Saturday, May 30, 2009

The kazoo is still cooler.


This thing is ridiculous. Does size matter? Can I play this on the subway at rush hour for spare change? Is the ricola guy threatened?



BBC NEWS
'Lost' music instrument recreated
By Pallab Ghosh
Science Correspondent, BBC News

New software has enabled researchers to recreate a long forgotten musical instrument called the Lituus.

The 2.4m (8ft) -long trumpet-like instrument was played in Ancient Rome but fell out of use some 300 years ago.

Bach's motet (a choral musical composition) "O Jesu Christ, meins lebens licht" was one of the last pieces of music written for the Lituus.

Now, for the first time, this 18th Century composition has been played as it should have been heard.

Researchers from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University of Edinburgh collaborated on the study.

Performed by the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (SCB) the Lituus produced a piercing trumpet-like sound interleaving with the vocals.

Until now, no one had a clear idea of what this instrument looked or sounded like.

But researchers at Edinburgh University developed a system that enabled them to design the Lituus from the best guesses of its shape and range of notes.

The result was a 2.4m (8ft) -long thin straight horn, with a flared bell at the end.



Hard to play

It is an unwieldy instrument with a limited tonal range that is hard to play. But played well, it gives Bach's motet a haunting feel that couldn't be reproduced by modern instruments.

The software was originally developed by a PhD student Dr Alistair Braden to improve the design of modern brass instruments.

But Dr Braden and his supervisor Professor Murray Campbell, were approached by a Swiss-based music conservatoire specialising in early music, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, to help them recreate the Lituus - even though no one alive today has heard, played or even seen a picture of this forgotten instrument.

SCB gave the Edinburgh team their expert thoughts on what the Lituus may have been like in terms of the notes it produced, its tonal quality and how it might have been played.

They also provided cross-section diagrams of instruments they believed to be similar to the Lituus.

"The software used this data to design an elegant, usable instrument with the required acoustic and tonal qualities," says Professor Campbell.

"The key was to ensure that the design we generated would not only sound right but look right as well."

He added: "Crucially, the final design produced by the software could have been made by a manufacturer in Bach's time without too much difficulty."

SCB has now used Edinburgh's designs to build two identical examples of the long-lost instrument.

Both were used in an experimental performance of "O Jesu Christ, meins lebens licht" in Switzerland earlier this year.

Written by Bach in the 1730s, it is thought that this is now the only piece of music in existence that specifies the use of the Lituus - and has almost certainly not been performed using this instrument since Bach's time.

"Sophisticated computer modelling software has a huge role to play in the way we make music in the future," comments Professor Campbell.

The software also opens up the possibility that brass instruments could be customised more closely to the needs of individual players in the future - catering more closely for the differing needs of jazz, classical and other players all over the world.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8075223.stm

Published: 2009/05/30 13:10:53 GMT

© BBC MMIX

PROMO TEASER

video

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tivo the Revo.




Let's televise the revolution
sell DIY kits
personalize the movement
On demand
rewind
watch at your convenience
In a year or so-- f*!# that, next season
DVD box set
5 hours of behind the scenes footage

arm the masses
imagine churches stockpiling weapons
manufacturing a counter revolution
We need a culture war
arm the masses
No casualties but dead ideas
wounded and limping beliefs struggling
to climb out of the trenches
Let's carpet bomb the lot
but not salt the earth
we'll see what grows back

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Western Eden


There were no clocks in the hotel. Anywhere. In the States, every hotel room, no matter how crappy, has at least a clock radio. He was glad to have packed the old Timex. It was the wind up kind. No batteries and it ticked something awful. When he woke up confused and wet with sweat from deep sleep, somewhere between very late and God-forsaken early, the only sound to be heard was the watch. It sounded like the tip of a pencil being tapped against linoleum. A six hour time difference can really screw around with a person’s inner clock.

