Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Insect Breeding Song

Summertime and the insect breeding is easy.
That old song rings especially true for 44 species of moths and butterflies in Central Europe, according to an analysis by ecologist Florian Altermatt of the University of California, Davis.
Ah, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed a nice singalong to the insect breeding song. Let me see if I can remember the whole thing…

and the insect breeding is easy.

Cicadellidae are jumping,
And the white-tailed zygaenid moth’s diurnal mating flights are high.
Oh, your apis hoarding behaviour has a demonstrable increase,
And the female has consumed the spermatophylax.

So hush, little katydid,
You’re morphologically unable to call.

One of these mornings,
You’re going to rise up singing.
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky.

But until that morning,
A variety of indeterminate environmental factors can harm you,
With researches from the UC Davis Department of Entomology standing by to perform a double-blind assesment of causality.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Zappa or Zombie: Happy Z-day edition

Mr. Zappa would have been 93 today, had he not been tragically gunned down at St. Peter's Basilica back in 1973. Has his vengeful corpse risen from the grave seeking the brains of all those who wronged him? You decide!

Zappa or zombie?





Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Because nothing says "Winter Olympics" like 13 million cranberries

I have a strange interest in the city of Richmond, British Columbia, based solely on tangential research for my Wikipedia entry on Kirkland Island. So I pay attentions to doings along the Fraser River, like the city's recent announcement that in celebration of hosting the speed skating competitions this winter, they'll be constructing a massive, floating Olympic rings logo, in the medium of cranberries.
Thirteen million floating cranberries, weighing about 13,600 kilograms (30,000 pounds), will form a spectacular tribute to the Olympic Games on the Fraser River next February.
Richmond Revealed - Agricultural Spectacle
A massive depiction of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s logo will float in the Middle Arm of the Fraser River, just offshore from the Richmond Olympic Oval throughout the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The stunning, never-before-seen tribute to the Games will be 62 metres long by 70 metres wide (200 by 230 feet) or more than 3,200 square metres (34,000 square feet) in total area. The logo, which consists of a maple leaf and Olympic torch sitting overtop of the five interlocking Olympic rings, will be constructed from cranberries contained in a specially-constructed floating form.
Oh, but the Cranberry Rings are just a small part of Richmond Revealed, which includes
A giant inukshuk, up to seven stories in height, constructed out of stacked shipping containers. An inukshuk is a native shoe made out of seal hide.
  • A room-sized model of the Canadarm, Canada’s internationally-famous contribution to the International Space Station and US Space Shuttle, along with models of the Mars Rover and other aerospace projects contributed to by Richmond’s aerospace leaders.
  • A spectacular double dragon dance accompanied by mass tai-chi performance on Chinese New Year on February 14, 2010.  The dragons are 150 metres and 75 metres in length. They will roast and eat the tai-chi performers before returning to their lairs deep in the Canadian Rockies.
And also:

  • A water feature at Richmond City Hall  filled with cranberries!
  • A meet-and-greet with local cranberry growers!
  • A chance to visit a bog in British Columbia in February to see cranberries harvested!
  • Cranberries!*
No word on whether they'll also be constructing a giant pyramid of disarticulated human feet, but I'm confident they won't leave them out of the celebrations.

*Note: All of those things are true.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This is the famous "redacted" TSA screening document. To view the redacted text, copy the hidden text and paste, as into Notepad. They're just black boxes, the text is still there.

Screening Management SOP Redacted

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Red, Blue and helmets

Interesting, albeit partial, correlation between helmet use laws and so-called "red" and "blue" states. I wonder how close the votes were on both issues in the states which don't align?