Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sponges Aren't The Only Things

Australian marine researchers have observed at least one dolphin performing a set of steps that render cuttlefish more digestible. The steps are intended to flush out the ink sack and remove the cuttlebone.

Only one dolphin has been directly observed engaging in this behavior, near Melbourne, but cuttlebones have been sighted floating in the ocean near Perth.

The scientists doubt this is a unique dolphin's behavior, and they suspect that it is a skill female dolphins are much more eager and likely to learn than male dolphins.

I am excited about this because, like their behavior of using sponges to protect themselves and facilitate preying on anemones, this filleting procedure indicates a longer and more complicated chain of thought than previously theorized. It certainly seems more complex than a shark, which just goes gulp.

Via Pharyngula.

Monday, January 26, 2009

All An Illusion

Dr. Craig Hogan has explained some inexplicable noise received by a German gravitational sensor as evidence that we're living in a giant hologram.

So what happens if I say "Computer: End program."? Can they do me for reckless endangerment?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No Mention Of Stephen Boyd?

Scientists in Tel Aviv develop a "mini submarine" that they hope will help in treating illnesses.

No, it's not an actual submarine, but it is a nano-machine made from biological materials. It's supposed to target cancer cells and malfunctioning proteins -- presumably it can be programmed -- and deliver various medicines to combat the problem.

It's still three years away from the planned "release" date, but it's exciting news.

And yes, the linked article already name-dropped Raquel Welch. Stephen Boyd gets top billing for Fantastic Voyage on I wondered why it's always Raquel Welch who gets mentioned in jokes about FV, but I looked at the cast list and I didn't recognize anybody else.

I Am Going To Ruin Your Day

Yoko Ono is almost 76 years old and has been to 80 cities in the past 5 years, installing her Imagine Peace Towers all over the world.

She donates heavily to charity.

She is soft-spoken and adamantly outspoken at the same time. When asked her opinion, she will honestly give it, politely but forthrightly.

She is forgiving.

She believes that peace is possible. This is more than just a mantra she clings to. Every public action of hers promotes peace in some way. One of her pieces, of which she has made many versions, is Play It By Trust, an all-white chess board with 32 white pieces. The idea is that, if you find a version you can actually play, once you get a few moves into the game, you find you can't go on because you don't recognize your pieces. It might not stymie Viswanathan Anand, but he's one in 6 billion.

But that is far from her only idea. One of her more simple ones is ONOCHORD -- "I love you," sent by a simple signal of ! !! !!! with a flashlight or a lighter or what have you.

She's a loving widow who believes that John Lennon had a message that is timeless. As the photo at the top of this post shows, Yoko wants everyone to remember that John was shot. She does it not to beat her own breast and pour ashes on her head in public, but to help those who have faced similar circumstances and raise public awareness about violence and murder.

And there is a Facebook group, Yoko Ono Should Have Died Instead of John Lennon. It isn't very large and there's only one topic, but the vitriol is powerful -- "For people who are against that Japanese slut" is the summary -- and the implications are disturbing. People with this opinion would dispose of another human if it brought back their star. Are these people much different from Mark David Chapman?

Now, having ruined your day, perhaps this will make it better: While I was perusing the deep philosophical points made on "Ono Should Have Died" ("oh how I hate that ----ing woman!"), I linked to another Facebook group. This one's called "Everyone Should Be A Little More Like John Lennon." The top discussion right now is "all in favour of kill yoko? anyone?" [sic], to which all the responses boil down to "eff off, you cretin. John loved Yoko, and we should, too," reading which did my heart no end of good.

I love you too, Yoko.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

One Of The Old School

They broke the mold after they made him:

(Watch at YouTube.)

Ricardo Montalban, 1920-2008.

How's the Corinthian leather in heaven, amigo?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shorter Bill Kristol

You know, for a terrorist-coddling, Kenyan-born, left-wing moonbat, gay marriage pre-born murderer reincarnation of Eugene V. Debs, Barack Obama isn't a half-bad dinner guest.

