Just wanted to remind everyone that September 11, 2011 is International Rock Flipping Day!  This is the 5th annual IRFD, and I think it could not happen on a better day.

What better way to remember the events of 10 years ago?  Take a break from the constant, disturbing images and voices in the media about 9-11. Go outside, and spend some time with your inner kid (Or an actual kid).

There are beautiful and amazing things in the world, despite the best efforts of humans.  Rediscover them.  Rejoice in the joy of secret complexity hidden under a rock.

If you’re joining in for the first time, here’s a quick rundown of the procedure:

  • On September 11th, find a rock or rocks and flip it/them over.
  • Record what you find. “Any and all forms of documentation are welcome: still photos, video, sketches, prose, or poetry.”
  • Replace the rock as you found it; it’s someone’s home!
  • Post your photos online; it can be on your blog, or load your photos to the Flickr group. (You don’t need a blog to join!)  Send Wandering Weta a link to blog posts. If you’re on Twitter, Tweet it, too; the hashtag is #rockflip.)
  • There is a handy IRFD badge available here.

Important Safety Precautions:

A reminder from Dave:

One thing I forgot to do in the initial post is to caution people about flipping rocks in poisonous snake or scorpion habitat. In that case, I’d suggest wearing gloves and/or using a pry bar — or simply finding somewhere else to do your flipping. Please do not disturb any known rattlesnake shelters if you don’t plan on replacing the rocks exactly as you found them. Timber rattlesnakes, like many other adult herps, are very site-loyal, and can die if their homes are destroyed. Also, don’t play with spiders. If you disturb an adjacent hornet nest (hey, it’s possible), run like hell. But be sure to have someone standing by to get it all on film!

About Respect and Consideration: (from Wandering Weta)

The animals we find under rocks are at home; they rest there, sleep there, raise their families there. Then we come along and take off the roof, so please remember to replace it carefully. Try not to squish the residents; move them aside if they’re big enough; they’ll run back as soon as their rock is back in place.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. I LOVE this! I’m sharing with everyone. I’ll be flipping rocks int he St. Louis Area.

  2. Thanks for passing this on!

  3. All this repeat and repeat of the towers falling and all the war and negativity, seeing the Facebook posting about “International Rock Flipping Day” was like a wave of cool water over my tired head.

  4. dysfunctionalwatsondawkins September 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    You are in a tautology. I offered discourse then you tried the cry wolf approach and you called me “OH NOES LOOKIE LOOKIE A CRIMINAL OF THE GOOGLES” in your signature toddler style but you were dumb enough to forget about checking google itself. Problem is you have a Phd and you argue like a toddler then you get parodied then you go silent then you come back with exactly the same devalidated lame toddler argument you got deconstructed with the first time.
    I do not have the right to be offended because by doing so I would authorize every single ignorant theological hardliner that says “I am offended!” only to curtail logic. Then I find an atheist “bug” that keeps saying the same words: “I am offended!” but she tells herself “oh I am stupid with style! I am different my nic is BugGirl” Newsflashbuggirl: Stupid with style is still stupid. I have more people to engage in other blogs with more colorful swearing than your repetitive loop. Other people are as stupid as you but have more style, at least they swear at the beginning and leave just to come back with different stuff. You on the other hand, keep coming with the same. Good bye Bug Girl. Stupid with style is still stupid you are acting like a human moth I am not the moon nor a source of light but you keep hitting the same glass: your pride.

    Unlike you I have published every single of your “cry-wolf” comments , you on the other hand keep deleting mine. I offer a level of discourse you offer censorship. Ashamed that your readers see? Ashamed you are told you are “stupid with style but stupid is still stupid”? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO you tell yourself this “I am the Entomologist with a Phd. Doblededidop! Thanks God I am atheist entomologist otherwise I would thank God for my right to get offended. I am glad my fans will not see how dumb I am at choosing how to craft my toddler arguments and especially I do not want them to know I still have the gall to get as offended as any hardliner theist.”
    Guess what? This is going to your blog for you to read and erase because you will not bring yourself beyond toddler arguments.

