The Visiting Non-Human Scholar in Natural Science
March 7, 2018 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Trump doesn’t have a science adviser. This slime mold is available. Hampshire College has promoted a brainless slime mold to its faculty. And it’s working on border policy. (Here's the slime mold's faculty page, in case you're interested.)
posted by Cash4Lead (15 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This post confused me for a second until I remembered that I had installed a Greasemonkey script to replace every instance of 45's name with "✳︎✳︎✳︎✳︎✳︎".

I would much rather have a slime mold as president than the current orange embarrassment. For one thing, I wouldn't be editing out mentions of "Physarum polycephalum" via a text replacement script just to keep my sanity.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:46 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]

Oh, he has a whole cadre of science advisers on K Street.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:50 AM on March 7

And remember, it's Dr. Physarum, not Dr. Polycephalum. And only close friends call them Dr. Polly.
posted by dannyboybell at 11:16 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I really want to like this.

But, just writing letters in the slime mold's name, rather than building a mechanism by which it can select and cause the transmission of its own policy recommendations, seems like a lost opportunity to fully embrace the conceit of the project. Writing letters to government officials signed by a colleague is pretty shady behavior.
posted by eotvos at 11:19 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]

I was wondering about office hours but that question was answered (though I see no one had signed up). Sometimes you need someone to listen to you without judgement.
posted by tommasz at 11:42 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

This will never work. NEVER! All the photo ops will lead to people saying "Which one is the science adviser?"
posted by Samizdata at 11:48 AM on March 7

Metafilter: Generally, the humans and slime mold are working well together
posted by lalochezia at 11:49 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

I was an exchange student at Hampshire College back in 2002-3. It was a strange place, but looking back it prepared me well for what the US would be like later that decade.

You laugh now, but I’m telling you, in five years’ time we’ll all be taking advice from slime molds.
posted by Kattullus at 12:12 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]

Oh, Hampshire.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:13 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]

this would be funnier if tenure track positions weren't so hard for humans to obtain

wait, the slime mold's just a resident scholar, no tenure, okay--it's more like a slime postdoc then

...I think I can laugh at that.
posted by sciatrix at 12:47 PM on March 7 [11 favorites]

On the one hand, I object to Keats' othering of this slime mold, but on the other hand I prefer more cellular diversity in our scholars.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:38 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

Emailed this article to fellow alums earlier today with the comment "this is so Hampshire".

this would be funnier if tenure track positions weren't so hard for humans to obtain

Unless something has drastically changed recently, Hampshire doesn't offer tenure. I'm curious how the calling faculty by their first names thing works with slime molds.
posted by camyram at 4:44 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

That’s so beautifully droll. Well done.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:29 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

This species of slime mold has over 500 different sexes. WHICH BATHROOM WOULD IT USE? This is a BIG issue for Republicans!
posted by Anne Neville at 5:01 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]

Not so much at Hampshire College, where the bathrooms have been gender-neutral since the 90s.
posted by Kattullus at 12:58 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]

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