Images: The bottles in question (© S Heard CC BY 4.0); and the video screen that sparked the question (© Alex Smith).
Warning: might be considered navel-gazing.
If you’ve ever seen my office, you’ll know that it’s a disaster zone. Piles of books, unruly sheaves of paper, empty binders and full ones, cases and boxes of pinned insects, and sometimes my lunch – all strewn wildly across every horizontal surface. I’ve long since stopped pretending this is a temporary condition (except, of course, for the lunch). I do still find myself apologizing for it – most recently two weeks ago when I skyped into a class at the University of Guelph to talk with the students about scientific writing. Turns out they didn’t even notice the heaping mounds of detritus (or at least, they were polite enough to pretend they didn’t); but they were curious about the long row of empty champagne bottles above my bookshelves, just at the top edge of the video frame. So I explained. Continue reading