No matter what country, no matter what time zone, he always had the same dream. His eyes and mouth are sealed shut and he is trekking his way across a chasm filled landscape that resembled a mass desert grave. Naked and scared shitless, he stumbles across a cobra or whatever type of snake he’d last seen that crazy Australian man poke with a sick on the television. The snake slithers up him and sinks its fangs into his palm and wrist. The snake does not release its hold until he’s fallen into one of the holes which could be vertical graves. As he was loses the use of his hand, his breath, his life, he wakes up. The last two nights he had woken up alone and lost. Thank God for the ancient Timex. 


The room was smaller than certain walk-in closets. Standing on one leg, using the wall for support, he could lift the other leg up to form a human letter K and reach clear across the width of the entire room. He'd caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror, contorted like he was caught in an invisible spider web and laughed at the ridiculousness of everything. The room was like a walk-in closet with sink, shitter, and a shower enclosed as well. Still he was able to room by himself. His room back in the states was unidentifiable as a livable habitat. Clothes, papers, books and Cd's littered the floor, covered furniture, and engulfed the lighting fixtures, as though the clutter itself was its own new breed of foliage. The undergrowth spreading and returning things to their natural state. The only way to determine if a specific article of clothing was wearable or not was by smell.


His nose was still full of her smell. In the last 48 hours, like a virus, she had invaded his being but more intensely so, she had invaded his nostrils, the left one being a slightly different shape than the right one.

It flattened out. Family Defect. She still smelled like-
He sat on the window sill, looking at the view. Not entirely true. The window sill was only about a foot and a half by three inches, so he just sort of leaned up against it, face pressed against the cool glass. Using his tired mouth and slightly deformed nostril he made foggy amoebas of condensation appear and disappear with sighs. This breathtaking view was of a brick wall less than a foot away. If he gazed up and a little to the right, he could peer into the hallway of the floor above. If he really strained his vision and kept his face mashed against the cold glass at the most extreme angle, the river was visible. If his ear was pressed to the glass he heard the thumping subwoofers from Sinners, the nightclub next door. He had come expecting an authentic inn or European Bed and Breakfast type of establishment. They put him and the rest of the group up in the Best Western Eden. 


He’d spent many nights crashing on floors and couches back in the States. Most memorable was the time when he was unable to leave an unusually nice house he was staying at without setting off the alarm. Neither could he figure out how to turn on the television, which never would have fit in the hotel room he was in now. So try as he might to turn on the tube and kill his brain till someone woke up, there were just too many remotes. So he sat, waiting for some to wake up and let him out after so kindly letting him in. The situation he’s in now isn’t quite the same, here, in Amsterdam, he had a bed.

A bed, no matter how small, beat the floor. He knew how to use this television, although it was of no use to him. Everything was dubbed. Watching West Side Story or Catdog in Dutch was like being stuck in the nightmare of a Salvador Dali. He could also leave anytime he wanted to. Except now--

He wanted to escape. The door: it had no alarm. He wanted to sleep. The bed: small, occupied. The single, but more accurately described as half, bed was inhabited by a female. The girl: Blondie, short. She had some distinct but not striking features. She was opinionated to the point of ignorance. Her views were so far to the right, they had to be wrong. 
That was what bothered him the most.

No.

That was second on the list.

NO.

Third. 

Second place was reserved for the phone calls she had made to his room. He should have unplugged the phone but the Timex had no alarm and the wake up call was his only way of ensuring that he had enough time to drink enough coffee in order to make it to the theater coherent. 
 We now return to the best walk in closet in the west.

The phone was still plugged in. He forgot to wind the Timex. His body was telling him it was time to sleep. ANYWHERE. SOMEWHERE. His mind, however, would not allow him to look at the bed. Brick wall it was.

She was a nice girl, the sleeping suburbanite was, but she was without a discernible smell. She was without a discernible laugh. Thoughts of the virus flooded him like a relapsing fever. Like shingles had made his skin burn, she had created a spot for herself inside him. Under his skin, inside his torso, under the muscles, behind the ribs, she nestled between two lungs, right next to his heart. Most importantly, the olfactory memory still burned in his nostrils. She should be in the bed now, not Blondie.


NO.

