Saturday, July 30, 2005

Humor Style

My wife tells me that I am like this all the time. I deny it, but she does tend to put a much more negative spin on it than this descrption does.

the Ham

(39% dark, 56% spontaneous, 22% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your style's mostly goofy, innocent and feel-good. Perfect for parties and for the dads who chaperone them. You can actually get away with corny jokes, and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for your friends. People of your type are often the most approachable and popular people in their circle. Your simple & silly good-naturedness is immediately recognizable, and it sets you apart in this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 25% on dark

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on spontaneous

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 16% on vulgar
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid


Friday, July 29, 2005

June Letters to Discover Magazine: Author Information

June 2005
Jahoda, John C. - Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Heading: Shaking Up the System
Subject: Pushing the Phylocode
Links to the author-Bridgewater State College Biology Department, Bridgewater State College CityLab Satellite
Books by the author: Saunders Regional Environment: Issues Supplement- North East, The Tidal Wetlands of the City of Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts

Moes, John - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Heading: The Other Side of Darkness
Subject: April’s Sky Lights, “A Lighter Shade of Black”
No definite links found.

Vischulis, Jean - Effingham, Illinois
Heading: Faith and the Embryo
Subject: April’s Discover Dialogue, “Bio Brain Backs Stem Cells”
No definite links found.

Bramson, James B. – Chicago, Illinois
Heading: The Mercury Debate, Part Two
Subject: “Our Preferred Poison”, March
Links to the author: University of Iowa Alumni Association, American Dental Association News
Books by the author: Demographics and Practice Characteristics of Dentists Participating and not Participating in Managed Care Plans, Differences in Practice Characteristics of Capitation and PPO Provider Dentists

Haseltine, William A. – Washington, D. C.
Heading: The High Cost of Conformity
Subject: “20 years ago in Discover: Misunderstanding AIDS” – R & D, April
Links to the author: What's Next for William Haseltine?, Milken Institute Global Conference, Chartered Financial Analyst Institute

Letters to Discover: Author information archives


Letters to Discover Magazine: Author Information

Other than what I find on the internet, my second main source of popular scientific information comes from Discover Magazine. Since I have been a subscriber, I have not always had time to read every single article before the next issue arrives, but I have always read the letters from readers. I sometimes wonder about the people who write these letters. Do they have qualifications to support their comments on their chosen subjects? What are their motives for writing the letters? Why do their letters get chosen for print?

Recently I started doing Google and Yahoo searches on the names and locations of the authors of these letters, starting with the June issue. Their are a few who don't have much internet exposure other than maybe a physical or e-mail address with a phone number, but many others turn out to be very interesting, and have a good deal of credentials and background relating to their chosen topics. Initially, I expected to find an abundance of blogs and individuals' websites more than anything, but that has not been the case. So far the individuals who are most reliably pinpointed are the university professors. There are others, however who have been involved in some newsworthy event(s) that has made their name easily recognizable by these search engines. Do the recognizable and noteworthy people make up the majority of the people writing letters worth printing? Or are these letters chosen because of their authors' status? Maybe I'll find out. This is certainly not an attempted exposé. It is just a matter of personal interest. If you find this helpful or interesting, then I am glad to be of service.

Starting with with the June issue, I will post the available information about the letter writers, probably weekly until I am current then will stay current. Everything will be archived at my main Webiocosm domain. If I can't find any information that identifies the letter writer beyond reasonable doubt, then I won't provide information or links. If you find yourself mentioned here, and feel that you are being misrepresented or underrepresented, just leave a comment here or at the correlating post and I will revise as deemed appropriate.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Friday Larvae Blogging: Mosquitoes

These are mosquito larvae (click the pic to enlarge) from the family Culicidae. I hate them. Here in the flat rice land in the midsouth U.S. they are overly abundant this time of year, and most sober people don't spend much time outdoors after dark. The mosquito season did get a late start this year due to unusually dry conditions, but with the first big rain came the onslaught. In this picture you can see how little standing water it takes for the mosquitoes to breed. This pan was sitting under my grill. A few days after a good rain I found it brimming with these larvae, also known as wigglers or wrigglers. So I took these pictures and this video (1.83 mb 5 sec) and then happily dumped them in the sun to dry and die. Here is more information about the mosquito and its life cycle.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Friday Ant Blogging

Click the Pic for the full detail.

