GPF, Miscellaneous

Botanists really dig Fred in Ukraine

September 3rd, 2008 by Jeff | 2 Core Dumps

I received an interesting e-mail yesterday from a representative of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. She said she would be attending the sixth International Congress on the Systematics & Ecology of Myxomycetes in the Ukraine in October and that she was giving a “lecture on the different ways that Myxomycetes (Slime Molds) inspire people to make works of art”. Her search of the Web turned up GPF and a certain lovable blob of goo, so she asked permission to reproduce a couple of comics and inquired my thoughts on Fred’s genesis.

First of all, I had no idea there actually was an international congress devoted to the ecology of slime molds, let alone that there had been five previous ones. It’s both fascinating and ludicrous all at once. It’s one of those things you would think would be such a minutia that nobody would bother devoting their lives or entire symposia to. Then again, science is all about increasing human knowledge and at some point you have to specialize to learn all there is possible. (Personally, I’m a poly-science geek; I dabble in a little bit of everything and am master of none.) The second part of this that fascinates me is the thought that there may well be many more people using slime molds in or inspiring their art. I can explain myself away as a weird, isolated nutcase with an odd sense of humor, but to think there are other nutcases with equally odd senses of humor out there is a little bit frightening. Then again, I know how many of you out there read the comic, so maybe there are more nutcases out there than previously thought. 😉

I’ve asked the author of the e-mail to keep me in the loop on how her presentation goes. There’s a tiny part of me that almost wishes I would be invited to the seventh ICSEM as a guest of (dis)honor. I don’t know whether I’d be lauded for promoting awareness of slime mold research or demonized for the liberties I’ve taken with slime mold science. Either way, I’ll bet it will be one wild mold-lovin’ party….

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