Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dark Matter

On a recent movie rental I saw a trailer for a movie I had never hear of (this does not happen all that often to me). The movie was called Dark Matter and has Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn staring in it. One would expect a movie with bigger named "movie stars" would have gotten some press - so how did I miss this one? I am still not sure, but I wonder if it perhaps has to do with the subject mater - Science. The big, scary, "S" word that so much of middle america does not relate to (or so I hear). The plot for the movie revolves around a Chinese Ph.D. candidate working in the US for a well known professor in a cosmology program. This student navigates his way around a new culture and the in's and out's of working with this professor while trying validating his own theories, which may contradict or alter that of his advisors. A far flung concept? Not at all! Something I know more than one of you out there can relate to.

The Netflix synopsis is:

"Liu Xing (Ye Liu) is an ambitious cosmology student who comes to America under the wing of university patron Joanna Silver (Meryl Streep) and begins working with cosmologist Jacob Reiser (Aidan Quinn) -- yet he is oblivious to the politics of academia. Liu becomes obsessed with his own theories of the universe, a fixation that threatens Reiser's professional future. Director Shi-Zheng Chen's debut won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival."

While the last 20 minutes or so were a bit slow and clunky, the movie over all was interesting and reminded me of some of the stress of being a grad student. The ending of the movie was quite a surprised to me, I can honestly say I did not see it coming.

Has anyone else seen this movie?

Oh, and Happy Halloween everyone!!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster, photo from

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pachycephalosaurus-Stygimoloch-Dracorex debate now in print (sort of)

At the 2007 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting Jack Horner presented a talk on Pachycephalosaurus, Stygimoloch and Dracorex, basically saying that Stygimoloch and Dracorex are growth stages of Pachycephalosaurus. This talk has been being debated pretty much every day since it was given by someone (see an example of past blog post discussion here). Now people can finally read the findings of Horner and Goodwin in PLoS ONE (here). As I have not even had a chance to read it yet I will leave the analyzing and debating to the numerous other blog post that I am sure will start to trickle in today and throughout the rest of the week. Enjoy!

Dracorex (top left) and Stygimoloch (top right), as growth stages of Pachycephalosaurus (bottom). Art by Holly Woodward from the November 23rd, 2007 issue of Science.

Citation: Horner JR, Goodwin MB (2009) Extreme Cranial Ontogeny in the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Pachycephalosaurus. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7626. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007626 (link)

Horner JR, Goodwin MB, Woodward H (2007) Synonymy consequences of dinosaur cranial ontogeny. J Vert Paleont 27: 92A

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hot off the truck!

Well, actually it is cold (temperature wise), but you get the point. UPS just dropped of my copy of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life by Scott Sampson. Since I did not make it to SVP this year I missed out on my book buying and having a chance to see all the new material out. So I am very excited to have my copy of this book and I am looking forward to reading it. And added bonus for me is that if you flip to page 148 you will find a photo I took of the Kaiparowits Formation in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The publisher, University of California Press, book description:
"This captivating book, laced with evocative anecdotes from the field, gives the first holistic, up-to-date overview of dinosaurs and their world for a wide audience of readers. Situating these fascinating animals in a broad ecological and evolutionary context, leading dinosaur expert Scott D. Sampson fills us in on the exhilarating discoveries of the past twenty-five years, the most active period in the history of dinosaur paleontology, during which more "new" species were named than in all prior history. With these discoveries--and the most recent controversies--in mind, Sampson reconstructs the odyssey of the dinosaurs from their humble origins on the supercontinent Pangaea, to their reign as the largest animals the planet has ever known, and finally to their abrupt demise. Much more than the story of who ate whom way back when, Dinosaur Odyssey places dinosaurs in an expansive web of relationships with other organisms and demonstrates how they provide a powerful lens through which to observe the entire natural world. Addressing topics such as extinction, global warming, and energy flow, Dinosaur Odyssey finds that the dinosaurs' story is, in fact, a major chapter in our own story."

You can take a look inside the book here, and buy your own copy for under $20 here!

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Geoblogosphere Survey needs your help!!

Hi all,

I am delurking for a moment to put our a quick reminder - if you have not had a chance to participate in the Geoblogosphere Survey 2009 please take a quick moment to do so. Lutz, Robert, and Callan would really appreciate it, I am sure. The survey will be closing on November 1.

I hope to get back to posting something (anything?) soon. Sorry for the long absence.


© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster

Monday, October 5, 2009

All Dinosaurs Go to Heaven

Awesome!! I ordered one (from Threadless Tees).

Thanks to Lockwood for the heads up!

Also check out "Picket"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Only 88 days left

The Paleo Paper Challenge is on!! And there are (currently) only 88 days, 5 hours, and 11 minutes left! So, just to add to the pressure and help keep me motivated, I have installed a countdown clock on my blog (see right). I have decided to really push and try to get a paper written with my husband on the taphonomy of the Mygatt-Moore quarry. This is a quarry that numerous people have worked since it was discovered in Western Colorado in 1981. John has worked the quarry since 2001 and I have worked there since 2007. We have been tossing this paper idea around since 2007 and have not done much more than present a poster on it at GSA that fall. So, we are finally going to bite the bullet and just do it.

There is quite a bit to be done! John and I have carved up the outline for our paper, each taking sections to write and parts that we will write together. John currently is working on two other writing projects, but hopefully we will be able to get this one done. Keep your fingers crossed for us and I will post updates here as we progress.

© ReBecca K. Hunt-Foster