Despite what it might seem I did not ignore the calls to do more on Genetics in the future. I was just thinking over what might be done under the limits of the time I can spend on what is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby.
On Blog Resources
I have written a few posts over the last months on genetics – these are grouped under the Genetics category. Also there are ‘Analyzing…’ posts for my three cats. At some point I collected a lot of this information into some pages that appear in the menu at the top under ‘Fun with Genetics’.
I haven’t gotten a lot of feedback – well, any feedback about that page since I put it up. It draws some interest from the page hits it gets. But I don’t know if when commenters say that parts of the Analyzing… posts go over their head if they have read those pages or not.
What Commenters Want #1 – More Big Analysis Posts
These are fun to do, to be sure, and it is always fun to try to back-calculate what a missing mother or father might have looked like. They do take some preparation time, though, and information. For the Kara post, I had read the posts on Love and Hisses and looked at Flickr pictures of them already. All I needed was permission to use the pictures and to do the work.
Another issue is that sometimes even the cutest kitten family is not that genetically interesting. One commenter mentioned the McMaos, a recent ‘Mom and Kitten’ situation. The Mother is just like Kara, a brown tabby. The kittens are all tabbies with a splash of white spotting. Unless I have missed something, they will all have the same gene results. They are all great little kittens, but aren’t great subjects for the article.
What Commenters Want #2 – Analyze My Cat, “Mr. Fluffy”
At least this kind of thing is less work than a big one, but of course a bit less interesting for others because you are not likely to be able to tell much about parentage from just one cat. To do this myself, I would still need pictures and permission.
to run, but something I did think of was to make a set of pages that would guide a novice into filling out the gene table themselves. That way even if a post about “Captain Snookums” would be boring to everyone else, it would be pretty darn interesting to you. And while it would take a while to get done, with time it could end up being pretty nice.
There’s a program that is often used in elementary programming classes to demonstrate some “Artificial Intelligence”. It is a ‘Guess the Animal’ program. It starts out knowing one question and the answer, so when you start it says “Is it a Duck?”. If you answer no, it asks you what animal you were thinking of, and a question to ask to distinguish between it and a Duck. From then on it asks that question first.
This guide would be like that, except it wouldn’t have to limit itself to Yes and No questions. Another way to think of it is those books where you ‘make a decision’ and go to page 25 or page 27 depending on what you decided to do and the story changes to suit.
And if a cat is an odd case, it could be added to the pages in case it comes up again. A contact form in that set of pages could make that easier…I think WordPress makes that easy although I haven’t done it yet.
What Commenters Want #3 – Genetics Q & A
So far this seems to come in a distant third to the other two, but a series of posts to answer questions that come up and provide a place for people to request analysis or ask questions about the potential Self Help page or about the current Fun with Genetics page. These could be answered on the spot or expanded in a new QA page.
I can’t think of a catchy title at the moment for this stuff.
What Commenters Want #4 – Basic Genetics Lesson?
I realize that I tend to use genetic terms here and there and I’m not sure if not knowing these terms is part of the reason for the ‘I don’t get it all but I like it’ reviews. I could fold these into the Q&As over time.