Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

A Mixed Up Week on Doug’s Darkworld: Devil’s Footprints, Mothman, and Cosmological Balloons

with 6 comments

I’m trying something different this week. (At least I was until reality interrupted yesterday.) I wrote all my posts over the weekend instead of during the week, or more accurately, at five in the morning of the day of the post. I’m not sure what difference that will make to my gentle readers, but at least they can be assured that if I get hit by falling UFO parts on Wednesday, the blog will carry on without me for a few more days. And I’ll be famous too, I don’t think anyone has ever been killed by falling UFO parts. No worries though, I’m not going anywhere, my life plan includes being murdered at age 105 by a jealous husband.

Moving right along, going to continue my exploration of the weirdness in the world this week. A post on the Devil’s Footprints in 1855 England, something left a fresh track of mysterious footprints in the new fallen snow one morning, and it extended over 100 miles! It’s one of my favourite stories from my youth. Then there’s the Mothman, never looked much into the Mothman sightings. In fact until recently I thought Mothman was a Japanese monster from a 1950s movie, but apparently there’s more to it than that. Then a post on how to blow up a balloon. I really do try to cover a wide range of topics on my blog, what can I say. And of course blowing up a  balloon helps understanding some of the deepest mysteries of the cosmos, and no, no one slipped something into my coffee. I wish they would sometime, though preferably on a  weekend when I’m not quite so busy.

And here, the rest of this post was deleted because I covered a lot of it yesterday. And worse, now I have writer’s block. Both kinds. The kind where I can’t think of a topic. And the feline kind, imaged above. Hell, to add to my writing travails, my black cat came down from his beam in the skylight. Now he want to live on my lap. The orange cat doesn’t want to relinquish his cherished lap though, so now I often have two cats in my lap while I type. Yes, it is a pain. Especially since they don’t like each other. I’ll leave that to the gentle reader’s imagination.

So, in desperation, I’m simply going to write down a list of random factoids from the depths of whatever it is that I have between my ears:

1.  It’s been seriously proposed that music preceded speech in human evolution. IE cave men were playing drums and dancing and singing before they could talk. Partly this is because of how the brain is structured, music and speech are in different parts. A person can literally suffer a brain injury where they lose the power to talk, but they can still sing songs! They can’t learn any new ones though.

2. Photosynthesis is so efficient that even organisms in the abyssal depths use it, where a chlorophyll cell may only be hit by one photon every eight hours. Photosynthesis is so efficient in fact that it’s now suspected that it makes use of quantum entanglement. If you understand what that means, your mind should now be boggling. If you didn’t, remind me and I’ll blog on it soon.

3. A mastodon (or any elephant) skull looks like a giant human skull with one eye socket seen from one direction. In fact a disarticulated mastodon skeleton looks very much like the skeleton of a giant human. And even more amazing, in at least once instance ancient Greeks carefully reburied a mastodon skeleton in a grave laid out as if was a person’s skeleton. In other words, at least one ancient people apparently had good logical reason (with the data they had)  to assume that giant humans with one eye existed. There’s a zillion implications here, again, maybe fodder for  a blog post.

4. They are starting to catch criminals based on their relative’s DNA. IE they have the DNA of a criminal, and lo and behold they find that another person in the DNA databank is related to their mystery DNA. And from there it’s easy to check out the known guy’s relatives to see if any of them could have been the criminal. In other words, even if they don’t have your DNA, it may not matter. Eventually this is going to solve a lot of cold cases, they have “Dan Cooper’s” DNA for example, the mystery guy who hijacked a plane and parachuted out in 1971. Well, he had to have some relatives, someday one of them will end up in a DNA database.

I could probably write a whole book full of snippets like that.

(The above image was taken by the author of the blog. Credit and copyright Doug Stych. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to use the image, but as long as it’s properly attributed, links back to this site, and is not used for profit, no problem. The cat’s name is SnowMeow, aka SnowBee and EvilBee. Again and again I’ve explained that’s an armrest for when I use the mouse, not a cat platform. I also get a kick out of the fact that this cat is partially made of reconstituted rat, rather than being created purely from cat food. He averages several a week, and eats them right under my chair. This is why I have a stereo next to my desk, so I can drown out the sounds of his little meals.)


Written by unitedcats

July 27, 2010 at 5:44 am

6 Responses

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  1. 1. Interesting.

    2. I’m inclined to wonder about this. One photon carries some infinitesimally small energy–I have a hard time believing that even a single cell that can gather the energy with 100% efficiency could survive with three photons per day as their primary energy source.

    3. Heh. I like it. I didn’t know there were mastodons in Greece, though–weren’t they largely a colder-weather phenomenon?

    Tom Dickson-Hunt

    July 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    • I bet it was a single chlorophyll molecule getting one photon every eight hours. You are right, a single cell is way too much. —Doug


      July 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

  2. I’ll look up the abyssal photon thing, even if I have my number wrong, the gist is still correct, some organisms that live in what we would call complete darkness at the bottom of the sea nonetheless are able to get some of their energy from photosynthesis. Um apparently not from photons though:

    Meh, maybe mammoths, some extinct elephant in that part of the world at least. Like I said, those were top if my head factoids from memory. :) —Doug


    July 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

  3. Hi Doug,
    you haven’t replied to my previous comment! I haven’t seen any mastodon, a elephant with four tusks. Thought they became extinct about 12million years ago. Interestingly, I have read somewhere that a ancient text named Ramayan, described about them.


    July 28, 2010 at 3:36 am

    • It was definitely mammoths. Sorry, I try to respond to all comments that require such, but sometimes one slips through the cracks. I’ll go back tonight and have a look. —Doug


      July 28, 2010 at 6:23 am

  4. A quick confirmation of #1 from personal experience. Music and speech are definitely different processes in the brain (though I can’t necessarily say which came first). As a stutterer, there are times when it is nearly impossible for me to get a complete sentence out in speech. However, in 43 years, I have NEVER stuttered while singing. In fact, there are a number of fairly famous singers who have very bad stuttering problems … Mel Tillis is one such example. Most fans don’t even know which singers stutter because they don’t stutter while they sing, and they tend not to give interviews where their stuttering may be apparent.

    I can vouch for speech and music being in different parts of the brain. All the proof I need is in the fact that I have never stuttered while singing …

    Lyle Bateman

    August 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

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