First entering our fossil records over 360 million years ago, the coelacanth was thought to have suffered extinction about 80 million years ago, around the time our beloved dinosaurs blew this join. Belief in their assumed extinction up until the few spotty sightings in the 1970s was largely aided by the fact that the coelacanth are nocturnal cave-dwellers, making them virtually undetectable by equipment and techniques of the era.
With adults averaging around five feet in length and around 120 pounds in weight, the coelacanth has little economic value, as the meat is considered undesirable among fishermen. Plus, their filmy eyes and ugly mugs, don't make them the hottest commodity to anyone other than scientists.
But as evidenced by the large number of stamps designed in celebration of this dinofish, the coelacanth captures a larger percentage of my mystical imagination, more so than the discovery of the Australian stick insect. Along with such fantastical and rare creatures as the giant squid, it really makes you wonder: What else is out there? [paul]
Wadlow died at the age of twenty-two because of an infection developed from ill-fitting shoes. He had big feet. There's a homage to him in his hometown, plus a statue erected for the hero at the campus of Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. His skeleton is on display, as is his grave.
These kids built him out of
paper. But thinking about Robert Wadlow when I was their age made me profoundly sad. What if you were the tallest man ever, only to die because you couldn't get shoes that fit you right? I even made a song up for him, and I would sing it and cry. When I swam in the town pool we would play 1-2-3-Shoot at the eight-foot dock and I would think: "Robert Wadlow could be standing right here, but his head would be above the water." [ lisa ]
Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository
i've been pointing almost everyone i know to one of the greatest books i've read in such a long time (well, i don't really read books, so this is not an unqualified statement) is guns, germs, and steel by jared drake. (by the way, i've been realizing how anal i am, and noticed that i had put the "u" inside the "a" tags, and then tried to ignore it, but just couldn't... because the link belongs around the link, not around extra tags that have nothing to do with the link and the linked text. since the defining property of the link is the "a", it should be closest to the actual text that it possesses.)
guns, germs, and steel speaks towards the development of languages in world cultures. pretty amazing shit. it's all based upon a level of speculation, but it makes sense, and whether it's "true" or not ('cuz there really is no such thing as "truth" or "fact" in history), it's totally interesting and helps you think about and form tentative answers on, or place building blocks beneath, greater questions you've been wanting to answer about people, geography, culture, and nature. such cool shit. [paul]
Searching for more information on eels and lamprey, I came across the eelworm and then some classic texts on holistic farming, i.e., methods of raising mass quantities of food in an ecologically conscious manner, to the greatest health of the consumer. My interest was peaked, since I was also researching the arena of agricultural commodity futures, due to the recent drop in soybean and grain prices caused by drought-threatening weather reports.
Recently, most dialogue on the status of world-wide farming practices have focused on the boom in biotechnology, the loss of the family-owned farm, and improving the state of third-world agricultural growth. Organic produce and farming methods have also been a hot-topic in the news. But most of the seminars, classes, and pamphlets that I've seen produced concentrate on the use of organic fertilizers, natural pesticide solutions, that is, nothing on a large-scale level, beyond the grasp of baby boomer settlers barreling into their gardens for fancier variety of mixed greens.
Academics, scientists, and (what I will call) futurists from the old days such as John Widstoe and William Hoard (more notorious for his policies of English-only schools as Governor of Wisconsin) spent their lives, and the generations of their antecedents refining their practices scientifically, as well as spiritually within their bonds to their land and crops' sustenance.
