The big move…

This blog was started as a precursor to my masters thesis project. That project is now underway.

 

As such this blog is no longer going to be updated (I’m aware that i haven’t updated it in a while anyway) so if you want to keep reading stuff about science and other things i find funny go here.

 

It’s my blog Gibberalic. It’s not about acid. Though there is an acid called gibberalic acid and that is where the blog got it’s name. Go check it out.

How to live for ever: lessons from a jellyfish

The Immortal Jellyfish

Warm currents pick up a nameless form in the dark. The waters slide upward and tug the creature, drawing it to the surface. It stirs; rudimentary muscles twitch and contract. Colourless tentacles drift below an ethereal body and taste the salinity that surrounds it, caressing the warmth with deadly intent. An immortal predator, it hunts the oceans, searching for prey. As the sun broaches the horizon and honey bands of light, thick with the promise of tropical heat, lay themselves on the ocean the creature reaches the surface. Tentacles splayed, reaching, it waits with patience. And something approaches.

It hovers in the water column. Sun drenches it now, warming and bringing a myriad of life to the surface. Long, clear arms touch something in the murk. The touch comes again. Now an explosion occurs; the fastest process in the animal world. An evolutionary bomb. Tiny harpoons fire outward from coiled nests. Poisonous and sharper than the finest razor they detonate. A small fish, or perhaps crustacean, dies quickly but painfully in the soft arms of the creature. Then, slowly, it is reeled in and dragged toward the mouth of the monster. It becomes a passing meal for an undying beast. Continue reading

Book Reviw: The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Published by Random House

This weeks book is one of the best I’ve ever read. I watched the movie ‘The Road’ first and then, because I’m a book person first and foremost, went straight out and purchased it. It’s amazing. Better than the movie but also very different. More visceral and more harrowing because reading gives you time to develop a deeper connection with a character than a movie will.

The pretense of the book is that of a world on the way out. Humanity is at it’s dregs, a scattered handful that squabble, fight and steal to survive. The earth is dying, growing cold and dark, and the main characters, a man and his boy, travel across America in hope reaching the coast.

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The most endangered animal in the world?

At uni, when I wasn’t drunk I was pretending to study. The thing I pretended to study the most was zoology. The study of animals, particularly endangered animals, formed my undergrad degree and is a strong focus for my Masters. I love them, though not in the mushy, happy way that the internet seems to be all about these days; lol kats anyone? I love that, despite us, many are still here. Evolution has thrown them something of a curve ball and yet some are still hanging on harder than a stripper to a waxed pole. Some are down to their last fake-finger-nailed pinkie however. The Amur Leopard is probably the prime example. It is arguably the most endangered animal on earth and is now harder to find than a well grounded celebrity.

Of course not all of them are really trying at all. Take the panda for instance. That useless bag of cute is about as capable as one-legged kangaroo. Breeding specialists can put a cycling female in with a healthy male panda and the two will give each other a look then go back to chewing slowly on chopstick wood. Useless. The majority of animals are tenuous to a fault though. The Amur leopard is one of my favorites. This bad-ass, killing machine once ruled much of Eastern Russia, China and ranged as far south as Korea. Now the thirty odd individuals in the wild are found in a very small range and contend daily with a broad range of fucked up human machinations. Poaching, deforestation and all the other goodies that form our gift to the Earth have not been kind to this sexiest of big cats. And really they are pretty sexy; a blue-green eyed blond that weighs in at about fifty kg’s and loves steak? Not an easy find anywhere.

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The seas of Titan prove god exists…yeah (cough).

Saturn setting over the hydrocarbon seas of Titan

It annoys me when creationists use holes in our current knowledge as a way to try to prove the existence of god. Especially when they bring the solar system into it.

Science is only just beginning to explore the solar system and beyond so it’s an easy place to pick holes; similar to picking on the fat kid. I just read a post over at ‘New Discoveries & Comments about Creationism’ that postulated that because the science based prediction of liquid hydrocarbon lakes on Titan was misjudged it therefore proves that the moon isn’t as old as scientists say and therefore was made by god. First of all, yes, I know that if this stuff annoys me I shouldn’t be reading a blog with a name like that but I feel that it would be bigoted to not engage in arguments simply because their view is so different. Anyway…

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The Hangover: God, I hate thee.

Once, during prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

-          W.C. Feilds

I open my eyes and already I can feel it. It’s a simmering pool of blackness, on the verge of boiling over, just below the surface of my brain. My mouth is dryer than a child’s sand pit and tastes not dissimilar from one. My stomach is fine, but that will change soon. I need a glass of water like Prince needs an inch. My muscles ache and I have the vague feeling that when I stumble downstairs to see my flatmates I’m going to be highly embarrassed by something I did but can’t quite remember. I am hung-over. Life’s little way of telling me that I’m a useless idiot. In the words

Helping ugly people get laid for centuries.

of Ellen Digeneres ‘A hangover is when you open your eyes in the morning and wish you hadn’t’.

Did I really need that last shot, that second bottle of wine or the third? The hangover is a subject that is steeped in deep ritual. I personally can’t say that I am a fan of the hangover but at the same time I am certainly no stranger to it. As I write this I am struggling to remember another night out, the memory washed out, patchy and old. As such, I am looking straight down the barrel of a hangover today. Bring on the roiling belly, vicious headache and the urge to consume anything with grease content high enough to make paper see-through.

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Book Review: The World Without Us

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Published by Random House

This week’s book is one that I found whilst browsing through the tome-filled shelves of my Uni bookstore. I love that place: it smells great, is full of books which are my favorite things and has a sprinkling of hot women. Anyway…

Weisman has created a dark fairy-tale world in this best seller non-fiction work. The central idea is simple. How would the world progress if, somehow, we all disappeared? By we I mean humans, Homo sapiens, and by disappeared I mean just gone: no nuclear war, no alien attack, just a quiet and instantaneous exit. Continue reading

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