Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer Poop in the Backcountry: Anecdotes and Advice from Amy

Oh yeah I'll collect anything to spend all day here!
Working in the field is the whole reason I (Amy) wanted to pursue paleontology. Fieldwork gets you up close and personal with the elements, which makes the science even more rewarding. That being said, field work can also suck a lot if you aren't prepared. Field work has many different demands, but whether  hunched over steaming rocks all day in full exposure to the sun or hiking through dense trees and scrubs with bears all around, you need to be able to handle the weird shit field work sometimes throws at you.

Smiles for poop!
This last spring I spent 6 weeks on Revillagagedo Island (Ketchikan, AK) and Gravina Island collecting deer poop for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), Wildlife Conservation division. Now the reasonable question you might ask is why the hell anyone would get paid to count deer shit. Deer turds are an excellent indicator of animal population and health, which is important to the ADFG who have to determine how many of those delicious animals we can kill and eat for dinner each year. Additionally, how healthy and overflowing the deer population is impacts the need for predator control, cuz humans aren't the only ones in Alaska who love fresh venison. If there are too few deer and too many wolves in the area it is the state's responsibility to check the population of the predators by killing some of them. So essentially I was paid to collect shit to determine if wolves needed to be shot from helicopters. YAY SCIENCE!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Conference Season!

GSA, SVP and AGU are all coming up in rapid-fire succession: it's the geology conference season! Conferences are a great place to meet your potential future collaborators (and dissenters), show off your work, and talk awesome science shop. Conferences are also a place to look for graduate programs, to shop around for jobs, and to further your careers. That makes them somewhat important... and therefore somewhat stressful. For women conferences have the complicating factors of the possibility (and for some conferences, probability) of sexual harassment, or of being disregarded for wearing the wrong clothing, or being ignored entirely by the powerful men around you. Losing your voice and confidence at a conference isn't a phenomenon known only to women, but there are certainly a lot more women-specific factors that build that possibility up.

So to help facilitate your lady scientist conference experience here is a short recap of some some awesome articles about how to kick ass and take business cards at these awesome fall conferences.

Step One: Awesome Business card
First off, why not read some of the words of extreme wisdom provided by Mary Anning's Revenge? We wrote a nice list of conference anti-harassment policies - why don't you check and see if your conference made the list and if not... get some verbal ammo to make that shit change in upcoming years. There's also our great article on how to Infiltrate the Old Boy's Club: how to get noticed and STAY noticed at this year's conference. Of course, that's always a bit of a concern for the ladies cuz we don't want attention for the wrong things. Concerned about what to wear? Commiserate with Meaghan's conference attire poetry.

But there are more resources than our mere blog can provide (well, yet anyway).Are you concerned about finding polite ways to respond to mansplaining? Sometimes the middle finger just doesn't work, but there are other phrases to memorize and employ when you are interrupted, derailed, repeated, or otherwise talked over by a male colleague. Or maybe you're having a little bit of imposter syndrome about presenting your research? Let Amy Cuddy help you posture your body to feel more confident (which sounds like a Dr. Oz recommendation but this is actually based in SCIENCE.) And if raising your arms over your head doesn't make you feel confident enough, try some other little steps to combat imposter syndrome, including making lists of your greatness. Hell just being aware of the problem can help you solve it, so learn a little more about the confidence gap - and then defy it when presenting.

We used this GIF quite recently but even though Meaghan absolutely hates this show, it's a REALLY GOOD GIF so we'll use it one more time, cuz it's an important thing to remember:

Now go out there and kick conference ass.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

How To Drink and Write Grant Proposals

Amy and Meaghan are experts on writing grant proposals.

It takes lots of grants to fund these pimpin' gold chains.
No really, we are. We've written dozens of grants and scholarship applications, from tiny 100$ travel grants to enormous grants that provide funding for several years. We've also even received several of these grants - Amy received both the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and Meaghan has received grants from the Field Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History, Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, and others. But this isn't going to be a post on how to make your proposal great, because honestly that's the least difficult part of actually writing a grant proposal (strange though it may seem). The very hardest part is actually vomiting that shit out on paper so you have something to get started with. That's what we're going to talk about today: paper brain vomit.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Update: Everyone Who Reads This Blog is Still Super Weird

Just in case you thought that the blog readership here at Mary Anning's Revenge was in any way normal, it's actually full of perverts and weirdos. At least it is according to our Google Search Terms... and also probably just extrapolated from the topics of most of our blog posts, to be honest.

One of the best parts of having a blog is tracking your Google search terms.  Every day seems to unearth another disgusting thing that some sicko googled and then somehow made it to our TOTALLY INNOCENT website.... No no, we love the search keywords, they are always hilarious and keep us laughing. Every once and awhile we share a little of the magic back to you, dear reader. 

We'll start out with one that represents a pretty typical day:

Sorry Dr. Sereno