He should be in the bed. Alone. Asleep. That wasn’t the case. All the women were asleep. He was sure the men were too, but the thought never entered his mind. He looked at the unwound Timex. 3:48 AM. He strained to see a silver sliver of the river. Then he looked at the brick wall and wondered what had caused those stains, one of which could have been Abraham Lincoln. It could have been the self-educated President had it been as early as it was and the observer of the stain was as tired as he was. It was that early and he was that tired so it was as it was. He looked down and saw the 50 Euros on the nightstand, the corners being weighed down by the static Timex. That money had topped the night’s list of grievances. Like an unwound watch in a strange time zone. He could find no plausible use for it. Maybe-
He’d buy the virus a present before he left, never to see her again.

No.

Maybe He’d buy his girlfriend something nice to take back home to her in the States.

No.

His mom?
Maybe-

It was women who started all of this; a woman who had started him. Women kicked HIM out of Eden. But it was man who had to give in: If not to the phone calls, if not to the lust, then to the money. Anything bought with those Euros, however, would be stained. It would be a reminder of the temptation.


He doubted if Adam was ever able to enjoy apple pie again.


That money was a waste, Maybe--
He should buy drinks and try to forget it all.

Hell No.


He should buy coffee to make up for the night lost.


Maybe-


First he should put pants on. He was sitting, well, leaning against the window sill, in gray boxer briefs, bought by a woman and probably made by a woman, a woman living in Taiwan. He should have been wearing something with cartoon characters on them or at least bright colors.


When he met the group for the first time in the lobby of the Best Western Eden, they thought he was a European man. He sat writing postcards, as though it was what he did every morning at that time. That day he had merely been a boy in costume, a boy, posing as someone who belonged where he sat. He fooled everyone.


WAKE UP.
GOOD MOURNING.
GET OUT.


Morning came, night floated down the river. He finished breakfast and walked into the lobby. It was full of people fresh off the plane. An Eden full of Adams. They’d find out soon enough. He walked out into the street and as he walked along the river he knew.



He would get over the virus; build an immunity.

He would spend the money.

He would return to the States.

He would go forth, be fruitful, and multiply.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Things you NEED to own RIGHT NOW! BUY BUY BUY!


Do you own crap that was bought at three am from smiling, scary people on TV? Well here's a list of patents that actually exist. People thought they were good ideas then they thought people would want to buy them. Think about this but not too much.


Top 10 useless inventions

To inspire nominations for the Landfill Prize, here’s our list of the 19th and 20th centuries’ most unnecessary inventions
scream silencer

by John Naish

READ ARTICLE FROM TIMES ONLINE

What’s the most useless, pointless, resource-wasting consumer gadget that you have seen, bought or been given in the past 12 months?That’s the question at the heart of the first annual Landfill prize, which has already attracted a host of nominations, including automatic cucumber peelers, hi-spec plug-in air fresheners and a £150 electric toothbrush.

Today’s consumer society has become astonishingly adept at inventing pointless, hopeless, resource-sucking gizmos, but let’s not pretend we have a monopoly on this. Since the Victorian era, some of humankind’s most creative brains have kept themselves busy creating answers for needs that didn’t exist and solutions that are more cumbersome than the problems they promised to tackle. To inspire nominations for the Landfill Prize, here’s our list of the 19th and 20th centurys’ most pathetic, unnecessary and patently daft inventions.

1. The combined plow and gun
Patent no 35600, issued 1862

Rather than turn your sword into a ploughshare, why not combine your plough with a medium-sized artillery piece? It’s bound to be so much more effective than shouting “get orf moi land” at errant ramblers. Or, as the American inventor claimed, “Its utility is unquestionable, especially when used in border localities, subject to savage feuds and guerrilla warfare. In times of danger may be used in the field, ready charged with its deadly missiles of ball or grape. The share serves to anchor it firmly in the ground and enables it to resist the recoil, while the hand levers furnish convenient means of giving it the proper direction.” Why don’t the perpetually bickering Archers have one?


2. Device for waking persons from sleep
Patent no 256265, issued 1882

Sometimes, an alarm clock just isn’t quite enough for rousing heavy sleepers to face the day. So why not hang an array of weights on a frame above the snoozer’s head and, with the help of clockwork machinery, drop them upon their head until they wake? “When they fall it will strike a light blow, sufficient to awaken the sleeper, but not heavy enough to cause pain,” assures the inventor. Surely it’s just bound to cause stubborn sleepers simply to pull the duvet over their heads.

