Evolution 2010 in Portland

On Friday I attended events for the Evolution 2010 conference, which was held at the Oregon Convention Center. Most of my day was the evolution education workshop put on by Louise Mead of NCSE and Kristen Jenkins of NESCent. Then I went out to dinner with some other educators from OMSI. In the evening was Sean Carroll’s lecture on Darwin, Wallace, and Bates based on his recent book, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of SpeciesCarroll is an engaging storyteller, and congrats to him on the Stephen Jay Gould Award! I briefly met Carroll, Jerry Coyne, and Robert Pennock, all of whom I had books with me and got signatures (too bad Carl Zimmer wasn’t there, because I got a free copy of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution).

My tweets with some photos interspersed:

RT @breakingPDXnews Biologists work hard & play hard @ #evol2010 conf.: #Portland hosts largest #Evolution conf. ever http://dlvr.it/23pnt

Religious accommodationism @ #evol2010? See: http://bit.ly/dx8b90 & http://bit.ly/crp7GB & http://bit.ly/9I6WQo #evolution #religion #atheism

RT @aewright Rumble in Portland? Wife’s at academic Evolution conference #evol2010 sharing venue with Christian homeschoolers. http://twitpic.com/2021ac

Pictures from Friday’s #evolution education workshop & Sean Carroll’s evening talk: http://bit.ly/97u81Z #evol2010 #Portland #pdx #Darwin

@carlzimmer The education workshop w/ @NCSE had several copies of The Tangled Bank to give out, I’m happy to have one!

“Putting the BIBLE FIRST in All Subjects,” Christian homeschooling conf. session concurrent w/ #evol2010 http://twitpic.com/2021ac

Evolution 2010: Christian homsechooling conference at center also!

Giant #Evolution timeline activity w/ @NCSE at #evol2010 earlier today – get yours @CPlayhouse: http://bit.ly/DBLL http://twitpic.com/2020ug

Evolution 2010: Education workshop - Giant Evolution Timeline from Charlie's Playhouse

Evolution 2010: Education workshop - Giant Evolution Timeline from Charlie's Playhouse

Sean Carroll talk earlier this evening at #evol2010 abt #Darwin, Wallace & H.W. Bates – nice to see scientist engage w/ history http://twitpic.com/2020ax

Evolution 2010: Sean Carroll

Evolution 2010: Sean Carroll

Evolution 2010

While #evol2010 goes on, there is a Christian education conf. at the center & an AIG (Ken Ham) “conference” nearby: http://bit.ly/9l2CGG

I’ll post some pictures from #evol2010 tomorrow along w/ some more thoughts. Everyone enjoy rest of the conference (I just did today only)

Sean Carroll said that collective group of some 1200 or so evolutionary biologists in attendance at his talk are going to hell! #evol2010

@rvosa #evol2010 is the tag of choice, #evo2010 is not unique to this conference!

@pmidford #evol2010 is the tag of choice, #evo2010 is not unique to this conference!

@JoshRosenau Thanks for the retweets Josh, it was nice to meet Steve at the @NCSE booth!

an invite went out to Christian homeschooling conference at same venue as #evol2010 to attend Carroll’s #evolution lecture, they said no!

Evolution 2010: Christian homsechooling conference at center also

got signatures in books from Pennock, Carroll, and Coyne today at #evol2010, and a free copy of @carlzimmer’s #evolution textbook – score!

sorry for lack of #evol2010 tweets, but I decided to close laptop 4 Sean Carroll’s talk on #Darwin, Wallace, and Henry Bates. Very engaging!

@JBYoder Hilarious! There was an invitation by Evolution 2010 for them to attend Carroll’s lecture but they said NO

#Evolution education workshop just abt over, then some dinner, Sean Carroll’s lecture @ 8:00. I think the exhibits are open @ 5:00 #evol2010

Evolution 2010: Education workshop - The Great Clade Race

RT @Sheril_ Are you at #evol2010? We may be doing a quick social media survey Monday abt role of Twitter at academic conferences. Interested?

