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Arm-chair Paleo & Other Things

The one thing that bothers me about this form of communication is that I do
not have the opportunity to see folks as I read their ideas. I sometimes fail
to get the tone that is implied with the message. Body language and other
visual clues help me understand whether the person is being humorous, serious
angry, sincere etc. I wasn't really offended by the term and I didn't mean to
imply that any one individual was using it to be condescending. I didn't pay
attention to the quotation marks or the order in which the term came across
the list. It was sloppy on my part and I am sorry. Maybe a remedy to avoid mis-
interpretation would be to supply some artificial body language into some of
the text like a smily :-) or a frown :-( to let folks know whether something
is in jest or the seriousness of ones feelings. Maybe there already exists a
set of accepted visual clues regarding demeanor out there. I haven't been
around in this medium for very long to really know.
        The point made about too few professional paleontologists to meet the
demands of helping all schools is correct and I acknowledge that many people
in this area do contribute an enormous amount of time and resources. That kind
of volunteer spirit has been the backbone of this country and there are many
commendable people out there that as far as I am concerned walk on the water.
Problem is that their model of excellence needs to be promoted to generate 
greater awareness of the good deeds being done. Maybe the DINO SOCIETY and the
SVP outreach group can focus on examples of excellence and promote these models
as being beneficial to both public education and professional and amateur
paleontology. Maybe there is even the possibility of NSF grant money to fund
some special projects that will put successful models in the spotlight and
have a positive impact for all involved parties. Recognition for good deeds
should be acknowledged. Many people don't seek to draw attention to themselves
for doing what to them may be an inherent behavior or they are very embarrassed
by unsolicited attention. The world is full of silent heros that don't need
the limelight to feel satisfaction for what they have done. The problem is that
there is no one going around to discover who these people are. Folks need to
be forthcoming about what they are doing and the positive impact they are
having. If you are doing something that is making a difference with students,
teachers or amateurs then step forward and take credit. You could be an inspir-
ation for others. Maybe DINO SOCIETY & SVP Outreach can ferret out the shy
people and celebrate their contributions. 
Martin Tillett
Science Instructor
H.B. Owens Science Center
9601 Greenbelt Road
Lanham, MD 20706
301-918-8750 fax 301-918-8752