3. Balloon propelled by eagles or vultures
Patent no 863087, issued 1887

First, catch your eagle or vulture. Then attach the large bird to a balloon cupola, point its beak in desired direction, then sit back, relax and enjoy the in-flight snacks and movie. There’s a kind of simple genius to this idea, but a few potential snags make themselves apparent. Yes, there will be protests by animal lovers, but perhaps more pertinent is the fact that large birds of prey or carrion are notoriously uncooperative in matters of providing predictable and directable propulsion. Oh, and won’t they peck holes in the balloon?

4. Method of preserving the dead
Patent no 748284, issued 1903

Having trouble finding a suitable memorial for your loved one? How about having them permanently encased in glass? Herkimer J. Karkowski, the New Yorker who devised this tidy and decorative form of body-disposal seems to have been rather less squeamish than the average mourner. He believed that bereaved people would love nothing more than seeing their departed hermetically encased within a block of transparent glass, and thus “maintained for an indefinite period in a perfect and lifelike condition”. If an entire glass-encased relative might take up too much parlour-space, Karkowski suggested just having their head done. An attractive adornment to any mantelpiece. Or a handy doorstop? Glazed looks all round.

5. Moustache and lip guards
Patent no GB191127119, issued 1912

Oh the Edwardians and their moustaches: the damned hairy things seemed to be ever getting in the way, catching fire or becoming unattractively damp and potentially infected. To prevent this last problem, Fritz Baudisch filed a British patent to stop beards and moustaches getting moistened while drinking. His gadget consisted simply of a protective antiseptic paper disk that could be adapted to be folded over the edge of any drinking-vessel. Then, of course, it got damp and filled the toper’s facial hair with papier mache. Drat.


6. Water-filled brassiere
Patent no US4734078, issued 1988

All the mental effort expended on the mid 20th-century’s most famous innovations – the First and Second World Wars – seems to have fixed many inventors’ wilder imaginations on the straightforward business of creating new killing machines, thus draining their eccentric energy for several decades. It is only in the 1980s that we see a true return to form, with the creation of impractical and useless gadgetry like this – a sort of Wonderbra meets Waterworld. The American Inventor, James Moreau, explains it best (if it can be explained): “A brassiere which surrounds the breasts with water, so that a buoyant force provides improved and independent support for each breast. A transparent version is suggested for those who wish to make a fashion statement.” Even Madonna seems to have passed on that latter suggestion.

7. Sound-muffler for covering the mouth
Patent no 4834212, issued 1989

It’s the invention that really makes you want to scream – but no one will hear you. Moira and Frank Figone a couple from Belmont, California, created this face-tube device to enable purchasers to “Yell or scream without disturbing others, allowing them to vent built-up anger and frustration.” In this fiendishly basic design, the interior of the flat-bottomed muffler tube is coated with sound-absorbing foam. But here’s the clever bit: a microphone can be included to pick up a some sound and activate a light display or meter, “giving the user immediate visual feedback as to the intensity of sound produced”. Because otherwise, you’d never know, eh?


8. A glove for courting
Patent application no GB2221607, issued 1990

In the world of invention, romance is never dead. Just complicated. Terry King’s innovation aimed to assist couples who wish to maintain precious palm-to-palm contact while holding hands on cold days. It’s a pair of gloves knitted together into a single glove with a common palm section, but two separate sets of fingers. Bless. However, if you and your lovey-dove find yourselves running blissfully together through a frosty meadow and encounter a tree, the result could be distinctly face-mushingly tragic if you run either side of the trunk. That’s at least one good reason why the courting glove doesn’t seem to have caught on.

9. Alarm-equipped fork
US patent 5,421,089, issued 1995

Are you a manic masticator or a superfast food shoveller? The cutlery creators Nicole Dubus and Springfield Susan have come up with the just answer for you: a fork with a built in timer and alarm. The timer’s circuitry is connected to the handle of the fork and buzzes or lights up after a preset time, ensuring that eaters leave sufficient space between forkfulls for chewing 32 healthy times before swallowing. A must for business lunches and candlelit dinners.