    This is my last post regarding your case. You have the brains but your pride is your barrier. “Moth girl”

    I leave you with two quotes from a woman that endured constant hostility and succeeded. Both of them apply to your messages.

    “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”
    Margaret Thatcher

    “Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and importance, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.”
    Margaret Thatcher

  5. As you can see from the above comment, we have a worthy inheritor of Mabus’ Crown of Crazy.

  6. i’m not drunk enough for that last comment to make any sense, soooo, I spent the day rock (and log) flipping in Kc’s Blue River pkwy trail system, finding nothing of great note, though having the “oh duh!” moment as I stood there looking at the five-lined skink, Eumeces fasciatus, for several minutes who then skittered away…camera, dude, seriously, you know, that thing in your hand… the things above the rocks were more interesting, however, like the bees, beetles, flys, etc, all so busy feeding, the beautiful yellow spider feeding upon one of the bees, the Pileated woodpecker cackling above me, the Blanchard’s cricket frogs along the river bank, all with no radio, tv, or newspaper to interfere with the peace of it all…

  7. Would you believe rocks don’t naturally occur here in central FL? I’ve only seen them where humans have deliberately put them for decoration. Rotten logs seem rare too. Fortunately there are bricks, garbage cans, pool tarps and lots of other things to flip over. Unfortunately, you only ever find ants. Once in a great while I’ll find a terrestrial planarian, including the invasive (but COOL!) Bipalium kewense.

  8. Anyway, newsflash for dysfunctionalwhatever: Google image search is not a stock photo resource. All an image search engine does is look through websites of every sort for images relevant to your keywords. They are still subject to individual copyright policies and have individual owners. I very easily found the same photograph you were using, and it is copyrighted. If you didn’t ask permission to use it, the owners could take legal action against you. You make yourself look rather foolish calling other people “stupid” when their statements to you were not only correct, but common knowledge. Everyone knows that images you find in a search engine aren’t free for use. You can get yourself sued if you don’t adhere to whatever license they’re filed under. I don’t make the laws, I’m just telling you a useful fact.

    Also, child abuse is a completely rational, universal thing for any human being to be offended by. It makes perfect sense for someone to be disturbed by it whether they are religious or purely scientific, as it is an observable and substantial phenomenon with a long term negative impact on organisms (children) whose existence can, last I checked, is agreed upon by the entirety of the human race. Nobody is being hypocritical or “religious” by taking offense at your trivial treatment of the subject. Your opinions aren’t important enough to warrant a comparison to child abuse. You think it’s a clever and eye-catching way to make a point, but it comes across as cheap and trite, in turn making your entire point look like a joke.

    I’d have explained all this to you on your own blog, but it looks like you disabled comments, possibly in fear of further criticism.

  9. dysfunctionalwatsondawkins September 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Dear Jonathanwhatever

    The procedure is called DMCA/cease and desist/take down I am aware of it.
    The photo has been taken down and replaced with a completely different one I hope both you and bug girl have what you wanted.


    Plus if your broken link is correct you manage the site bogleech right? You also worked for cracked and you are an armchair biologist. Do you want me to take you at face value and say that just because you worked for cracked as “scythemantis” you are as sophomoric and as female objectivizing as the site you worked for? What if I took it to bug girl levels of dumbness?

    “Jonathanscythemantis you are just like cracked.com male oriented and womanizing and demeaning to women as
    all the users in your forums!! SHAME ON YOU!!”

    What does it feel like? Unfair right?

    Even if I changed the picture for a dooodle with the eyes of a winnie pooh doll she would still say “that’s disney’s property!” She has an issue with the content, the picture is her excuse.
    She is on Watson’s side. She is just trying to play it victim style.

