David

הצטרף ב:אוג' 10, 2019 פעילות אחרונה: יולי 24, 2021 iNaturalist

I never know what to say in profile pages. Profile pages are just too simple, too static, too incomplete. I like complexity, nuance, and change. As such, what I think I'll do is to periodically delete and rewrite this page, depending on my mood at the time. In a way, I have also always been drawn to ephemerality, so I kind of like this idea. It's nice to shake up the Etch A Sketch and start afresh.



What's on my mind at the moment is that I hate dichotomous keys. Often, they are fairly arbitrary constructs that are based on a limited set of data and can be very misleading or confusing to the non-specialist. I understand that they have their uses and many people find them a good and efficient way of identifying species they're not familiar with, but honestly I see them more as just old relics from a long gone era. I prefer a more modern, holistic approach using actual photos that give you a sense of the gestalt of the taxon in question. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That is true not just because the information can be communicated far more efficiently, but also because there is a lot of information conveyed by a picture which neither the photographer nor the viewer even consciously realizes is being transmitted. Nothing can really beat the intuitive understanding that can be obtained by almost directly obtaining the experience of what a taxon IS and how it varies through space and time. Our brains have evolved for hundreds of millions of years to be able to take in and synthesize that kind of information, and are comparatively utterly pathetic at being able to efficiently and accurately gain understanding from something like a dichotomous key. I may not be able to give you the measurements of my friend's nose, or how those measurements relate to the measurements of his eyes, nor could I even picture in my mind what his lips or his ears look like, but I am sure I could identify him with near 100% accuracy nearly 100% of the time (in reasonable situations, of course). Nobody identifies their friends by checking off whether they have brown eyes or non-brown eyes, then checking to see whether they have a penis or a vulva, then measuring their interpupillary distance, etc...
I like to identify organisms in the same way I identify my friends, or really how we all identify ANYTHING. I think relying on keys too much really does everyone a disservice, even assuming you have access to good keys and have the wherewithal to use them well. And that in itself is a very big assumption.


A few random things (in no particular order) that I really really really want to do or want to happen to me:
1) visit Australia. Anywhere, but particularly in the Northern tropical area or maybe the western coast? *
2) go to a tropical rainforest
3) snorkle/scuba dive in a coral reef
4) dive really deep into the ocean in one of those small submersibles (not in a military submarine, the point is to see outside. Pretty sure that's never going to happen :( )
5) SEE the plane I'm currently flying on get struck by lightning
6) handle a deadly venomous animal
7) Fly east/west as the sun is rising/setting to get an amazing and super prolonged sunrise/sunset, particularly if mountains/rivers/oceans/cool weather is involved. I actually had this almost happen to me recently, except that it was JUST after sunset. I'm not complaining, and it was one of the best flights I've ever been on, but I can only imagine how amazing it would be if it had been just a couple of minutes earlier.
8) discover a new species. Kinda. I don't really want to describe it or do any of the real work because I'm lazy. I'd be happy with just realizing it's probably a new species, having someone else confirm it, and then have THEM do all the work. I don't even want any credit, just the satisfaction of having discovered something new.
9) live in nearly complete social isolation for a significant amount of time. This could be by going on a roadtrip (being with a friend/partner would be fine) and not having any real commitments to anyone outside of the trip. Alternatively, this could be by living in a really isolated location for a while and only having to interact with the locals in an extremely limited way.
10) participate in some sort of surgery on a living person
11) draw blood from a living person (not particularly exotic, but I've wanted to do this for about 12 years?)
12) participate in the dissection of megafauna (full grown whale, elephant, giant squid)
13) See the aurora.
14) Go spelunking
15) Be able to use my obscure or unusual skills in a spectacular way- such as by saving a life or doing something like that.
16) find a nice, somewhat rare fossil by myself and in situ.
17) find a sizeable piece of a meteorite. The holy grail is a pallasite, but anything larger than a pebble works. Micrometeorites don't count, nor does evidence for a meteor strike such as shocked quartz (but I want to find those too).
18) explore a truly abandoned town in the middle of nowhere.
19) (safely) see/experience a big earthquake from an overlook on a mountain.
20) (safely) see a tornado. Seeing it travel across the land from a mountain would be nice, although I don't think that's remotely plausible.

*Other top locations in my list are: southern Florida, various places in the western US (I need to see tide pools, mycoheterotrophic plants, temperate rainforest, yellowstone, etc), Central America (monkeys!!!, and countless other things), and Southern Africa (maybe Mozambique- need to see Nothobranchius sp, and seeing lions and elephants and stuff would be nice too).

davidenrique is not following anyone.