Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Bloggers beware

Apparently some creep is abusing a list of blogger email addresses. I was about to send a warning to someone that they had sent me the Klez "sucker" email when I looked and saw someone had sent me email saying I had sent them something. What they have in common is that I hadn't previously exchanged email with either.

You won't get any legitimate email from the email address I currently have posted on this blog, so if you receive any from it, you can delete it immediately. Meanwhile I'll be setting up a new email address and posting it shortly.

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Practical biology

Biology is useful, but that pathetic subset of it taught in American secondary schools is beneath inadequate. Mitochondria, ATP, meiosis...when was the last time any of you non-biologists ever had anything to say about any of these?

Fortunately I'm here to address the shortcomings. For instance, the Possum recounts the roadkill from a recent outing, referring to "furry meat pies". This must have been frustrating as he identified other species more explicitly. Obviously he could have used this book. Or, if he happened upon them soon enough, this one.

Let us not neglect the insects: for this we have "That Gunk on Your Car". The Amazon page for this says "Fascinated by the critters he found stuck to his car at the end of a road trip, zoologist Mark Hostetler started looking into just what ends up on your windshield and why. From the common mole cricket to the dog-day cicada, this scientifically sound and charmingly written book makes an amusing and educational addition to any offbeat nature list."

Of course there are non-corporeal leavings, for which we have this.

Some of us are homebound for whatever reason, but that's no excuse for ignorance of practical biology. For those itching to learn more, we have "Furtive Fauna". An Amazon blurb offers this: 'The author of the popular, offbeat book Flattened Fauna returns with a look at such fascinating fellows as the eyebrow mite and to tooth amoeba, not to mention the dreaded tropical chigoe, which can lay thousands of eggs in places you'd really rather not think about.'

We're not through yet. There's also "Fearsome Fauna", about the critters that live in you. An Amazon blurb: 'Fearsome Fauna is a wickedly amusing and startlingly informative look into the secret world of these parasites. From their lowly beginnings ("Life for a young hookworm begins in a pile of dung and for most of them it goes downhill from there") to their physical appearance ("In a contest for first prize ugly, tapeworms at any stage of their development would win hands down, if they had hands") and sexual practices ("many internal parasites are hermaphroditic; probably a good choice considering the difficulty of finding a mate in the bewildering darkness of our interior") author Roger Knutson tells you everything you always wanted to know about parasites but were too digusted or terrified to ask'.

Incidentally, don't forget that with Amazon and just one click, you can add any of the above to a wedding registry.