Friday, September 30, 2005


Aydin at Snail's Tales tagged me with this meme. Sometimes I like memes, but I don't always enjoy doing the tagging that follows, so I put a spin on that part as you will see below.

10 years ago: I began dating in earnest my life-long friend, who is now also my wife, and I was nearing the end of my college career.

5 years ago: I was really enjoying my senior medical school clerkships (as one advisor put it: “Your fourth year is our way of apologizing for the first three”), and I was preparing to get married.

1 year ago: I was adapting to my new job as a physician in private practice and my new life as a proud father.

Yesterday: I took the afternoon off due the amazing turn in the weather (and lack of patients who I assume were also out enjoying the first crisp, blue day of the season). I was initially planning to play golf, but instead was drawn home by a photo my wife emailed me, of my 1 year-old walking in his “big boy” clothes.

5 songs I know all the words to: 1. Little Martha – Allman Brothers Band 2. White Summer/Black Mountain Side – Led Zeppelin 3. Crowd Sculpture (and the rest of Infrared Roses) – Grateful Dead “I’ll give you every thing we own for a new year’s ticket!” 4. Dueling Banjos - Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell 5. Bron Y Aur – Led Zeppelin

5 snacks: I generally control myself very well but……1. Turtles 2.Millionaires 3. Oreos 4. Spicy Pork Rinds 5. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

5 things I’d do with $100 million: There are only 2 things in broad terms, If I earned it and was used to that kind of money, I’d be figuring out how to pass it on to my descendants. If I won it suddenly in a lottery, I would give most of it away ASAP before it ruined me.

5 places I’d run away to: 1. Underneath a large rock somewhere in Arizona 2. Colorado 3. NYC 4. Chicago 5.Toronto

5 things I’d never wear: 1. a wife beater 2. Speedos 3. jewelry of any kind except my wedding ring 4. body art 5. a bow tie

5 favorite TV shows: 1. Family Guy 2. The Simpsons 3. South Park 4. Seinfeld 5. Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

5 greatest joys: 1. Every minute with my son 2. Most minutes with my wife 3. My friends 4. My good fortune 5. Early mornings with coffee and new information

5 favorite toys: 1. my desktop 2. my laptop 3. my digital camera 4. XM Radio 5. my golf clubs

5 people I’m tagging: I need some randomness here so this is how I determined who to tag: I grabbed a dictionary opened it up and randomly pointed to 3 words which were mobile, tantalum, and base. Then I went to Yahoo and typed in these words and added blog. Then I chose the top five blogs that came up. I therefore tag 1.Ideasasylum :: Jamie’s Weblog , original context, 2.Freakonomics: The Auhtors’ Blog, original context , 3.Anne Galloway: Purse Lip Square Jaw , original context, 4.Crazy Little World of Apples , 5.Kryss’ journal, original context

Of course the only way these people will know that I tagged them is if they become curious as to why they are getting hits from me, so if you can't bear to see a meme hit a dead end, just check out their blogs.

Its funny that Freakonomics came up because I just read that book, I liked it. Rather than do the meme, maybe Levitt can analyze the randomness that occurred here and the events that follow.


Yellow Jacket

This a Yellow Jacket, from the Genus Vespula (Click the Pic to enlarge). I noticed it this week chewing on my fence presumably to make pulp for nest building. I don't usually pay much attention to my fence, so I was surprised to see these markings covering my entire fence, left by these busy insects. Here is some good information on the yellow jacket's habits and life cycle.

Also here is a short video of the yellow jacket chewing my fence (mpg,4 sec,1.6 mb), and a longer video can be found here.

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark and the Circus of the Spineless at Milk River Blog .

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Circus of the Spineless

The very first Circus of the Spineless will be at milkriverblog this Friday.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Mimicking Virus

Last month, when I posted a Mimivirus/Giant Virus(Girus) update, I linked to this article about the Mimivirus and the Emerging Concept of the Giant Virus, which I had only briefly scanned over. I finally read it more closely and found it to be very interesting and therefore again recommend it.

