The design of a book is the pattern of a reality controlled and shaped by the mind of a writer. This is completely understood about poetry or fiction, but it is too seldom realized about books of fact. And yet the impulse which drives a man to poetry will send another man to the tide pools and force him to try to report what he finds there.

John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts, Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research

Monday First Sentences | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week.

(via classicpenguin)



What is there to say about Anna Goldman that hasn’t already been said… I feel as though every time I see her, she’s just as curious about what I’m up to, as I am about her work down in the deepest depths of the museum!  So when talking to her about her favorite object in the museum, her lesson about the dolphin skull and it’s origins slowly turned into a conversation about how we both started in the museum.  And we discovered we had a common origin in the museum that was oddly fitting given the object she brought in.  Both of us started in insects and branched out to find our niches in completely different parts of the museum.  But while she’s surrounded by mammals at the museum, you wouldn’t believe how excited she got when I showed her pictures of my insect pets… or maybe you would believe it.  Anna is a very curious museum person.

1.  What is your name? Anna Goldman

2. What is the formal title of your position in the museum? Assistant Collections Manager/ Mammals Preparator
3. Based on your day-to-day activities, what do you feel should be your job title? Chief Mammals Preparator and Preparation Lab Manager ( Also known as Resident Mammal Bad-ass)

4. How long have you been in the museum? 9 years 
5. What is your favorite object(s)? and Why? My favorite object is the skull from a dolphin. To me, dolphins are the coolest mammal. They share a common ancestor with humans. That ancestor evolved lungs to breath air on land. The split happened when the ancestor more closely related to dolphins, went back into the water. As time passes, they evolve into marine mammals taking on fins, tough skin, fat for insulation, etc. But they never lost their lungs. They didn’t evolve gills or some other way to breath in water, they kept their lungs and their bone structure changed. They have two nasal passages just like we do, with the same bones between the nose and teeth but their’s is further up, closer to where their forehead may be. On top of that, they have one nasal passage that is smaller than the other. Mammals have bilateral symmetry but when it comes to nasal passages, marine mammals don’t! The theory is, that it helps with gas exchange under high pressure. Every time I talk about it my heart races and I get so excited. it’s a great example of change over time. Granted, we can’t just throw our kids into the ocean and expect to watch them adapt. There were, I am sure, many failed attempts at adapting in water from land. But here is a success story!!

I look back on the 23 years I lived before knowing Anna Goldman and they are empty in a pretty significant way.