Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

The current Antarctic Trip Vote count is as follows; 375 – 305 – 159 – 136 – 135 out of 158 candidates registered.

If you’ve already voted, then please encourage your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to vote for the person whom you think would be best for this unique job: traveling to Antarctica for the month of February 2010 and writing about it for the public on a blog. Here is my 300-word essay. Voting ends 30 September and there is one vote allowed per valid email address (registration required).


  1. #1 John Callender
    June 27, 2009

    I’m not sure why I’m having problems, but I’ve gone through the required registration process in an attempt to cast a vote for you, twice now, and each time I get to the point where they tell me they’re sending me the validation email, and… the validation email never arrives. I’ve checked spam folders, I’ve used two different email addresses (both of which continue to receive normal emails), and I’ve sent an email requesting help to the support address they offer for folks who are having trouble, but no luck with any of those.

    Here’s hoping you can win without my vote, since it seems I’m unable to cast one for you. Good luck!

  2. #2 John Callender
    June 27, 2009

    Woot. I just tried again with a different email address, and this time it worked. So I’ve now officially voted for you. 🙂

  3. #3 llewelly
    June 27, 2009

    I’m weirded out by the prominent polar bear banner.
    Is somebody planning to save polar bears by exporting them to Antarctica where they can feast on tasty penguins?

  4. #4 "GrrlScientist"
    June 27, 2009

    john — YAY!!

    as far as your registration problems go, i know that earthlink email addresses are having problems with registering to vote. not sure why, but it is possible they are not the only email addresses that are having problems.

    llewelly – at first, i was really weirded out by the polar bear, too, until i checked the site more closely. apparently, they offer cruises to both the arctic and the antarctic, and i’d guess — i don’t know for sure — that the polar bear is on the banner because they started with arctic cruises and then expanded their services to include the antarctic.

  5. #5 MadScientist
    June 28, 2009

    393 votes

    I had a look at a few other essays – if they’re any indication of the general quality of submissions, you’re way ahead of the pack.

    Then again if this is a strict voting thing and there are no requirements on quality, it really is just a matter of getting a bunch of people to vote for you and I wouldn’t be surprised if some went so far as to get their buddies to spend a few hours setting up different transient email accounts to stack votes.

  6. #6 Bob O'H
    June 28, 2009

    I was having trouble registering as well, from two of my Finnish addresses. Eventually I registered from another account, which I set up for nefarious purposes and have never got round to using.

    I still have one more account I can use too. And, hmmm, I wonder if my CSC account is still active…

  7. #7 cope
    June 28, 2009

    Just a thought…if it’s not too late, you should rotate your picture another 90 degrees counter-clockwise so you are completely upside-down.

    Get it? Antarctica, bottom of the world? Upside-down? Get it?

    Never mind…

    PS I’m voting for you and hope you win.

  8. #8 cope
    June 28, 2009

    PPS I submitted the 400th vote for you.

  9. #9 "GrrlScientist"
    June 28, 2009

    thanks for your votes, everyone. it is possible that cooler heads are prevailing: i was awake almost all night, worrying about the taxes that will be levied by the government for this prize .. according to my guesstimate (i’ll verify this later today), taxes will be in the neighborhood of $5k!! gulp.

    cope – thank you for your vote! i’d love to rotate the image as you suggest, but the server is doing the rotating without any input from me.

  10. #10 kevin R
    June 28, 2009

    I voted for you. I read most of the other essays and none made the case as well as you. The funny thing was that after clicking on the link I had to take a minute to verify I was at the right essay. Who is Devorah Bennu and where is GrrlScientist? I have been a regular reader for at least a year but had no idea what your real name was.

  11. #11 "GrrlScientist"
    June 28, 2009

    i am very uncomfortable revealing my real name. it keeps me awake at night, to be honest.

