Miscellaneous year end stuff…

Just a few odd and ends as we near the the end of the year.

Here’s something from our guru:
Dr. Bob Bakker’s studies on Placerias locomotion (Fig. 1) at the Houston Museum of Natural History blog site.

Figure 1. Flexibility study of Placerias by Dr. Bob Bakker at the HMNS blog site.

Figure 1. Flexibility study of Placerias by Dr. Bob Bakker at the HMNS blog site. Click to view site.

These were produced to “add life” to a skeletal mount and a fantastic illustration by Julius T. Csotonyi of Placerias chased from its watering hole by Smilosuchus.

On YouTube
Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki talks about what he learned working for Steve Jobs.

Figure 2. Guy Kawasaki TED talk.

Figure 2. Guy Kawasaki gives a TED talk, what he learned working for Steve Jobs. Here he lists: “Don’t let the bozos grind you down.” Click to view.

Kawasaki’s TOP 12

  1. “Experts” are clueless. Listen to your heart. When you encounter naysay, go against the naysay. (Remember inspirational talks like this usually take on this David vs. Goliath attitude. My advice: pick and choose by testing. Much of what experts say is right on the mark. But look for red flags and strange bedfellows. And don’t let the bozos grind you down.)
  2. Customers cannot tell you what they want. (innovation leapfrogs the desires and paradigms of the masses, in this case reliance on textbooks, rather than testing)
  3. The action is on the next curve. That’s why reptile evolution.com tested (on this date 12/29/14) 476 taxa vs. 228 characters, far more than any prior study. Yes, the experiment.com taxon goal has been reached (although the funding goal will not be reached at the present rate, 27 days to go, 99% unfunded).
  4. Biggest challenges beget the best work. In our case, more taxa (=the biggest challenge) reduce morphological distance between taxa, provide more nesting opportunities for enigmas and previous ‘by default’ nestings. The large reptile tree has been a big challenge, and I’ve learned  a lot along the way over the last four years. Other than my kids, the large reptile tree represents my best work and my purpose in life.
  5. Design counts. (Shiny, thin aluminum is more appealing than clunky black plastic, according to Kawasaki). Hopefully the accuracy (whenever possible) and design of the website and skeletal graphics have attracted a certain amount of interest.
  6. Use big graphics and big fonts. (a suggestion for PowerPoint presentations.)
  7. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence. Getting it wrong and making it right is okay! That’s good Science. I do this (get it wrong and make it right) all the time.
  8. Value is not equal to price. (more for marketing).
  9. A players hire A+ players. (for employee acquisition).
  10. Real CEOs demo. They put their neck on the block and their ass on the line.
  11. Real entrepreneurs ship. They ship, then they test. Kawasaki says, “Don’t worry, be crappy.” Put out the innovation, the revolution, then fix the minor problems. I wish this wasn’t true in my case, but sometimes it is. Finding a problem is disheartening. Fixing a problem is a relief.
  12. Marketing = unique value. Be in the upper right hand corner of the chart: uniqueness and value, not just valuable, not just unique.
  13. Bonus: some things need to be believed to be seen. Foster the belief in what you dream in order to make it a reality. The opposite is also true, some things cannot be seen unless you open your mind to the possibility. In Science testing lots of taxa that everyone ‘knows’ are not related ultimately provides a family tree in which every taxon is related.

I recently had a paper rejected.
Among the objections were “the results are unconventional” and “I don’t believe you can get complete resolution for 360 taxa with only 228 characters.” Well, now the total is 476 taxa with only 228 characters and the matrix shows no signs of slowing down.  In theory, theory and practice should produce identical results. In practice they often do not. “Unconventional” is not a bad thing. You can’t shed new light on a subject without changing conventional thinking. A discovery, by definition, breaks convention. And, of course, ‘belief’ is the prevue of religion and politics. Even though the referee tested the work and confirmed the results, he didn’t let Science trump Belief. And he played his ‘Belief’ card, so now we all know which side of the brain trumped the other.

In the new year
the Pterosaur Heresies and ReptileEvolution.com will continue to promote new discoveries and, when necessary, shed new light on old discoveries. Thank you for your interest and support.

There’s more to come.





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