Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shooting this TV show is SO BORING!!

Superhero Lou Ryan and I are playing detectives right now in a crime show called Disappeared -- totally unplanned, actually, but luckily I have found someone's computer on which to connect to the internet.
` The upside: We get paid $50 apiece -- and we get to use cheesy police badges that were probably once used by John Belushi and cast on SNL!
` The downside: It has eliminated all our other plans for today. We had to wait for the clothes to almost-dry before getting off to Value Village for a couple of minutes, and then went to the gym for only 10 minutes so that we could get here at 1:30.

I was like, "Great! We made it on time!" But if we had known how long we would have had to wait, I would have done my obligatory hour of cardio that keeps me sane another day.

Only one individual of gliding frog species remains

When I was a kid, I often used to check out library books about animals, including species that have been driven to extinction in human history, usually by humans and/or the damage and foreign species they introduce into an ecosystem.

This still happens on a regular basis. Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, one species of frog known to be able to glide from the treetops using its enormous webbed toes, is just the most recent example that I've noticed on one of the Scientific American blogs, Extinction Countdown.
` The reason for the update is because one of the two remaining individuals has died, although, since the other one had been a male, it didn't make much of a difference anyway. In other words, the species is already doomed, assuming no more are discovered in the wild.
` As Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog is only known from the mountain slopes above the town of El Valle de Anton, in Panama, and has actually evaded biologists's awareness until 2005, this doesn't seem very likely.

In lieu of a photo, here's a brief video PSA from Atlanta Zoo that shows the future of this species -- assuming another population is not discovered in the wild:

The pathogen the video refers to is called amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), which has been causing the extinction of many amphibian species of South America since 2006, and seems to have been responsible for the extinction of more than a hundred species worldwide in the past several years.
` Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, identified only in 2005 and named after George and Mary Rabb (two amphibian conservationists of some note), has not been seen in the wild since 2007 despite much searching -- apparently, they were discovered at the last moment!

It's the kind of thing that makes me wonder about what species must have gone extinct without biologists ever having managed to find them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mi poema para mi clase de español

Not that my Spanish assignments are necessarily the most exciting things, but I think this one qualifies as content -- and not just because I need to post something!

By the way, my last post where I basically couldn't find a quiet spot all day and didn't get anything done was, thankfully, just that day. Now that I have my office to myself -- and more space, too! -- everything is so much easier and I am very busy once again! In fact, I am sitting in my office right now, reveling in the quiet, determined not to leave until something forces me.
` Of course, I've been so busy catching up on other, more important things I need to do that I haven't worked on my upcoming post at all. However, I do have this poem.

The subject of our poems is supposed to be what some part of nature means to us. Of course, I look up, because most of nature is far from Earth, and so I chose the stars.
` Also, this isn't really a 'poem' in the usual sense, because it has no rhyme or meter, plus it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense -- so, let me explain:

In particular, it refers to how I've had to change my perspective on life several times in order to see the worth of other people (because seemingly most people prominent in my life so far have been abusive, crazy, loserish, substance-addicted, incredibly ignorant, stupid, etc.), as part of my maturation as an adult.
` After decades of torment and torture, and lack of education and social skills, I had to really push myself to figure out how to connect with other people. This has been a many-years-long struggle, and now that I have the worst people out of my life (and house!) I'm finally doing pretty well -- and I'm only just about to turn 30!
` What does all that have to do with stars? Well, astronomers have long been cataloguing the various planets and other objects that are seen forming around and orbiting other stars. If connecting with nearby human beings was difficult for me, then how much more difficult would it be for all of humanity to do a similar thing; that is, find another planet with life forms on it, even civilization, and connect with that in some way?
` As many hundreds of thousands of years that might take, I think about it all the time from my own "spaceship of the imagination" -- especially since having seen Cosmos with Carl Sagan. If people somehow managed that, however, that would be a whole new stage in the maturation of humanity. So, aha, there's kind of a parallel going on here.

However, I claim no artistic merit, only a demonstration of my grasp of the Spanish language, particularly focusing on the future and conditional indicative and the present subjunctive -- and if I messed up somewhere, I would appreciate correction.
` This poem is called 'Reaching for the Stars' by me, Spoony, or as it is said in Spanish:

Alcanzar a las Estrellas
por Espoony

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Well, at least I have my office to myself... sort of...

