September 25th, 2009

The Red Tree
I am especially not awake this morning.

Yesterday, somehow, I did 1,487 words and found THE END of "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint." Today, I'll read back over the whole story and make corrections. I also have an interview to get to today (maybe).

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My thanks to everyone who commented yesterday. The "I"m afraid you'll think I'm a stalker" thing always surprises me, but I suppose I see where it's coming from. ellen_datlow made the suggestion that, if I wish to see more comments, "You need to post something provocative once in awhile..." And she's absolutely correct, of course. Provocative comments certainly do seem to lead to an increase in comments for any given entry. All you have to do is look back at entries from my early years on LJ to see this. There was a time, I frequently made provocative comments, and people would prickle, and there would be arguments. Twenty-five people a day would "unfriend" me for refusing to support Bush's war against Iraq or for condemning factory farming or for disapproving of disposable uranium-enriched diapers, or whatever.

But, as time went by, I tired of the arguments. I was once a very, very argumentative person, and now...I'm not. I haven't mellowed (just ask Spooky), it's simply that I no longer possess the requisite energy for these...let's be polite and call them "discussions." Thing is, I wasn't trying to be provocative back then. I just thought, "People reading this will want to know what I actually think and feel about things." But I think a lot of them didn't. I think a lot of them were appalled to learn that a writer whom they admired did not think as they did. So, gradually, the journal became less prone to address controversial subjects.

So, while I agree that posting provocative statements would certainly increase comments, I'm just not certain I'm up to it any longer. All that energy I wasted on internet arguments, it now goes into writing fiction, and that seems more constructive to me.

I'll just have to live with the comments I do get. And no, I have no plans to abandon this journal. I've said that before. I do not care how much the world loves Twitter and Facebook (both of which I am now using); actual blogging is much more to my tastes. And I was given a "permanent account" by thingunderthest a few years ago. So here I stay, so long as here stays. And should the Russians tire of hosting LiveJournal, I've been backing it all up to Dreamwidth, and I'd just move over there.

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Yesterday, I finished reading "A re-evaluation of Brachiosaurus altithorax Riggs 1904 (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) and its generic separation from Giraffatitan brancai (Janenesch 1914)." It isn't often that one gets a laugh at the end of a paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, but there was a nice laugh at the end of this one. But...you sort of have to be a dinosaur nerd to get the humor. See, there's this very large sauropod dinosaur, Brachiosaurus altithorax, that was named by a guy named Riggs, way back in 1904, from Late Jurassic-aged sediments in the American west. Ten years later, a German paleontologist, Janenesch, named a second species of Brachiosaurus, B. brancai, from rocks of the same age in East Africa. Many, many years later, in 1988, another paleontologist, Greg Paul, decided that the African and American species were too dissimilar to be contained in a single genus. Unfortunately, he did something that vertebrate paleontology usually avoids, he created a subgenus. Now, I won't get into the lack of utility inherent in the concept of fossil subgenera, but it's generally frowned upon. Regardless, Greg Paul erected the subgenus Giraffatitan, and placed the African species, B. brancai in it, so that the species became properly known by the rather unwieldy name Brachiosaurus (Giraffatitan) brancai. Now, along comes another paleontologist, Michael Taylor, twenty-one years later (and 105 years after Riggs first recognized Brachiosaurus altithorax), and makes things a bit less messy by demonstrating that Paul was right: two valid taxa were once contained within the single genus, Brachiosaurus, but because of the problems posed by subgenera, we need to consider them two distinct genera, Brachiosaurus and Giraffatitan. If you're still with me, here's the funny part, at the very end of Taylor's acknowledgments:

"Finally, I beg forgiveness from all brachiosaur lovers, that so beautiful an animal as 'Brachiosaurus' brancai now has to be known by so inelegant a name as Giraffatitan."

No, really. I literally "laughed out loud."

Yeah...not provocative, I know. But it does give you a great deal of insight into how this particular writer thinks.