Monday, December 24, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
There is often news about the sort of paleontological and zoological topics that I find interesting.
To cite a recent example, paleoanthropologists have announced the discovery of the Red Deer Cave People, a potential new species of hominid that lived in China only about 12,000 years ago.
Or, to cite another recent example, an entirely new species of Leopard Frog has been found living in the vicinity of New York City.
Sometimes I think that I should blog about these topics. But if I did, I wouldn't have anything new to add; I would only be repeating what could be read elsewhere.
Now I do have something original to say, on a zoological topic that I've discussed before, the Five-lined Skink (Plestiodon fasciatus, formerly known as Eumeces fasciatus). The unseasonably warm weather in northern Virginia over the past two weeks has brought the skinks out of hibernation at an abnormally early date. On Thursday, March 22, I saw Five-lined Skinks out and about at two localities, Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County, and the African American Heritage Park in Alexandria. (The skink pictured here was at Huntley Meadows.) This is a good month before I normally first observe their spring activity.
But due to the near-freezing temperatures predicted for Monday night, the skinks will have to go back to hiding under rocks and inside logs.
I sometimes wish that I could hide under rocks and inside logs.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I don't normally like to blog about anything even remotely serious. And I also don't normally like to blog about my alma mater, Yale University. But I am making an exception because of a story that gained a fair amount of traction on the internet a few weeks ago (I always come in late in my blogging), and which is way too stupid to be allowed to pass without comment.
The story in question appears in the Telegraph under the title "The Plot to Create Britain's Super Race". And in general it appears to have been accepted uncritically.
The story consists of two facts:
1. During World War II, members of the Yale faculty invited 125 children of Oxford faculty members to live in New Haven.
2. Many member of the Yale faculty at the time were interested in eugenics.
Supposedly these facts mean that there was a secret plot in place in which the Oxford children would return to England after the war and form the basis for a new, intellectually superior population. There is, however, absolutely no evidence presented to link Fact 1 and Fact 2, only wild speculation. Nor is there any indication of how 125 individuals could make any difference in the hereditary characteristics of a nation of millions of people. This entire idea of a secret eugenics plot is completely unsupported, yet it was published in a major British newspaper, and believed in its entirety at Yale, where people are supposed to be smart.
Maybe if someone had succeeded in creating a super race, those superbeings would have been able to understand how ridiculous this story is.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
For the first time in my life, I find myself caring about what happens at the Oscars. I want to see Moneyball and its cast win in every possible category, and particularly I want to see Jonah Hill win in his role as a character based on a guy with whom I went to school.
I am entirely unexcited about any of the other films of the year. For example, I'm not interested in the movie in which Glenn Close portrays Conan O'Brien.
But then, maybe I should be interested, because when I was in high school the college guidance counselor claimed that he was Glenn Close's uncle.
Yet the college guidance counselor was a little odd in the head, and said some pretty strange things, so in the end I don't know what to think.
Friday, February 10, 2012
There are many subjects about which I want to blog. Politics is not one of them. But when I saw news about the Iowa caucus, I could not help but be reminded of my long-standing wish that the Democratic Party had held a caucus in New Jersey in 1988, so that we could have seen the headline Dukakis Wins Secaucus Caucus.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I haven't been able to blog in January, because between the second day of the month and the end of last week, my computer was crippled by problems with the display.
My first step was to go to the local Apple Store, where I was told that my six-year-old computer is considered "vintage", which means that it is so old that Apple doesn't stock parts for it anymore.
And so, if you were wondering who that guy was walking around Pentagon City Mall forlornly clutching a laptop from the Sumerian era, now you know.
But some good did come from my this event, because a man saw me holding my ancient iBook, and asked me if there was an Apple Store in the mall, and I could tell him that it was "one floor down and kind of over that way".
And indeed even more good came from this event, because, despite not being able to repair the computer, the people at the Apple Store correctly diagnosed the problem. I was thus able to overrule the technician at the non-Apple computer store who did not correctly diagnose the problem, and wanted me to spend $350 on a component that I didn't need.