    I do not know what role you are playing here but but as I told her after she hunted down my throwaway profile (oh she did not tell you?) and I told her she was doing exactly what women complain about with obsessive men. Imitation of the worst is best right? Even as her friend you cannot excuse that behavior. One thing is to disagree, hers is a feud. That is why I parodied her, either she was trolling or she was really that far off.

    Also it is valid to cite the law but you seem to be joining buggirl on her knee-jerk reaction parade allow me to specify the main purpose of the blog :

    Child abuse as a metaphor to describe the shared, vulgar display of low impulse control by both Watson and Dawkins.

    Unless we are talking about a legally blind person a Phd perfectly suffices an adult to understand the above phrase.
    Buggirl’s Reaction: “Oh! criminal of the babies!” See? that Jonathan, in old fashioned English, is curtailing the issue.
    It seems that she forgets she has subscriptions and also that people read in between the lines: Her reason to be upset is because she wants Dawkins to apologize to Rebecca and to all women in general, then you ask the Dawkins side and they are an exact dimorphic equivalent “oh she disrespected our leader the the most dominant male! she has to apologize and humilliate herself before the alpha sapiens! ” Bug girl thinks she is not as transparent as she is. Why the need to lie and accuse people? Could not she have said “Look I am on Rebecca’s side I do not like your blog and the picture of the little girl is bad taste, change it” but the need to be a hypocrite along the line of theists “Oh HITLER all skeptics are like Hitler”. We are both skeptics and she throws at me an “Ad Hitlerum” with child abuse undertones. I deal with that at every debate and I am tired of it.
    That is dishonest to both rationality and to herself.
    Do I know if she has children, my guess is that she does not, but she charged me based on a fictitious name “magnusdasilva” did she think I had children of my own? Nope she took aaaaaall for granted.
    You see? women do not get enough respect online, if I go as a woman they do not listen to me, If I go as a man, they call me abuser. YOU ARE A SKEPTIC HYPOCRITE BUG GIRL.

    Allow me to quote you:
    “Also, child abuse is a completely rational, universal thing for any human being to be offended by. ”
    Why do you think I reacted the way I reacted Jonathanwahtever?!

    I informed her several times that was not the purpose that it was an analogy and then she went silent and came back with something along the lines “Oh! Lookie lookie criminal of the babies!” which was neither clever nor effective.
    What she did was exactly what she mentioned “cheap shot” why focus on the photo and not address the issue I explained to her? Occam’s razor: she’s on Watson’s side and hated the abuser Brazilian soccer player fictitious “man”.
    Watch Sacha Baron Cohen Bruno character, he is hitting on an adult man and all of sudden the twinky-defense homophobic guy says “If you touch our children…you will suffer the consequences” confusing right?
    I did have the attention to explain it to her (look at the comments) but she kept just doing the same.

    Did you bother to follow the threads Jonathan?
    Did you see she hunted down a fake profile?
    Because for her I was an abusive horrible man and up until her Phd capabilities had not allowed her to even envision that I had children and my gender is not specific.? What if I had chosen to come out as a woman? Would she have called me a horrible woman abuser instead?
    Did you BUG GIRL my dear lackluster entomologist think you may have been attacking someone on your gender side!?
    I told you before and I tell you now dumb with a Phd is still DUMB you are a plain dumb individual that happens to have a Phd and a blog is too incompetent for coherent public discourse, male or female dumb is dumb. You are dumb buggirl even in blog form you were incompetent of doing anything decent or above what most theist do: “Ad Hitlerum” but you had to stoop even lower “you are the child abuser! Shame on you!” right, coherent and worthy of a Phd.
    Why do I keep hammering on your Phd? Girl do I have to spell it out to you?! It is a reminder for Pete’s sake! I wanted to show Phd discourse abilities then you come back with the same potty training babble based on gender.
    Put yourself in my shoes, either you refuse to use your intellect or it is the perceived gender that prevents you from being cogent?
    See here the core problem is the gender as if intelligence had a set of ovaries or testes.
    It is a dumb sexually dimorphic view of the world that extends to the way we think: Men only think of women as servants unable to think because they are afraid of competition. Women always think all men are abusers. Then we have an old man that patronizes people and a woman that takes unforgivable offense.
    Thinking with your glans or your vulva is not thinking, you got the wrong organ.
    Intelligence is unrelated to gender. Yawn all you want.
    Even with a Phd buggirl we all suffered when we were children but dwelling on trauma is not a solution, I moved on everyone has to either by yourself or because of the motivation to be alive: My children.

