I never had much time for memes. I've always seen the concept of memes (as opposed to some of the memes themselves) as a harmless bit of fun that has got a bit out-of-hand. But now I'm beginning to wonder:

Since the re-launch of the Friends of Charles Darwin website 2½ days ago, the number of new members joining has been truly phenomenal. It had taken 12 years to amass (if that's an appropriate word) the 415 members prior to Wednesday evening's relaunch. At the time of writing (07:15 on Saturday) there are now 727 members. That's a 75% increase in 2½ days. Like I said, phenomenal.

The reason for the incredible response is quite clear: two mentions on PZ Myers' hugely popular evolutionary weblog, Pharyngula. It was Peter McGrath from the the Beagle Project who tipped him off a few hours before the planned re-launch, and, within minutes of PZ's initial post, new members began to pour in thick and fast (no offence intended). Then, when PZ published a follow-up post (later picked up by Seed Magazine) the next day, all hell broke loose. I'm not kidding, I thought I was under some sort of denial-of-service attack: new membership applications were coming in so quickly, the system was struggling to cope. People were starting to get record-locking errors as two or more of them tried to join at exactly the same time (I had realised that this was a risk, but had decided it was so unlikely that it wasn't worth doing anything about it). Then I became part of the problem by trying to update the membership list while the new applications were still piling in. So I gave up and waited for things to calm down (i.e. for America to go to bed).

Two and a half days later, and I'm still feeling shell-shocked.

Anyway, welcome to the Friends of Charles Darwin, you lot! (And I use the word advisedly.)

Richard Carter, FCD

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteNewsletterMastodonetc…

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