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


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 β€” almost begging to be examined by an amateur botanist or a green thumb β€” the consequences of touching the weed could scar a person for life.

β€œThe 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.


I have to admit, I’ve never been a fan of the heat. There’s a large swath of Danish in my genetic background and we haven’t really evolved to deal with heatwaves. Icewaves, yes. Heatwaves, no.

Well, at least not until this whole global climate change thing hit. There was a story in the news recently about how these weather extremes are going to be the new norm… all I can say is ew.

CTV: Extreme heat wave example of climate change: expert

Some other bits of news, because it’s been a while since I did a news post:

Canada appoints new governor general, but it’s not William Shatner

This one makes me angry: More than 70 per cent of Canadian university freshmen admitted to cheating at least once on high school assignments and another 60 per cent admitted to “serious acts of cheating” on tests.

One close to my heart: a 24Hours column about focusing on pedestrian safety in Vancouver. Or as I like to call it, “What safety”?

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.


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]


I have this strange fascination with the H1N1 Flu developments, partly because at work I’m listening to the pandemic planning goings-on, and also because I’m demographically right in there with the hardest hit group.

Swine Flu Characteristics Becoming More Evident

Experts stress that most people who get the H1N1 virus either never get sick or recover easily. But some young adults, possibly especially women, are falling seriously ill at an unexpectedly rapid pace and are showing up in intensive care units and dying in unusually high numbers, they say.

About one-third of those around the world who have died or became seriously ill from swine flu appear to have been vulnerable because they had heart or lung disease, chronic kidney problems, or other ailments that usually put people at risk. But others had conditions that many may not immediately associate with frailness, such as mild asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. [more…]

Bloggy Victory! plus SNAKES

I’ve moved the blog from a sub directory to the top-level of this domain (where you’re now seeing it). This just goes to prove that the only thing closer to Godliness than cleanliness, is proper documentation.

The daily round-up:
Updated Olympic Transportation Plan unveiled: Road closures, parking restrictions, recommended driving times
Road closures, severe parking and stopping restrictions on Vancouver streets, and recommended travel times will be part of the Olympic experience. The plan requires reducing vehicle traffic by at least 30 per cent in downtown Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge and Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge, the Sea to Sky Highway, and in Whistler.

Youth ‘cannot live’ without web: A survey of 16 to 24 year olds has found that 75% of them feel they “couldn’t live” without the internet. The report, published by online charity YouthNet, also found that four out of five young people used the web to look for advice. About one third added that they felt no need to talk to a person face to face about their problems because of the resources available online.

Complete retirement ‘bad for you’: Giving up work completely on retirement could be bad for your health, US research suggests. The study of 12,189 people found retirees who take on temporary or part-time work have fewer major diseases, and function better day to day. The findings were significant even after considering people’s physical and mental health before retirement.

Report Documents Risks Of Giant Invasive Snakes In The United States: Five giant non-native snake species would pose high risks to the health of ecosystems in the United States should they become established here, according to a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report.

The USGS report details the risks of nine non-native boa, anaconda and python species that are invasive or potentially invasive in the United States. Because all nine species share characteristics associated with greater risks, none was found to be a low ecological risk. Two of these species are documented as reproducing in the wild in South Florida, with population estimates for Burmese pythons in the tens of thousands.