    Do I seem to be impolite to you? (brash yes but look)
    This is my original reply to buggirl
    “Are you an entomologist or hardliner unquestioning Christian Bug Girl or just trolling?

    Visit her and you will see there is plenty of horrible photos I did not use therefore I am NOT sorry I disappointed you by not using them.

    The “Shame on you!” “I am offended!” are very effective tangents when religious people want to deflect the question.
    Your statements perfectly mimic the self righteous unquestioning words of a theologically blind folded Christian.
    Problem is, even an unquestioning Christian knows how to use Google Images.

    What gives you indisputable justification Bug Girl?
    We are all human not a gender based species. I addressed both of them because both are mistaken. Taking sides is just wasteful at this point.
    If you want to react instead of reasoning find a better excuse, even a tea party hillbilly would have outmatched your Google skills (or stop acting, because your acting is not convincing either learn how to simulate typed outrage or just stick to your current line of business: Entomology. Or more likely, if you are trolling just stop, you would starve to death if you trolled for a living)
    Also visit this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferred_gratification

    Do not ask for criticism if you are not willing to accept it and stop imitating religious people.”


    I took no sides.
    I gave Buggirl ample opportunity for civil discourse, guess what she is on the offended side.
    What if I told you my Gender?
    Do I write like a man? A woman? A gender traitor?
    My nic was @magnusdasilva by the name then @watsonsister @skeptchickggrl64 then another twitter account that was shut down then another twitter account then another. See? Wanna know how they got shut down? Flagging.
    Surprising fact, they get shut down immediately after Dr Novella receives the infamous tweet: “Where is your integrity?”
    See? he also chose a side, a silent one.
    Here’s a nugget for you: if you have visited Israel you will understand what it is like to have no dialogue and no progress.
    Guess what? this is even worse: This is a gender issue that erodes the credibility of the skeptic movement as a whole .

    Do you actually think I do not have children of my own? Do you actually think I chose the WORST possible photo?
    Pointless to tell you again to use google because there is plenty of horror and that which dehumanizes us, placing our needs before others, my children are my genetic priority and at the mental level the skeptic movement is what I want to leave them with: a movement that is not as threatened as it is.

    Do you know how many blogs I posted at getting just apathy?
    Until I made the decision of starting a blog people paid no attention.
    I have a well paying job in the IT industry and I constantly battle between talking to people in a civilized manner in these posts or if irony works better. By know you may know what kind of person you are talking to: The worst person the one that chose a black and white photo of a sad little girl with make up. right?

    Did you remember this:

    It was a shared, vulgar display of low impulse control by both Watson and Dawkins.

    No? guess what same strategy works with Catholics, always focusing on the beautiful side of things but when you bring up their pedophiles guess what? they all cry “I am offended!” and then they start talking about all the nice things all the charity and then the audience forgets…as much as you did. What upset me about BugGirl was her blatant imitation of those who we are against that she accused me before thinking just because she is on Watson’s side.
    That is double treason, an Entomologist with a phd that imitates religious people uses exactly what she is referring to “a cheapshot” and on top of that she snaps at me as if I were a child abuser. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT BOTHERS ME AND ANY PARENT!?

    At that point with or without a phd she lost all credibility she was just going for a cheapshot or was trolling. Knee jerk reaction on my behalf? Yes. Did she consider I have children of my own and what gender I am? See, this is a gender based issue on behalf of the protagonists and the audience and none has the lucidity to stop.

    Again I took no sides.

