Thursday, January 28, 2010

Proceedings of the 1st Annual FPCS- FREE!

For all of you fans of paleontology methods (and if you are interested in any aspect of paleontology, this should be you), the following should be right up your alley.

After much anticipation, Methods in Paleontology: Proceedings of the First Annual Fossil Preparation and Collections Symposium, edited by M.A. Brown, J.F. Kane, and W. G. Parker, 2009, is finally available for distribution in PDF format. Copyright on all papers is retained by the individual authors, and is made available for free distribution electronically.

I'm proud to see this collection of very good papers finally hit the streets in portable document format, and would like to give everyone involved in the process a big pat on the back, congratulations folks, this is a big step for the field. Thanks to the authors, my co-editors, reviewers, proofreaders, and supporters who kept this project more or less on track over the last two years since the idea to host such a meeting was hatched.

Old timers like me who insist on hard copies can purchase a beautiful printed volume to help fill the prep reference shelves of their bookcase here.

An extra bonus!

The abstract book from the meeting

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Busy start to the year and more free papers coming soon...

The free papers line is really just a teaser to get you in here, I promise I won't cry wolf next time, I've got the Petrified Forest Proceedings Volume ready to post, the PDFs will go online soon. A while back I posted a link to Geological Curator Volume 5 no.7 (1987) Proceedings of the 1986 GCG Conference which is devoted to the Conservation of Geological Material and edited by Crowther and Collins. But since I'm an idiot, the real issue to check out is Volume 4, no. 7, not 5. Sorry about that, the issue is worth reading.

If I were a resolving kind of man, on New Years Eve I would have decided to say NO to starting any more projects before I finish the ones that are ongoing, but alas, I am weak, and get something of a rush from being in over my head. The semester is ramping up, and there are a ton of people (students, volunteers, and staff, about a dozen) working in the lab throughout the week. Which means that I need to do a better job with both records and specimen management (can anyone say database?).

At least I am almost done with the manuscript to send to the editors of the special Geological Curator SVP/SPPC Preparation Session Volume, which is already way over due. That will be out this spring, I'd like to encourage anyone who has talked about submitting to get on the ball and actually do so, they are good people. I'd like to say thanks to Remmert Schouten, Matthew Parkes, Paolo Viscardi, and Gareth Dyke, for making sure this happens!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome back to work

So, on Monday my flight arrived in Austin at about 12:30pm, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to swing by the lab on my way home (it's not on the way) even though I'd been traveling for 28 hrs and no sleep. Still, it was good to be back, and the lab is more like home than home anyway, for the most part.

Please bear through the long story before the juicy pics. (You'll appreciate the double pun in a few minutes.)

I was informed on arrival that the power had gone out to the buildings that house our bug room and recent prep lab. After a bit of trouble shooting by facilities, they determined that the main power supply had shorted due to a waterline break not too far away. This means replacing 1000 feet of power supply, which will take quite a while. In the meantime, we're temporarily powering three 25 cubic foot deep freezers with a generator, the fourth trips the breaker. So, we had to consolidate some partially thawed, partially bagged, partially tagged, completely smelly critters of all wonderful drippy sorts out of the fourth into the other pretty full three freezers. Luckily, some of that was bags of "Biological Waste", so Environmental Health Services is coming by soon to pick up 25 gallons worth of parts. For the rest we did a pretty good job of playing freezer Tetris, chipping the ~1-2 inches of frost off the walls helped. We found some turtles, tons of birds, flat rabbits, bags of goo, a coral snake, bags of assorted parts, croc chunks, and at the very bottom sitting in two inches of blood and water, two bears. As AJ put it, "Some days this job is just like Christmas." Amen.

Shhh, he's sleeping. Thats the small one, I call him Walter Payton.

This one is The 'Fridge. We couldn't find room for him in the freezer, so in a few days when thawed, he will finally get dissected and macerated, since the bug colony has been frosted out. The typically 80 degree room was in the 40s when I checked it Monday, and there isn't much buggy activity in any of their tanks these days.