Saturday, June 19, 2021

Meaghan's newest project - a paleontology clothing store!

 Have you been wondering where Amy & Meaghan are? We are not dead, we assure you - very much alive, just busy with a thousand different projects. This post is about one big project that Meaghan's been spearheading - a paleontology clothing store called Geopetal Fabric.

Here are some of the cool products Meaghan has made, kindly modelled by awesome local geology friends Valerie and Amy G!

What's with the store name?

A geopetal is a special type of fossil or geode that helps geologists figure out what direction was "up" when a rock was deposited. What typically happens is you have something like a clam or a snail die on the seafloor. They fill partially with sand and mud but because nobody is going around squishing sediment into these shells (that would be a weird job), there's often an empty space left inside the shell.

Over time, water moves through the now-hardening sediment and deposits minerals inside these shells, making them kind of like a half-sand and half-geode structure. When a geologist finds one of these half-geode clams, they know that the sparkly mineral side was the "up" side, while the sandy side was the "down" side. Petal in this case means "to point", but these pretty little clam geodes kind of look like petals, which is the reasoning behind Meaghan's logo. And when you have a lot of these little clam geodes, the scientific term is a "fabric" - hence the term geopetal fabric.

The sparkly wiggly clam geode logo

What type of clothing?

Lots and lots of different types, and the list is ever-expanding, but Meaghan's store is focusing on subtler science prints. For example, this adorable print looks like an interesting polka dot design to most people, but it's actually featuring conodont teeth - ancient microscopic eel-like creatures. 

I call this the Eeleganza print. 

And of course, nothing is better than a good subtle rude joke so here's a gorgeous, glamorous silk scarf Meaghan is modelling that has the Priapulid Paisley design on it... aka, the Penis Worm Print. Oh yes, the 14 days of genitals may be over (thank fuck) but we still out here making dick jokes. 

Penis worms but make it fashion

So if you're looking for something funny, pretty, and paleontology-themed, you should check out Meaghan's store, or follow her accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. And if you're looking for more blog content, you can subscribe to her blog where she talks in detail about her patterns and their inspiration. 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tips for Making Your Paper Have Broad Impact

Meaghan here! I have been working for PBS Eons for a few months now as a writer. It has been amazing - I have learned so much about different organisms I never really looked into before, and about the whole process of scientific storytelling.  Some personal moments of pride include a video about climate that went viral, and also slipping a 9 minute dick joke past the PBS censors. And one of the big things I've learned along the way are that there are certain things you can put in scientific papers that make me want to write love sonnets to the authors, and certain things you can omit that make me want to glitterbomb your office. So that's what this blog is about: what can you put in papers so that it's easier for science writers to read them and get the information they need to compose a good piece of science communication about it?

Or: please sweet Jesus help me out, mama needs to not have to read 60 papers and resort to Image-J when trying to figure out how tall a T-Rex was.

Monday, February 11, 2019

She Found Fossils Interview

We haven’t been posting much because, well, we’ve been busy. Busy sciencing, and starting new jobs, and getting engaged, and raising dogs and stuff. But not busy enough to seize the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Eugenia Gold, one of the authors of the oh-so-amazing She Found Fossils. (Also, mother of the baby that features heavily in this article - that's not a random baby, but the baby did have a lot to contribute so we figured the baby was part of the interview too) 

We trapped her at the annual Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting, and made her talk to us, and here is the result!

Amy, Eugenia, and Meaghan going full cheesy at SVP

Friday, November 9, 2018

SVP 2018: a review of the most important parts

The title is all the context you get, because explanations are for fools.

Special thanks to Keilah, Spencer, and Eric for their patience and excellent modelling skills. A grateful apology to the leprechaun of a museum volunteer who had to lead us around after Meaghan had already consumed half a beer and was thus, basically wasted. And a tip of the hat to the lady who followed us around for much of this - we may not know you, but we appreciated the audience participation. That stalactite DID look like a poop.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Intro Geology Teaching Successes & Um, Not Successes

Meaghan has now taught three terms of Introductory Geology as an adjunct, and has a few things she's been sampling with her teaching that went well, and a few that, well, didn't. Since she's no longer working for CWU and won't be teaching this year but instead traveling and looking for a more permanent position (HINT HINT READERS WHO ARE EMPLOYERS), here's a review of what she's learned so that it can benefit anyone else looking to teach an introductory geo class.

But it's a lot easier to write in first person so we're going to do that in 3...2...1...NOW: For context, the classes I've been teaching are:

  1. Between 30 and 85 students
  2. 4 days a week for an hour
  3. Cover only a single quarter (10 weeks, September to December)
  4. Have an accompanying lab, but the lab grade is separate and also optional so not all students are taking the lab
  5. Are stand-alone intro courses: CWU doesn't have an intro geology series, just several variants of one class so students can choose to take whichever intro class that seems most appealing
  6. Meet one of the gen-ed standards, so typically are full of freshman that are undeclared
  7. Have a high failure rate. All the intro science classes do at CWU, though.
  8. Have some form of Canvas (online software) component
  9. And are taught using a mixture of Powerpoint and other activities/discussions
OK! Now onto the teaching techniques!

Photo by the AMAZING Marli Miller, whose photos are all free for geology class use!