Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Artist

I have found a great artist, Isabella Kirkland who has the most amazing paintings of animals. I love her taxa series. This series has animals and plants that are both native & threatened, or introduced and are invasive. Well done paintings, composition and very naturalistic (other than the fact that the snake would eat the kangaroo rat :) , but its "art") Her other series are phenomenal as well, the detail in the paintings is inspiring.

So take a gander at her website...
learn something about the world outdoors.
Website is at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Countdown until tommorrow.... I'm so excited!

Well, the big day is tommorrow. The big 2-0-0. Darwin's birth was 200 years ago tommorrow, and his most famous book "On the Origin of Species" was published 150 years ago. So pop open that merlot, cozy up to the fire ('cause its damn cold here again!) & crack open the book that is the foundation of biology.
Botanists have always been big supporters of Darwin, probably because they see natural selection occuring over and over and over within their generation. Evolution is as near a fact as gravity, so people may as well join the Darwin side!
For a great synopsis of "On the Origin of Species", go to Blogging the Origin at

Personally I can't wait for the birthday cake!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dirtiness + Microbes = Healthiness?

For those of you who personally know me, you likely know that I have a extremely strong avoidance of germs. I wouldn't say germophobia (or whatever the technical term is), but I have a healthy avoidance of germ spreading practices.

The NYTimes has an article on the spreading of germs. While I agree in theory, this still will not allow me to let others touch my food. The gist is the dirtier you let your house or child get, the healthier they will be. But there is a limit.....

I agree that washing with antimicrobials regularly is bad. And I don't do it. I'm not the most fastidious housekeeper either (dust bunnies are inevitable with a dog like mine!), but a certain level of cleanliness will go a long way.

I have always let my little seedling play in the dirt, with animals, and get generally dirty (camping is great for this), but washing up a little is good too. You never know when there will be a little Clostridium botulinum hiding in the dirt, and a little prevention goes a long way.

I will ALWAYS cook my food (prevention of Listeria, E.coli, and B. cereus infections), but maybe a 5 second rule will start to apply (onto the table, not the floor)?

My microbiology prof always said there are 2 types of microbiologists in this world. One where they become extremely germophobic (her grandfather shook hands with a handkerchief between them), or they become very apathetic towards microbes.

I'm thinking that I'm glad I won't be a microbiologist. :)

Clostridium botulinum

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Guerrilla Gardening

For those who dream about covert operations, illicit deals and subverting authority, I have found a place for you!
Guerrilla gardening was initially started in the UK, and it has grown from there. Even Deadmonon has its own platoon of guerrillas, but the effort is still small (outdated website that was last updated last year... I know, its not like I post all the time too!)
It is quite simply gardening where you can. So even if you don't want to join a local group, free crowded plants from their prison in your yard & start planting those patches of dirt. Take a packet of seeds & liberate them. Well... you get the idea, I won't start yelling "FREEDOM!! ala Braveheart now, so you needn't worry. Just get out there & get your city greener! (well, when it gets warmer I suppose)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Google Earth Expands Into the Abyss

Google Earth is now mapping under the sea. What began as a huge oversite will hopefully provide hours of edutainment for us land-locked lubbers.
NYTimes has an article interviewing one of the original co-founders of Keyhole, the company that originally developed the software before Google bought them out to take Google Earth worldwide.
Already used by geologists, geographists, biologists, and many other disciplines for helping with experiments and data, Google Earth will now be able to help oceanographers to chart and plan their surveys without leaving their office.
Also it will be used for entertainment as well (planning for future vacations where the coral looks good). Personally, I can't wait!