Archive for April, 2015

April 30, 2015

Thursday Quote Du Jour: Getting the facts

by Janie Jones

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

-Mark Twain

Okay, okay.  I have a fondness for that pseudoscience alien encounter crap.  Not like I believe for a second that aliens abduct and experiment on people.  But, the possibility that other “sentient” beings exist somewhere in the universe is worth pondering.  I just don’t believe for a second that they have been here.  Or if they have that they would have any interest in experimenting on people.  In my mind, if a race of beings was able to figure out how to achieve faster than light speed travel, what on Earth could possibly be curious to them about human biology.  Seems if you can crack the physics of time and space and travel hundreds of light years across the galaxy, there isn’t much left to be discovered in the primitive race of man.  They’d either destroy us like we destroy an anthill or they’d just totally ignore us.  In a way that’s one and the same.

Still I find these TV shows curiously fascinating.

Seriously though, what I enjoy most about all these “Ancient Aliens” theories is laughing at their bunk.  I find it tremendously fun to laugh at how they are built on the premise that we have no other good explanation for things so, lets assume that ancient human beings were too stupid to have any significant scientific knowledge or sophisticated imaginations and that must mean some alien intelligence was afoot here on Earth to build cities of granite, wage nuclear wars, oh, and, but first kill off all the dinosaurs except a few which they repopulated because they posed no threat to the race of humans they were engineering and nurturing.  WTF?

I watched this show about ancient aliens and dinosaurs last night.  It was like they couldn’t decide.  Did ancient aliens destroy all the dinosaurs so the aliens could then raise up the human race “safely?”  Or did they only kill off some, and that up until rather recently there were still small populations of dinosaurs living with humans as is “evidenced” by “dinosaur like” images engraved in stones and buildings in central America and Asia?

Because you know, we were wrong about the extinction of the coelacanth.  Somehow, we managed to miss the existence of a roughly human sized fish in a huge ocean.  Surely we could be wrong about the extinction of land animals like dinosaurs the size of a building.

Still it makes for a good yarn.


April 29, 2015

Wacky Wednesday Fun Facts

by Janie Jones

So last week I wrote about Earth Day and the Google quiz which identified you with an animal.  Well, I told the spud about it and she took the quiz too.  Apparently the spud is a mantis shrimp.  Not knowing any more about mantis shrimp than I did pangolins, I Googled it.  Turns out mantis shrimp can be pretty cool.  Thanks to Wikipedia and the info I lifted from there, you too can now see just how cool mantis shrimp are and do so from the comfort of my blog:

Wikipedia says they can range in size, from an average of about 12 inches all the way up to the largest mantis shrimp ever seen which was 18 inches!  There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp and can range in color from shades of brown to to bright rainbow colors.

While they are apparently pretty common in tropical ocean waters they are not well known, as most species spend the majority of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

Called “sea locusts” by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” in Australia and sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously – mantis shrimps sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment.  Mantis shrimp can move super fast when they are hunting or defending themselves and strike with extreme force for such a small creature.  In captivity, some larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike.


Depending on the type of mantis shrimp they often eat other small crustaceans and molluscs such as crabs, snails, or  oysters or fish.

It seems they have very complex eyes too, with very sophisticated vision and the ability to see in ways most other animals don’t.  Their special visual abilities may help them communicate, avoid danger, find food, and judge mating seasons.  It has even been suggested that the mantis shrimp’s eyes can detect cancer and the activity of brain cells!

Holy moly!

Mantis shrimp are long-lived and some species use fluorescent patterns on their bodies for signaling with their own and maybe even other species.

They can learn and remember well, and are able to recognize individual neighbors with whom they frequently interact.

Depending on the species, they may lay eggs and keep them in a burrow, or they can be carried around under the female’s tail until they hatch. Also depending on the species, male and female may come together only to mate, or they may bond in monogamous long-term relationships remaining with the same partner for up to 20 years. They share the same burrow and both sexes often take care of the eggs.  Some female mantis shrimp will lay two clutches of eggs: one that the male tends and one that the female tends. In other species, the female will look after the eggs while the male hunts for both of them.

