Back in Blog

So for multiple and sundry reasons ( a little dose of health problems, a pinch of I’m too busy, etc…)  I let the blog go for a time but I feel it’s time. I have let far too much bloggable and very cool content go by. Keep an eye on the page as I start to get back in the swing of updating. Oh, and for those who made a zillion comments about how the picture at the top of the Cane Toad post is a bullfrog… I’ll fix it… if you’re good….

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The Money Lists Strike Again

Someone commented on the radio the other day about how infatuated we are with lists. I’m not sure if this was directed specifically at Americans or high-content consumers in general. But, many blog guides to naming your posts in a catchy manner suggest the tried and true method of putting a number in your title: “10 tried and true ways for raising the domestic hippo”,”8 days to a more neurotic you…” – you get my gist.

So griping on pause just for a smidgen (although I really think smidgen should be spelled like pigeon), U.S. News produced a list of 15 things you shouldn’t be paying for.  Okay, un-pause: why, oh why, am I bothering to listen to someone who tells me to use the  library to save on the cost of buying books? I believe we have the power of common sense to figure this out.

But all negativity aside, there is useful information out there that are pearls of wisdom I have yet to unearth on my own.

Let me know about groups like Freecycle where people embrace re-using and re-ducing by swapping their stuff. Post me your websites where I can learn how to travel on less money, or how I can get a Biology job next summer somewhere exotic. Let me know where I can get coupons online without buying the Sunday paper, and I will be your friend forever.

Frogs shake it like a polaroid picture…

In yet another late-night bout of animal voyeurism, male red-eyed tree frogs have been discovered to shake their rumps when entering into a show of dominance with another male.

read a National geographic release about the strange behavior here.

An excerpt:

No, they’re not shivering. And no, they’re not getting shocked. These red-eyed tree frogs in Panama have been recorded shaking their behinds to send a message.

This shaking, known as tremulation, is a form of communication between male tree frogs.

The males are tremulating to establish which is the dominant male. They’re claiming territory for their ‘calling area’ where they spend the night calling for a female mate.

Sometimes, the shaking leads to wrestling among males… and maybe even more shaking, until the loser retreats.

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On the other hand, my aimless poking around on the interwebs has led to my discovery of other frog related items including videos of the Surinam toad whose offspring are born out of pockets in the toad’s back. it’s sort of distressing to watch:

And also that Germany and Denmark suffered a strange bout of exploding toads in 2005. Who knew?

Giant Redwood is Nat Geo’s Miss October

This amazing composite image of a tree three hundred some-odd feet tall was featured as a centerfold in last year’s October edition of National Geographic. Nat Geo sent their photographer, Michael Nichols, to live among the redwoods for a year. Read NPR’s article about the process of taking the photo which proved challenging and arduous:

“In a recent lecture at National Geographic in Washington, D.C., Nichols described his frustrations. Eventually, though, he devised a way to do redwoods justice. It involved three cameras, a team of scientists, a robotic dolly, a gyroscope, an 83-photo composite and a lot of patience.”

Michael Nichols work provided the see-it-to-believe it visuals the associated Redwood article needed. I also love the on-line format of National Geographic because of the full use of the medium to provide amazing content associated with their features, like the interactive maps and wildlife atlas of the Redwoods featured here. Also see more of Michael Nichol’s photo work by clicking on his photo of the white rhinoceros below:

Abandoned Cities – Not Your Typical Ghost Towns

Browse 24 of these locations at the Web Urbanist’s post about Abandoned Cities

It’s unsettling seeing so much infrastructure under so many layers of silence and dust. The locations also range in their strangeness from futuristic vacation meccas to sunken underwater cities. Their abandonment comes from sources such as environmental phenomena or changes in industrial needs, but some remain empty due to enigmatic, unexplained possibilities.

Also check out the recent strange case of China’s empty city

Harry Chapin – Story of A Life

Always thought it was a shame there’s alot of people who have no idea how many incredible songs Harry Chapin wrote and equate him only with Cats in the cradle. I don’t even really care for the song that much.  His stories are intricate and about complex, real people. He was a humanitarian, donating roughly a third of his profits to charities with a strong devotion to ending hunger. He was posthumously awarded the  Congressional Gold Medal for his charity work. His wife helms the Harry Chapin Foundation with a mission statement of supporting “organizations that have demonstrated their ability to dramatically improve the lives and livelihood of people by helping them to become self-sufficient.”

This is a clip of his song WOLD about an aging morning DJ:

Sniper, a very intense song about the 1966 Texas University Shooting. This shows Chapin’s ability to capture the current of disrest in the country at the time:

Singing his song “Story of a Life” sans band. Love the lyrics… “And I’ve found sometimes words can serve me well, and sometimes words can go to hell for all that they do…”:

And he had a wicked sense of humor (note: sound quality is not great):