28 November 2008

Lucy's Legacy

I'd like to put in a plug for my old stomping grounds, the Pacific Science Center.  This is old news to most of you, I imagine, but PSC is currently hosting 'Lucy's Legacy.'  Lucy is, of course, the best-preserved skeleton known of the early hominid Australopithecus and is the most famous fossil in the world.  This fame is well-deserved; while Lucy is physically not particularly large, she is a titanic figure in the story of human evolution; without her, much of what we know about our early ancestors could never have been learned.  What the Rosetta Stone, the Declaration of Independence, or the Dead Sea Scrolls are to our history, Lucy is to our prehistory.  In fact, in being quite literally unique, she may eclipse any man-made artifact in significance.  I'm posting this little soliloquy not just because I'm still a bit giddy from having had the privilege to see a fossil of such stature, but to encourage any of you who have the means to get to Seattle before March 8th to do so.  Unless you plan to make a habit of visiting Ethiopia (a plan that is sadly impractical for most of us), this is most likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  No doubt many of you will think I am blowing this out of proportion because I am myself a paleontologist that is easily excited by this sort of thing.  This may be somewhat true, but regardless of your opinions on fossils, it is not everyday a key figure in humankind's heritage is deposited for a few months right in our own backyard, and it would be a shame for anyone to pass up the chance to see Lucy in person.

04 November 2008


As established in an earlier post, the readers of my blog may be small in number but rich in brains, so I'm sure you were all aware that today is Election Day, and I imagine that most - if not all - of you have voted already.  Just in the off-chance that any of you had forgotten, though, consider this a public service announcement reminding you that you if you don't vote in an election of this magnitude (there may never be bigger in most of our lifetimes) you're ruining democracy for the rest of us.  Also, don't forget that there is more than just the presidency at stake; I know that all the west coast states have hugely important issues and races lower on the ballot, and I have no doubt the same could be said of states across the country.  Remember, regardless of what you think of our country's behavior in recent years and over the course of its history, it was founded on unimpeachably noble ideals, and today is your chance to celebrate the very best of what the US stands for.