Monday, December 30, 2013

Interview: Gettin' Zeigy With It

*Because any post that starts with a Will Smith reference is gonna be awesome.

This October Amy sat down with her mentor, professional geologist Dr. Kate Zeigler. Yes, that means this interview contains everything from A to Z. Also Z to A, since Kate was the one actually being interviewed. Kate is the sole owner of Zeigler Geologic Consulting and adjunct faculty at New Mexico Highlands University in Albuquerque, a kick-ass rock-climber, and she likes finding out which direction minerals in rocks point (which is a lot more important than you might think). 

Poor/Lucky Kate was assigned to work together with Amy as a mentor/mentee pair through the Huffington Post's Girls in STEM blog where they both write about their experiences as female paleontologists, both student and professional. Amy and Kate met up this year at the annual Geological Society of America's (GSA) meeting in Denver, CO. Below is the result: a glimpse into Kate Zeigler's life as a badass-mofo lady paleontologist (Slow Loris Rarely Included). 
Many imaginary friends including Meaghan and Mary Anning made guest appearances in the following interview with Dr. Kate Zeigler

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Awesome Dead Shit: Prototaxites

When Amy has nightmares, they take one of two general forms: either all prosimians go extinct (OH GOD NO!) or it somehow involves giant mushrooms, of which she is irrationally opposed. So today to be an asshole, Meaghan is going to tell you all a lot about Prototaxites, the giant mushroom!

Prototaxites: Nature's threatening fungus-dildo

Monday, December 9, 2013

Paleontologists Give the Best Presents

Last year, Meaghan made epic personalized nerd mugs and fake tattoos for her lab mates. It was a great Christmas - she got to not be poor AND be smug, which is a difficult combination to come by. Naturally this year, she wanted to outdo her previous year's efforts and come up with something crafty and sciencey that could solidify her position as the Martha Stewart of Science. Fortunately for Meaghan, there exists such a thing as "Non-Toxic Food-Grade Silicone Paste."

This is a little different from the typical casting supplies that paleontologists work with, in that it is meant for eating and is incredibly easy to use. Select or make the item you would like to mold, mix equal qualities of blue and white, and smoosh the mixture all over the item for about an hour. Boom. Silicon molds. 

Initially Meaghan had grand plans of using the new 3D printer at University of Oregon to print out mini replicas, but they have some daft rule about "academic intentions" and she couldn't figure out how to bullshit her way through it. Instead Meaghan made small sculpey clay replicas of an oreodont skull, and a flat medallion of a Dunkleosteus head, and a flat giant ground sloth. She also grabbed a bear skull that was just lying around (long story).