Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Today, its numbers have dwindled to some 120 individuals divided between small populations in Spain's Andalusia region.
There are no more than 7,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the world, and they are declining at a rate of roughly 1,000 per year.
Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat (maybe a different name would help?)
A mere 100 individuals survive in a small, protected area in Queensland.
Wild Bactrian Camel
Although the camel survived a 45-year period of nuclear testing in China's Gashun Gobi, it may not be able to withstand current pressures, which include mining, hunting, wolf predation, industrial development and genetic mixing with domestic camels.
Populations of no more than 100 are sprinkled throughout north Africa—in Chad, Niger and Mali.
Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat
There may be only 50 to 100 of these furry flying mammals left on the planet.
This secretive mini-alligator, which rarely grows longer than two meters or heavier than 40 kilograms, dwells in the wetlands of the lower reaches of the Yangtze—the same river that sheltered the rare and probably now extinct Chinese river dolphin.
Their horns are highly valued for use as ornaments and for their "medicinal" properties, even though they are simply made of keratin, the same protein found in fingernails and hair.
Often called the "bare-faced tamarin" for its hairless face and ears, the pied tamarin inhabits only a small area of land surrounding Manaus, a city of two million in northwestern Brazil.
Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles, measuring as long as eight feet and weighing as much as 2,000 pounds.
Get a good look at them for they'll no doubt be extinct before long.
Monday, May 21, 2007
In other news, the Hubble Space Telescope has a predecesor, The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Not real catchy name, but with its 2013 deployment researchers are hoping to see what no one (we suppose) has ever seen before:
"While Hubble was able to peer back to one billion years after the Big Bang, officials said the new telescope, with mirrors that will capture six times more light than its predecessor, will look even further into the origins of the universe—by seeing light emitted from even more distant objects that has taken hundreds of millions of years to travel this far."
I just didn't realize that Hubble had been snapping away up there for 17 years. If you haven't seen some of the great images the old rattletrap has been beaming back, you really should enlighten yourself. The Eagle Nebula is one of my absolute favorites... They will have to go up and make some repairs for Hubble to last until 2013; in its current condition it would break down by 2009.
My friend P was telling me that one of the only things she had misgivings about as far as parenting goes was a detachment with nature. It is pretty tough to develop an appreciation of nature when there is very little of it to go around, when you have no sidewalks to walk along or ride a bike on, etc. We have various stateparks in and around the Birmingham area, but you have to have time to go, time to enjoy yourself while you're there, just plain time which seems so hard to eek out nowadays with work schedules and, for parents, homework, sports, clubs, friends, and the virtual aspects of life that seem to be taking over reality.
Along that vein, if you can't get out to nature, let nature come in to you! The new extravagant Planet Earth series is just the vehicle for places little-known and virtually unexplored. The music, cinematography, and narration (go Sigourney Weaver!) combine for a visual tour-de-force (sp?) that makes you really want to travel around the world. Unfortunately many of these places are virtually inaccessible or the weather varies between deadly extremes so outside the boundaries of human comfort that it boggles the mind. I believe the episodes of this 11-part series are still airing on the Discovery Channel, but the DVD set will be well worth the money when it becomes available for public consumption.
Thanks for exploring the scientific world with me this afternoon! Hope you weren't bored. If you were, as usual, piss off :)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Now we are required at La Paz for a celebratory drink but I'm starving so I'll be getting dinner as well. I'll need to in order to avoid getting absolutely tanked on a few 'ritas...I've become such a cheap date as I've gotten older :)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Tomorrow is my morning off and guess what, no more swishing with the stuff from Hell! I get the plaque and staining cleaned off tomorrow and get to throw the rest of that godforsaken bottle away! I may soak my teeth in coffee all day tomorrow just to celebrate!
We are fully into the Summer Reading madness here at EOL and my goal is to remain semi-sane. No sense in making promises I can't keep :) We are turning one of the desks up here into the Mystery Machine, I'll have to take a pic so the world can worship our genius. T's done all the hard work, I just have to help with assembly. We debated over whether or not the teens would think it was lame, but I love it so those that don't can...eat bad scooby snacks!
Alright, that's enough blathering for tonight. I'm heading home to thoroughly examine the insides of my eyelids.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Everyone bail on! there's a great, resonant pic up today...maybe that will be my next tattoo, still researching and getting ideas at this stage though. I'll have to wait till fall 'cause I don't want to interfere with all the swimming I have planned. For me, tattoos are a winter sport :)
On a similar note, mark your calendars for October 14, 2007! That's when the Pompeii exhibit opens at the Birmingham Museum of Art!
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
"Most adults can, with a little practice, track four out of ten randomly moving objects for ten seconds -- they fall apart when there are more than four objects to track or more than ten total objects (the "most difficult" trial features four objects to track and twelve total)."
The University of Guelph website has a Multiple Object Tracking Demo that is sure to hurt the pride. I aced the easy and normal but bombed the difficult stage....how humiliating for my ego. I was sure I had those little b*%^$#d's nailed but it just didn't happen. First go around I got 1 out of 4, second 3 out of 4...I am too much of a sore loser to have gone for a third try (it would not have been a charm, shut up)
Friday, May 4, 2007
In 2004, Harvard psychologist Joshua Greene used brain imaging to
demonstrate that our emotions play an essential role in ordinary moral
decision-making. Whenever we contemplate hurting someone else, our brain
automatically generates a negative emotion. This visceral signal discourages
violence. Greene's data builds on evidence suggesting that psychopaths suffer
from a severe emotional disorder -- that they can't think properly because they
can't feel properly. "This lack of emotion is what causes the dangerous
behavior," said James Blair, a cognitive psychologist at the National Institute
of Mental Health.
This makes me reflect on all the problems I've been having these last couple of years...the whole time I've been in grad school actually. I have not traditionally been an overly emotional person so this whole depression thing has knocked me for a loop. To feel this way and be unable to do anything about it has been a very humbling experience. On top of the depression, I'm ashamed of being depressed...what is that called? Is there even a name for it? The harder I tried to feel better, the more miserably I failed, the worse I felt, talk about your vicious cycles. I don't like having to take the antidepressants, but I'm terrified of not taking them. Is this the new me? (Please, no) Will I be able to stop taking them after I get out of school and settle into some sense of normalcy? (Please, yes) I would love to be off of them by the end of the year but again, what if I can't? What if I'm forever unable to control my own emotions?
These are the questions that keep me up at night and are completely unnecessary because it doesn't matter. I won't be able to change anything if it turns out that this is my new persona. I'll just have to live with it and adjust like everyone else, but I don't have to like it. I liked being the steady oak, not the brittle, trembling leaf at the mercy of life's breezes that I've come to be. I guess that's what it comes down to...I don't like myself anymore. I love my job and I have great friends, but I don't like myself. I'd really love to know just exactly what is going on in my brain (chemically, hormonally, anything else-ally) to cause this. How is what I'm thinking affecting what I'm feeling? That is what caught my interest about this article I found. The author of the article, Jonah Lehrer, has a book coming out in November so I put in an order card for the library. Proust Was a Neuroscientist is a great title and the cover is unusual
What does a madeleine have to do with anything and how many people know what one is?
I love the quirkiness of that image :)
Thursday, May 3, 2007
it doesn't stand for anything and has no hidden meaning...it's just randomly chosen letters and I found it through my RSS feed for Seed magazine, a science publication. Here are some of my favorites so far:
There are archives on the website, so check em' out if you're interested and piss off if you're not :)