31 January 2009

.... Crucifixion is kind of a gross word

AND it gets even grosser when you read about it and the various ways you can nails the hands/arms up. Different locations for the insertions of nails and angles, etc. And the we turn to the actual way people die when they are fucking nailed or tied to a pole, which could take hours to days, apparently. Gross. And EW, sometimes they broke the legs to hasten death, especially if the arms were tied directly overhead. And then the remains were usually left to decay on the cross, although there has been ONE archaeological finding of a crucified body. The nail found in his heel bone had olive wood fragments on it, which means that he was crucified AT EYE LEVEL because olive trees are not very tall!!!! GROSS. Oh god, there are other gross parts about how there was a piece of wood holding the nail on his foot, so he couldn't SLIDE HIS FOOT OFF THE HEAD OF THE NAIL.

The wikipedia article also says there is crucifixion imagery in Final Fantasys 7, 8 & 10, but I don't remember anything like that in 7, the only one I actually finished.

AND.... The reason why I am even thinking about this in the first place is that I have been listening to the Jesus Christ Superstar movie soundtrack for the past couple days. Of course, I should be reading journal articles about Type 3 Secretion in gram-negative bacteria, but...

My two favorite songs are "Heaven on their Minds" and "Gethsemane," like, by far, but I figure JC Superstar is a classic. Dude, those ladies know how to dance. AND I love Judas' voice. Man, Andrew Lloyd Webber was a freaking genius. Also, here is a strange 2000 version of "Heaven on Their Minds" that sort of reminds me of daytime soap operas.

AND THEN!!!! Ted Neely is touring in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR in a city near you, RIGHT NOW!!!! GO! Ted Neeley has been playing Jesus Christ longer than Jesus was alive.

30 January 2009

This is a good FU Penguin post, IMO. You should read it. Just look at the lamb!!!

Hamster Birthday Party!!!!

This is unbearably CUTE. They made the hamster a CAKE out of bread, cream cheese and a carrot piece and THEN there was also a sweet cardboard house that had cheerios and carrots and apples stuck to it that the hamster could EXPLORE and find YUMMIES.


HOLY FREAKING HELL. Some crazy MFers have decided to make a little magnet-controlled gripper guy that closes its FIST of DEATH on cells or other things when the temp or other chemical conditions change. Be sure to watch the video on the above linked site where the gripper MERCILESSLY RIPS a chunk of some suspiciously-BLOODY-looking substance off. GRUESOME.

Crazy Silica Crystals

In keeping with my theme of posting National Geographic News, which you could easily read yourself on National Geographic, thus rendering my blog entirely obsolete, here are some cool Silica crystals that are all super curvy and "organic." This is tricksey, because it means that when people find curvy looking fossils on rocks (like from Mars), it could just be mineral crystals after all, and not life. Curtains! In addition, I am in a crystallography lab, and so crystals are kind of cool, yes?

Creepy Mummified Dead Girl

This mummy of a little girl who died in 1920 freaks me out. Her dad was a taxidermist and embalmer and was apparently "an artist" at the job, and used zinc salts, in addition to other normal embalming things, which account for the insane state of preservation. From National Geographic, "Formalin, now widely used by embalmers, is a mixture of formaldehyde and water that kills bacteria. Salafia was one of the first to use this for embalming bodies. Alcohol, along with the arid conditions in the catacombs, would have dried Rosalia's body and allowed it to mummify. Glycerin would have kept her body from drying out too much, and salicylic acid would have prevented the growth of fungi." Makes sense to me!

On another note, I used to say that I wanted to be petrified when I died and then shot off into space all Han Solo like, encased in my stone. But I guess this is a pretty good way to be preserved. Or, whatever, I'll just go back into the circle of life and be immortal that way. Some day, you may EAT one of my molecules!

Super Cool Old Lizard Gets It On

A 110-year old Tuatara, which are lizards from New Zealand, had a cancerous tumor removed from his genitals that was making him grumpy, and subsequently mated successfully, producing 11 eggs. His name is Henry and look how cute they are! They can live to be 250 years old, and they look pretty frickin awesome, if you ask me. Look how their tails and legs are all intertwined in the scaly throes of lizard passions. Of course, there are not very many of them alive now, which is true of most things we do not eat (and also for some that we do).

22 January 2009

Mr. President

Our new President, Barack Obama, signing the order to close Guantanamo Bay. It's still pretty unreal that he is ACTUALLY OUR PRESIDENT!!!! I'm excited. Look how Presidental he looks!

Also, it looks like he's got a hook right-hand, which means that he is leaning right brained? You could say this is why he is so sensitive to the toils of others and the feelings in the country because he is more "intuitive," although it is obvious that he is also very analytical.

Oh crap, my mom pointed out he's a lefty. A hook lefty. That means he's left brained after all, nevermind everything I said up there.

Real Life Lumas!

