I love Δ... Or why I named one of my tortoises Delta

Author(s): Brandy Perkl, Ph.D.

Originally posted: October 23, 2014

This post is mostly just an excuse to have one of my favorite quotes be the second post on this new blog:

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

a brief history of my love affair with Δ

If there was one thing constant about my childhood, it was change. To date I have moved more times than the number of years I've been alive (>30).

I may have fallen in love with change as a defense mechanism, but it happened either way. It's harder to avoid change than it is to find little ways to enjoy it, at least for me. Change makes for a very steady date partner, which is something I appreciate immensely.

Then I went to grad school and one of the many things grad school taught me is just how much I don't know outside of my knowledge niche. It also taught me that I like statistics (they're just so darn useful). Shortly after graduating and relocating to Tucson came that fateful day when my partner brought home 3 teensy desert tortoises, against my very loud and vocal protestations that we already had a starter zoo...

I was smitten as soon as the first one took it's first step in our yard. Tortoises are basically tiny adorable dinosaurs. There's no way I can NOT love them - trust me I tried. But who could pass up having their own Dino Discovery Channel in their yard?? Not me.

When one of our little desert tortoises matured to the point that a little Δ was revealed on its shell plates - the only name I could think of was Delta - a symbol for change (loosely translated). [2020 Update: This little tortoise is now the only one left of our original three, natural causes are harsh in my opinion, and they're now so big the delta is not nearly as clear. Oops.]

Turns out Delta is the one tortoise who keeps trying to change its view too. I think I picked the right moniker.

Jorge Cham | PHD Comics | 8/15/2008
Portrait of Delta attempting yet another escape by the author.