Today is the birthday of two famous people, one American and one British. Born not just on the same day but also the same year, February 12th is the day of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. I’m a science guy, so I have to give respect to the originator of the Origin of Species. As such, this date has become known as Darwin Day.
The best way to celebrate is do a science. Perhaps you won’t done your own experiment in biology, but there is still plenty you can do to learn about the life sciences. There is also a joy in reading the works of Darwin, such as his voyages on the HMS Beagle around the world. Still readable and enjoyable, and much more advanced in its social thinking that the common denominator of his generation. If you don’t have something to read about his life, PBS has done a couple of specials about him, such as Darwin’s Darkest Hour or (if you can) Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Part I of PBS’ special on evolution and more details about Darwin’s life and the impact of his ideas in his lifetime.
Of course, it’s also close to Valentine’s Day, so you can give that special someone a little something like this:
Steamy, I know. Then again, if you need a little more, there are the informative videos by Dr. Carin Bondar, Wild Sex, which has just started season 2 (oh, and need I say it’s a little NSFW). There is plenty of talk about barnacles, a favorite animal of Darwin in his studies. And to steal a line from George Takei, “Oooh, my!”
Of course, you don’t have to be all about Charlie if you don’t want to. Again, it is Abe Lincoln’s b-day. I recently finished the biography of him by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the book that was a large part of the research for the movie Lincoln, which I noted also has a slight mention of evolution by natural selection is it. (If you need a little more Civil War history and evolution, this is the 150th anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg, and the 1993 movie of that battle also has a couple minute talk about Darwin and evolution; my high school history teacher was also in that movie, getting killed at the fence in Pickett’s charge.)
Plenty of interesting history to relate to today. You might as well get started. Do something in nature. Selection something you like the life sciences to explore. And if you get into a rhetorical scuffle with a creationist, remember to DarWIN, not DarLOSE.