Who’s driving this flying umbrella?

The Flying Umbrella
The Flying Umbrella

If you know the reference that got you here, you are already on your way to understanding that this isn’t your standard “About Me” internet info.

What a main event this is.
What a main event this is.

Here is your peek behind the curtain at the interworkings of my thoughts. My name is James Burnes and I am a current PhD student at the University of Oklahoma. I am listed and studying in the History of Science department but my interests take me over most of campus and have led me to establish some of the best professional relationships of my career.  My paper degrees are thus far in History (B.A. and M.A. from Lamar University) and History of Science (M.A. at OU) with far too many hours in minors including Geology, Earth Science, and Anthropology (203 undergraduate hours total). I was trained in Eocene mammalian paleontology with microfossils that we’ve collected in the Uinta Basin in Utah.  I have also done fieldwork in Belize with the University of Texas studying the Maya Culture. My work now mainly focusing on the history of field work and the production and collecting of scientific knowledge as well as artifact and object history. Having recently been baptized by fire in the Art History of the American West, I use the records of expeditions across the west from Lewis and Clark through the establishment of the Geological Surveys–this includes paintings, journals, ethnographies, and photographs among others.

How I narrate science history is more or less shaped by an animated rooster voiced by Roger Miller.
How I narrate science history is more or less shaped by an animated rooster voiced by Roger Miller.

Incidentally, grew up in the heart of the Big Thicket in Texas. The community had upwards of 200 residents when I graduated with 54 students. Fred, Texas still doesn’t have a middle or high school and we were bused 16 miles to the next town to finish. That was when our class grew. From K-6 there were 18 of us, swelling to a class of 21 when we were split into 2 classes. Those rural roots led me to establish the Paleo Porch Mini Mobile Musuem as a means of science outreach to rural schools that are too far (or too poor) to have field trips to museums. The collections of things here are all in some way related to what is going on with my research. It all stems from 3 original blogs: The Platypus and the Dodo covered wildlife conservation and recent extinction, The Paleo Porch was to cover all paleontology related topics, and Life’s Marginalia was the useful depository for things that didn’t fall into either of the other two. I began blogging in earnest for my art history course and it ended up being a useful study guide so I have reprised it for my readings for comprehensive exams coming up. If you are plodding around the internet and have landed here, welcome, leave a comment if you feel so inclined. There is a lot going on in my head and my odd view of the world goes far beyond being colorblind and literally seeing the world differently from everyone else. I prefer animation to real life and Scooby Doo is almost always on while I write.

–James

2 thoughts on “Who’s driving this flying umbrella?”

    1. I will be paying for my chance forever. I went for a while and then worked Industrial Maintenance for a few years before going back. It have been a neat experience mainly because of the people I have met and been lucky enough to work with in vertebrate paleontology and now at the museum and in the special collections. Having lived in both worlds, college doesn’t bring anything automatically and the best people I have ever known never went.

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Southern fried paleontology and life stories from the world’s front porch

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