10. The trouser-cushion
UK patent application No GB2267208, 1993

You may need to sit down for this one. British inventor Michael Bayley decided to put an end to standing nightmares by creating portable seat that you wear on a waist-belt. OK, it’s a somewhat convoluted version of having a cushion with a loop that goes through your belt. “The seat cushion is pivotable between a stowed position and a seating position in which it hangs down so that you can sit on it,” says the patent application. I can see one possible practical use: musical chairs, though you may get beaten to death by indignant toddlers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nuclear War, Zombies, Aliens, and Weird Fish


Want proof the world is going to hell in a handbasket?

WAR



One day after its nuclear test drew angry and widespread condemnation, North Korea continued to defy the international community on Tuesday by test-firing two more short-range missiles, a South Korean government official said.



The missile firings came just hours after South Korea said it would join an American-led operation to stop the global trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, an action the North has previously said it would consider a declaration of war.

North Korea appeared unfazed by the world’s condemnation, which included strong rebukes from allies such as China and Russia. In Tuesday’s editions of Rodong, its main party newspaper, Pyongyang declared that it was “fully ready for battle” against the United States, accusing President Obama of “following in the footsteps of the previous Bush administration’s reckless policy of militarily stifling North Korea.”

North Korea has a history of flouting such international condemnation, especially recently: It launched a long-range rocket on April 5 despite international calls for restraint; quit nuclear negotiations; restarted its nuclear plants, and threatened more nuclear and long-range missile tests.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

While the threat of nuclear war is just that, a threat because execution would result in mutually assured destruction... There's weirder shit out there. I'm talking about
ZOMBIES


Yes ZOMBIE (ants)
Sort of... it's kind of a natural pesticide

It sounds like something out of science fiction: zombie fire ants. But it’s all too real.

Fire ants wander aimlessly away from the mound.

Eventually their heads fall off, and they die.

The strange part is that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service say making "zombies" out of fire ants is a good thing.

"It’s a tool — they’re not going to completely wipe out the fire ant, but it’s a way to control their population."

The tool is the tiny phorid fly, native to a region of South America where the fire ants in Texas originated.


The flies "dive-bomb" the fire ants and lay eggs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain, and the ant starts exhibiting what some might say is zombie-like behavior.

"At some point, the ant gets up and starts wandering," said Rob Plowes, a research associate at UT.

The maggot eventually migrates into the ant’s head, but Plowes said he "wouldn’t use the word 'control’ to describe what is happening. There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly. This wandering stage goes on for about two weeks."

About a month after the egg is laid, the ant’s head falls off and the fly emerges ready to attack any foraging ants away from the mound and lay eggs.

Plowes said fire ants are "very aware" of these tiny flies, and it only takes a few to cause the ants to modify their behavior.

"Just one or two flies can control movement or above-ground activity," Plowes said. "It’s kind of like a medieval activity where you’re putting a castle under siege."


READ FULL ARTICLE


So just imagine that the military attempts to stop nuclear war by developing this same technique to work on humans. Introducing a parasitic maggot into the brain of the enemy forcing it to wander around aimlessly until it's head falls off. Of course to be truly affective these zombies should probably attack and destroy everything around them.... Once this results in both governments nuking their zombie populations

We should look for.....


BETTER LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS


Ever since the war on science er terror.... er.. scary terrifying science went out the window with the burning bush and we have begun to look back to research and scientific exploration space is back in play.







A serious search for extraterrestrial life

By Faye Flam




Astronomers are starting to zero in on Earth-like worlds orbiting other stars. Some of the more recent finds even look potentially habitable.

In the last 13 years, astronomers have used such remote-sending tools to catalog more than 300 planets outside the solar system.

The first such planets were many times bigger than our own, but progressively smaller ones have been turning up. In March, NASA launched a satellite called Kepler, which is seeking subtle changes in starlight that indicate the presence of little specks the size of Earth.

In the future, astronomers envision observing even more subtle changes in starlight to analyze the atmospheres of such planets.