  12. #12 Rachel
    June 28, 2009

    ntrstng..y jst kp th cmnts f th prsn sprts y..
    I cn cm hr ll th dys t sy th sm:

    Tht s nt scntfc xpdtn, s dn’t gr whn y sy tht y r th bst prsn n th wrld t wrt blg bt t..y’r brng nd smg!

  13. #13 Rachel
    June 28, 2009

    Th wrld s bggr thn USA, nd thr r lt f bttr scntsts thn y n th wrld.. Bt, nc gn, th xpdtn sn’t scntfc..
    If y r s gd, why dn’t y mk yr scntfc xpdtn wth spclsts n yr r.
    If y´r s gd, th bst n whl wrld, y cn rrng fnds t d tht.

  14. #14 Diane in Ohio
    June 28, 2009

    Got my vote in for you – “412” – WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  15. #15 cope
    June 28, 2009


    This is a CONTEST to WIN a free trip as the BLOGGER for a commercial cruise to Antarctica. Did you read the entry rules? Did you read how entrants were encouraged to write creative essays? Gosh, you’re going to give yourself a cerebral aneurism if you don’t chill out a bit.

    As for this blog, I can’t imagine that you are required to read it. Just don’t come here. There are many, many blogs and such that I refuse to visit because they induce the same kind of effects in me (not to mention contributing to their hit counters).


    I wouldn’t worry too much about your name being out there. PZ has managed to survive and thrive with all the details of his life being public knowledge and he generates infinitely more controversy than you do.

  16. #16 "GrrlScientist"
    June 28, 2009

    actually, rachel, you are being senselessly RUDE and i don’t like keeping rude comments here. in case you haven’t noticed, i have been asking THE PUBLIC to vote for me using my BLOG, two things that the antarctic people are seeking from whomever wins. if you don’t like that, then that is just too bad. since you feel so free to judge me as a person and as a professional when you clearly know NOTHING about me, i will do the same for you: you obviously are a whiner and a crybaby and a bad sport who thinks people should be rewarded for reasons other than hard work.

    furthermore, there are months remaining before the winner is selected, so who knows what will happen in that time? if the vote count bothers you now, you’re going to have a stroke by the time september 30 rolls around.

    oh, and those two comments above are the last comments of yours that i’ll allow to stay here, too.

  17. #17 Horwood Beer-Master
    June 28, 2009

    My vote has been added, hope it helps.

    I’ve been fascinated with Antarctica ever since I was a 12-year-old watching David Attenborough’s Life in the Freezer, I would love to go there at some point in my life, but seeing as this is extremely unlikely I’ll be relying on you to help me live the Antarctic experience by proxy – Good luck!

    By the way, it’s strange that this post didn’t seem to have anything (directly) to do with birds – and yet a snipe seems to have crept into the comments thread.

  18. #18 John Callender
    June 28, 2009

    My personal attitude toward blog comments (and real names, for that matter) is to just let it all hang out. On my longest-running blog ( I just let whoever wants to say ridiculous things in the comments go ahead and say them. The only comments I’ve deleted are commercial spam and a few really hateful/disgusting things with absolutely no redeeming value.

    In terms of letting your real name be out there, I think maintaining actual bloggy anonymity isn’t a realistic goal unless you really work at it, at least not for someone who wants to post honestly about the things that are important to them. It’s sort of like maintaining a lie: It gets really complicated remembering what you’ve said to whom. What personally revealing information have am I revealing? Can I tell _this_ story? Can I mention the cafe where _that_ happened? What if one of my readers was there, and recognizes me from the description of the incident?

    Meh. Life’s too short. It’s easier to just tell the truth. I’ve come around to the position that I should only utter things online (in blog posts, comments, ostensibly private email) that I’d be okay with seeing printed in the newspaper attributed to me with my name, photo, address, and cellphone number. Then I try not to worry about it. If someone wants to rag on me in the comments on my blog, more power to them. I try not to take it personally.

