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An Important Year in Science 
7th-Jan-2009 12:46 pm
If you've been a) living under a rock, or b) simply occupying a mental space that's not the same as mine, it's possible you might not be aware that this year - February 12th to be precise - is the 200th anniversary of a man called Charles Darwin, who when he was 50 (and thus 150 years ago this year) published a certain book called On the Origin of Species. Which is generally considered an influential book. Last year, 2008, was the 150th anniversary of the publication of joint papers by Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace putting forward the idea of evolution of Natural Selection to the scientific community, but the book really made it accessible to everyone, and it's the book and its author that people remember. So it's the book and its author the entire country is celebrating this year, with Darwin 200

And what celebrations they are. Now is the time to get yourself an education about the life of Darwin and the process of evolution as a science, if you don't have enough knowledge already.

The BBC is running a series of programmes on Darwin's life and works, available on iPlayer, though I have no idea how accessible iPlayer is to foreign ISPs*.

And if you're in London, the Natural History Museum is hosting Darwin: Big Idea until April. This is a paid exhibit, which I have yet to see, but I do hear it is amazing, one of the best temporatry exhibits the NHM has had in recent years. Although I suspect this is because it was designed by the AMNH.

Downe House looks like its planning special events starting the day after Darwin Day

As for me? I'll probably be writing about the man and his idea at some point. If I can work out what needs to be said most.

Livejournal is having financial woes. Apart from the bad business practice in laying people off without notice or severance pay, I doubt that we, the users and customers, have anything to worry about yet. Just back up your journal, start thinking about alternatives, but honestly I think the best thing to do right now is to keep using the site, generating content and if you pay for accounts, then keep paying. (Thank anonyBob for my permaccount, I'm not going anywhere, but I will be looking at backing up to my insanejournal.)

*Admittedly, I hope it isn't accessible at all to people who don't pay for the BBC, but that's just me.
7th-Jan-2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
I've been listening to the "In our Time" program every night, and the exhibition is awesome. They even have a live green iguana called Charlie.
7th-Jan-2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
Man, I wish we could afford to send the Munchkin over to visit you & your museum :D

And I have my shiny new perm account here too and don't plan to go anywhere!
7th-Jan-2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
its is apparently legal to use iPlayer without a license. Unfortunately its it not at all possible to watch iPlayer abroad, I'm hoping they come up with a subscription or pay per view scheme.

XD Darwin 200! I hope all the fun isn't over by July.
7th-Jan-2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
I think the radio programs are accessible outside of the UK if you get to them via the Radio 4 website, rather than the iPlayer main page. ICBW, as I'm not outside the UK to check.

The In Our Time stuff has been very good, and the Darwin exhibition might have been designed by the AMNH, but the NHM has altered it quite a bit. There's less Victoriana I'm told.
7th-Jan-2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
You can get radio from iPlayer abroad.

7th-Jan-2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Do you and Debi want to meet up next week for lunch? What day is good for you both?
7th-Jan-2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
Any day but Tuesday, and possibly Thursday.
7th-Jan-2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
I can do either Thursday or Friday.
7th-Jan-2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
Friday then?
7th-Jan-2009 01:54 pm (UTC)
Fine with me if it's fine with you.
7th-Jan-2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
No problem.

What time?
7th-Jan-2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
Oneish alright by you?
7th-Jan-2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
No problem.
7th-Jan-2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Fine by me too. But um...where? Do you guys eat at the staff canteen (the one I'm thinking of has stairs that lead to the hallway with Mary Anning's stuff.)
7th-Jan-2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
I always eat in the staff canteen, so that's fine :)
7th-Jan-2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Darwin is an absolutely fascinating man, very much a product of his day in good ways and bad, and obviously far more than just that. I need to read more about him.

Interestingly, I have just discovered that he shares his date of birth with another man of note, Abraham Lincoln. Two very different men, and yet both men who were unafraid to challenge received wisdom, whose impact who lived on, whose words and deeds are often misinterpreted. I wonder what they would have made of each other (though Darwin would have at least heard of the president of the United States).
7th-Jan-2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Darwin was very much opposed to slavery, so I suspect he would have approved of the emancipation proclamation. Lincoln probably knew of evolution- the idea that species had changed over time was not new, what marks Darwin out is that he was the first to propose a mechanism and provide evidence to support it.
7th-Jan-2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
The UCL Main Library is also holding a mini-display of Darwin materials on the stairway into the library. And selling pretty funky Darwin mugs at the Issue Desk. Just sayin'.
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