Biochemical Soul Musings on Nature, Science, Evolution, Biology, and Education


Great Darwin Beard Challenge – An Extinction Event Has Occurred

As I have recently shown you all, Spring is here in full force in North Carolina.

I love it more than almost anything, but there are two weeks of Spring that are quite hellish for me.  You see, I am incredibly allergic to Oak pollen (most species but not all).

This fact has lead to a tragic event for me and my place in the Great Darwin Beard Challenge - a mishap involving pollen, drugs, sleep, and ravenous beasts.

I awoke with the tell-tale symptoms: swollen eyes, a Tommy-gun sneezing fit, and a foggy brain. Yes, the oaks were having sex and the fruits of their lust were ravaging my insides.

So I took some pretty hardcore antihistamines and sat in a chair in my front lawn to flaunt my chemical invulnerability to the trees' love weapons. Alas, the antihistamines knocked me out cold.

Now everyone who has lived in the rural deciduous forests of North Carolina knows that you should NEVER fall asleep outside in the daytime.


But in my drug-laden mind I had thrown caution to the wind, leaving my beard as an irresistible free meal to those nasty predators of woolen faces: the native Keratinovorous Dwarf Bears (Hirsutophagous imaliari).

Much to my dismay, my wife had photographed the entire ensuing feast. Apparently she found it too funny to awaken me (in her defense, being an original city-girl she was unaware of the almost certain transmission of virus I was receiving - see below).

Keratinovorous Dwarf Bears making a snack of my beard

Keratinovorous Dwarf Bears making a snack of my beard as I lie unconscious from the antihistamines.

Look what they've done!!

Look what they did to my beard!

Damn you Dwarf Bears!!

Damn you Dwarf Bears!!

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that the Keratinous Dwarf Bears carry a virus that renders humans infertile (see the 1997 Science article for more info). Thus it seems that I have left this competition in a truly Darwinian fashion: unfit to spread my genes to the population.

Thus, I am saddened to leave this greatest of beard contests disgraced and shamed.

Saddened and rendered impotent, I leave the Great Darwin Beard Contest behind...

Saddened, impotent, and infertile I leave the Great Darwin Beard Challenge behind...

I'd like to thank Kevin Zelnio (Deep Sea News, The Other 95%), Andrew "The Southern Fried Scientist" and David "whysharksmatter" (both of Southern Fried Science), and the also-shaven "David2" for the opportunity to compete with such woollenly adapted men. It has been great fun and I wish those stupid dwarf bears had not eliminated me from the running for "Most Darwinesque Beard."

May the three of you remain bearded and fertile for the remainder of the competition!

Great Darwin Beard Challenge History:


Great Darwin Beard Challenge – Month 2

Oh yes, woolly we be. Check out the latest update on our celebratory Darwin beard contest over at Southern Fried Science.

Great Darwin Beard Challenge History:


My Redneck Childhood – Laugh at Me Please

Redneck Daniel (left) and Mitch (right)

Redneck Daniel (me - left) and Mitch (right)

Here's a good laugh for your monday: a redneck child (me) in Hooks, Texas. Yes - we ate them squirrels.

While I somehow managed to escape true redneckdom, I still have very strong "country boy" roots. Mitch still remains fairly redneck. Sorry bro, you know it's true (though he has outgrown some of it in the past few years).

I find this funny because you can clearly see my more animal-friendly biologist tendencies already on display in the manner in which I hold the squirrel.

Here's a challenge - how many hilarious details can YOU spot in this image? There are quite a few.

All that's missing is the rat-tail that only came a few years later...


Great Darwin Beard Challenge – Week 4 – The Mugshots

Alright, so Kevin at Deep-Sea News got a little busy this past week "laying down the hardwood." He claims this involved flooring installation...

Thus I have taken on the reigns of presenting this week's Great Darwin Beard Challenge images.

For those of you new here (and I know there are several due to my Science Blogging: The Future of Science Communication & Why You Should be a Part of it), check out the links at the bottom for previous installments. The short of it: from Darwin's birthday in February to the anniversary of the Origin of Species in October, we are competing for the title of "Most Darwinesque Beard."

Each week, we generally have some theme for the images, mainly just to keep ourselves entertained and distract us from the itchiness and rejections from our significant others.

Kevin's instructions this week were to take "mugshots. Try to look as criminally insane as possible."

Great Darwin Beard Challenge - Week 4

Great Darwin Beard Challenge - Week 4 (click for larger)

Participants: Andrew, the Southern Fried Scientist of Southern Fried Science, Kevin of Deep-Sea News and The Other 95%, Me, David "WhySharksMatter" also of Southern Fried Science, and David2 marine graduate student without a blog.

Personally, I think that I win the "criminally insane" look. David1 definitely has the "mentally challenged" look going for him. Andrew just looks guilty and perhaps drugged. Kevin and David2 both have the "yeah - I did it - whatcha gonna do about it" look.

Next week will be hosted by David at Southern Fried Science. Thereafter, we will be moving to biweekly updates of the contest. Technically, we are in Week 5 right now - these images are from last week.

Great Darwin Beard Challenge History:


Great Darwin Beard Challenge – Week 3

Stripped of all biologically advantageous or meaningful body hair, there comes a time in every man's life when he ponders just why the eons of molding, shaping, and changing forces of natural selection have left what little remains.

The answer comes, quite naturally, to all who discover that certain magical stage of hirsute facial existence. There is but one purpose - one singular defining function of this keratinized expression of manhood: to look like a bad-ass.

Thus, we now present to you Week 3 of the Great Darwin Beard Challenge in a new order of presentation.

Great Darwin Beard Challenge Week 3

Great Darwin Beard Challenge Week 3 (click for larger version)

Though our voyage of Darwinian proportions has only just begun, in time we shall bridge our initial childish faces with the woolen wisdom of Darwin himself gracing our chins.

Unless I get an interview...

Join us over at Deep-Sea News for Week 4 in our quest to look a little more like the man himself in our Great Darwin Beard Challenge.

Great Darwin Beard Challenge History: