Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pix of the meat eaters 

Update on the carnivores.

The cat ate the Sarracenia psittacina, so I reordered that.

I scored a used aquarium for my terrarium, 24"W x 12"D x18"H for $20 bucks. This will hold 15 of the 4" pots I'm using, which is about the number which will fit vertically in the terrarium.

Here's some new growth. S. leucophylla,

S. leucophylla,

S. alabamensis,

S. alabamensis

S. purpurea,

Carnivorous plant scorecard 

I intend to collect all species native to North America in the following five genera: Darlingtonia, Dionaea, Drosera, Pinguicula, and Sarracenia. Blue means I have it, purple means I've ordered it.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Amazing music 

Tuning the cave.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Continuing to debunk "Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims" 

Continued from here, comments on a few more expert scientist global warming skeptics lauded by easily influenced Republican sympathizers.

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I'll attack the source, thank-you very much 

In comments to a post over at 5ft3 referencing a report by Senate Republicans claiming there is no consensus on global warming between

Al Gore (who let us remember is NOT a scientist) and actual scientists

I mercifully pointed out that,

Seems to me you're chasing your own tail when you point out Gore is a politician not a scientist, then turn around and support your case by referencing a political document.

Beth responds,

It was from a Senate Report about 400 scientists who are coming out to say that the global warming alarmists are nuts, how is this not a commentary on scientific thought?

What would make me feel better is for you to address the content and not the source.

Among the leading scientific minds Beth is staking the future of her descendants upon are,

The fact is there are generously perhaps a dozen or so legitimate scientists in relevant fields who continue to challenge the consensus view on the anthropomorphic influence on climate change and several dozen more who's livelihoods depend on arguing against the consensus.

The last scientific association to officially challenge the consensus was the American Association of Petroleum Geologists which now appears neutrally agnostic ("Although the AAPG membership is divided on the degree of influence that anthropogenic CO2 has ... the AAPG believes that expansion of scientific climate research into the basic controls on climate is important") yet supports "reducing emissions from fossil fuel use as a worthy goal."

Still, there are the 400 or so deniers among high school teachers and college dropouts discovered by a Republican Senate aide using Google.

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When asked which candidate could unite the country if elected, 60 percent said Obama, 58 percent said McCain and 46 percent said Clinton.

Once and always a bad idea 

Charlie Rose conducted an uncomfortable but enlightening interview with two Iraqis on the 5th anniversary of the invasion. The narrative in the US media has been to "Where did it go wrong?". This interview reminded me that 5 years ago, lots of us saw clearly that the whole adventure was a bad idea from the start.

Also here.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lux = 50 x fnumber² / (exposure time in seconds x ISO film speed) 

To measure Lux with a camera's light meter, use the equation above. Taken from this page.

Here are conversion factors from Lux to Photosynthetic Photon Flux for varius light sources.

Sunrise or sunset on a clear day - 400 Lux
Sunlight on a cloudy day - 5,000 Lux
Sunlight on an average day - 32,000 - 100,000 Lux

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Should God damn or bless America? 

Why Should God Bless America?

Why Should God Damn America?

The most magnificent tail I've ever seen on a cat 

We're fostering a new cat, this one came with no name at all. She's friendly to the point of seeming shallow and nothing fazes her. The dog is after her quite a bit, sometimes she plays along, sometimes she just sits there and ignores him even after getting her ear nipped.

third cat

magnificent cat tail

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Carnivores: Sarracenia species and venus fly-trap 

My order of carnivorous plants came yesterday. The only one recognizable as such is the Venus fly trap,

baby venus flytrap

The rest are in the genus Sarracenia (American pitcher plants). Most carnivorous plants live in low-nutrient acidic wetlands - thus their adaptation of acquiring nutrients from insects and other small animals digested in modified leaves. The bog-like environment is simulated by creating a peat moss and sand mixture which is kept wet by standing a pot in water, reversing the intended function of the pot's drainage holes.

simulated bog

simulated bog

The pitcher plants came as rhizomes with a small strawberry-like crown.

just potted American pitcher plant

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Obama on national security 

This is relatively long for a YouTube clip, but I find it nearly spot on and complete:

I disagree that we as a nation should demonstrate such reflexive support of Israel's foreign policy as Obama seems to advocate here, but given the breadth of the speech, I feel comfortable with the foreign policy he outlines.

That said, I've noticed no candidate expressing extended thoughts about the credit failure we've brought on ourselves. America has lived on credit for years, paying debts with refinanced mortgages. One of Bush's 2004 campaign sound-bites was that an unprecedented number of Americans owned their own homes. It was true at the time, but in retrospect a negative, not a positive. People during Bush's first term were able to get mortgages they couldn't afford.

So I'd like a 2008 candidate lay out what we should do about it.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Vitter comes clean ... 

Senator Vitter humbles himself by comparing his patronization of high priced prostitutes to Gov. Spitzer's more recent patronization,

"Anybody who looks at the two cases will see there is an enormous difference between the two of them. The people that are trying to draw comparisons to the two cases are people who've never agreed with me on important issues like immigration and other things."

Immigration, certainly - probably taxes and the Republican deficit too. Plus, of course, huge, huge differences between Vitter's sexual indiscretions and those of the liberals who brought Katrina to New Orleans. You know, the anti-family values contingent. He's not one of them, so there has to be some sort of enormous difference somewhere. Doesn't there?

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Snoop Dogg 

Lordy, the names of these animals coming into our foster home are getting worse. Last week, we had "Baxter" for a few days, now this little monster.

snoop dogg

He's a Boston Terrier / Chihuahua mix with a nervously bossy grumpy temperment.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Luna adopted! 


Luna was adopted yesterday into a home where the woman has retired and claims to look forward to Luna following her everywhere. More than any other cat I've known, she always has to be where the action is. Sometimes she watches from a distance but is completely unabashed about the fact she's following you around.

She was a top-notch cat with flamboyant habits and although I'm sad to see her go (and she was difficult to get in the carrier) I'm sure she'll quickly fall in love with her new keepers, even though their house is jam loaded witrh knick-knacks of figurines and dried flowers and such.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Gardening at night 

gardening at night

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fostering Luna 


She's been with us about a month. I call her Lulu as Luna is a stupid cat name. She's a real ham. One of her favorite tricks is crossing her arms in repose.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Dorset Naga chili pepper germination: deluxe paper towel method 

No doubt about it, chili pepper seeds germinate quicker and at a higher rate with 6.0 pHed 100 ppm giberillin solution than with plain water when using the paper towel method. I used this method exclusively with 51 Dorset Naga seeds 10 days ago (2/26), as of today 46 have sprouted.

Side by side comparisons with many chili varieties showed similar results: greater than 90% germination a week or more earlier compared to about 75% germination with plain water. The most drastic example was with a variety I purchased on eBay as "Jamacian yellow Scotch bonnet": 8/10 in the group in giberillin solution had germinated by the 11th day, while 3/10 of those in plain water have germinated as of today, the 21st day.

The deluxe paper towel method:

paper towel method

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Happy Sigur Rós Day 

Sigur Rós raids YouTube's home page today, screening the hour and a half Heima.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Winter strawberries 

winter strawberries

I kept two strawberry plants from half a year ago to produce runners - just vegging under 18 hours of light a day. They simultaneously went into bloom without a change in the light/dark schedule. The fruit tastes nice!

Here's a close-up.

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