Friday, November 21, 2008

Why Nessie really could exist

There's a story on CNN (and elsewhere) about the rediscovery of a species thought to be extinct for over 80 years - the pygmy tarsier.
There is something wonderful about this story which may go unnoticed by most readers. A friend of mine, however, pointed out that one of the head researchers "would like her graduate student,... also on the expedition, to return to the field site for her dissertation...." Something as newsworthy as this, and the professor lets her graduate student be the one to continue the work.
Hats off to you, Sharon. Not only for finding the tarsiers alive, but also for so humbly requesting that your students continue the work in your stead.
And one last note, concerning the title of the blog post. We have found several species which were thought to be extinct (the coelacanth, for example), and often discover previously unknown species (unfortunately, just as often as we come across new species, we come across new species which are already near extinction). So who's to say that Nessie doesn't really exist?

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Wolf King"

A story on the BBC today speaks of rare wolves - only about 500 of them remaining - which have to be vaccinated against rabies because of the dog population which has, with its human overseers, encroached upon the wolves' original territory.

"The wolves reign there; I like to think of them as the guardians of the high mountains of Africa," said Dr. Claudio Sillero.

I won't get preachy. I just feel that it's important we recognize, and soon, how much of an impact, good or bad, we humans really have.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jurassic Park is extinct

Michael Crichton, one author whose every publication I have read - including his autobiography - has died. The world has lost a talented, well-spoken genius.

John Wells, executive producer of "ER" called the author "an extraordinary man. Brilliant, funny, erudite, gracious, exceptionally inquisitive and always thoughtful.

"No lunch with Michael lasted less than three hours and no subject was too prosaic or obscure to attract his interest. Sexual politics, medical and scientific ethics, anthropology, archaeology, economics, astronomy, astrology, quantum physics, and molecular biology were all regular topics of conversation."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results

Some interesting statistics from today's Morning Edition on NPR:
  • Obama won an overwhelming majority of black and hispanic voters
  • Obama won a majority of under 30 voters
  • Obama won a majority of voters who make under $50,000 a year in total income
  • Obama also won a majority of voters who make over $200,000 a year - yes, those people whose taxes are increasing.
Additionally, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, and other traditionally "red" states went true blue this election.

And, in the coup de grace of the election season, Colorado's Amendment 48 - the "personhood" amendment - has lost, with a compelling ~70% against the measure. Thank you, Colorado, for being reasonable. I love you more each day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Why has the word "diet" become synonymous with self-imposed starvation, calorie-counting and Weight Watchers?
Oh, yeah, in a completely unrelated stream of consciousness: get out and vote.