Canary Islands

It has been a few years since I was lucky enough to work there with Yoko, Alfredo & Jens – but this superb video by Pedro Filipe took me straight back to some of the magic places we worked, particularly the sub-alpine volcanic landscapes around El Teide. There is even a clip of an endemic lizard eating fruits! Alfredo, your islands are magical! Imagine if Pedro Filipe had had a time machine, though. He’d have captured giant rats, giant tortoises and giant lizards, plus several other extinct species as well. Sigh.

“Pulp regeneration”

Another one from my inbox, below. My best (?) guess is that one of our papers on seed dispersal for obvious reasons includes information on fruit pulp, and that this was picked up by some automated robot. By the way, because I am evil, I ignored the first email they sent me. Naughty.

Dear Professor Hansen,
I am writing to inquire whether you have received my previous email inviting you to submit an article to the Special Issue on “Vital Pulp Therapy/Pulp Regeneration,” which will be published in the “International Journal of Dentistry”.

“Professor”. Giggle. But yes, I should send them a few of the gut-passed quandong seeds I just picked up in Australia. Maybe they can regenerate the pulp on those?

“Accelerate your H1N1 pandemic research”

Those were the words in the subject header of a recent email in my inbox. Apparently, someone got something mixed up along the way, as the email continued:

Dear Dr. Hansen,
WHO has declared H1N1 pandemic on June 11, 2009. You are probably working against the clock to create effective vaccines and discover the infection mechanisms. You do not have to fight against the pandemic alone; GenScript is at your side to help accelerate your projects.

I guess this is one of the side effects of having the Department of Biology as part of the Stanford School of Medicine. Surely, EVERYONE here must be working on that thing, right? Now forgive me, I have to go and test my latest vaccine on someone. No time to waste. Schnell, schnell.

The Project Has Begun

I just started writing a book. There, I said it. So now I guess I better get on with it. Actually, it has been on the move for 10 years since its first, drunken inception, but I digress. Who am I trying to kid, right? It’s going to be an awareness-raising book on lost & disappearing mutualistic plant-animal interactions – specifically pollination and seed dispersal – and why we should give a flying hoot about this loss. The book will consist of popular scientific case stories from all over the world. I am fully aware that my writing skills leave much to be desired. Thus, I have teamed up with a rather brilliant Australian wildlife artist – Robin Wingrave – whose amazing illustrations will take up more or less half the space, and hopefully detract from the inadequacy of my ramblings. After close to a year’s worth of chatting, phoning, and skyping with Rob (and apparently quite often sounding like giggling teenagers in love, according to Rob’s wife Sharyn), we recently finally managed to meet face-to-face, in the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. It was an absolute blast! – Fellow nerds, friends & such – I give you the Team: Robin Wingrave and Yours Truly. More to follow.