Then at noon I went and heard a talk about the use of corn in Native American culture. Yay for the whole seminar mentaility of learning for it's own sake, because the lecture probably won't get me anywhere as far as genetics is concerned. So UC Davis is doing this year-long book discussion thingy on Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (which I oughta read, because I really liked The Botany of Desire) and this was part of that, although the speaker was brought to disagree with some of what he says, specifically that "we" have never had a stable food culture. Her name is Lois Ellen Frank, she is half Native and half Jewish, and is a chef, photographer, author, and (older) Ph.D. student. Apart somewhat from the content of what she said, I really liked her style and motivation. She made a point of starting off by telling us her life history and how it lead her to where she is today. She told us later on how she believes that who we are comes through in our cooking in a tangible way, and how food made with love is somehow more enjoyable to eat than food made while harboring negative emotions. She acknowledged that this is not an academic viewpoint because it is something that she can never prove, but she spent several minutes talking about it anyway. It got me thinking about how I often feel that the grad student is just a front for who I am; I really admire how she fully incorporated her person into her career and didn't attempt to hide it. Her talk itself was very interesting, and got me excited for the rotation I'm doing next quarter on bean diversity, putting it into a new light of something I could love on multiple levels. The only thing I didn't like was that she wasn't good at answering questions, instead going off and talking more about what she wanted to talk about under the pretense of giving an answer. I talked to her for just a little bit after (wanted to know if she'd heard how Barbara McClintock made some fantastic discoveries just by looking at Indian corn) and now I have a gift of a short blue ear of Hopi corn. :)
The day ended with a meeting for the genetics graduate group, basically so we could complain and try to improve things. I thought I was just going to sit there, but I actually had a couple things to say relating to the topics we discussed, having to do with how I'd wished I'd had more information over the summer or something to do to prepare for the fall.
In between those three things there was some Unix-happy-fun-time, which actually is pretty interesting. I've been kind of blowing off my exam though.
Also, boo__boo sent out this great Ivy League prank earlier this week, and I thought it was pretty funny so I'm sharing it here.
Mmm, the rare public post.