Here is the point that I found to be the most interesting, which I had not yet considered (this is paraphrased from part of the above mentioned article):

The girus (giant virus), Acanthamoeba polyphaga, is also known as the Mimivirus because it was initially misidentified as a Gram-positive bacteria. The two factors responsible for this may be key in its physiology. It is large enough to be seen under a light microscope and it appears to be mildly gram positive on staining. The Mimivirus is known to infect or parasitize certain amoeba. The size of the virus and its polysaccharide and lipopolysaccarhide-like outer layer triggers the phagocytosis of the virus by the amoeba, because it resembles a small prokaryote. It is believed that the mimivirus is probably locked in a sporelike structure and digestion of this outer layer is required for actual infection which occurs through the endocytic vacuole membrane.

There is much more information in the above article about these giruses that I cannot confidently discuss because it is beyond my scope, which is why I again recommend giving it a close look for yourself.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Random Organism

From the Tree of Life Web Project, learn something new about a random organism.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Butterfly Blogging: The Viceroy

This is a Viceroy, Limenitis archippus (click the pic to enlarge). It is best distinguished from the Monarch by the black lines across the veins of the hindwings. It was once thought that the Viceroy's resemblance to the Monarch protected it from predators due to the Monarch's Toxicity. The Viceroy has since been shown to be distasteful to predators as well, helping to protect both species. The first situation would be an example of Batesian mimicry, the second is an example of Mullerian mimicry.

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

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

August Letters to Discover Magazine: Author Information

Only two letter writers from the August issue had any substantial findings from the search engines. The most interesting was Stephen Czerkas. In his letter, he disputes an article's claim (see below) that dromaeosaurs could not fly. This is followed by a biting reply from Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History. Czerkas has acheived greater noteriety for a couple of other controversial issues. The Wikipedia article on the forged fossil-Archeoraptor and the Nature article give the best overview of these subjects.

Patrick, Kyle - Houston, Texas
Heading: Small-Scale Simultaneity
Subject: "If an Electron Can be in Two Places at Once, Why Can't You" - June 2005
Links to the Author: No definite links.

Czerkas, Stephen - Director of the Dinosaur Museum, Blanding, Utah
Heading: Preparing for Takeoff
Subject: "The Dragons of Liaoning" - June 2005
Links to the Author: Archeoraptor article - Wikipedia, Feathered dinosaurs exhibit, The Dinosaur Museum, Nature article-Feathered Fossils Cause a Flap in Museums, Discovery Channel Article-Paleontologists Duped by Fake Dinosaur Fossil?
Books by the Author: My Life with the Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs: A Global View

Beaumont, Greg R. - Saint Paul, Minnesota
Heading: Ethical Culture Society
Subject: "Doug Melton: Crossing Boundaries" June 2005
Links to the Author: No definite links

Gatzke, Ken W. - Professor of Philosophy, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut
Heading: Our Animals, Ourselves
Subject: "What do Animals Think?" - May 2005
Links to the Author: Southern Connecticut State University-Faculty Bibliography, SCSU entertainment news article-Star Wars is Back, on DVD, Southern's Proposed 'Liberal Education' Program, V.2, Southern Connecticut State University

Yesavage, Tiffany - Golden, Colorado
Heading: Our Animals, Ourselves
Subject: "What do Animals Think?" - May 2005
Links to the Author: No definite links.

Letters to Discover: Author information archives


Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Herp Blogging: Skinks

Back in April when I posted my pictures of the Eastern Fence Lizards, I promised to have some pictures of some Skinks. Well here they are (click the pic to enlarge). Skinks are members of the family Scincidae. These are Five Lined Skinks, Eumeces fasciatus. Like all skinks these have smooth shiny scales. Another obvious feature is the dark body with 5 tan-to-white stripes running the lenght of the body. The body of adults may become lighter, making the stripes less obvious. All hatchlings and some adults have brilliant blue tails. In these pictures, you can see that the one on the top left has recently lost its tail, which will grow back. The other lizard may have already lost its tail and regrown another, as you can see from the sharp change in the tail pattern and coloration.

Also don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday Insect Blogging: Red Velvet Ant

This is a Red Velvet Ant (click the pic to enlarge) from the family Multilidae. It is actually a type of wasp. The females are wingless and can deliver a painful sting. The males have wings and cannot sting. I have been seeing these much more frequently this summer, maybe just because I have been looking more closely for this sort of thing. This is the best picture I could get because it was moving so fast.

Here is more information on the Red Velvet Ant and here is a better source if accessible

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

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