Saturday, June 20, 2009

Order of the Science Scouts

I'd never heard of the Order of the Science Scouts until JaneB posted herself some badges. This hits all my geeky buttons all the right ways. I don't think archaeology is exactly a science, though there are parts that encompass science, which is close enough for me to play with badges. So, without further adieu, the Science Scout Badges that I will actually admit to in public:

The "Rock Licker" badge. There is little that seems to horrify people about archaeology so much as the licking of rocks and other things plucked from the dirt. The theory is simple: Porous things stick to your tongue; non-porous things do not. It is one test for determining, for example, what is rock and what is bone-that-looks-like-rock. Or, what is rock and what is ceramic-that-looks-like-rock. It is remarkably effective, and much better for the artifact than the see-if-you-can-snap-it-in-half-and-get-a-good-look-at-the-inside test. Look, it's just dirt. And rocks. And maybe bone. I have seen folks take rock licking one step further and actually pop the entire artifact in their mouths and give it a good swish to clean all the dirt off for a look-see. I am always a) slightly sqicked; b) awed; and c) one of the first in line to see the clean artifact (but no touch, ew).

The "what I do for science dictates my having to wash my hands before I use the toilet" badge. This is true even when there technically is no toilet, but there is no "what I do for science dictates my having to wash my hands before I use the place behind the bush" badge. Two words: Poison Ivy. See also below.

The "Works In Feces" badge. Yes, in feces. Privies, cess pits, outhouses. Some of the best sh... um... stuff gets tossed down those when they're no longer used for their primary purpose. Municipal garbage collection didn't really start until at least the mid-nineteenth-century, and even then didn't extend to rural areas until much later. A hole that needed filling was a great place to dump trash! Note: even if they don't smell anymore, if they are actively drawing flies, they are too fresh.

The "Science Has Forced Me To Seek Medical Attention" badge. Same two words: Poison Ivy. Two more: Emergency Room. Yep, it was that bad. If I never take prednisone again, it will be too soon. I'm still wildly sensitive to the damn plant; its a regimen of Tecnu, Benadryl, gauze pads, not scratching, and reminding myself repeatedly that the worst only lasts 10 days. Fortunately (?) my reactions tend to pain and not itching lately.

The "Arts and Crafts" badge. Because my MA qualifies me to play with colored pencils and scissors and glue in the name of science! And CorelDraw and PhotoPaint, but they're not as fun.

The "Has Done Science Whilst Under the Influence" badge. Not while digging, honest. But much bashing around of ideas and moments of clarity over beer? Yes.

The "Science Deprives Me Of My Bed" badge (Level 1). Fieldwork. Though as a PI, I'm not deprived of my bed as much as the crew. They easily qualify for Level III, which is at least a month away from their own beds. For the record, I work with some of the best damn field crew out there.

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