Taking it to the next wrong, wrong level

Before Miriam left DSN I asked her to give me a post on Kevin.  In classic Miriam style, she says goodbye to fellow departing Deepling.

Kevin and I have been internet friends since the dawn of ocean blogular time, circa 2007. While I know the circumstances of his departure are sad, I want to highlight what I have always loved about Kevin – his love of the inappropriate. With Kevin around, I know that I will not be the most inappropriate person in the room – he is always willing to go there (TWSS). It’s so wrong, yet so right (TWSS). 

The post that really stands out in my mind years later? This one. Allow me to quote the first paragraph:

Castilla et al. (2007) are reporting in a recent PNAS article an interesting property of sea squirt pornography and local oceanography. I know, I’m a frequent purveyor of tunicate smut, but this utter filth may have consequences in the debates surrounding marine reserve design. These authors studied the spawning behavior of intertidal tunicates (Pyura praeputialis, an invasive) from chilean coasts. What they found will make all decent folk turn their insides out. These filthy denizens of the seas let it all out together in a mass orgy. Oh the indecency. Are you sure the children are asleep and not watching over your shoulder? You may want to tuck them in before continuing on.

Oh, but there’s more. How about Hardcore Snail Porn: Click Only if You Are 18 and Over, Walruses, Like Other Marine Mammals, Are Disgusting Little Perverts, and of course, Environment Shapes Barnacle Penis, which featured that classic line, “Barnacles are known as the John Holmes of the invertebrate world.”

But it was never smut for smut’s sake. (Well, ALMOST never.) Kevin once eloquently explained why he found the low road so useful:

While, as a parent, I can deeply understand the need to protect our children from pornography. There are certainly many helpful online tools and software that can monitor the browsings of the youth of america. But does the word “sex” connotate a sense of filth in our society’s undertone? Is our collective prudishness protecting of preventing children from understanding a basic concept in the organismal world? I hope not. Children will laugh and giggle if a teacher says penis. They will also chuckle and make silly jokes if they see a barnacle penis and learn how sea stars “do it”, but they learn something too. Heaven forbid we have fun and make fun of what we learn! I challenge educators and parents this week to read our posts and use them as an opportunity to discuss how important reproduction is to the animal kingdom. Bring up the bigger questions. Every animal does it in their own way, whether sexual or asexual, with the ultimate goal to secure their lineage.

And after all this, Kevin remains the only ocean blogger I know to be a successful science t-shirt model. I…may have bought a Beagle Project shirt after seeing this picture. Something about the combination of tattoos, a tall ship, and beer just made me want to buy that shirt.

We’ll miss you, Kevin. The internet is a much less scientifically filthy place without you. But I admit, I can’t WAIT to see how you market your beer.



Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.