Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Saturday morning doldrums

with 3 comments


What’s wrong with this picture? Credit: AP

Well, the cats are being boring. OK, let me correct that, two of the cats are being boring. The orange one is being annoying. He is always annoying, he’s one of those “talking” cats. Usually putting a few kibbles in his bowl shuts him up. For a few minutes. Then he’s complaining again. Sometimes it’s infuriating, but most of the time even though it’s annoying I know damn well when the day comes when he goes to that big litter box in the sky, I will miss his constant commentary terribly. Anyhow, the point I am making is that I have no point. I have time to blog so I don’t want to use up a carefully pre-written blog. This is why, dear reader, you are stuck with some random Saturday morning burblings about meowing cats, penis controversies, fossils, bees, and weirdness from Japan.

OK, there’s a controversy about the possibility that a picture from the recent Virginia Tech massacre may have shown a victim’s penis. I wish this was a joke but sadly it’s not. My only comment is, anyone who even noticed “the penis” clearly has issues if they gave it more than a second’s thought. I saw the picture in question a bunch of times and never even noticed. This is the country where a few seconds of the sight of a woman’s nipple at the Superbowl was the story of the year, so this shouldn’t be surprising. For examples of how silly people got about this there’s lot’s of comments on this blog. The good news is that this sort of inane outrage over nothing isn’t limited to the USA. The Indian courts are flooded with lawsuits filed about the sight of Richard Gere kissing an actress on the cheek. The mind reels.

In fossil news, the largest fossilized forest ever discovered has been unearthed in a coal mine in Illinois. Dating from the Pennsylvanian epoch some 300 million years ago, the forest was apparently buried when an earthquake dropped it below sea level. Neat in and of itself, the preservation of a large area of forest and how the plants were grouped and arranged  gives scientists great insight into the ecology of the time.  The fossils were mostly ferns and giant mosses, again this was still an era where the seas teamed with animal life, but life on land was just getting started. Primitive lizards and amphibians were around, but insects were at at the height of their superpowers. Dragonflies with a wingspan of .66m (2 feet) existed for example, I don’t even want to think about how big the mosquitoes would have been.

Speaking of insects, there is preliminary evidence pointing to a culprit in the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” that is wiping out honeybee hives across America and parts of Europe. No, it’s not cell phones, turns out it is being caused by the vibrations from hand held hair dryers. OK, I made that up. It may be caused by a fungus. More evidence will be posted as it is forthcoming, but honestly it’s going to be hard to write much more about this. Some topics just begged to be blogged about, mouldy beehives isn’t one of them.

And in a final bit of unclassifiable strangeness, the wearing of surgical masks has become a popular sex fetish in Japan. I’m pretty sure that we won’t be seeing any Playboy centrefolds wearing surgical masks any time soon, but who knows. Stranger things have happened I suppose, Japan is an interesting place.

(The above image of Virgina Tech shooting victim Kevin Sterne is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is an historically important image, and it is central to illustrating the post.)

Written by unitedcats

April 28, 2007 at 9:13 am

Posted in Berkeley, Cats, Crime, Science

3 Responses

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  1. Never noticed that, as I was so convinced this had to be Cho’s body they were removing than a victims, because of the horrendous way they were handling him. Regardless of the need for urgency (in this possible instance), I have to say personally I’ll not be visiting Virginia anytime soon if this is the way they manhandle trauma cases!! I appreciate also that life comes before dignity, but still think at least one of them could have done something to help him retain a modicum of modesty before the world’s media!!

    Ha Tikvah

    April 28, 2007 at 1:39 pm

  2. hey, wow that picture is intense

    my cats are tired becuase its hot today, wow!


    April 28, 2007 at 3:25 pm

  3. Colony collapse disorder is actually caused by a natural predator of Africanized honey bees. When those bees made the jump across the ocean, so did their natural enemy and this a is a huge problem for us since up until now the only problem our European honey bees had was the occasional mite infestation. So what happens is, a beetle affectionately termed a “colony killer” sets up shop in the hive. They release pheromones identical to those of the bees allowing them to roam around undisturbed. Their larva then devour the bee larva, the larva then grow up, lay more eggs and the cycle continues until no more bees. I happen to be a research associate for LSU’s Department of Entomology and I know our department is working quite heavily to figure out how to remove these colony killers from our hives. So far there’s been no progress but we have found that Russian honey bees seem to be immune. Homeowners are encouraged to keep this species instead of the typical European honey bee.


    April 3, 2009 at 10:05 am

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