Wednesday, December 8, 2010

posted in memory of someone I did not know

for SC
Hemiphractus fasciatus via Jerry Coyne

Kermit the Frog via Jim Henson

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Colors of Christmas Through the Decades

White Christmas (1942)

Green Christmas (1958)

Blue Xmas (1962)

Black Christmas (1974)

Yellow Christmas (1986)

(Charlie) Brown Christmas* (1992)

Orange Christmas Orange (2003)

*yeah, kind of a stretch. *shrug*

Thursday, August 26, 2010

last chance? please help

Laura Cunningham photo.

If enough people write letters in the next few days, it seems there is a chance to stop the TopKill of a big chunk of Ivanpah Valley.
Please read and act if you can:
Save Ivanpah Valley

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

depressing news

I used to know this place really well*.
Read it and weep.
I did.

*I spent a good part of three years just below the first 'e' of 'Preserve' in the map shown here. Keep reading.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

teh Truth

Biology is always more complex than you think.

Friday, July 23, 2010

bivalves vs. amniotes

This post at Tet Zoo reminded me of a photo I had stashed away. Apologies for utterly forgetting the source.

This is a juvenile stinkpot (Sternotherus odoratus) killed by a freshwater mussel of some sort.

Nature! Red in tooth uh valve and um claw umbo.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

They're so cute when they're little

[click to enlarge. You know you want to.]


Light the corners of my mind

Misty watercolored mem'ries

Of The Way We Were...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Heroes, another in a series

Paul Krassner: Satirist, author, underground publisher, and raving, unconfined nut.

New New Thread Everlasting Omnibus Update Toodle-oo

[meta: I guess this is probably the last one of these I'll do.
Anyone interested in the data can e me: svendimiloATgmail]

Here is the State of teh Thread: Two years! Hoo-ray!
[a kind of minimalist 2-y retrospective from the IJoTS is over here.]
Updatedate: 02/25/2011
Comment Count: 135698
Current Episode: Episode CLXXVI: Atheism ain’t just for us old geezers (link)

Fig. 1: [click to enlarge] Comment count for the first two years of Pharyngula's Endless Thread. The colorful vertical lines mark each of the first 50 or so subThreads, but I gave up on that shit. Red threadmarkers with adherent vestigial green threads mark anastomoses. The pink threadmarker is the 1-year mark. Somewhere in there in light blue are the parallel subsubThreads CXXVb and CLXIIb..

Archives and detailed history of teh Thread are squirreled away here, frozen in time on 3/30/2010 forever.

so it goes

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Structure of Procrastinatory Theory

I have serendipitously discovered the most astounding proof that no matter how far you extend microprocrastination, it can never become macroprocrastination. And I will reveal this proof...


[posted in honor of Paul Nelson Day. Happy Monkey!]

Friday, March 5, 2010

History of a tree yucca. Just one.

In 1926, a guy named Burton Frasher photographed a desert landscape in a place called Centennial Flat, not far from Darwin, CA.

He sold it as a postcard:

Chris Clarke recognized that Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) in the middle:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Teh Thread Everlasting at One Year: A Graphical Retrospective

At 10:28 PM Pharyngula timestamp time (=EST) on February 24, 2010, teh Eternal Thread reached exactly one year in age. From shortly after its humble beginning as an argument with delugionists in a thread ostensibly about some comicbook movie to its current status as damn-near permanent Most Active comment thread of all of ScienceBorg, I have assiduously copied and pasted the date and time of every hundredth comment. This ridiculous time-wasting hobby has now yielded a number of sniny graphs and a few hard-won Truths; because I'm not really sure what the latter are, exactly, here I share the former.

First, the raw data, exactly one year of teh Thread (all figures are clickable and thereby enlargable):
Fig. 1: One year's worth of teh Thread Everlasting. See current update for details.

So, there it is, in all its glory, such as it is. Just the facts, ma'am. 365 days; 28049 comments.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Heroes #10


Thelonious Sphere Monk?

Yes, please.

Now listening...hoo!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Greatest Catfood Commercial of All Time

...if only I had the skillz to replace the soundtrack with...mmm...'The Porpoise Song'?
'Blue Jay Way'?

'White Rabbit'?

but anyway:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mojave Action

Imagine that Martin Scorsese directed a CGI short about a coal train rolling down the hill from Cima to Kelso with NOBODY DRIVING THE TRAIN!