@labroides #evol2010 is what’s being used so far

new framework for exploring invasion: Holistic & #Evolution -based #evol2010 #biology #ecology

non-indigenous, exotic, alien, biotic exchange, immigrant – what exactly is an invasive species? (definition too narrow) #evol2010

@VeeQt True, true – a dislike of math, by the way, is what pushed me from a science degree to a history (of science) degree

Tiffany Garcia: evolution & frogs #evol2010

@Sheril_ Yes – I am, thought, only attending Friday stuff

thinks, like @colinpurrington, that #zoos need more #evolution, an idea for when I do my degree in #science #education later #evol2010

plugs for Understanding #Evolution (http://bit.ly/hLzAi) & Understanding #Science (http://bit.ly/wk9le) #evol2010

another #evolution #education activity – Clipbirds: http://bit.ly/dp1EIc #science #evol2010 (Patrick has done this: http://bit.ly/da5x3U)

got some WWDD? buttons at #evol2010 #Darwin #evolution

@vhsvhs #evol2010 is better, b/c #evo2010 has other things going for it on Twitter

#science teaching needs all subjects in school 2 ask students to analyze & critically think, otherwise sci teachers = the bad guys #evol2010

better evidence that long necks in giraffes evolved as a defense mechanism rather than for leaves in taller trees #evol2010

the suggestion was to include shorter historical books or #science biographies/autobiographies into course materials #evol2010

yay! a question about how the #history of science can be integrated more into #science teaching… #evol2010 #histsci

someone sharing that they are teaching a course about #science and #literature, in high school! #evol2010 using fiction to explore science

girl sitting in front of me wearing a shirt that says “Here’s to another 200 years of evolutionary thinking” #evol2010

@ucpress What time do the exhibits open? #evol2010

Panel discussion on teaching #evolution: don’t say “Scientists say” students will never know process of #science, only know facts #evol2010

@BobOHara I now want to see a picture of my doctor!

science is a social process full of errors, we can learn more from errors than from good examples of scientific thinking #science #evol2010

Rowe now discussing Andrew Wakefield, vaccinations, and autism – no credible evidence, no more credible doctor! #evol2010 #science

astrology bogus b/c your physician at birth holds more gravitational force on you than Alpha Centauri #evol2010 #science

using witch hunts & other extraordinary claims to teach students abt evidence & hypotheses to look at validity of a claim #evol2010 #science

Rowe is part of teaching a course at Sam Houston: “Foundations of #Science” to improve critical thinking skills of students #evol2010

Too much focus on rote memorization #evol2010

“Redefining #Science #Education” by Bruce Alberts: http://bit.ly/d38vod – The problem is educators, not students #evol2010

It’s our failure to teach #science properly in courses ALL students take #evol2010

Matthew Rowe: Most Americans are scientifically illiterate, according to a Carnegie report #evol2010

what do they all have in common? All are college graduates! So who taught them their science… #evol2010

Matthew Rowe starts his talk off w/ quotes from Reagan, Palin, Huckabee, Limbaugh, Joe Barton, etc., on their ignorance of science #evol2010

was looking forward to meeting you in Portland, sorry you weren’t able to make it… @CPlayhouse

Louise Mead of @NCSE asks, What did T. rex taste like? http://bit.ly/bTDwt3 #evol2010 #evolution

@rdmpage #evo2010 was not unique, and #evolution2010 too long

@nimblebrain maybe I should have said “I am *doing” some tree-thinking…”

did some tree-thinking, a cladogram activity called The Great Clade Race #evol2010

Evolution 2010: Education workshop - The Great Clade Race

Evolution 2010: Education workshop - The Great Clade Race

@JBYoder But you’ll catch Carroll’s lecture tonight, yes?

next up: Kate Miller of @CPlayhouse shows us how to use the Giant #Evolution Timeline (http://bit.ly/9kVxVO) for K-7 #education #evo2010

lizards in White Sands – #evolution you can see and touch #evol2010
Fri Jun 25 2010 09:38:23 (Pacific Daylight Time) via web

Slide of White Sands, New Mexico w/ lizards – “has anyone been here before?” I have, born at a base there, I need to make a trip #evol2010

now on to using rates of evolutionary change as a teaching tool #evol2010 #evolution

Harmon: How do species, like the coelacanth, stay the “same” for hundreds of millions of years? #evol2010

Look in closer, and you see faster #evolution but it’s rapid short term change #evol2010

one should envy the life of an island lizard, Anoles, days on beach extending yer dewlap, but.. life is actually harsh #evol2010 #evolution

Luke Harmon: through bacteria into the freezer to make fossils out of ’em #evol2010 #evolution

“Darwins” & “Haldanes” are units for rates of evolutionary change – I did not know that! #Darwin #evolution #evol2010

Harmon on to rates of evolutionary change #evol2010

Luke Harmon thinks Stephen Colbert is now a champion of #evolution b/c of: http://bit.ly/bWZp8s #evol2010 #evolution

But, it’s not necessary to go to Pandora to see biol. diversity – it’s right here on Earth! #evol2010 #evolution (see: http://bit.ly/9ZjYGY)