OK, I know this has been sloppy and fragmented and weblogs aren't the place to rant about the state and future of global agriculture, so I'll get to the point: If the capitalist-driven technology markets continue to control the research, methods, and practices of the agricultural establishment, then with the growth and power of companies such as Archer Daniels Midland and Monsanto, I wonder if the holistic approaches to farming the "eco-system" and not just the cash crops will disappear, and we'll just turn the bread-baskets of every country into wasteland. [paul]
my kind of town
in any case, i'm skipping town tonight. although the new york-versus-boston debate has plenty of manifestations, boston is definitely growing on me. i'm not sure if i could live there, though. [lisa]
and then to have a last name that's a color. like "green." like "red green." or "tom green." or "luke green." or "mr. green." plus, i love the color green. it's definitely my favorite color. how about "blue?" or "red?" eh, not so much. well, no "blue" is OK, but definitely not "bleu." or like "adrian blew," or "pope john paul the third bloo." "purple?" eh, not so much. i could deal with "yellow." or "cyan," though i thought that i was just going to stick with primary and secondary colors. "cynthia cyan." or "paul yellow." or "paul green." "green!" i like "green." [paul]
i have a horrendous phobia of rotting meat and dirty bathrooms. also, dead pets (especially birds). i'm sure the rotting meat phobia stems from an experience in my childhood, when my family came back from a two-week vacation in august and immediately smelled the wafting odors of a freezerful of steaks and chops baking in the midsummer aftermath of a power failure--rotting meat-scented ice cubes and popsicles for a long time after, not to mention a phantom smell.
many of these phobia can also be found here. [ lisa ]
if you believe in a spiritual god, then some will argue, you must also believe in the realm of spirits, which would include both those of the "good" and those of the "evil" persuasions. if there is a supreme spiritual god who has a religiously-justified "magic," and there is a spiritual anti-god who battles against the forces of good for claim of your soul, then how can s/he do so without his/her own religiously-justified "magic?" let's take the Bible, for example, where you have angels and demons, God and Satan. if angels can fit on a pinhead, and wine can be turned to water, then demons can sit on your shoulder, and Satan can appear out of thin air to tempt Jesus. and if there are manifestations of God's power in the modern world, wouldn't there be manifestations of Satan, also?
but then there are those who believe that there are spirits who exist outside of the spiritual battle-field for the souls of man. if you believe in the concept of the human soul to be something that exists apart from the flesh (for example, the re-incarnatable, multiply re-inflatable soul), then you also have some belief in the "world of spirits." where do the souls go? do they go to alpha centauri? do they sit near the core of the earth? do they go to a different "plane?" or do they stick around in new jersey? maybe they just chill out at home and have fun. that would be cool. i'd go to bermuda, and i wouldn't have to worry about sunburn. and i'm sure there're a buncha other kool kats hanging out there, waiting for the new kid to show up. and if i were tormented and vengeful, maybe i would stick around and pinch people, rattle shutters, and leave bags of burning doo-doo on porches. steal pens and move sets of keys.
at least i'm not named smurl, i geuss. [paul]
robotstories.com: stories about robots
wow, this iced coffee is like liquid speed. i am so giddy, it hurts. in any case, this site made me want to take a rocket and blast off into space. so i could hang with the robots. fyi: in my new apartment, there will be robots in the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom.
i need to go outside and play now.
one addendum: if you read just one thing online today, i beg for it to be the desparate fan letters on this web site devoted to former robotchild star tiffany brissette (small wonder). actually, please read two things online today and check out this woman's sad little homage to brissette, which details their one time "friendship." i am embarrassed by these people, especially their fevered longings for some kind of contact from brissette, who has since left hollywood to find god. [ lisa ]
Introduction of Tacos
i agree that tacos are wonderful, wonderful food items, but i think that this list of reasons goes too far (though i know it's silly but if you replace "taco" with "ginderbread men" it kinda makes sense (hee hee hee)).
Derek's Big Website of WalMart Purchase Receipts
Space Weather: The Sargasso Sea
eels and sea turtles are really cool, too. it's like they live in the sea, but they're so weird in it, like there's really not many other things like them there, and they got earth counterparts like snakes and land turtles. crazy shit. [paul]
What's up, ABC?
Marilyn is Wrong!
while looking further on a completely unrelated topic, i found this "Marilyn is Wrong!" page. though i may already have predilections of distaste towards self-proclaimed geniuses, this spackle of proof ("on the drywall of truth") adds to the pile of nails i've readied for the coffin.
trust us all to be geniuses; it doesn't hurt until they find out that you're not.