21 December 2008

A very good, cute Christmas idea for pets :)

Look how smart those Australian Shepards are! The Golden Retriever's all like confused about what's happening, but they're not! The sad thing about this, if you read the comments by the lady who posted it, is that this was the dark one's last Christmas and now all of the dogs in the video have passed away :(

This makes me want to give my kitties presents, like catnip, and Georgie always likes to try to break into dry cat food and treat bags, maybe I will actually let her get away with it once. I'm sort of sad that I'm leaving them for Christmas now, but its not like they care which day we pretend some guy was born two millennia ago. Maybe we will celebrate the winter solstice today! :)

I also wanted to mention that I made my first batch of Wild Kitty raw cat food yesterday. I had been feeding them the frozen Primal raw cat food that I got from the Whole Pets food store in town, so they are used to eating raw and I think that it is good for them. ANYWAY, all of the garbage from making the raw cat food, like the bag the ground chicken thighs were in, went into the garbage, and when I came home after leaving for a while, my coon-cats had gotten into the garbage and made a right mess out of everything. I think the stuff is a success!

19 December 2008

No Acorns?! Squirrels are starving!

Everybody feed your local squirrels this year! There is some sort of crazy tree nut problem where none of the trees have produced anything this year. Supposedly it was supposed to be a big year? No one is overly alarmed yet, but there are whispers of some sort of horrible climate calamity! To be continued next year...

On the other hand, I have seen some SERIOUSLY FAT squirrels this year, in Boulder and in Madison. They get lots of college student trash to eat, I'm sure.

01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000 <3

This is a Mars Phoenix Tribute. The title is the last Twitter that came "from" Phoenix on the day that scientists decided it was shut down for good on Mars. It says 'Triumph' in binary (apparently). I realize this is over a month late, but I've been slow with things lately. Anyway, the people at NASA lost contact with poor Phoenix on Nov 2nd and subsequently released a bunch of videos, etc on Nov 10th that they had prepared to commemorate their most popular mission. I just want to say that I have totally anthropomorphized Phoenix, and when the trumpets come in in this video, it really gets me. Hopefully we can go to Mars someday and bring him back!

Be sure to check out the higher quality versions on the JPL website! I've literally watched this video probably 10 times. The final descent as seen from above, showing Phoenix and his little parachute is the best!

This is the goodbye from Gizmodo. Here is another tribute from WiredScience. And there was also this series of thingies from Stardate radio. AND there was also this highly entertaining series of pictures from people that show what Phoenix discovered that the gov't will hide from us.

And you know, since I'm a chemist or something, I thought I should mention some science. Apparently they found water, calcium carbonate, and perchlorate salts. This doesn't really mean anything to me... The one thing I found interesting is that they said the salts went into solution very quickly, not like salts in earth soil that are trapped and take some time. This leads us (or others) to believe that the salts formed from evaporation from water. That sounds pretty exciting, although I'm sure it is not concrete at all, but us (those) scientists like to make grand postulates like this.

Sigh! I love you, Phoenix!

Poor Loris! :(

I have just learned from a youtube video and its comments that people are capturing live lorises, which are endangered, to be sold as pets. Apparently they often kill the mothers, and the babies are unable to groom themselves. Slow lorises have poisonous glands; the poison of which they mix with their saliva to deliver upon biting an attacker. As a result, the teeth are knocked out before they are sold, leaving the animals unable to properly eat. A lot of them die from disease. The slow loris in this video is obviously scared shitless. I don't really know how we are going to be able to stop horrible stuff like this from happening. :( :( :(

The most sickening part of this video are the comments by people who want to know how to find one in their country to buy. Disgusting.

17 December 2008

The Earthworm

In strange news, the earthworm appears to have made it onto a stamp in the Faroe Islands, which I have just learned are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and are in between Scotland, Iceland, and Norway, says Wikipedia. For those of you who do not know, I like worms, I actively "save" them off the sidewalk when it is raining. Don't they know if they go too far onto the sidewalk, they will be stuck there when the rain stops? Maybe they should invest in some gills so they can breathe above and below water, like Apple Snails can. Apparently there are many theories for why earthworms come to the surface, but I would think the main one would be that they need to be exposed to the air to exchange gases through their skin. Although there appear to be species of earthworm that can survive immersed in oxygenated water for a while.