There were hundreds of species discovered off the coast of Tasmania, Australia using a deep sea submersible vehicle. This is a picture some Marginaster sea stars. I think they are cute and look kind of like Lumas from Super Mario Galaxy. These ones look significantly harder than the ones in Mario Galaxy, although they look just as magical.

20 January 2009


I read an article about Oaxaca and now I want to go there. Chocolate and archaeology?! Huevos oaxaqueños and adorable Mexicans making adorable crafts, living a lifestyle that I desire in my purest escapist fantasies?! Oh yeah, and theres a city, or something. Mostly the huevos oaxaquenos though. Holy hell, am I hungry.

Clouds are Gross

SOOOOO. What we thought were nice fluffy, pure clouds of delicious, clean water vapor are actually full of disgusting bacteria. Not that there is anything really wrong with bacteria, and it is everywhere, just that I never expected it to be in clouds. APPARENTLY, the bacteria have taken to the skies and use clouds to travel and colonize other places on earth. AND, say in a region with a lot of plants, the bacteria go up into the clouds and may have an effect in nucleating rain drops and causing rain. SO, all your rain dancing bull shit won't help one bit if you kill all the plants. This can lead to a sort of vicious cycle in deforested or over-chemicaled fields, where the bacterial load is decreased, so there are not as many airborne bacteria, so there is no rain, etc etc etc. I mean, its all pretty cool, but still, when I went skydiving, I went through a cloud, and maybe someone should have told me about this first so I could have least kept my mouth shut while going through it. It felt cool and misty, but I didn't know that was because of all the billions of little mushy bacteria that were running into me, and not just water droplets. Oh well.

Also, life has been difficult and busy lately and I don't have time to peruse the internets like I used to. Maybe I never really had the time in the first place.

13 January 2009

Aural Induction of Ovulation in CHEETAHS

We always knew that they say females are more aural than males when it comes to sexual arousal, BUT it has just been discovered that ovulation in female cheetahs is induced by a certain "stuttering bark" made by male cheetahs. This is super exciting because female cheetahs do not have regular reproductive cycles and this is a problem in captive breeding programs. With this new, super-exciting news, now we can hopefully get those lady cheetahs pumping out the eggs and gettin' new BABIES!

Apparently this sort of sex-linked vocalization is very rare in mammals, and is sometimes observed in birds. Go to the National Geographic page to hear the male cheetah stutter-bark. Its very froggy sounding to me. Strange. But kind of cute.

10 January 2009

A Word of Warning from Endangered Species

This article from the National Geographic Magazine is definitely worth the read. It is a sad (to me) story about the Endangered Species Act, the challenges it has faced in the past and must overcome in the future.

And definitely make sure to check out the stunning photo gallery that accompanies the article, which includes pictures of the ocelot, the extinct dusky seaside sparrow, and the yellowfin madtom, among others. I don't say 'stunning' lightly, and maybe you might not experience the same feeling, but the diversity on earth is mind-blowing to me (and sad when threatened, which is all the time now).

I would also like to mention that the article says that the building of the Kennedy Space Center overtook critical habitat of the now-extinct dusky seaside sparrow. For shame, Science.

06 January 2009

Asiatic Cheetahs

Previously unbeknownst to me, there are cheetahs living in Iran. It is approximated that about 60 adults live on the centra plateau. In this picture, there is a female and her FOUR cubs, which is a pretty damn high number for such old looking cubs. Hopefully, since Iran has placed protection on them, they can grow in numbers. I can't imagine that there is much competition with other large carnivores for food in this region. This does, however, make me more uneasy about potential nuclears being used in the region.

05 January 2009

Civilizing my Cats

Before the holidays, I started toilet training my cats after hearing someone mention it. I guess the only point of this post is to report that they are now going in a bowl of litter in the toilet. I think George usually has both back legs in the bowl and I'm not sure what Simon does, but I think I saw him with ALL four legs in the bowl and once with just the back feet in the bowl. One site says that I'm supposed to train them to keep their feet out of the bowl by physically moving their paws and praising them if they keep the paw up. I tried it once with Simon and he did not like it one bit, so I gave up. I saw another site that said to use some sort of disposable aluminum pan that you can cut a hole in the middle of and increase the diameter and apparently the cats will move their feet onto the seat on their own. I don't know. With the current trajectory, I am supposed to decrease the amount of litter and eventually add water to the bowl, before taking the bowl away entirely. Right now, I am just letting natural atrophy of the litter level by removal of the pee clumps, but I think they are used to it by now and so maybe I should move more aggressively. I don't know.... I'm not around enough and they are too sneaky for me to catch them going to the bathroom very often, for me to even attempt to move their paws onto the seat. Maybe I should decrease the litter and hope that they won't want their feet down there where they do their business. Ah well. At least I'm half way there, right?

02 January 2009

A Quote for the Day

We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.
- Sir Arthur Eddington