redroanchronicles: Lee Pace and his pointer, Carl (leepace-carl)
[personal profile] redroanchronicles
Any of you who didn’t believe me about the dangers of jellyfish may now apologize. (Repent, unbelievers!) This news story about a jellyfish stinging as many as 150 people on a New Hampshire beach should be evidence enough. One hundred and fifty people taken out by a single jellyfish. And you know what? It was a single dead jellyfish. When an invading army’s greatest weapon is the bodies of its own dead, you are so screwed.

In other news, scientists have discovered a second “henge" at Stonehenge. I guess. I didn’t really understand this article at all, because it’s archaeologists and frankly, I think half the time they’re just making it up. They’re all, “Here’s a hole in the ground, and from that we can infer that this used to be the site of a pre-stone-age library and discotheque!"

For the athletes in the crowd, here’s a really interesting article about why carbs kick in instantly and how you can use this to your advantage. Exercise is a science, man. I just want to run around in my glorious new bright red KSOs. Yes, that’s right... my feet are bright red right now.

Japan has successfully launched a spacecraft powered by solar sails. Not only do the solar sails provide direction and propulsion, but they’re also solar collectors, so they can help power the craft itself. If my amazement could be properly expressed by an emoticon, it would look something like this: o.O

This article claims that there wouldn’t be significant consequences if we were to somehow completely eradicate mosquitoes. I’m not sure we have a thorough enough understanding of any species to make a claim like that, but what the hell. I hate mosquitoes too.

Meanwhile, genetically-modified crops have escaped into the wild, which I sort of saw coming. Between this and the bees and monocultures and terrifyingly big agri-business, I’m pretty sure our food security future at this point can just be labeled “screwed."

But hey, no matter how bad things get in your life, at least you’re not a female water strider. (Or ARE YOU!?) Apparently the male water striders blackmail females into submitting to sex by threatening to attract predators. That’s low, male water striders. YOU ARE OFF MY CHRISTMAS CARD LIST.

In exciting news-from-the-future, scientists are now using a “bioprinter" to create artificial body parts. They’re only doing veins right now, but seriously wtf... they can take your cells and print out NEW PIECES OF YOU. They’re hoping to eventually be able to synthesize entire organs this way, from the patient’s own stem cells, but obviously that’s a long way off. Still, they’re creating new vascular tissue. Holy shit.

Speaking of holy shit, this fungus not only inhabits its hosts, it takes them over. It turns ants into zombies and then it like... sprouts from their heads. Kind of sounds like a few zombie-apocalypse movies I’ve seen and enjoyed, as well as a few I’ve not seen because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy them. (I know, how could I possibly not enjoy a zombie movie? But some of them just aren’t worth it. I just watch Shaun of the Dead again instead of subjecting myself to them.)

If you live in New Zealand, there’s really no way for you to keep your shit safe from kea parrots, because they are total bad-asses at breaking in and stealing your stuff. Even if you put locks on it. Even if you put three locks on it. Speaking of parrots, I will never get tired of this video of a kakapo shagging Mark Carwardine’s head. I’m sorry to laugh at your violation, Mark Carwardine, but it’s just funny. Stephen Fry clearly agrees with me. (Dear Last Chance to See: ILU. Call me.)

Date: 2010-08-18 07:26 pm (UTC)
vickita: Vicki the Biker Chick (Default)
From: [personal profile] vickita
Meanwhile, genetically-modified crops have escaped into the wild, which I sort of saw coming.

Yeah, I can't for the life of me understand how anyone would *not* have seen that coming. I would say, "Did Monsanto or who the fuck ever *not* see this coming?" and wonder over the WTF-ness of it all, except for I've been reading John Rogers' blog, and I know that all of these people are just as evil as Leverage makes them look.

Date: 2010-08-18 09:02 pm (UTC)
vickita: Vicki the Biker Chick (Default)
From: [personal profile] vickita
Water! Water, man. I predict that water will be the next big subject, up there with energy and climate change.

A couple of months ago, IEEE Spectrum, the general-audience publication of the professional organization for electrical engineers that I belong to, devoted one of its issues to the conflict between water and energy, how generating energy requires water, and making clean water requires energy.

It is to despair, srsly.

Date: 2010-08-20 03:16 pm (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranunculus
I could've done it in Humboldt; in rural Colorado, not so much.

Exactly. You pretty much have to grow your own crops in Colorado if you want to eat healthy food, Wal-Mart is unlikely to stock what you want to eat. All I can say is: support your local farmer's market, not matter how pathetic - such things grow and evolve.

Date: 2010-08-18 08:31 pm (UTC)
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
From: [personal profile] ilanarama
Heh, I remember those keas when I was in NZ. You totally need to keep an eye on ALL the things. I got up from a picnic table to go check on something and when I came back the damn kea had its beak in my plastic cup (filled with wine) and was trying to make off with it. It ended up spilling my wine all over, woe.

Wekas (a flightless bird about the size of a chicken) also like to steal shiny things, and towels, and clothes, and stuff.

The moral of the story: NEW ZEALAND BIRDS STEAL YOUR SHIT!

Date: 2010-08-18 10:38 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I love your science linkposts with the fire of a squillion burning suns. Best commentary EVER.

Psst, do you mean "not" here? But hey, no matter how bad things get in your life, at least you’re a female water strider. (Or ARE YOU!?)

Date: 2010-08-19 06:53 pm (UTC)
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
From: [personal profile] holyschist
I am pretty sure I am not! I would need a veeeery tiny computer.

Date: 2010-08-20 03:30 pm (UTC)
ranunculus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ranunculus
Regarding Henges, whether at Stonehenge or not.
I always wondered how anyone could possibly know that a rock was a standing stone rather than just a random rock that ended up on its end. Turns out that, in order to make the stone stand up (and keep it standing for a couple of millenium), the architects packed smaller stones around the base. Often they also imported a substance like clay to help stabilize the smaller stones. So an archaeologist can go out, take a look at the base of a rock and say: Yup, that's a standing stone.

In the case of post holes detection is a bit different. Soil comes in layers, which makes sense if you think about it. On top there is a thin layer of very bio-active material, rotting leaves/grass/whatever Under that is less active root zone for plants, lower than that might be a layer of river mud from where the river flooded in that memorable flood of '64, below that a thin layer of sub-soil, below that evidence of the last period of glaciation and so on. Varies wildly from place to place, but still the layer thing holds up. So when some random group of humans dig a hole in this very obviously stratified soil they disturb it. No way they can get it back into the hole in less than a jumble, and besides they filled the hole up with a post, which rots and leaves its own evidence. They probably pack a few stones around the timbers too, just to keep the post standing....

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