    I’m not saying anyone else has to use the same approach. But this seems to work out as well as any other approach I’ve tried, and it makes my life simpler. When you get into censoring blog comments based on content, it just rewards the detractors who want to get into it with you. “See? She _noticed_ me! Hah! The whole world is admiring the cunning way I exposed her for what she is and cut her to the quick!”

    Hey, whatever, knock yourself out, detractors. In the meantime, I’m going to choose to obsess about more interesting things.

  19. #19 "GrrlScientist"
    June 28, 2009

    john, where’s your sibley — aren’t you going to identify this snipe?

    regarding being finally decloaked .. i feel very constrained by what i can write now because being honest can– and probably will — work against me in myriad ways.

  20. #20 Jeff Knapp
    June 28, 2009

    Well, I’ve registered under two different emails but, as of yet, have not gotten the confirmation email for either one.

    As for the Rachels of the world, ignore them. You did the right thing – got rid of her. They are not worth the energy it takes to push keys on a keyboard.

  21. #21 MadScientist
    June 28, 2009

    Oh don’t worry about any taxes, I’m sure some godless heathens will be happy to help send you to the icy wastelands of the south. Many of PZ’s minions seem more than happy to help out people they don’t know.

    Who is this rachel anyway? She wouldn’t be someone who wants to go but just can’t get any votes, would she? Oooh, I’m so good, everyone else is so horrible for being more popular than me! This isn’t a scientific expedition, so scientists should stay out of it because they know things! (Yes, I’m sure trips to the Antarctic are reserved for the ignorant.) Besides, looking at the top 20 entries, I get the distinct impression that most haven’t got a clue what they’re in for and I wouldn’t want a blog that was simply incessant whining about how desolate and cold the place is even in summer.

  22. #22 Jeff Knapp
    June 28, 2009

    OK. I got both registered. You now have my vote.

    I really hope you get this.


  23. #23 CJ
    June 29, 2009

    Well I wasn’t going to vote because my knowledge of things is ridiculously limited and I felt completely unqualified to judge these essays. However, I followed the latest link from PZ’s blog anyway and noted that you have at least one commenter, Rachel, who feels eminently qualified to judge you on a whole raft of personal qualities that are clearly much harder to get a handle on than a mere 300 word essay. Now I KNOW that I am much better than Rachel at making baseless judgements about the character of others so I went and read a few essays and it is quite clear to me now that she is right! You are a terrible person who obviously deserves to be banished to the ends of the earth for your adventurous spirit and ability to write in an entertaining, concise fashion (both totally unscientific qualities – how very dare you, as a scientist, be so unsciency!) So I’ve cast my vote and I hope you languish in the cold wastes of Antarctica and let that be a lesson to you, you clearly deserve it!

    ; )

  24. #24 Rob W
    June 29, 2009

    I tried voting, but am experiencing the same problem — they don’t send the confirmation email.

    It’s definitely a problem on their end… this is an email account on my own domain, with no server-side filtering whatsoever. I also tried to contact support; no response except the auto-reply.

    Irritating. I’ll try another route. I technically have an almost unlimited number of email addresses, actually, so it’d be easy to game the system, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t actually be helped if your numbers suddenly rocketed up by a few million….

  25. #25 Bob O'H
    June 30, 2009

    I’ve been having the same problem, Rob. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not impressive. I tried with two Finnish accounts, and they didn’t work, so then I tried from a third account which was from a subdomain of one of the others, and that worked fine.

    Incidentally, I don’t think you’ll need to do a few million. 10 or 20 per day should be enough. 🙂

  26. #26 Rob W
    June 30, 2009

    Ah — they eventually got back to me.
    If you want to contact the person who fixes this problem directly (though she may be a bit busy if this is happening a lot, as I suspect it is…):

    Prisca Campbell
    Marketing Manager
    Quark Expeditions Inc.
    tel – 416-504-8979 x 233
    toll-free – 1-800-356-5699

    actual return address on email (dunno why the discrepancy):

    Thank you, Prisca!

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