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is tiny.  Spizella passerina:  “little finch perching bird;” “chipping” from “chirping.”  He looks right at me, straight into my eyes, actually hopping along with the car and peering in.  What does he want me to get?  I really feel an attempt to convey a shopping list.  Anything with seeds, surprise us.

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(image source:  http://www.wildlifeofnorthamerica.info/BNA/ChSp_330A/ChSp_330A.htm)

Syrinx (bird anatomy)

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I sorrow because Bejeweled Blitz is running so slowly and poorly on this laptop that I’m just going to have to stop playing.  It’s too painful to remember that I once scored over 700,000 and now the best I can do is under 50K.

However, I rejoice that my apartment is not really full of kraits, as I had dreamed.  In the dream they looked like little yellow cobras.  They were just everywhere.  Constantly in my way.  Of course, this has nothing at all to do with the garter snake visitor, who has not returned.

Just a mild, peaceful sense of well-being involving two pillowcases full of clean laundry, nice leftovers for lunch, and miles upon miles of good yarn at very low average cost.  Because yesterday after the board meeting I went to Phyllis’ house, which is a temple of peace that bestows happiness on everyone who enters, and looked through the forest of cones of Harrisville yarn showered upon us all, collectively, by someone who recently died, and took a modest amount which still is a lot.  And today some other stuff came, and the average of (ton of free stuff) and (half ton of not at all unreasonable stuff) is really pretty good.  And now I can open my factory.

The front seat of my car is full of yarn, and the back is full of snow tires.  Because they belong in the barn with a family of skunks, and it’s unfair to bother crepuscular animals with young children.  Yeah, because that.

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(image source:  pbs.org)

There is or was a snake in the living room.  Early Thursday morning it was resting in a pile of yarn, probably recovering from the uncomfortable sensation of being stared at by a cat.  You would think yarn would be good camouflage for a snake, and you would be right in my case, but shouldn’t be, because most of what I have is fingering and laceweight.  The garter snake, although slender, is a considerably heavier gauge than those.  This one was dark with a pale green stripe and large eyes.  It went behind the baseboard heater somewhere.  I found a cat-toy fishing pole and was hoping it would come out so I could capture it deftly as seen on TV.

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(image source:  wildfilmhistory.org)

It probably found its way back outside again.  This building is not well insulated.  I guess the roof is, the attic/crawlspace anyway, which is certainly why we don’t have eagles getting in here and lounging in people’s yarn.

Not long after my father died in 1993, his best childhood buddy came to visit me, to buy me lunch and talk about Dad.  One thing that I hadn’t known was that Dad’s favorite movie was They Were ExpendableThey went to see it a million times.  I really need to rent that.  Why haven’t I?  Because I put off everything.  Like grading things, for instance.  I suddenly remember other time-critical stuff to do, such as posting to this blog.

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Ants Were Expendable:  Heroic altruistic ants face death alone to save colony.  The pathology of those parasitic spores has been bothering me since I first heard about it on some nature show 25 years ago.  This story makes me proud … damn proud.  Regnum Animalia — hoooah!

Cladorhizidae (Gk. “branch” + “root”) are carnivorous sponges. Unlike the others, they don’t feed by gently filtering bacteria and other particles through innumerable pores.


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Tiny Asbestoplumae and other carnivorous sponges have hooklike spicules that trap small crustaceans and other passersby, and this is not necessarily a passive process: these species can actively fish (or shrimp) for their prey. Then other kinds of cells grow around the victim and release enzymes that digest it over the course of several days. These carnivores are usually small sponges that live, unsurprisingly, in nutrient-poor waters.

WeirdFins:  Carnivorous sponges

Life History and Ecology of Porifera

So happy that Hulu has it.  Thirty years later it’s still without equal.

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Marmota monax:

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Marmota bonita.

Wow!!  The colors …and the trees … and the floating …spinning …light …waterfall …flying …!!  (Not a very useful review, oh well.)

It was so much like the world we used to imagine and play about, that I would wish with all my might to jump into.  I would think:  I’m going to open my eyes in five seconds and I’ll be there, if I take one step on the surface that’s it.  The next breath I breathe will be the atmosphere of Kappa.  That was my designation for our planet.  The rest is secret; I wouldn’t want to screw up my travel options, just in case wishes become real. 

(nabbed off this guy’s blog)  These Pandoran life forms were inspired by Christmas tree worms, Spirobranchus giganteus:

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So, how much does Avatar borrow from Maori history?

I wanted to look at pictures of planaria because I was thinking about how I always used to draw them in German class.  This was back in the seventh grade.  It was a big class; it was the beginning class and hadn’t been weeded down to the elite intermediate German strike force of eighth grade.  The science class I took that year was pretty general, but at least there was some biology.  After that I never took a bio class again until population dynamics in grad school.  (If that counts.  I think it does.  It was my favorite class — essentially a math class in which we went trawling for English sole in the middle of January.) 

I loved to draw planaria; I wasn’t a very good sketcher and planaria are really easy to draw, giving rise to a sense of accomplishment.  Their cross-eyed appearance is endearing, and their lifeways (including certain insupportable claims made for them) are fun to read about.  When we moved on to human anatomy I, newly confident in my draftsmanship, practiced drawing the skull in profile quite a bit; a kid in German class saw it and said, “God, you’re morbid.”

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