This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Death and dying

I was able to attend the reception for the art show, "Once Living Things," on Friday. A lot of SJC students were there and it was one of the better-attended receptions that the Fendig Gallery has had. It also set the theme for parts of my week-end.

On Friday I took advantage of the warm up before the deep freeze to take a bike ride in the country. The strangest thing I saw was a deer leg in the middle of the road. Just the leg. I do not normally have the opportunity to examine deer parts and I was struck by the anatomy of the foot. Deer have split hooves, which means that unlike horses, which have evolved to run on the tips of their middle toes, deer have evolved to run on two toes, their third and fourth toes. Deer have two other toes on each leg that seem to serve no purpose and you can see them in the picture below. (If you google deer toes, you will find a purpose for them--they can be used to make rattles.)
 Maybe a coyote dragged the leg onto the road. About a mile away I came across a dead coyote along the road. The Rensselaer Republican, which like this blog is struggling to find things to report during these dead news days, had an article in the past week or two about coyotes. I keep hearing that they are common but I think I have only seen one in the wild once. This is the best view I have had of one.
 The final days are approaching for the old Monnett School. When I rode past on Sunday, I noticed plastic in all the windows. Investigating, I found the sign below by one of the doors. There have been vans there every time I go by, but they are unmarked. Once the asbestos is removed, the actual demolition of the building will begin.
On happier note, but one that still involves death, SJC will soon be offering a masters degree in forensic science and forensic entomology. I had a chat with Neil Haskell in the grocery store on Sunday and he told me more about the program than I could absorb. There should be an SJC press release about it soon. You might wonder how SJC can staff a program like this since the field is very specialized and SJC has only one person who is in the field. The answer is adjuncts. Professor Haskell had contacts all over the country who do forensic work for a living, and he plans to use those contacts to either get people on campus for short, intensive courses or to have students travel to these people for instruction. It looks like it will be an interesting program. If you like dead, rotting things or cutting up bodies, SJC will be the place to be.

Update: Here is the press release from SJc.

1 comment:

Ed said...

so if SJC offers a masters wouldn't that qualify the school to be a university? :)