scientific perspective: you live on a helluva spec of dust

Ethan Siegel rocks a blog post shedding perspective on current events:

Human have been around for a couple of hundred thousand years at most in our current form. Our DNA differs from the other greatapes by only a few percent, and we even have 50% of our DNA in common with a banana.

Read the whole thing here.


Taco Bell voice: Here lizard, lizard, lizard …

Here’s a shot of a “lizard” that we saw everywhere in Bali. One was in the pool near me, and I chased it. Later, I asked about the little guy, and the pool staff told me it was a lizard.

I thought it was some kind of iguana.

I have found that identifying plants and animals on this blog is not my specialty. But it is Steve P’s.

So I’m posting this so that Steve can do his magical mystery search and find. And I know he loves it.

Or, maybe you want to give it a whirl.

If it’s a super easily identifiable beast, like a household cat, humor me and tell me the latin species name so I can sleep well tonight.

Science meet Art. Art, Science.

Check this art out from PhD student May K.

I’m probably going to botch up what it is exactly, so I’m going to let May K’s description speak for itself:

[The pictures] are based on contours of different proteins. I vary and rotate the three-dimensional protein image by means of a special computer software until an interesting shape appears. Subsequently, I color and design the produced snapshot so that the image I saw becomes obvious to the viewer.

My goal is not only to show my drawings. I also attempt to provide you with some information about the different proteins. I prefer to do so in an informal and hopefully humorous way.

From Protein to Art

I learned about this artist after May K. liked a post here. A lot of bloggers who like my work are neither here nor there. I wonder if the only reason they like one of mine is to get a reciprocated like from me. I have followed several blogs who liked something here, but I’ve also wanted to tell some bloggers to give up.

These images are so cool, and I could see PZ Myers lining his walls with them.

Here’s another.

Lined leaf-tail gecko: evolution will blow your mind

Take a look at that beautiful gecko, would you?

You’d think it was a carving of a gecko, but it’s not. It’s a:

Lined leaf-tail gecko / gestreepte bladstaartgekko (Uroplatus lineatus) – Exotic Reserve Peyrieras, Madagascar

There are many reasons why evolution is true. And this is no exception.

Do you see these in your backyard?

Well, do you?

No, you don’t.

Do you know why you don’t see these beautiful creatures in your backyard? Because evolution secludes itself to local environments. And when animals lives on islands for millions of years, they gradually change and adapt. And creatures that emerge from predecessors on say, Madagascar, do not emerge elsewhere.

That’s why evolution is so cool. It specializes in making animals and plants change and adapt to their local environments.

Original image found here. I saw it posted at TYWKIWDBI. Wiki here.

Your jaw … on the floor.

What the funny kids are posting








Cat gnawing on a cactus says, “this pickle sucks.” 


Comic of two stick figures in a deep cave. One says, “Well? what secrets do these forgotten bible passages hold?” Other says, “… and on the eighth day god created a bunch of other religions. Just to fuck with mankind.” 


Image of snake with arms says, “Charles Darwin Bitches.” 

Image of Nancy Grace next to cat with lime hat … 




Spiders, mosquitos and ticks, oh my

Image of Deer Tick Ixodes scapularis
Image via Wikipedia

Lately, we’ve been on critter overload.

While in Carbondale, a spider saw my arm, salivated and took a big ol’ juicy bite. The mark is still scratchy and hasn’t yet gone away.

Another spider recently attacked me in the car.

Lately, the mosquitos have been brutal. I have large, red mosquito marks on my arms, back and neck. They itch, too.

And yesterday, Tina was petting Talulah while we were editing some video. “Oh shit. Lou-lee’s got something in her ear. It looks like a maggot!”

Yes, one of our nicknames for Talulah is “lou-lee.”

I looked in, and a tick had embedded itself fairly recently in there. It was too far in to burn out, so I ended up saying a small (atheist) prayer and tugging it out with Tina’s tweezers. Fortunately the head came along for the ride. I looked at it under my magnifying glass that I use to clean my camera sensor.

Looking back, I should have tried a little harder to burn it out. But I was afraid of burning little Lou’s ears.

I didn’t realize we had ticks in the city. Before we had a dog, we spent very little time in the grass and tree areas that we have. I figured we were immune.

I was wrong.

You should see Tina lately. Now she’s intermittently freaking out that a tick is crawling up her back or embedding its head in her pubic hair.

Critters in the city. Pixar should do a cartoon.


Snake born with two heads, two brains … still doesn’t talk


A freak snake was born with two heads. And it has quite a time dealing with its two brains.

From this article:

KIEV — A snake with two heads, each able to think and eat separately and even steal food from each other, has become a popular attraction at a Ukrainian zoo.

The small albino California Kingsnake, now on show in the Black Sea resort of Yalta is quite a handful, zoo workers told AFP.

The snake’s two heads are fiercely independent, are not always in agreement and like to snatch food from each other, said keepers of the private zoo, called Skazka, or Fairy Tale.

“Sometimes one head wants to crawl in one direction and the other head in another direction,” zoo director Oleg Zubkov told AFP.

Zoo worker Ruslan Yakovenko added that he tries to feed the snake’s two heads separately as they sometimes fight for food.

Even with two brains, the snake has proven incapable of speech.

They just don’t make snakes like they used to.

Read on.