The lineup of ambitious projects was causing plenty of excited chatter among scientists this month when they met at Baltimore's Space Telescope Sciences Institute for a symposium titled, "The Search for Life in the Universe."

Not only was NASA spending hundreds of millions to comb the galaxy for other worlds and to analyze them, but respectable astronomers, biologists, and geologists could now talk seriously about alien life.

Life-detection ideas were thrown around that were, while not easy, at least technologically feasible.

"Why is this interesting?" asked biologist Chris McKay of California's NASA-Ames Research Center. "We have the possibility of a second Genesis. We can have comparative biochemistry," he said, meaning that nature might use alternative ways to construct living things.

Even alien pond scum would change everything about our understanding of life and our place in the universe. We could take it apart and see how it replicated, what it ate, how it evolved.

Scientists have trouble defining life because all living things on Earth use the same building blocks. Is it life if it doesn't involve carbon? What if it doesn't have some equivalent of DNA?

"We use the Justice Potter Stewart definition," said McKay, recalling the famous definition of pornography: We'll know it when we see it.


But is there anything alive up there?


The biologists at the Baltimore meeting were optimistic. Life is tougher than anyone thought. Chemical traces of past life show it goes back at least 3.5 billion years into Earth's 4.6 billion-year existence.

Life may go back further. "This is a key fact," said NASA's McKay. As soon as the planet became remotely habitable, it was taken over by microbes.

The one necessary feature that everyone agreed on was liquid water. There's plenty of water out there, but for any of it to condense or melt into a liquid, a planet would have to orbit at just the right distance from its star.

A few years ago, James Kasting of Pennsylvania State University helped calculate what astronomers have come to know as the "habitable zone" around other stars. That's a distance that would make conditions somewhat cooler than Venus, and at least as warm as Mars.

A few of the known exoplanets fall in the habitable zone, including one recently announced super earth 12 light-years away. Kepler could find more. But ultimately the scientists are after something bigger: actual alien life.

At the meeting, Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger asked the scientists to imagine how we would detect life on Earth if our planet's exact twin were orbiting a star light-years away. "We would see this tiny point of light - this speckle of light - but there's a lot of information we can actually get from that," she said.

The key is in the atmospheres, said Penn State's Kasting. Our planet's atmosphere is full of oxygen and methane that can't easily be explained by any nonliving chemical process, he said. If we could detect that, we'd have a good case.

The Hubble's instruments have analyzed the atmospheres around several giant planets as they pass in front of their stars. With its repair, which astronauts completed this month, scientists plan to use it to study more.

It will take more elaborate space telescopes - or perhaps whole fleets of them - to analyze atmospheres with planets the size of Earth. All this is on the drawing board.

The gases wouldn't tell us what type of life was out there - whether it could take the form of intelligent beings, for example. It could be mostly weeds, or pond scum, or slime molds, or something we can't even imagine because we've never seen it.

But even that would go a long way toward explaining what life on this planet is all about, what it's doing here, and how it fits into this vast universe of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars.

READ FULL ARTICLE




WEIRD FISH


And if you wonder what alien life would look like here's some weird ass fish that are found in earth oceans



Dracula fish

Discovered: Burma
Documented: 2009

It's not big and it's not pretty, but Danionella dracula is certainly unique.

The transparent 17-millimetre-long "Dracula fish" is the only member of the 3700-strong Cypriniformes group to have vampire-like fangs on its top and bottom jaws, which the males use to impress each other and to settle squabbles over territory.

The discovery of these fangs was something of a surprise because the Cypriniformes lost their teeth about 50 million years ago, says Danionella expert Ralf Britz of the Natural History Museum in London.

So did the Dracula fish manage to keep its teeth while all around were losing theirs? Er, no. Instead, it evolved something new.

What look like teeth are actually bone which has grown into curved spikes that poke through the skin.

By comparing the Dracula fish's DNA with that of zebrafish and other members of the family, Britz estimates that the bony fangs evolved within 30 million years of the family losing its true teeth.

