As I previously noted the University of California system has some financial problems. The multi-campus system is such a big player in NIH funded biomedical research that it is difficult not to see it as…important. At the very least many of those not at UC have friends, colleagues and competitors working for the system’s institutions.
So it is with some interest that I received a link to a union-backed effort to vote no-confidence in the President, Mark Yudof and a link to another lettter defending him.
Looks nasty. I’d hate to delve into the specifics but it sure does seem a no-win all around, doesn’t it?

Sorry Sheril, but I have to take you to the woodshed on this one.

Have you ever taken a picture of bears nuzzling in the field or kissing fish? How about a provocative pair of human subjects? (With their permission!) Are you interested in having an image credited to you in a science book debuting next Fall? If you’re a photographer with intriguing pictures of kissing and cuddling [no higher than PG-13 content please], email me before September 14 at

No, no, no NO! Bad Sheril!!!!!!!!

Here’s the problem. Those animals are not humans. In particular there is no evidence whatsoever that their depth of inter-individual affiliative experience that we humans associate with “kissing” is even within several orders of magnitude of the human experience. Perhaps, just perhaps, there are behaviors that are within affiliative, grooming line that are at least in the same zip code as human kissing.
Your book, apparently, is going to be about the depths of human emotive experiences which are unique and complex and fascinating, I have little doubt. The tentative title includes the word science? And you are seeking to illustrate this with what are effectively scientific lies?
Bad enough right there.
But as you perhaps do not fully realize, the scientifically unbased anthropomorphizing of animal species is a very strong contributor to the feelings people have against the use of animals in research. Now, I will admit that it is entirely unclear which direction we should assign causality. Is it a reflexive anti-animal-use cant that drives people to assign all manner of human-like qualities to animals that the best-controlled studies cannot find evidence for? Or is it a belief in those nonexistent qualities that drives the feeling that we should not use animals for research purposes? Given the overt arguments are based on the latter, I will credit this as being a significant issue if it is not the only issue.
Therefore, Sheril, to illustrate your book with images designed to perpetuate inaccurate anthropomorphizing of animals is not just an insult to the idea that the book is about scientific understanding but a specific attack against animal research.
I encourage you to reconsider this illustration strategy.