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An Interview with RPM of evolgen

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This time around, we’re talking to RPM of evolgen.

What’s your name?
RPM. Well, that’s my pseudonym. Once I get to know you a little better I’ll tell you my real name.

What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I’m a graduate student. When I’m not sitting around trying to figure out when I’m going to graduate, I run PCRs, sequence DNA, and try to make sense of genomes.

What is your blog called?
evolgen. Note the lowercase “e”. It has nothing to do with e.e. cummings.

What’s up with that name?
I once knew this girl named Jen who was evil (like the fru-eets of the dev-eel). We called her Evil Jen.

How long have you been blogging, anyway?
Two years come November. Or one year eleven months come now.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. Some say I was the laziest man in all of Los Angeles County, which would place me high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide. I now live in the northeast US. I think that’s what I’m telling people to retain my pseudonymosity, but I may be more specific. I have a hard time keeping track.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
Sure. Why not?

Any educational experiences or degrees you’d like to mention?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. That means I have no wife and like painting. One of those things is true.

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
I like evolutionary biology, population biology, molecular genetics, classical genetics, and genomics. Or, as I like to call it, molecular evolutionary genomics. Out of my field, I have been interested in existentialism, psychology, and Elizabethan literature. Not sure what I’m interested in now.

The last book you read?
I just finished Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I had never read it before. I’m currently reading Mooney’s book.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Summer or winter? On a good summer day, I play ultimate for a few hours (busting out some sweet layout D and throwing the most perfect OI flick huck you’ve ever seen), then go ride my bike for a couple of hours. In the winter, I hop on a lift at sunrise and ski ’til sunset.

What’s your greatest habitual annoyance?
Willful ignorance.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Really? C’mon, imaginary heroes are disposable heroes.

Your favorite heroes in real life?
I was asked this question (in a more academic context) at my candidacy exam. I think I said Dobzhansky. I once wrote a paper claiming that one of my grandparents was my hero. I can’t remember if it was the one that survived WWII in a Siberian prison or the one that went from rags to riches by importing costume jewelry from the Orient and selling it in the Deep South after changing the spelling of his name and using his blonde hair and blue eyes to pass as a gentile.

What’s your most marked characteristic?
I’m an asshole. Really. Ask anyone that knows me. They don’t like me.

What’s your principal defect?
See above.

What quality do you admire most in a person?
Being an asshole. I like honesty. I’d rather have someone point out all my faults in the most uncouth manner, than just send compliments. Does that make me a masochist?

Who are your favorite writers?
I used to be real into Stephen King. Then it was Jean Paul Sartre. After that, Kurt Vonnegut. Now, I have no favorites. I’m just trying to catch up on all the books I haven’t read but need to read. You know, like, Steinbeck and Dr. Phil.

What would you like to be?
A tenured faculty member at a large research university with multiple grants funded, tons of publications in high profile journals, and minions to do my bidding. Either that or a rock star.

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