First, a few words from Doc Bushwell about this compendium of bonobo scat…

With a nod to a popular animated television series beloved by many, and perhaps reviled by some, I assumed the pseudonym of a scientist who sports a sensible ponytail, dines on grubs, and who exploits chimpanzees in her illegal diamond mine. To paraphrase Homer Simpson’s reply to Dr. Bushwell after she describes her daily routine (Simpson Safari; season 12, episode 265), I must be the most boring woman on earth. Nonetheless, I am compelled to slap my mundane, yet occasionally piquant, thoughts up on the walls of this blog. In the process, I have gathered a team of bright, engaging, and cheeky primates who share my passion for science and its impact on our culture. We hope to offer the reader a bed of diamonds in the rough upon which to roll: “Oooooh, look! I’m a scientist!”

Author biographies:

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“Dr. Joan Bushwell” is a simple farmer’s daughter transplanted to Einstein’s former territory in the Garden State. In the Jurassic Era, she received a bachelor’s degree in botany with a minor in chemistry from the U. of Illinois-Urbana. After fiddling around as a lab tech at UIUC for about three years, she enrolled as a grad student at the U. of Wisconsin-Madison and was awarded a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical biochemistry in 1986.

Following a post-doctoral stint at this institution o’ the Cheeseheads, Doc Bushwell abandoned academia to become a slavering minion of the pharmaceutical industry where she has been a principal investigator on projects ranging from oncology to neurochemistry to virology. For a time, she herded felines with advanced degrees until the unrelenting metrics and Powerpointery demands of being a manager got in the way of science and her general state of well-being. Doc Bushwell has recently returned to the dark tower of Pharma-dur in the capacity of a medical writer.

She indulges herself in a wide array of interests, and thus her blog meanders much like her menopausal mind. Her scientific interests encompass biochemistry, various aspects of drug discovery, molecular evolution, neurobiology, and natural history, especially botany. As with any elder, she tends to wax nostalgic, particularly about her experiences with science as a youth on the farm. There she availed herself of the indigenous flora and fauna and her older brother’s chemistry set, and sometimes a combination of all these. As the mother of two skeptical and more or less rational teenagers, she also rails against the impingements of creationist dictates on the teaching of evolutionary biology (even though this isn’t much of a problem in the relatively enlightened hometown of Princeton University) and the erosion of science education in the USA. When she manages to get some exercise, it’s either on a Concept II ergometer (former rower), a bicycle, or, when she is not fat and injured, by running. She is known to sketch a cartoon or two. She is a devoted fan of popular culture, and thus her pseudonym refers to one of her favorite TV shows as well as to her favorite primatologists, Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal.

Jim is married and has no children that he is aware of. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Master of Science in Computer Science. When his first grade class was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, he was the only one who said “scientist” (in spite of the allure of shiny firetrucks and police cars). He is an avid runner and also enjoys kayaking, xc-skiing, and similar sports. It is his opinion that if an endeavor utilizes a motor which does not ultimately run on ATP or does not produce copious amounts of perspiration, then it is not a “sport”. When not involved with gross motor movement, he engages in precise, fine movement while manipulating musical instruments.

Jim has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of mammals primarily so that he could eat them. He tries to avoid this now but has been known to devour both poultry and non-mammalian aquatic life forms. There are some feelings of remorse involved. Jim also has difficulty throwing things away, which explains the dozen or so worn running shoes in his basement. He would like to take this opportunity to give fair warning to all telemarketers, religious evangelists, and spammers that he now considers them to be unworthy of the title “mammalian life form” and that they should be appropriately wary when contacting him in the future as they may catch him just prior to lunch.


Kevin Beck is a full-time science writer and editor. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Vermont, where he also minored in mathematics and chemistry, ran varsity cross-country and track, and fostered a prodigious and often antisocial ethanol habit. His interests today–those he will publicly admit to and relate to blogging, that is–range from astronomy to neurobiology to exercise physiology, although he generally prefers to write about the angrily clueless of the species and does not delude himself about his intentions in this realm.

Despite his unbalanced nature, penetrating misanthropy, and general disregard for normative values and behaviors, he has run over a dozen marathons, including a 2:24:17 at the 2001 Boston Marathon, where he was 29th overall and 7th among Americans. He was 2nd at the US 50K Championship in 2004 and has run 14:58 for 5,000 meters.

Having reclaimed a childhood passion for writing in his late twenties, Kevin blended his urge to generate and manipulate words with his interest in performance-oriented perambulaton to become a senior writer for Running Times Magazine. He has also written for Triathlete, Men’s Fitness, Marathon & Beyond, The Roanoker, and others. He is the editor of the training book Run Strong.

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