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Breathing [work update]

Fun and rewarding stuff:

I'm attending two conferences in Florida at the end of the month. The main one is the International Congress of Entomology, held every four years. The previous Congress was held in South Korea, and I was lucky to get to attend it thanks to the grant that funded my work in Texas and Nebraska.

Orlando is a slightly less exciting destination. On the flipside, I'll give a talk about some of the cricket work from Nebraska, on amino acid metabolism in the context of nutrition and the cricket life history trade-off between flight and reproduction. Yesterday I finally had a few minutes to revisit the book Protein Turnover, which is mammal-focused but has a great chapter covering amino acid metabolism. I'm looking forward to making progress on the Nebraska work.

The second conference is a day-long satellite meeting of the North American Section of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI-NAS).

Things could get weird at the IUSSI-NAS meeting. There's a researcher from another group who did some fairly slapdash but high-profile studies on nutrition in a primitive fungus-growing species, who will be giving a talk about his findings. Another grad student from my PhD lab and I (=academic siblings) are both going to present on our work with desert leafcutter ants, in which we've come to a different set of conclusions via different means. We're going to keep the emphasis on high-quality science and insights that can apply to systems beyond fungus-growing ants. I also hope to have the associated manuscript finally off my desk by around the time the meeting rolls around. It still needs a couple more days of hiding in the library and intense concentration.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot going on (as scrottie would say, I'm being boring). Rowing has been helpful for taking my mind off of academic concerns, but the academic matters are pressing and are still keeping me busy at the moment. I always hold on to some optimism that things will settle down in a month or so, but I don't know how realistic that optimism is. I may just need to be even more proactive about managing my time and priorities to ensure I leave time and space for life outside of academic work.

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