For a bit on interesting knowledge, earthworms sexually and asexually reproduce. They are hermaphrodites and in sexual reproduction, exchange sperm with another earthworm, where it is stored in little pockets that have "nourishing fluids" to keep them alive. When the earthworm is ready, it secretes a cocoon, releases the eggs into it, and then the sperm it received from the other worm. The cocoon then seals up and the little worms grow. Wikipedia does not say how long it takes the baby worms to develop, but apparently it takes earthworms a year to become full sized, which is somewhat longer than I would think. Pretty crazy!

And NOW, I have just learned that earthworms are non-native to the Great Lakes region and are changing our forests? Poop. That is sad. They convert the thick forest floors that are full of decaying debris into a black topsoil, which most people would think is good. Apparently our native Great Lakes earthworms died out in all glaciated areas and the native earthworms recolonize at 1/2 mi/100 years so the Great Lakes ecosystems developed without earthworms. Sigh. ON THE OTHER HAND.... This has only been going on for ~14,000 years, so you would think that these ecosystems Originally developed with earthworms and that things havent evolved much since then. I tend to think the earthworms are ok. They do the same thing native earthworms would have done, don't they?

16 December 2008

Hey I Got an Idea... : )

Saw it on reddit.


Can't quite understand everthing he's saying, but its still cute/funny. And try to do one thing for ANIMALS!

15 December 2008

A Treacherous Journey (or, My Car Fing ROCKS)

So, I went skiing this weekend. While driving out to Beaver Creek on Friday night, I was thinking I was pretty fing lucky to live out in Colorado and be able to just drive to whatever ski resort I wanted, because some people spend their entire vacations to go skiing and whatnot. So that was a nice thought.

The skiing was cold. And good. There was powder, and I'm not good enough to be super excited about powder, because I get stuck in it and fall over sometimes. But it was still fun. I learned a lot. I ALSO learned that rich people (at Beaver Creek) do not want to be above the treeline and that they cannot properly design a ski resort. There were WAY too many boring traverses that you had to go on to get from any given lift to any given run that you were interested in. At least thats what I gathered while I was up there.

The real excitement came when I decided to stay Saturday night instead of driving back even though I knew there was a giant storm coming and a Winter Weather advisory that said traveling during said storm would be hazardous or impossible. Whatever. I was nervous in the night and checked the status of Vail Pass and the roads and the snow on my SUPER COOL BLACKBERRY WITH DATA PLAN. Still open. Good. I really didn't want to get stranded in Beaver Creek because my kitties will run out of food and I had (have) SOOOOOO much to do.

I woke up at 6:38 am. I was out of the house by 6:50 am. It took me like 15 minutes to dig my car out (with my boots and arms, shovels are for pansies) of the 14 inches of snow that had fallen in the night. A nice plow-boy that was going around helped to dig me out a little. Scrape the snow away from my back tires with my boots, AND we're off! Sweet! I was a little worried I would be stuck there.

I might mention at this point that I have a 1994 Chevy Cavalier. Front-wheel drive. AND my blower motor, which has had previous issues, decided to stop working on the drive up. That means NO defrost and NO heat. Fun!

Open the window to defrost my windshield, wipe it down a little with a random piece of clothing. Out of Avon and onto I-70, yay! I was gaining confidence, probably got up to 55 tops on the journey on those lovely snow packed roads. Passed SUVs. HA! Fuck you guys, I don't need no four-wheel drive! At some point I realized that my jacket was unzipped. And I was wearing a t-shirt underneath. But no time to take my hands off the wheel, and I didn't want to stop. Vail Pass was fing cold and there were lots of people driving the OTHER way, you know, since 14 inches of powder had just fallen onto the resorts. Making it over Vail Pass was a relief, until I realized I had hours more of driving to go. And it was SO cold, opening the window every once in a while. Balled up hands in the ski gloves (not the safest for driving with).

