Science is neat!
Posted by Chris in Science on June 11th, 2003
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This is great, and I’m happy for a purely selfish reason. In my physical anthro class we spent a lot of time discussing two hypotheses: that homo sapiens evolved separately a number of times from the various groups of homo erectus that left Africa earlier, or that while homo erectus left Africa and spread out, homo sapiens evolved in Africa and then spread out too, displacing homo erectus. I always thought the latter explanation made more sense, and told them this, despite a scientist in a film we saw favoring the first explanation. Well, this helps confirm the second one.
Deana, figuring that this e-mail is hard to follow
I realize this is probably the wrong venue in which to make a statement like this, but here goes. Yes, scientific results can be neat, but science can be BORING. I saw some news coverage of the site where the skulls were found, and it looked like miles of desert being slowly swept by dudes with toothbrushes. And I do mean MILES of hot, dry, featureless desert. I love science, and I consider myself a scientist at heart, but I don’t think I could ever be an archaeologist.
One man’s miles of desert is another man’s History World. I’m sure a lot of archaeologists would hate to sit in a gray office full-time. :)
I personally would balk at being an archaeologist, or an astronomer for that matter, because of the boredom problem. However, I tend to think that staring at thousands of lines of code for 8 hours a day is fascinating. :)
For a fun look at archaeology from a science fiction perspective, check out “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge”, a story by Mike Resnick:
Jaime, I’m with you. I’ve studied digs, and admittedly I ‘ve never been on one, but I think I’d be bored. And that it would be hot and I’d feel all exposed to the sun and get cranky fast. On the other hand, if one of the arche-types at GVSU invites me on a local dig of Amerindian stuff I’ll at least try it.
I’d prefer to find out about ancient peoples through time-travel cultural anthropology, a noble discipline which works its way into a good number of sci-fi novels.
I AM a scientist. My current job includes many hours outside looking under leaves, counting grape clusters, squeezing little leaves to death to see how much water they have, pounding out little 6″ soil cores. Previous work has included spending 12 hour days in 100 degree heat measuring leaf movements every hour on the hour. It’s hot, dry (or wet), often dusty, lonely work. I love it.
It’s all about being in the elements, baby!
Eeewww. Thousands of lines of code for eight hours. (Y’all are crazy indoor people. I don’t understand you! ;)
Thus, the true nature of the division of labor is explained as well as the reason debby did not become a rich web geek.
Global Spin by Chris Radcliff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.