Two factors are responsible for this post. First, after seeing the ant war here, I was very impressed and wished that I was able to find such interesting ant pics to post. The second thing was that I got fed up with not being able to get good closeup photos with my relatively new Sony Cybershot. In anticipation of shopping for a new camera, I got out the instructions to the current camera to review its specs, and found out that I was able to get great closeups by switching modes. Not long after the discovery, I went to the back yard and intially saw a line of ants carrying eggs and larvae along the walk as seen in the top left. As I looked around I saw the bare spot in the grass, and then noticed all the activity as is seen in the rest of the pics.
Knowing that there is an unlimited variety of complex inter- and intra- species relationships, but knowing little else about ants, I could imagine many possible scenarios here. However the most obvious to me is that this is straight warfare. The main point of doubt for me is that although the winged ants were being swarmed as they were dragged out of the hole, I never saw any actual injurious activity such as dismemberment. Additionally I couldn't really tell where the ants were being taken. I did manage to get some video clips (here is the smallest-1.7mb 4 sec, here is the menu for the others), but they aren't as clear as the photos due to equipment limitations and poor late afternoon lighting. Also note that if you want to see the short video, it may work better if you save it, then watch, rather than playing it directly from the server.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!!

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Friday Herp Blogging: Western Ribbon Snake

My neighbor brought this snake(click the pic for better detail) over in a box after catching it while in his flower bed. It is from the genus Thamnophis, commonly known as Garter snakes. More specifically it is probably a Western Ribbon Snake, Thamnophis proximus. It has three conspicuous dorsal stripes, with the lateral stripes being found on dorsal scale rows 3 and 4. They are slender, medium-sized snakes that live in a semiaquatic habitat. The small inset picture is so you may get an idea of the size. That is the tip of a size 11 ½ shoe beside it. Don’t worry, despite my wife’s desire for every snake on earth to die, I let this one slip beneath the fence behind the house.

More info on Garter snakes.

Don't forget to check out the Modulator's Friday Ark!

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekend Beer Review: Pacifico Clara

I don't have any particularly good story to go along with this beer. I just chose to try it because I was looking for a new beer to comment on. Pacifico Clara is a Mexican beer, which I found fairly refreshing and slightly sweet, with a smooth, even taste from start to finish. It was not particularly expensive so I can't complain about that. It is a beer I would recommend for a hot, sunny day, just like you might expect to find in Mexico. I looked on the internet to see what others had to say about it and most were rather ambivalent. My bottom line: its a good beer, but I would not recommend it over many of the other quality Mexican beers which are readily available.

Check out AÖrstan's review of Dundee's Honey Brown for this weekend at Snail's Tails.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Russian Astrologer Sues NASA for Comet Upset

This is both the funniest and most idiotic thing I've heard in a while.

From BBC News:

Hours after a NASA probe crashed into Comet Tempel 1, legal reverberations were felt in a Moscow court.....Judge Litvinenko opened hearings into a case which could see Nasa pay a local amateur astrologist millions of dollars in damages....Writer Marina Bay claims that by slamming the probe into the comet, Nasa endangered the future of civilisation....Complete Story

A different article from Yahoo, mentions that the experiment would "deform her horoscope". I can't wait work that phrase into my daily vocabulary.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ethanol and Biodiesel from Crops not Worth the Energy

Via Eureka Alert:

Cornell ecologist's study finds that producing ethanol and biodiesel from corn and other crops is not worth the energy-ITHACA, N.Y. -- Turning plants such as corn, soybeans and sunflowers into fuel uses much more energy than the resulting ethanol or biodiesel generates, according to a new Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley study....complete story.

My father, who is a farmer, has been telling me this for years now, and I didn't find it too hard too believe, but I have remained hopeful.
The final paragraph of the story sums it up well:
"Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation's energy security, its agriculture, economy or the environment," says Pimentel. "Ethanol production requires large fossil energy input, and therefore, it is contributing to oil and natural gas imports and U.S. deficits." He says the country should instead focus its efforts on producing electrical energy from photovoltaic cells, wind power and burning biomass and producing fuel from hydrogen conversion.

This is the only thing I've seen on this recently, but I'm sure there are plenty of people ready to refute these findings. If no one can reasonably argue with the energy balance of the current process described in the study, I can see where one could argue whether it is a project worth continuing. I think at the very least we can assume that the process will become more efficient, and as it stands could be considered a bridge to an improved process that is a benificial alternative to burning fossil fuels.

I would like to know what these folks would say about the thermal depolymerization process which I have previously mentioned here.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Weekend Beer Review: Fat Tire

My Beer selection for this weekend is Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. I first tasted this beer about 11 years ago when I spent the summer in Boulder. It was popular there at the time, but has not been readily available in my area until the last couple of years. It has a reddish color, the flavor is malty, a little sweet, and crisp. It is not my favorite, but is still in the regular rotation. I would certainly recommed it to my friends.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day Weekend!

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Friday, July 01, 2005

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