While most mantis shrimp “walk” or swim like we would expect, one species, Nannosquilla decemspinosa, has been observed wrapping itself into a circular shape and rolling like a wheel.

Find these facts fascinating?  Want to read more?  I recommend checking this link out.  It will give you a whole new respect for the mantis shrimp:

Click here to visit The Oatmeal mantis shrimp cartoon.

I sure had fun looking this stuff up.  I hope you have fun reading about it!

April 28, 2015

Tuesday Titters: Something fishy

by Janie Jones

What is King Arthur’s favorite fish?


And because a miserable joke loves company, here’s a couple more:

What did the fish say when he swam into a wall?


What do you call a fish who does operations?

A sturgeon!

I know, I know.  I can hear the groaning so I’ll stop here.



April 27, 2015

Monday Melange

by Janie Jones

Leif had an event to attend in Big City yesterday that was not exactly my cup of tea, besides from the fact it was late in the day and I had homework to do.  But he came in early so we could spend some time together before hand and I dog sat for Vera and Rupert so they wouldn’t have to be left alone at the farm all day.  It was nice to see the dogginses.  We even squeezed in a walk after dinner as it was a lovely, sunny afternoon.  When Leif came back to pick up the dogs on his way back to the farm later that night, I don’t think Rupert wanted to go.  He stood right outside the door until Leif finally called him.  My little guy.  It was very tempting to open the door up and let him back in.

There is just this week and one more in the semester until finals.  I have a poster to present on Wednesday, a physics test on Friday and a microbiology lab test a week from Thursday.  That is all that is left standing between me and finals.  Most people, I think, hate finals.  Me though, I look forward to them.  They symbolize the end of suffering.  Hey, I can take a couple tests and be thrilled to do so if it means the end.

Almost done with physics.  Almost done with physics.  Almost done with physics.

I have been trying to study really hard to for my microbiology final.  I cannot imagine getting a better grade in physics than in microbiology, but I tell you what, I have been very disappointed with the lecture for that class and unless I manage to do amazingly well on the final there is the distinct possibility that the unimaginably unexpected will actually happen.  I’ve also been disappointed with myself, but as much as I *want* to learn this stuff and do well, I am really having a hard time keeping up with the material.  Trying to crack down and commit the material to memory, I spent so much time last Tuesday studying I put my back out.

Seriously.  A reading related injury.

I tend to slouch when I read, especially big, heavy textbooks that are a pain to hold up.  Apparently I sat for so long reading I strained my back muscles.  When I began to hurt from sitting in my “traditional” slouch, I tried to sit and lay in a variety of other poses which I hoped would neutralize the slouch or counter stretch my back.  In the end, I strained a whole mess of back muscles.  Thank goodness for metaxalone and naproxen.

Well my friends, it’s time to get to it.

Happy Monday.

April 25, 2015

Love Tap

by Janie Jones

I came out to the car yesterday afternoon and found this wedged in the door jam:

Love Tap

For a moment I wondered what on Earth prompted the above average quirky nature of the note.  I saw no evidence of the aforementioned love tap, but even if there was a small scratch or ding, my car is 16 years old, covered in gravel road farm dust and about a baker’s dozen dings, scratches, chipped paint, missing trims and rust.  So I stopped myself from wondering and gave into laughing, fully enjoying the random bizarreness of the moment.

May you all have a dinosaur riding a flower kind of day.  And, if your car gets a boo-boo, you can always make it better with an Iron Man band-aid, can’t you?

April 24, 2015

I like the cut of your jib

by Janie Jones

'I can't think of a single thing to paint.'Now that’s someone who really knows how to put a spin on.

April 23, 2015

Thursday Quote Du Jour: How am I doing in physics? Eh, it’s all relative.

by Janie Jones

The semester, and therefore my foray into the realm of physics, is almost over.  But, we are just beginning to study relativity.


When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

-Albert Einstein