Luke Harmon (http://bit.ly/bxhO3y) of U. of Idaho discussing #Avatar using binomial nomenclature for its fauna #evol2010 #evolution

breakout activites geared toward K-7 & 7-12, not comm. college nor informal #education (i.e., museums, science centers) #evol2010 #evolution

Kristen Jenkins of @NESCent now introducing the workshop, this is biggest #Evolution conference ever… #evol2010

Robert T. Pennock discussing why 2009 was important for #evolution (um, #Darwin) #evol2010

some free #evolution shirts at workshop, all too small for me, so I got 1 for Patrick – hope he likes it! Has a starfish on it… #evol2010

is sitting in the Oregon Convention Ctr, waiting for the education workshop at #Evolution 2010 to start, w/ @NCSE #evol2010 #Portland #pdx

If attending Evolution 2010, use #evol2010, not #evo2010 (not unique) nor #evolution2010 (too long) #evolution #Portland #pdx

@PsiWavefunction I can go for #evol2010, shorter than #evolution2010, will keep out other users of #evo2010

@PsiWavefunction I’ll be using the shorter one!

@dgaston83 #evo2010 is being used also…

@NerdyChristie I’ll be there, but just on Friday for the evolution education workshop & then Carroll’s lecture…

@Sheril_ #evo2010

#evo2010 – hastag for Evolution 2010 conference in Portland this weekend?

#Evolution 2010 conference kicks off tomorrow in #Portland, OR, I’m going to evo education workshop & Sean Carroll lecture – who else? #pdx

Patrick likes bugs

All these photos were taken (within the last few weeks) because Patrick asked me to…







Pill bug

Pill bug

Pill bug

Pill bug

Ladybug, gone but not forgotten

Ladybug, gone but not forgotten











Some more Yosemite photos

More photos can be had here.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite National Park

Poor ladybug

Yosemite National Park

Patrick at our campground

Yosemite National Park

Patrick, Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite National Park

Patrick & I at Glacier Point overlooking the valley and Half Dome

Yosemite National Park

Patrick at Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite National Park

Happy Isles Nature Center

Yosemite National Park

Patrick w/ John Muir

Yosemite National Park

Catherine & Patrick at the giant sequoia grove

Yosemite National Park

On the boardwalk... having some fun

Yosemite National Park

Happy Isles Nature Center

Yosemite National Park

What kind of lizard?

Yosemite National Park

Upper Yosemite Falls

Patrick & I

At our campground

Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point

Yosemite National Park

American Robin

Yosemite National Park

Half Dome clouded over

Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park

Patrick receiving his junior ranger badge

Yosemite National Park

Petting a mule near our campground


I learned today at the volunteer/intern orientation that in the olden days (1950s), the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry had a spaceman mascot, named Ismo (OMSI backwards).


Ismo (click on image for source of photo)

Science is fun, Ismo! But who needs such a silly-looking mascot when OMSI has its own astronaut and OMSI kid:

Michael Barratt, OMSI kid

Michael Barratt, OMSI kid

Barratt, I should note, has ties with The HMS Beagle Project.

Wednesday we leave for a trip to California to see both of our families and a few days in Yosemite National Park (I’ve never been), and I will start interning at OMSI in mid-June, with the Einstein exhibit coming later in that month. In the meantime, I’ve some Tyndall letters to finish up, and reading Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe.


This morning we walked to the Hillsdale Farmer’s Market (took us about an hour and twenty minutes with Patrick; bus ride back took 11 minutes!). We walked through this tree-covered part of Capitol Highway. Several times here in Portland Patrick has noted “tree tunnels.” So we coined a new word: trunnel (technically, though, it’s already a word).

Trunnel on Capitol Hwy in Hillsdale, Portland, OR

Trunnel on Capitol Hwy in Hillsdale, Portland, OR

Enjoy some more pictures from our morning walk and the farmer’s market.

100K & Evolution Shaft

Whislt moving to Portland, possibly while passing this enormous tree farm along the 84 in northern Oregon:

Trees, trees, and more trees

Trees, trees, and more trees

And still some more

And still some more

… The Dispersal of Darwin, version 2.0 (so not including 1.0 at Blogger), surpassed 100,000 hits. Nice!

Also, another picture to share. This is in Wallace, Idaho, a silver-mining town since the late 19th century, a mining shaft called Evolution Shaft.

Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho

Wallace? Evolution? Just who founded this little town? Any idea if there’s a connection, George?

Tomorrow we are off…

Truck is packed. Rental house is clean. Tonight we are in a hotel. Patrick goes to school tomorrow while carpets gets cleaned and we do the checkout. After that, we are off to Portland, spending the night in Spokane.

