So, Friday was busy here. Spring semester classes started on Wednesday, people want add codes to add my courses, students are making sure they know where everything is in the online section of my "Ethics in Science" course -- the usual. But, I was also dealing with a larger than usual portion of ScienceOnline in my bloodstream* (as in the past it's been about a week earlier in the calendar than it was this year).
Anyway. As usual, the Free-Ride offspring met my return to Casa Free-Ride and normal life (such as it is) with a barrage of questions about the conference. What did you see? What did you do? What did you learn? Who was there? What did you bring us? (More on that last question in the next Sprog Blogging installment.)
Among other things, I told the sprogs about the storytelling event at the Friday banquet, organized by The Monti. The sprogs dig a good story; it's probably part of what got them interested in science. And, I decided they might enjoy listening to the podcast of two of the stories that we heard at the banquet, Ben Lillie's and Bug Girl's.
I'll admit, I recognized that maybe Bug Girl's story was on the edge of age-appropriate for my offspring (currently 10.5 and 12.5 years of age). However, they have always had a healthy interest in entomology and in parasites of various sorts. So, I threw caution to the wind.
In the process, I discovered that even though my offspring are well aware that humans approaching adulthood grow hair in a number of places that are not the head -- and even though they each have more than theoretical knowledge of the habits of Pediculus humanus capitis (thank you, afterschool program!) -- neither one of my worldly children had ever imagined that there might exist a critter that would regard a not-on-the-head tract of follicles as a hospitable environment. Indeed, the looks of sheer horror on their faces when they learned that there is such a thing as "pubic lice" was worth the price of conference registration.
Ours is a universe of wonders. Some of those wonders are exotic (and maybe gross) enough that they are hard to anticipate, until some intrepid explorer brings back reports of them, changing our sense of where we are and what we might encounter -- and, of how squicked out we might be in that encounter.
I did mention to the Free-Ride offspring that I told one of the stories at the banquet. The younger Free-Ride offspring especially has been trying to get me to disclose details of the story I told. My answer has been, "When the podcast of it goes up, I'll let you listen to it."
I expect that after the sprogs listen to my story, there may be a discussion on which I'll report here. Stay tuned.
*Also, as it turns out, in my hair shafts -- not at all faded from ScienceOnline violet to almost normal beginning of the semester brown. One hopes my students won't infer from my current hair color that I'm cooler than I actually am.