Peter Gabriel soundtrack.

Here it is:

awesome hi-res version here.

[Except there's a road missing. I used to see sidewinders on that missing road all the time.]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Future of The Thread: More Comments

Following the recent embarrassing trouncing of my once-bold-seeming prediction by that darn reality, I hesitate to prognosticate again.

And yet.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Omnibus Thread Everlasting Update

These archives are no longer updated. New new updates are here

Monday, January 25, 2010

This title expresses approval of the post linked

This sentence links to a typically incendiary blog post by Chris Clarke.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

word o' the day


Metathreadual analysis

With the 20K and 1 y stumbling blocks milestones approaching, a first stab at some comparative subThread-level trends.

First, subThread duration:

Clearly, despite some wide variation in the early going, subThreads are getting shorter in duration; of the last 6 subThreads, none has lasted even 10 d, and the last 9 were terminated ere e'en a fortnight was pass'd. It will be interesting to see if this infernal stimulus for increasingly frequent updates will persist.

Now on to subThreadwise commenting rates:

Very interesting. The illustrated upward trend (dashed line; simple linear regression) is due almost entirely to the high rates of commenting in the last four subThreads, i.e. post-anastomosation (red slash). Before Teh CO's eldritch experiment, a remarkably consistent rate of about 80 comments/day had obtained for five sequential subThreads. Can the ridiculous current rates, approaching 200/d, be sustained?

stay tuned

Friday, January 22, 2010

Animal taxonomy

A reasonably current synopsis:

Monday, January 18, 2010




is better, yes?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On the Anastomosation of Comment Threads

Presumably you know what I'm talking about already; if not this is unlikely to be of interest.

Teh Cephalopodian Overlord of Pharyngula conducted a fiendish and cruel experiment on January 8, 2010: two active comment threads were brute-force/microsurgically combined, an unnatural procedure jargonously known as anastomosis.

Quoth Teh CO at the time:
So there I am, holding two tubes on the internet that are pulsing and spewing, ready to cut both off…and what is any scientist's natural inclination in such circumstances? Why, to take the severed ends and suture them together and see what happens! That is this new thread, an anastomosis between two, count 'em, two old threads. I wonder…will it explode?
and, in alt-text:
Multiple threads fused into one gigantic monstrosity! Chaos reigns!

We now have sufficient data for a preliminary investigation of the early results from Dr. Myers' (if that is his real name) malicious "experiment".

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heroes # 9, is it?

for Cat's Cradle alone, but so much more too.

for Sometimes a Great Notion alone, but so much more too.

one more Kesey shot:

20K in 1 y

Having deployed sophisticated computer modelling techniques, I am now prepared to formally predict that Teh Thread Everlasting will exceed 20,000 comments before its first anniversary on Feb. 24 2010.**
This prediction is based on conservative projections from current temporal commenting trends, as illustrated here:

(click to enlarge)
The pink dashed line is a best-fit 3rd-order polynomial calculated from the comment/time data shown in black, and forecast into the future. Note that this underestimates the effect (if any, Professor) of the recent anastomosation.*
The red line is the minimum rate needed to satisfy the prediction.

As far as I am aware, this is only the second example of a quantitative prediction in the history of the discipline of Blogospherical Science.

*UPDATE 1/17: it seems that anastomisation did have a positive effect on commenting rate, and that the Day of 20K is therefore likely to arrive even sooner than predicted above.

**UPDATE 1/27: This prediction turned out to be laughably conservative. People started commenting at ridiculous rates.
Data here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My favorite zoology vids

Sir David Attenborough’s Tree of Life (please start here!)
(a little animal/vertebrate-centric but otherwise beautiful)

many more follow

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This is where one quotes Mark Twain

A comment from Dania on The Thread Everlasting tapped into an interesting period in the history of The Thread when its death was prematurely predicted, and even requested, by a number of otherwise enthusiastic Threadizens. Here follow some laughably FAIL quotes, nostalgically evoking a simpler, less complicated, somehow more innocent time of days long gone by. Little could we have known at the time (March-April 2009) what glorious heights The Thread would soon reach. Is this Irony? I forget.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Breast cancer trends

(click to enlarge)
Annual breast-cancer death rates
squares: "black" women
triangles: "white" women
curves are quadratic

Data source: National Cancer Center SEER database
"US Mortality Files, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates are per 100,000 and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US Std Population (19 age groups - Census P25-1130)."