FINALLY I make it out of the mountains. Go to the mandatory 7-11 in Golden, get me some goddamn hot chocolate and cream cheese & jalapeno taquitos. ZIP UP MY JACKET. Scrap off the ICE that had formed on the interior of my drivers side windows. Ha. Fun. I also passed a bunch of people on 93 back to Boulder because I was so used to this driving after being on the highway, these people were being totally overly cautious. In fact, I might say that you have more control (by control I mean you slide less, obviously you want to maintain safe following distances) when youre at speed than if youre sliding around all slowly. Back into Boulder, and cranked the heat! YAY!

ANYWAY. That is the rundown of my winter driving prep. I am totally prepared for all that is to come. Winter Weather Driving Conditions, HA!!!

For any of you that are worried about my carefree attitude about winter weather driving, I ASSURE you that I know all that tricks, and best of all, I know my car and what she can do! Yay Carrot! (her name is carrot these days) In fact, I could do a winter driving tip blog, if necessary. Maybe I will. I did learn to drive in WI and now live in CO, after all.

12 December 2008

Yay Nintendo!

Nintendo is dominating sales on the Wii and DS. Older games, like Mario Kart DS and Wii Play are still selling strong. It is a little disappointing to note that all of the popular Nintendo games seem to be these sort of multiplayer, non-story games. Meaning that games like Mario Galaxy and Zelda are not as popular anymore, at least among Nintendo users. In fact, most games on the list are not story-heavy. I just think this is weird because most of my favorite games are all story-based, and I feel like they were the standard in the past. Perhaps this shift can be attributed to the internet for shortening our attention spans and giving us instant gratification.

11 December 2008

Captive White Tiger Inbreeding.

I stumbled across this quite by accident, but it appears as though the people who breed white tigers for entertainment have to resort to a lot of inbreeding because they are so rare. Along with this, they are now pretending that white tigers are a distinct species from other tigers, are so are worthy of these breeding efforts. In reality, white tigers just have different alleles for color genes, and so are no different a species than two siblings that have different colored eyes. This is the sort of breeding that they say Hitler endorsed, blonde haired and blue eyed. IN ANY CASE, this inbreeding results in horrible mutations, and apparently many of the offspring are disposed of. This article shows pictures of poor Kenny, who has facial deformities that we are very unused to seeing in wild animals. It is quite startling. He cannot close his mouth because of his teeth and is said to be mentally disabled.

I realize the article is a little alarmist. I'm not sure if its all entirely accurate, but it is a not a stretch of the imagination to think that white tigers are bred for entertainment purposes and that such inbreeding may result in deformities. People do sad things to animals.

Humane Society's Victories for Animals 2008

This one's a tear-jerker. :') :'(

Yay Humane Society!

But we have so much more work to do. :(

09 December 2008

China Needs to Enter the 21st Century

WHY?! Tiger numbers have decreased and most animals in India are on protected reserves, so now poachers are targeting leopards and selling their parts as Tiger parts for traditional Chinese medicine. A TIGER PENIS WILL NOT HELP YOUR SEX LIFE.

GOD. I'm sorry, it makes me very angry. How the fuck are we going to fix this problem? The Chinese are responsible for SO MUCH poaching of endangered animals, its sickening. And the Japanese need to stop eating fucking Bluefin Tuna before those go extinct too.

08 December 2008

Sweet MFing Squid!

This crazy deep sea squid with elbowed tentacles was captured by a Shell Oil Company remotely operated vehicle at a drilling site. Click the link for the video. Apparently scientists are collaborating with oil and gas companies to use their ROVs regularly because they are so expensive to operate.


I learned about the Mekong Giant Catfish back when I took Limnology at Univ of Wis Madison. This Zeb Hogan person is the hardcore megafishes advocate that lives to protect these fishes. Megafishes are huge freshwater fishes that are all critically endangered because their huge size is attractive for fisherman and their slow growth-rate. There are megafishes on most of the continents and efforts are ongoing by the National Geographic Society and WWF to protect them. Here is a lovely slideshow of Megafishes. On this page, you will also find links to other Megafishes articles. I think Megafishes are pretty fucking awesome.

Super Smart Mouse

I wonder how long this took to teach him all these tricks. It's too bad that we do experiments on these guys when they have so much potential! I like how he runs up into his owners hand at the end, he so obviously likes her!

Peter Schiff, I don't know who you are, but....

You were totally fucking right and everyone was laughing at you back then! And we're all crying now, aren't we?

Free Press Action Fund