Not Me

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollJan 18, 2009 5:08 PM


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Back when I was fresh out of grad school, a mere pup still pinching myself that I was constructively participating in this marvelous endeavor called "science," I noticed in a book store an issue of Time magazine proclaiming "America's 40 Leaders Under 40." Since, back in those days, I was technically eligible for honors and awards bestowed upon people under the age of 40 in a way that I no longer am, I turned to the article in anticipation. Perhaps they had written something about me without actually letting me know, right? Somewhat to my surprise -- there I was! Or someone with my name, in any event. Further sleuthing revealed that this guy was Sean B. Carroll, an evolutionary biologist in Wisconsin. Clearly there had been some sort of mixup on the part of Time magazine, but I would forgive them and him this once. The problem is, the guy refuses to go away. He becomes some sort of evo-devo guru, gets elected to the National Academy of Sciences, writes books -- and they're good books! I've read some of them. I hate this guy. But at least, through it all, I had the blog. A little realm of intellectual endeavor (ahem) that I could enjoy free of interference from other Sean Carrolls. True, the very first link to my own blog was from PZ, who expressed profound disappointment that I was not the other SC. But through it all, as I deflected occasional requests to referee papers about fruit flies or speak at fancy conferences on evolution, and accepted that I was not the first answer to questions like "Who is that Sean Carroll who does science?" or "Who is that Sean Carroll who writes books?", I was at least the appropriate response if someone were to ask "Who is that Sean Carroll who blogs?" And I had the superior Google page rank to prove it. So now, here in the Darwin Year, what does (former, I'm thinking) friend-of-the-blog Tom Levenson go and do? He recruits the other Sean Carroll for a blogging project! So Simple a Beginning seems to be the name, although the project itself doesn't seem to "exist" quite yet. Blogging about The Origin of Species, blah blah blah. I guess I need to find some other area of human accomplishment in which I am likely to be the leading Sean Carroll of the world for some time to come. Playing poker? Making ice cream? My skill set is rather circumscribed, it would seem. Suggestions welcome.

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