

11 comments:

Black Hockey Jesus said...

You do not know how thrilled I am to find myself crammed in between cyanobacteria and parthenogenesis. I feel a post brewing about this.

Thank you so much for reading and I think you popped up on Twitter a day or 2 ago. I'll follow you back.

And maybe even bug you about cool Ecology stuff. Like, what are the 5 books I absolutely NEED to read. My life was flipped upside down when I read Deep Ecology by Devall/Sessions but that was like, what?, 15 years ago?

Any suggestions, shark lady? blackhockeyjesus@yahoo.com

WENDEE HOLTCAMP said...

You don't know how delighted I am to have a comment from you on here! You're like famous - black hockey Jesus!! People have referred me to your blog off and on and it' sjust the funniest most clever hilarious and beautiful thing. I also loved your '5' post- wow!!! Your love for your daughter is amazing and beautiful. I love my kids so much and yet I do miss the absolute innocence and beauty of those younger years. I'll email you about books!

Lynn said...

Oh wow, now I'm curious about the books you recommend to Black Hockey Jesus. If he reads them, I must too. What are they?

WENDEE HOLTCAMP said...

What I emailed Black Hockey jesus about books was "Wow I have to think about that but the book that comes immediately to mind is Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (it won a Pulitzer). It’s absolutely gorgeous and profound. In fact I need to read it again! One book that was also profound for me was The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. I LOVE that book! It’s not ecology but it’s about evolution and just really interesting. I myself am a Christian who of course fully accepts evolution and I am a progressive on-fundamentalist Christian… I am actually writing a book on making peace between evolution & Christianity for Beacon Press which is due in 2 mo – ack! That is partly why I’m not blogging so much these days. I’m not crazy about Dawkins anti-religion stance but I do love his science. He’s a genius!"

I also love the book Tropical Nature by Ken Myata (?) which is a book I read before my 1st visit to Australian tropical rainforests in college and it was so amazing! It's probably not a classic but I loved it. I will think of more...

sallyacious said...

So I followed Black Hockey Jesus' tantalizing link here, and I have to say I like your style.

I also have to say (because it's in my marriage contract) that my husband won a national playwriting award for his 10 minute play called By Design which is about reconciling Christianity and science.

You are welcome to ignore this comment completely, or you can contact me at sallycentric (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send you a copy. But only if you're interested, of course.

jess said...

Ooh, I want to read your book!!!! It sounds fascinating.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Wow! Found you through BHJ and you are pretty great and wide-ranging too. Will subscribe and follow. Feed me!
Supa

Lynn said...

Ok, I love that you quoted Little Feat lyrics in your twitter updates. I'm officially your fan. :) I'm going to keep my eye open for your book. And then the whole asexual reproduction in sharks thing, I had no idea and am totally fascinated.
Thanks for the book suggestions!

WENDEE HOLTCAMP said...

Sallyacious - I emailed you so if you didn't get it, check your spam (spam seems to filter a lot of my emails!). I'm totally interested in the play! You might be interested in my other blog, The Fish Wars - http://thefishwars.blogspot.com.

And to you and Supa Dupa Fresh - Thanks to you for visiting and commenting! And Lynn yes Little Feat totally rocks! I was brought up on that and much more awesome classic rock by my hipie dad :)

Stu Pidasso said...

Sex evolved because Black Hockey Jesus WILLED it to evolve!! That and because chicks dig weiners.

LiteralDan said...

I know I'm kinda late to the party here, but I'm gonna have to go ahead and agree with the commenter above on all points.

So you must be pretty grateful that BHJ got this formerly deep, unanswerable question solved for you so quickly and simply.