“Dog Philosophy”

But first, a quick request for information for anyone who happens by: where you live, what is the job market like for Ph.D. Geologists (with a background in stratigraphy, mining, and petroleum, among other things) and what kind of opportunities for non-medical biotechnology graduate programs are in your local colleges?

(And a quick side-question: is it obvious to most people that you get extra information if you hover over or click on things that look like this? I’ve never formally checked the usability of this trick for normal people…)

No login required to answer – they’ll appear as soon as I’ve filtered out any spam. Okay, on with the meat of this post.

In case anyone’s wondering what the “Epicanis” handle is all about: it’s a pun on the concept of “Dog Philosophy”, based on the name of the famous Greek philosopher “Epicurus” and the word “Canis”. Yes, I know, “Canis” is Latin, not Greek, but I figured “Epicanis” would be more a more recognizeable pun to most people than “Epicynus”.

Properly defining “Dog Philosophy” involves a joke which necessarily incorporates mild profanity and adult situations. In case any of the readers are of more delicate sensibilities, I present instead a more matter-of-fact (but sadly less funny) version.

Plato once famously wrote that dogs were philosophers. Like all philosophers that I know of, dogs consider the nature of what is real (metaphysics). To the dog, everything that exists external to the dog can be assigned to one of four categories:

  • Food
  • Toys
  • Companions
  • and

  • Everything Else, which is generally useless except as a surface for territory marking

You may wonder what that has to do with “Applied Empirical Naturalism” or science blogging.

The explanation is simple: science is fundamentally a method for examining the natural world to determine how and why it works. That’s what I like about science. One can find novel or unexpected applications of any system or thing by learning how and why they work, or in other words, it’s a method for, among other things, taking things from the “useless” category to one of the “useful” categories. Finding ways to make otherwise-useless things beneficially useful for people strikes me as a particularly rewarding purpose in life.

In addition to wanting to make the world a better place, I’m also kind to puppies and kittens and I think people should be nicer to one another.

(This shameless display of sympathy-solicitation has been brought to you by my participation in the following competition:)

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

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