Monthly Archives: August 2010

No Mad Radio (this week)

Conflict with KBOO programming- so even though it was a full moon last night/ this morning, Mad Liberation by Moonlight will not be broadcast Friday night (the night of August 27th/ morning of the 28th, depending on your perspective).

It is possible we will have the show on next week. I am undecided. Sometimes we take a break in the summer. I will keep you posted by blog and by e-mail if you’re on the list.

bye for now, stay connected,

Rick

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Day Off

As a State employee I have the perk of getting tomorrow off without pay (part of the Furlough Day program to cut budget deficits). I decided to take today off as well, using a vacation day, to make a 4 day weekend.

Yay!

Anyway, I have lots of stuff to do over the weekend- more than I could do in 2 days. We have a guest arriving from out of town- a long-term guest- and we’re turning part of the garage into a bedroom. There is still much to do and she arrives in a week.

Today I’ll just share some pictures, maybe another thing or two.

The pictures below are from National Geographic, they are free desktop images. You can find these and more at this place. Click for full size then right click to save.

This one makes me think the little guy is saying, “What in the heck has happened to my neighborhood?!”

For my next trick- courtesy of Goopymart

Nature is amazing, eh? This is from the Guardian:

The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.

The gruesome hallmark of the fungus’s handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.

The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.

The fungus, which is alive and well in forests today, latches on to carpenter ants as they cross the forest floor before returning to their nests high in the canopy.

The fungus grows inside the ants and releases chemicals that affect their behaviour. Some ants leave the colony and wander off to find fresh leaves on their own, while others fall from their tree-top havens on to leaves nearer the ground.

The final stage of the parasitic death sentence is the most macabre. In their last hours, infected ants move towards the underside of the leaf they are on and lock their mandibles in a “death grip” around the central vein, immobilising themselves and locking the fungus in position.

“This can happen en masse. You can find whole graveyards with 20 or 30 ants in a square metre. Each time, they are on leaves that are a particular height off the ground and they have bitten into the main vein before dying,” said David Hughes at Harvard University.

The fungus cannot grow high up in the canopy or on the forest floor, but infected ants often die on leaves midway between the two, where the humidity and temperature suit the fungus. Once an ant has died, the fungus sprouts from its head and produces a pod of spores, which are fired at night on to the forest floor, where they can infect other ants.

Scientists led by Hughes noticed that ants infected with the fungus,Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, bit into leaves with so much force they left a lasting mark. The holes created by their mandibles either side of the leaf vein are bordered by scar tissue, producing an unmistakable dumb-bell shape.

Writing in the journal, Biology Letters, the team describes how they trawled a database of images that document leaf damage by insects, fungi and other organisms. They found one image of a 48m-year-old leaf from the Messel pit that showed the distinctive “death grip” markings of an infected ant. At the time, the Messel area was thick with subtropical forests.

“We now present it as the first example of behavioural manipulation and probably the only one which can be found. In most cases, this kind of control is spectacular but ephemeral and doesn’t leave any permanent trace,” Hughes said.

“The question now is, what are the triggers that push a parasite not just to kill its host, but to take over its brain and muscles and then kill it.”

He added: “Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host’s behaviour.

Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?”

Scientists are not clear how the fungus controls the ants it infects, but know that the parasite releases alkaloid chemicals into the insect as it consumes it from the inside.

On the subject of Zombies, Zombie nuts!

Saddest photo ever-

Unrelated nonsense-

At the place I work they are hiring a new Superintendent. I know some people who having worked in this place for many years are on the verge of quitting. I just hope this guy lives up to the hype.  I can hardly stand to lose more people who support the good things. So far, all the news is good. We meet him next week.

Bye for now,

-Rick

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Filed under animated gif, animation, macaques, Nature, Oregon State Hospital, pictures, Science

Ache Song

Oh where is the one I seek?

the night is lonely and

when the daylight comes

I am still yearning

my journey not done

I ask for your patience

I have run

out of time

there will be no debate

and I will

not arrive

so I cannot be late

Everything

I have learned

in this world

has been wrong

When this breath

blows away

there will be no one

here singing

this song

I have been smoke

I have been rain

I am a thread

that waits to be pulled

I have no words

that are true

no name that is mine

along with all things

under the sky

joined be the stars

moved by the wind

a ripple

on the ocean of time

heartbroken

I will wait

this vast pain

of separation

unbearable

I will bear it

this ache

is all I have

to offer you

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Filed under personal story, poetry, Spirituality

New Post- still early August 2010

Hodge-podge:

  • is a word used to describe a confused or disorderly mass or collection
  • a “mess” or a “jumble”
  • a type of mutton soup
  • of the Discordians. The Sacred Chao is a symbol used by Discordians to illustrate the interrelatedness of order and disorder. It resembles a Yin-Yang symbol

YOU decide.

Mostly pictures I’ve run across. Some other stuff. Click for big- as per usual.

Go here.

1950

Short story- Gold Coast- MacPherson

bye for now,

Rick

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Filed under animated gif, animation, cats, pictures