Ruminations Upon Disney's Davy Crockett: An Exegesis

Stolen shamelessly from Me Mum, who's doing work on Rebecca Boone and which naturally drifts to Davy Crockett through Dan'l Boone.

Some thoughts:

0:05: O Ho! Back projection, my old nemesis! We meet again!

0:10: Authentic frontier gibberish!

0:43: You know, of all the spontaneous outbursts of song in media, this is perhaps one of the few situations where it's perfectly natural. The chorus has something they've got to do in unison, and they've probably sung this song so many times it haunts them in their sleep.

1:11: Curses! You may have won this round, back projection, but I'll be back! And next time I will have the advantage! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!

1:20: Yep, that's what makes Davy Crockett great: grace in victory. I'm sure he would have let Santa Anna keep all the Texas land he'd conquered, had things gone differently at the Alamo.

1:35: Hurrah for licorice hats!

1:50: Don't rightly seem that any part of "makin' up with ol' Mike Fink" could possibly include laughing at him while he eats his hat. But what do I know about Mississip' etiquette? It's probably all right so long as they don't laugh and point.

Turns out Mike Fink was a folk hero in his own right before Davy Crockett joined the ranks of the Mighty Frontiersman. Of course, once they are both folk heroes, questions are going to arise, the answers to which were vitally important and would shake the landscape of American folk tales to its very foundation; and the most important of these questions, even as it remains today, is: Who would win in a fight?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Complete, from Achaeopteryx to Zalambalestes

The Paleobet, where every letter is illustrated with an extinct species!

Unfortunately, unlike Pharyngula, I can't reproduce bits of it here. I'd have to paste the whole .gif, which kind of feels like copyright infringement. So I heartily encourage everyone to click through.

I will say I think the cutest is doedicurus, which is either an ankylosaur of some stripe, or an armadillo with a club on its tail.

Edit: There I go popping off before I consult Wikipedia. Wiki says that Doedicurus is a genus of glyptodont, whose closest living relative is the armadillo. But Doedicurus was 5 feet tall and 12 feet long, nose to tail. No mention of whether they jumped in the air when surprised, however.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Start Making Next Christmas' Gifts Now

You'll need the time.

Via Nodwick, I have found the Doctor Who Scarf Site, a fan site with resources to support anyone who actually wants to knit one of Tom Baker's monster scarves. The author also has photos from his trip to Long Island, New York to view the original scarf that Baker wore in the first couple seasons of his seven-year tenure (Season 12, or L in some reference materials).

That's the pattern, there. In some of the photos he took in New York it's been patched in several places, so obviously its time as a piece of costumery was hard on it.

And the most amazing thing, I think, is that these have all been apparently kludged up from merely watching the shows in question and making notes. These are some serious cosplayers, here, folks, exercise caution.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Spider-Man and Barack Obama

Everyone's going on about Barack Obama appearing in the latest "special issue" of The Amazing Spider-Man, and I agree, that's terrible:

Just look at that art. Does that even resemble our next president? Taken out of context like this, at first glance I thought it was Robbie Robertson, Peter Parker's once-and-future boss at the Daily Bugle*, but I am assured that it's supposed to be Obama.

And don't get me started on Spidey. Since when did Peter have such a pronounced underbite?

Turns out the art is by Todd Nauk, an associate of Rob Liefield, whom probably no one reading this blog knows or cares about, but let me assure you Liefield's art is horrible and anyone hired by Liefield is probably not going to have the best grasp on anatomy.

*Once-and-future because, of course, we can't let Peter develop as a character, get married, find a job teaching part-time at his old high school, or even really lose Aunt May, because that would make him boring. So we have to leverage Aunt May's life against him in a literal deal-with-a-devil who, let's give them credit, doesn't want Spidey moping about hell for eternity being all messianic and martyrish, so he just demands the last twenty real-life years of continuity. So now Spidey, despite having to be in his 30s by now, is single, back in college, and still a freelance photog for the Bugle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Once Upon A Win
more win

Words ... words are inadequate.