    You also wanna know why I started this blog? It was all because of a damn creationist who said this On September 08 2011 during a debate:

    “Oh you are an “Atheist”? Like Dawkins and the girl with the glasses? That is such a joke, you guys can’t even get along…boy, you guys can’t be trusted you can’t agree on anything…that is perfect critical thinking…kudos to your public credibility…”

    A damn creationist, who cannot possibly get reality any more wrong, suddenly has the gall to tell me something…correct.

    That my fellow Skeptics is a sublime defeat.

    Is that appeal to emotion to you?
    We are very few skeptics and this gender based conflict does not help.
    Would you like me to join the Watson camp? How about the silent Dawkin’s side?
    from partial hate to unalloyed hate I went for the later.

    Wanna know something even worse?
    Ask both Rebecca Watson and Richard Dawkins this dumb question on their respective Twitter/Facebook accounts /their sites:

    “Can both of you guys just to say sorry and hug it out?”

    You will find the most amazing byzantine mountain of arguments & obstacles from them and their side-taking audience ranging from disbelief all the way to contempt & derision. But you wanna know a little “secret”? What really is on top of that tall tall mountain of elegant reasons, the real reason why that question is so laughable and “corny” and unthinkable?

    Answer: Their egos.

    It was a pr mess because two thinkers that fail to think are not to be given a pass. That is compromise. I am tired of silence and people doing exactly we criticize from the theists/creationists: use logic only when is convenient.

    But none of those matters because Skeptics are divided, you wanted reasons there you have them and it will not matter.

    First and last time I speak to you, I took the time to do so because I did run across your articles at cracked and hada good read.

    Now Jonathan if you come angry at me and tell call me criminal of the googles like your friend I am gonna parody you too, you cannot be taken seriously either.

  10. I approved this comment because it is COMPLETELY FUCKING CRAZY and I wanted it public. Just in case.

  11. OMG – What a loony. And he’s supposed to be on our side?

    I think I prefer mabus – at least he wasn’t claiming to be a skeptic.

  12. Wow, um, I… I don’t even know what just happened.

    In other news, just wanted to say thank you, BugGirl, for being an awesome person. It’s always nice to know someone who’s actually sane and logical on the internet. I’ve followed your posts for a while now and they’re always interesting, informative, entertaining, and full of awesome things (like bugs). Anyway, just wanted to say thanks! :)

  13. Thank you Russ! That means a lot :)

  14. Dysfunctional’s site looks like one of those stalker-shrines they find in the attic of a suspect when they are investigating him for murder. Crazy scary

  15. I am so sorry I didn’t see this post until after the 11th. However, that won’t stop me from taking folks out to turn over rocks. It is a great idea, and can help in so many ways, not the least of which is organizational skills for students trying to learn how to document, chart, and present information. This project could also be tied into the school for ants project – also a worthy project for students and the general population.

    I encourage people to step back as they flip rocks. First start 10 meters away – what do you see, hear, smell? How might it relate to your chosen stone? The move in to five meters – how has your view changed, what do you see now that you didn’t before, what perspective have you lost? Now move to one meter away – can you predict what might be around and under your chosen rock? Look at the rock on its own, does it help predict what might be there? Move to with centimeters of the rock itself. I liken this to the 1 cm square activity, you start to see so much more when you go broad to narrow, and what you sense can lead to more than just information – try interest, inspiration, and awe.

    Now look under your rock, if nothing is there – has there been anything there? What evidence do you have? Now link all your information together. It may mean nothing to you scientifically- we aren’t all entomologists – I know I’m not, but you will begin to learn to look at things scientifically, and this will benefit you in all endeavours.

    I invite your reader to check out a new blog, As Many Exceptions as Rules (http://biologicalexceptions.blogspot.com). This site tells stories from nature meant to clarify core concepts in biology by using examples that break the rules. Recent stories have concerned three rules shattered by a photosynthetic sea slug, as well as how megabacterium use different strategies to overcome limits put on them by diffusion kinetics.

    I enjoy your writing style and will continue to follow your blog.

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