I regret spending much of yesterday out, although I did take advantage of the reliable quietness below my office to do some of my Spanish homework until I had to leave again. Today was the first day that I had my office all to myself, and this morning, just as I was headed toward my office, I heard emanating from it;

Baaaah, baaah, badda badda badda badda baaaah, baaaah...

Thus heralding the arrival of the roommate below my office back from jail -- is it sad that I am kind of bummed by his freedom?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm struck by the strange sensation of freedom... to BLOG MY HEART OUT!

Four days ago, I started another blog post, which was going to be my next, but I didn't finish it because it was taking me so many hours. Right now, I am about to get back to it. You see, I have been preoccupied with all the most important things I need to do around here that have been driving me crazy in the past few weeks, and have finally completed them.
` One such thing was vacuuming the house, which took me two hours, partly because our vacuum doesn't have attachments, so when I'm doing the corners and stairs, I need to use the mini-broom as well! It is such a pain, but I really just had to get it out of the way, since I've been putting it off for weeks in order to get other things completed!

It never ends, does it?

After using two days' worth of free time/homework time with my prodigious writing skills in important personal matters -- which I will probably never have to trouble myself with again, woohoo! -- I am about to dive back into this blog post.
` And what is it about? Hint: it has something to do with the style of my website, the Corrigendopedia. After that, I'll be working to finish all the other stuff I've mentioned.

More good news: I'll soon be not having to share my office with anyone else. I will still have a roommate below me, whose TV and stereo often annoy me greatly, but at least I will be able to use my office whenever I want, so that I can more often go in there when he's not polluting my personal space with noise that not even earplugs can combat. (I'm considering noise-cancelling headphones....)
` Right now, said roommate is actually in jail for a few days for some stupid thing, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am greatly enjoying even more use of my office. (Not to mention, I also have considerably fewer dishes to wash.) Like, I'm actually in my office for hours on end! Since when was that ever normal? It's almost as though my office is already just mine!

On that note, I'll be getting back to it -- but first, I think I'll have some chocolate wine with gelato in it. After what I've just BEEN writing, and researching, I really have earned it!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pretty shiny lights distract me!

The other night, I woke up with flu-like symptoms at four in the morning, but forgot all about them when I saw this:

feb 029 Long exposure moonset over water

The night air felt warm to me, so I stood outside staring at the black rock drenched in white sunlight, and its reflection, and thinking about its effect on the earth's tides.
` I was out there for literally about three minutes when Lou Ryan came out and started griping about how I was out on the deck at four in the morning, just to look at the moon -- which wasn't "even full yet!" Feeling much ashamed for my strange behavior, I went back to bed.
` [Edit: He was actually just joking, it turns out! Phew!]

The next night, after working on a blog post on bird evolution and flappy dromaeosaurs, I spent a mere 15 minutes editing my newest photos so that I could put them up on Flickr this morning, but I've only gotten around to that now. Truth be told, I've barely done anything today because I feel unbearably drowsy and sore.
` I would have even helped with the garden-digging/grass transplanting today (as I had last week), but just wasn't up to it. Really, I was hoping to have something up before someone like oh I don't know, say, Michael Shermer, were to come along and see my blog.

Here are the subjects I have in store for February/March: Pareidolia, Dinosaurs Evolving From Birds (and evolution's hilarious detractors), My Life Story of Brainwashing, Galileo's Troublesome Sun-Go-Round, and maybe Memetics. Oh, and since I live with a Kent Hovind fan, my comedic take on Kent's "Doctoral Dissertation", just for him!
` Maybe it would be faster to just find something for my first edition of "It Came From The Slushpile!" or "Where Did I Go Wrong?" Also, since I now have a scanner, I would like to re-do my Corrigendopedia illustrations where possible before I continue working on that project.

We'll see just how much comes through. And if anyone has some advice for how to complete huge blog posts without neglecting physical hygiene, I would appreciate knowing about this!
` [Another Edit: Truth be told, I had directed Michael Shermer to come here, in hopes that someone who constantly churns out articles on science and critical thinking could give me such advice. It didn't work. But he did thank me for drawing his attention to a crazy documentary, at least.]