Thursday, September 19, 2013

DNA from Dioramas

In yesterday's blog post, I indicated that I had an interesting conversation with a previous Secret Science Club lecturer, and that I would write a future post about this conversation. As regular readers may recall, April's Secret Science Club lecture featured Dr Evon Hekkala of Fordham University. Her lecture was an outstanding combination of hard science, adventure narrative, mystery novel, and autobiography, and she came across as a combination of Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes, only cooler, and a real person.

Dr Hekkala is currently seeking funding for her DNA from Dioramas project, an undertaking which involves obtaining DNA from organisms collected by an expedition to the Congo which lasted from 1909 to 1915. The DNA from Dioramas project involves comparing the gene sequences of the 20th Century Congo specimens to modern specimens in order to determine how modern biodiversity stacks up against that of a century ago.

Currently, the project is 6% funded, $860 has been pledged towards a $13,000 goal. There are eighteen days left in the campaign. One of the classic protest slogans of the Cold War era read "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." A current slogan could read "It will be a great day when our scientists get all the money they need and the Televangelists have to hold a bake sale to push Creationism."

I don't "bleg" often, but this is a special case. I took an oath "to uphold the scientific method and to advance the public understanding of science throughout the Universe" and publicizing this project is the least I can do to fulfill my responsibilities as a card-carrying member of the Secret Science Club. Seriously, if you can make a pledge, no matter how small, it would be fantastic. Dr Hekkala deserves your support, she's so awesome that she saved a village in Madagascar using SCIENCE!


Patricia said...

Science? What's that?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Next thing you know, B^4 will tell us he knows how magnets work.