The Finch and Pea is conceived

How did the sleek and polished Public House for Science known as the Finch and Pea come to be?

Well, I was digging around in my Gmail All Mail folder trawling the NSA mainframe (don’t ask) and ran across some early records. What follows is an abridged version of the genesis of the present establishment:

Chat with Josh Witten, 6/4/10

11:03 AM
me: In any case, if you’re up for it, I’m ready to start group blog – with a good name, and a decent spot (maybe wordpress?), and perhaps one other person we trust to write.

Josh: one or two more could be better, but not essential at the start
for both name and other writers i think we need to consider what we see as the blog concept

me: Just tossing out some ideas regarding the concept: explaining/applying good scientific thinking to current biology, to junk science, or to cool phenomena. Plus sophisticated references to culture…

So I’m not suggesting this as a title, but the following captures what I’m getting at: ‘The Cultured Biologists’ or Gentlemen Bioskeptics… these are shitty titles, but they capture one idea for a concept

Josh: good ideas

i kind of like the idea of showing that scientists are human (eg, the sophisticated pop culture references)

3:54 PM
Josh: in perusing the internets for name inspiration i came upon this describing William Whewell, who reportedly coined the term science, “gentleman of science”

me: “Gentlemen of Science’ – a nice ring, but it won’t work for Jenn of course

Josh: yes

me: Then again, there was a woman in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Josh: and quite important in the league, in the books, not teh crap movie

“The League of Rather Ordinary Gentleman, but Slightly Above Average Scientists”

of the titles i am spitballing for my own amusement, this is my favorite, as I can already see the graphic: “Captain Oglethorpe’s All-Natural Phenomenal Phenomical Genetical Genomic Powder. . .with Extra Snake Oil”

although the name of the captain is up for debate

me: Many of our readers might be a little baffled by Oglethorpe. What’s the biological equivalent of steampunk anyway?

Josh: how about: Munchausen’s All-Natural Phenomenal Phenomical Genetical Genomic Poweder, Now with Extra Chromatin

perhaps that should just be a graphic i could make

would be a very long URL

me: I suppose the title should fit in someone’s sidebar blogroll. Mocking with graphics works.

It should be with extra methylated chromatin

Josh: it both causes and prevents cancer, just like vitamin C

i think “gentlemen scientists” could fill the need for a pithy name, steampunk, and victorian flourish in the name

for example it could be embedded in a longer string of things like “. . .a place of leisure for gentlemen scientists. . .”

me: I do like the Gentlemen Scientists vibe… Is there some fancy Victorian name for a place you go to smoke cigars and drink brandy after dinner?

Got to run… scottish arms night for the lab… I’ll ponder this over scotch.

Josh: yes, “the club” if it is a public place or “the parlor” if in your home

Chat with Josh Witten, 6/15/10

10:51 AM
Josh: thanks for prepping those yeast strains for me

i also came up with a name for the “gentleman scientist” pub: the finch & the pea

Email postscript, 6/16/10

Mike: What’s more proper for a pub name: The Finch and Pea or The Finch and The Pea?

Josh: I think “The Finch and Pea” is more proper, in the following way. The pub is named “Finch and Pea” with the “The” applying to the pub as a whole and not the individual elements.


Author: Mike White

Genomes, Books, and Science Fiction

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