Monday, December 05, 2005

So collecting prostates is enough to get you called "weird" these days

Who knew?

I just heard secondhand that someone I met recently thinks I am "nice and smart, but weird", because I collect prostates. But I am modeling them in my computer system, so I study them in order to make sure my model (concept) is faithful to the entity (referent). After all, anthropomorphic projection of human anatomy into terminology of various species has caused enough problems already (how can someone who doesn't have bones have femurs or tibiae, for example?: Zumstein N, Forman O, Nongthomba U, Sparrow JC, Elliott CJ. Distance and force production during jumping in wild-type and mutant Drosophila melanogaster. J Exp Biol. 2004 Sep;207(Pt 20):3515-22. "The peak force is not affected significantly by altering the leg angle (femur-tibia joint angle) in the range of 75-120 degrees, but the peak force declines as the leg is extended further."). So I consider studying and knowing the different forms the prostate can assume across species essential to my research.

Maybe I shouldn't have brought my collection up at Thanksgiving dinner, though. But the conversation led naturally in that direction--people were asking me about my going home, and I had just solved the problem of shipping a biological sample in formalin home (a non-trivial issue), which I was quite happy about. You know how it is when something goes right, and you're happy about it.


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