Photos of readers

July 4, 2020 • 2:30 pm

We have one entry left after this, so I beseech readers to step up and send one or two photos and a caption.

The Reader of the Day is Susan Hoffman, who contributed photos the other day. Now we have photos of her. (Her Miami University website is here.)

When I saw the pictures from my erstwhile colleague Bruce Cochrane, I decided I had to contribute too. I’m also a geneticist at Miami University, but I work on mammals and thus am from a different academic lineage than yours. We live in a log house on 18 acres of scruffy second-growth forest in SW Ohio, which has an understory that consists mostly of invasive species. My spare covid-time has been spent cutting down autumn olive and Amur honeysuckle, so below is a picture of me ready to go out into the woods with my trusty battery-powered saw and stump poison. The second picture is me with two of our three cats—I am holding the lovely Poppy, while her daughter Jasmine looks on.

19 thoughts on “Photos of readers

  1. Susan is not only my colleague (I refuse to say former, as collegial relationships should never end) but also my neighbor. We too fight honeysuckle on a regular basis – I’m going to need to look into a saw like that.

    1. Though with only 3 cats I’m not keeping up, don’t know how you find the time to pet all ten of yours!

  2. Love that photo with the cats.
    A log house you say? So your attack on the the unwanted brush is with your sawzall and stump poison. Might I suggest a small chainsaw and a bottle of tordon.

    1. The stump poison is Tordon, that stuff is DA BOMB. We chainsaw the really big autumn olives but it’s a pain to haul something that big through heavy brush, and the sawzall does excellent work.

      1. Understand. They do make some pretty small and lightweight chainsaws these days. Maybe some that even run on those rechargeable batteries, although I’m not sure how long those will go. Also, you cannot run a chainsaw anywhere around rocks or bricks.

        1. The 40 volt, 12″, Black&Decker one seems to run for about an hour, not always in use, so I’d guess better than ½ hour continuous. I’ve got 2 batteries (extra from a 2nd tool), so it’s very handy.
          But they really seem to rip you off on batteries if you need to replace. And my charger is quirky, but still hasn’t died after about 4 years.
          I know nothng about their 10″ (20 volt I think) or other brands.

          “You cannot run…” or around wire fencing.

          1. No, you don’t want to hit metal or rocks or anything but wood with a chain saw. Otherwise you will be getting a new chain.

  3. Bit of a coincidence, but now I know there are at least 2 objects in the physical universe which have all these seven properties:

    1/ last name is Hoffman;
    2/ live on more than 8.95 acres;
    3/ live in log house;
    4/ live in North America;
    5/ look at WEIT;
    6/ participate in readers’ photos;
    7/ academic.

    What’s the probability?
    Are there logical implications between some pairs of these? (other than P implies itself)

    And I’m getting some useful hints about how to murder unwanted buckthorn up here.

    1. Welcome to the photo-readership of WEIT, Susan. Your faculty website is certainly very interesting. Perhaps when you get a chance you can post some photos of the beautiful little Peromyscus species that you work on.

      1. I’ve been a reader from almost the beginning of WEIT, but rarely comment. Good point about the Peromyscus, P.m. gracilis is an especially handsome species. Though I have surprisingly few good pictures–they are so quick-moving, and in the field we are usually processing mice as fast as we can.

    2. Maybe we are distant cousins and the acreage, log house and academic tendencies have a genetic basis? Most American Hoffmans are descended from the same 17th century immigrant, so it’s possible!
      For my invasive shrubs, I cut them off as close to the ground as is practical, then spray the stump immediately with Tordon RTU in one of those little travel-size spray bottles. Never tried it on buckthorn, but it should work.

      1. My Hoffman ancestors immigrated to Canada in 1835 from the Black Forest area, Wald Ulm to be precise. Due to my wife’s expertise in genealogical matters, we know a lot about those descendants, and it seems almost all stayed in Canada but moved west. If you have any Hoffman-side connection with the midwest US, say, south of Manitoba, there is a very slight possibility of genealogical connection there.

        Nobody else back on that side we know of has academic connection, though my daughter is a university professor as well, she in Philosophy, me in math.

        Thanks for the buckthorn suggestion.

        1. My Hoffman ancestor came from Sweden directly to upstate New York (my dad did genealogy too), so probably not related. Though here is another connection for your list–my cousin Ken Hoffman was a math professor too, he wrote a well-known textbook on linear algebra. More coincidences!

          1. I certainly knew of your cousin very well (see below), but never met him. You may know most of this but it needs saying now:

            Kenneth Hoffman was a major, world level researcher in Functional Analysis (not one of my research areas), was a long time prof, as well as Chairman, at one of the world’s top few math departments (MIT), as well as major contributor to grad level education and math advocacy in the US. Way back he even supervised the postdoc work at MIT of a good friend here who has long been a major Canadian researcher in that area.

            The book you mention, at about 2nd year undergrad level, but quite demanding, is terrific–more than just assertions by me on that:

            Many times I got to teach the so-called advanced sections in several math subjects at UWaterloo, extraordinarily good students (we placed in the top 10 of the Putnam Competition many times, won it twice), of whom probably at least 20 of these former students are math profs themselves now, even some from the late ’60s retired now.

            When the subject was Linear Algebra with them, I always selected that textbook you mentioned by him and Ray Kunze, probably 6 or 7 times, so I put my money where my mouth was just above, so to speak!

            1. Plus he was a really nice guy. My father’s first cousin, they were the same age and fairly close growing up, but Ken moved to Boston before I was born so we rarely saw him. Always enjoyed visiting with his folks, though (his mom especially was a real pistol!). They were very matter of fact about his career, I didn’t realize how prominent he was until I got into academics myself.

  4. We have cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and white bryony (Bryonia alba) to rip out of the ground here. So much invasive. So little time.

  5. Good projects during lockdown and when it’s not lockdown. At some date in the future, perhaps invasive is just the norm. Good to fight it, but I think “they” already won many years ago. Accepting the invasion is what I do…though I also fight it to the extant that I can. When it comes to animals, it’s a tougher resolve.

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