Skulls and squiggly things

Back in February, we went to the Beaty Biodiveristy museum (pro tip – free admission for UBC employees and students) and here are some pictures. Warning, there are dead squiggly things in jars in this post (and even more at the Flickr Set).

Display: Red, Green, Dead Birds
Sea snake in a jar
Sea snake in a jar. Perfect Seal
Mountain Goat, Reflection
Mountain Goat, Reflection
Squiggly things
The Owls are Judging You
The Owls are Judging You
Life Matrix
The matrix of life, from Day 0 on.
Black Tailed Deer
Black Tailed Deer
Blue Whale Skeleton
Blue Whale Skeleton


Another foot washed up in the Pacific Northwest

This time, near Tacoma:

A photo of the shoe. Image from

From the CTV story:

Police in Washington State are offering a $1,000 award for information after the discovery of another detached foot on the shores of the Pacific Northwest.

The right foot was found on Dec. 5 in the city of Tacoma, south of Seattle.

The detached foot was inside a boy’s size 6 OzArk Trail brand hiking boot, which police believes belonged to a youth or small adult. The boots were sold in Walmart stores in 2004 and 2005.

Read more…

This is continually strange. We’ll see if they can find out what happening.


This all started in 2007, finding disarticulated feet washed up on the beaches of BC and upper Washington State. I could go on, but I recommend the Wikipedia article (even if it’s not updated with #10):Wikipedia: Pacific Northwest human foot discoveries.

Very. Very. Strange.

Science! Salmon boom after underwater volcano boom

I love science, because it makes sense. here’s a story that makes science sense:

CBC:  Volcanic eruption led to B.C. salmon boom: scientist

A volcanic eruption might have helped produce B.C.’s largest sockeye salmon run since 1913.

The 34 million salmon that returned to B.C.’s Fraser River this year were “adolescents” in the Gulf of Alaska when the underwater Kasatochi volcano erupted there in 2008, said Tim Parsons, a research scientist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, B.C.

The ash from that eruption fertilized the ocean, leading to a massive bloom of special phytoplankton called diatoms — an unusually rich source of food for the growing salmon.

Read more:

The funnest thing about this story is that it makes such total sense if you have an understanding of the fundamentals of oceanography. One of the limiting factors in phytoplankton growth in all oceans (where there is sufficient oxygen – O is the ultimate limiting factor with life on earth (except when it’s not)) is iron and other nutrients that are found in great grand quantity in volcanic ash.

Sun on the Water
This way lies the ocean.

Plants! That! Maim!

Globe and Mail: Giant weed that can cause blindness popping up in Ontario, B.C.

Money Quote:

While it may look bewildering — almost begging to be examined by an amateur botanist or a green thumb — the consequences of touching the weed could scar a person for life.

“The sap gets activated by sunlight, so once you get out on the sun it reacts and can cause really bad burns, blistering and scars,” said Mr. Muzzi.

It has also been known to cause temporary blindness or, in extreme cases, permanent loss of eyesight, said Mr. Muzzi.

As they say in the lab, sweet jesus.

Snakes on an historical plane

This is just too terrifying to not post about.

‘Anaconda’ Meets ‘Jurassic Park’: Fossil Snake from India Fed on Hatchling Dinosaurs

The remains of an extraordinary fossil unearthed in 67-million-year-old sediments from Gujarat, western India provide a rare glimpse at an unusual feeding behavior in ancient snakes… The remains of a nearly complete snake were found preserved in the nest of a sauropod dinosaur, adults of which are the largest animals known to have walked the earth. The snake was coiled around a recently hatched egg adjacent to a hatchling sauropod. Remains of other snake individuals associated with egg clutches at the same site indicate that the newly described snake made its living feeding on young dinosaurs.

That’s right. Dinosaur-eating snakes.

Sleep tight.

Back to usual

The Olympics are over. The roads are busy, the skies are clear, and the whole city seems to be suffering from a post-Olympic hangover.

Maybe we should add oxygen.

Hangover-Free Booze? Increasing Dissolved Oxygen Concentrations in Alcohol May Reduce Negative Side Effects

A new study has found that increasing dissolved oxygen concentrations in alcohol may help to reduce alcohol-related side effects and accidents… Results showed that elevated, dissolved oxygen concentrations in alcoholic drinks can accelerate the metabolism and elimination of alcohol.


Sadly, coffee doesn't make the alcohol go away

CNN: FDA: Caffeinated alcoholic drinks may be illegal

In September, 18 attorneys general from states including Connecticut, Utah, California and New York sent a letter to the FDA outlining why they consider such drinks dangerous… The letter cited several studies that showed stimulants such as caffeine mask the intoxicating effects of alcohol and could lead to increased risk-taking and other alcohol-related problems such as violence, sexual assault, traffic accidents and even suicide.

This is one of those ORLY moments. ORLY? Adding caffeine to booze might not be the healthiest of things?

Yes. O RLY.

Forget Bears

They made some movies about this. I think it involved Val Kilmer in some way…

CTV: Man-eating lions consumed 35 people in 1898

The nightly attacks by two man-eating lions terrified railway workers and brought construction to a halt in one of east Africa’s most notorious onslaughts more than a hundred years ago. But the death toll, scientists now say, wasn’t as high as previously thought.

Over nine months the two voracious hunters claimed 35 lives — no small figure, but much less than some accounts of as many as 135 victims. [more]