(Image: The Natural History Museum, London)



Psychedelic frogfish

Discovered: Indonesia
Documented: 2009

When the psychedelic frogfish, Histiophryne psychedelica, turned up at a popular dive site off Ambon Island, Indonesia, in January 2008, it posed something of a mystery. How had a brightly coloured, 8-centimetre-long fish managed to stay hidden for so long in such well-trodden waters?

Then, in June, it caused another stir, when all of the 12 or so individuals disappeared without trace. But not before a team led by Theodore Pietsch from the University of Washington in Seattle had noted several brand new behaviours (Copeia, 2009, no 1, p 37).

Perhaps the oddest was that it seems to dislike swimming. Like other frogfish, it "walks" along the reef on its long, leg-like pectoral fins, but when startled it does something unique.

While other species swim to safety, H. psychedelica escapes by jet propulsion, squirting water out of gill-like openings towards the back of its body as it pushes off the bottom with its fins. This, says one diver who observed it, makes it look rather like "an inflated rubber ball bouncing along the bottom".

The new species also hunts differently. All the other 325 known species of anglerfish, the group to which frogfish belong, sit in the open and attract prey with a lure.

H. psychedelica has no lure. Instead, it hunts by squeezing itself into tiny crevices where small fish hide.

Finally, while other species of frogfish change colour to match the coral they are sitting on, H. psychedelica stays true to its name whatever the background, sporting mind-bending swirls of orange, white and blue.

The psychedelic frogfish is still missing, presumed hiding. With diving companies desperately seeking what was briefly their star attraction, we may yet find out where it came from and why it has taken such a different evolutionary path from its cousins.

(Image: David Hall / Seaphotos.com)





I ... CAN... SEE... IT'S... EYES?
The fish with a cockpit head

Discovered: California, 1939
Described: 2009

The 15-centimetre-long deep-sea barreleye fish Macropinna microstoma was discovered 70 years ago off the California coast. Until recently, though, little was known about it, as all known specimens were dead and damaged after being brought up in fishing nets.

This year, however, Bruce Robison from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California has collected the first footage of a live M. microstoma, filmed 600 to 800 metres down. They also collected a live specimen to study on the surface.

For the first time, researchers were able to see a delicate, transparent, fluid-filled dome on the fish's head, which completely encloses its bright green eyes.

The eyes were already known to face upwards to search for food through the gloom, but the live specimens revealed that once it has spotted food, it can swivel its eyes forward and swim straight upwards to catch it.

(Image: 2004 MBARI)







Okay well make sure to stock pile up on duct tape, napalm, freeze dried ice cream, shotgun shells, rocket fuel, and peach schnapps. You should be fine.

Monday, May 25, 2009

High Culture Low Art


When I say that culture has generally hit a low. That low culture is what is acceptable to the masses.... It seems cynical but I offer this comparison of CARTOONS


1950





2009





Ok. I admit I laugh at both. Family guy is hysterical but they reference other TV shows. All pop culture is now self referential. Regardless of how obscure and hilarious some family guy references are my point remains the same.

Although here's Robot Chicken's operatic version of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan....
which I guess falls somewhere in between but not really.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's About Time


The New York Times reports that The State Department will offer equal benefits and protections to same-sex partners of American diplomats, according to an internal memorandum Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent last week to an association of gay and lesbian Foreign Service officers.

Well it's about damn time.

As individual states fight for the right for citizens to be in monogamous committed relationships the State is finally doing something about it.

We can only hope the rest of the US follows suit and decides that the sanctity of marriage can only exist if people who want to get married are allowed to. Homophobia is a 21st century anachronism.

It seems as though the religious right in this country really need to get their priorities in line. Selfish Americans think that closing Gitmo, opposing Obamba's speech at Notre Dame, and making sure there are no tits or curse words on TV is way more important than things like uh Human Rights. Civil Liberties yes but basic human rights all over the world are being trampled.

Then again celebrity rehab and making sure chickens have enough living room space is obviously way more important.

Let people live their damn lives. They aren't hurting anyone and American culture and the moral fiber of the country won't be harmed anymore than it already is. Culture collapsed a while ago and the moral fabric well.... turn on your tv. Better yet turn it off.



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" "The difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can't help doing.” ― Charles Bukowski