Patrick seems to be doing fine with things. He talks about missing his friends, but he doesn’t appear upset – yet!

Patrick, Clark Park, Butte, MT

Patrick, Clark Park, Butte, MT

A Perfect Farewell

As you probably know, right now I live in Butte, one hour west of Bozeman, where Montana State University is. Yesterday was my last time on campus.

Montana State University

Montana State University

Six and a half years I spent in Bozeman, my first real move away from home (Temecula, CA). It is in Bozeman that I got my bachelors degree and now masters, met my wife (here), and welcomed a little human being into this world, my son Patrick. So, for me, it was a little sad to get on Highway 90 and head back to Butte from Bozeman yesterday afternoon.

That drive takes you through another city, Belgrade, and right as you pass the exit, there’s a church next to the offramp and they have a sign visible to drivers that always displays some catchy phrase, quote, proverb, what have you. As I was approaching Belgrade, I thought to myself, ya know, in six years, for all the times I’ve driven by here, that sign has never had anything to say about evolution or science. This time, when the sign came into view, I couldn’t believe it (no pun intended):

Church sign in Belgrade, MT

Church sign in Belgrade, MT

I couldn’t ask for a more entertaining way to say goodbye to Bozeman.

Long time ago = nonexistent

Dayton, Tennessee, High School, June 1925 (Photo: Smithsonian)

From John F. Ptak of Ptak Science Books (blog/Twitter):

For fun I called the Dayton School Admin asking if any of the orig Dayton HS bldg (Scopes’) existed. “Never had a high school here” said one person. Another came on line and agreed. Nope, no HS. “But John Scopes taught there in that HS” said I. “Oh” she said, “that was in 1925″. Me:”Does that mean it didn’t exist??” She: “That was a long time ago”. That, sir, is delicious.

To do list

1. Complete final draft of professional paper (not a thesis, but a shorter paper intended for publication). Turning in on Friday! See picture below:


2. Complete shorter paper for philosophy of science course – hopefully tonight; if not, tomorrow.

3. Complete set of Tyndall letters & additions to project wiki – by Saturday night.

4. Give new address to university for diploma to be mailed to me.

5. Pack remaining crap in house – Saturday & Sunday.

6. Load U-Haul – Monday & Tuesday.

7. Check out of rental house & get carpets cleaned – Tuesday.

8. Hit the road for Portland – Tuesday afternoon.

9. Arrive in Portland, start new adventure – Wednesday night.

10. Realize I am no longer a student – now! What am I going to do?!?!?

Darwin as bearded-angel?

A bearded angel (by Flickr user Wider_World)

A bearded angel (by Flickr user Wider_World)

The person who took this picture of a gravestone in Edinburgh, Scotland, wrote that the bearded-angel on the right (was he holding a now broken-off skull?)  looks “bizarrely like Charles Darwin.”

Well, Darwin did go to the University of Edinburgh from 1825 to 1827. What do you think? Here’s a close-up:

Angelic Darwin?

Angelic Darwin?

UPDATE: From the photographer: “This tomb was set up many years before Charles Darwin was a student in Edinburgh; the graveyard is a short walk from the University and, as I found yesterday, a good place to observe wildlife, so Darwin may well have seen the bearded angel himself. Who knows, perhaps it inspired Darwin in later life to grow a full beard!”

On a related note, there’s a new book out that “wholly concentrates on [Darwin’s] time spent in Scotland and the key contributions to his future insights made by the Scottish Enlightenment and the University of Edinburgh.” It’s titled Darwin in Scotland: Edinburgh, Evolution and Enlightenment, by J.F. Derry.

A thought for Earth Day

A thought for Earth Day:

When we behold a wide, turf-covered expanse, we should remember that its smoothness, on which so much of its beauty depends, is mainly due to all the inequalities having been slowly levelled by worms. It is a marvellous reflection that the whole of the superficial mould over any such expanse has passed, and will again pass, every few years through the bodies of worms. The plough is one of the most ancient and most valuable of mans inventions; but long before he existed the land was in fact regularly ploughed, and still continues to be thus ploughed by earth-worms.

Charles Darwin, The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms, with observations on their habits (1881)

I wrote before about my son:

He will learn about evolution and how humans are not the epitomy of creation but just one (and yes we are unique, but so are all other organisms) animal in the tree of life. This is not indoctrinating a young mind, as some might suggest. Rather, it is teaching a young mind about his place in a world that could get along just fine without him. Earth is not ours for the taking, but ours for the caring.

Patrick in May 2008:


Worms, which to Darwin "have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose"