Tag Archives: nature

Because Cockroaches Aren’t Strong Enough?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a TINSTAAFL Tuesday.  I know it’s not Tuesday, but this is definitely TINSTAAFL (“There is no such thing as a free lunch”) worthy. In fact, I’m changing the category while I make blog adjustments.

From Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain USDA image)

From Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain USDA image)
Click image to go to source.

Cockroaches are gross. There I said it. I grew up in the Houston area where the cockroaches grow as large as small puppies.

When I was six or seven, I was waiting on the school sidewalk for my mom to pick me up. I was wearing sandals, and something tickled my foot. I ignored it for a second. Then I used my other foot to scratch the itch. It still itched. I looked down to see a ginormous roach on my practically-bare foot. I screamed and kicked my feet and danced around like the cowboy who has someone shooting at his feet in a Wild West movie.

*shiver*

What if you were in a disaster and your only hope for being rescued was a cyborg Madagascar hissing cockroach?  How about a cockroach with its own fuel cell?

Did I mention that I can’t stand these insects? I hope I’m not offending anyone out there who might love them.

*bleh*

Back to the disaster…

You’re trapped in a destroyed building. That’s pretty stressful (I know, understatement!). Then a cyborg cockroach runs toward you. I don’t know about you, but I might be tempted to smash it before I realized that it had some kind of technology attached to it, squishing my one chance of survival.  I hope I have something nearby to cover up the cockroach carnage so that I don’t have to look at it while I remain trapped.

*gag*

To keep things interesting, check out this article about cyborg flying insects.  The circuitry is implanted in the insect pupae and the adult moth’s flight can be controlled for military or security use.  The pictures and diagrams are fascinating. Evidently, this technology was inspired by a science fiction novel called Sparrowhark by Thomas A. Easton. I haven’t read it, but this is a clear case of science fiction intersecting with or inspiring current science.

While the bugs don’t seem to be harmed (beyond having someone control them), I just have to wonder if it is really necessary to make a practically-indestructible insect even more powerful.  They will outlive us all. Do we have to give them help?

Do the benefits outway the risks?  What kinds of things can you see go wrong with this kind of technology mixed with insects?  How would you react if a cyborg insect (crawling or flying) approached you in a disaster situation or any situation?

That is Not a Fuzzy Elephant

It seems that we keep intersecting with science fiction in our real lives, and I keep finding DNA and clone stories.  (You can read the one about glow-in-the-dark cats here.)  I’ve put together a clone mashup for you.  I still can’t believe that I didn’t post this this morning!

It must be Tuesday.

A Mammoth project and the half-life of DNA…

A month ago, Russian scientists announced that they found “well-preserved woolly mammoth fragments” in Siberia. They are testing the bone marrow, hair, and soft tissues to see if there are any living cells left.

Did anyone read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton?  How about the movie based on the novel by Steven Spielberg?

Yes, I know that mammoths are not anything like the carnivorious Tryannisaurus Rex.  (Thank you, Captain Obvious.) And, yes, it would be very cool to see a real, live fuzzy mammoth walking around on the frozen white tundra somewhere.  I’d like a free lunch as much as the next person, but we all know that there’s always a cost when science meddles.

by Shannon Esposito via WANA Commons

Interestingly enough, Nature.com posted an article earlier this month about a study that has determined the half life of DNA is 521 years, which means 6.8 millions years is the maximum length of time DNA might hold together.

That means no Tryannisaurus Rex clones running wild on an island in a “safe” enclosure, since they died out ten times as many years as that.  Whew!  *wipes brow*

The mammoths could still be a possibility, but we won’t know for months if the scientists find anything viable.  With no clear purpose, I’m not sure what kind of life a cold-loving animal would have in our world today.  Where are they going to keep it?  Won’t it be sad all by itself?  (I saw Ice Age--that animated mammoth wanted a family.)

Cloned horses with a purpose…

To bring it a little closer to home, check out this news video about cloned competition horses in Texas.   😀

One of the horses was a clone of a competition horse that couldn’t be bred (the reason wasn’t given), so the clone will give the horse’s qualities to its own offspring.  What?!

The cloned horse will mother the children of the parent horse.  Huh?!

The identical twin clone horse will be bred to have the equivalent offspring of the identical twin donor horse.  I think, maybe.  Sort of.

To their credit, they recognized the clone horses as different from the “parent” horses.  And the horses are all gorgeous.

But wait there’s more…

Multiplictiy film poster

One more thing (I promise I’ll leave cloning alone for a little while).  Everytime I joke that I need a clone, I always think about the silly movie that starred Michael Keaton (after he was Batman): Multiplicity.

It’s a great reminder that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Every new clone was exponentially less intelligent (more stupider?) than the last clone.

Needless to say, he gets into crazy trouble when his clones get him fired and make his wife mad at him (she doesn’t know about them…she just thinks he’s crazy).

Of course, my own clones would be smarter than that. (Just nod your head in agreement.)  They would do the stuff that I don’t want to do.  I’ll keep working and doing family stuff.   Do you see the flaw in my logic?

If my clones are really me, then wouldn’t they hate avoid doing windows (or bathrooms or toilets) just as much as I do?  They would completely ignore the spiderwebs way up in the skylight because a step ladder isn’t tall enough to help reach them.  Their piles of “stuff” on any available horizonal, flat surface would probably lead to clonicide.  That would probably be a really big mess that I’d have to clean up, since I bet the clones wouldn’t vaporize into dust like Spider-Man’s poorly made clones did.  Ewww.

No more dreams about cloning myself.  I’ll just have to wait around to see if any woolly mammoths get recreated.  Perhaps their purpose could be to wash my windows for me. Or, they could use their long trunks to get down those spiderwebs in the skylight.  Hmmm….

I’d love to hear what you think.  The comment box is always open.  🙂

 My quick #ROW80 update:

  • The back garden beds are still waiting for clean up.
  • Work out and eat better.  Food does not define me.
  • I’m a NaNoWriMo Rebel–finish the WIP and start editing. 15-20K is the goal.
  • Blogging class is in full swing (WANA International).  The Logline class was awesome–I highly recommend it.

Say It’s All True or Not

Odd news seems to attract my attention.  Sometimes I read odd stories and shake my head in disbelief.  Other times I think it would be fantastic if the stories were true.  One thing that is always true: Some people take it all at face value and others are complete skeptics.

Who knows?  Maybe these stories are true.  They could be in a parallel universe.  Or not.  Now for some fun.

Nessie Lives!

Recently, I found this article about sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.  Yes!  Finally, someone took a picture of a creature swimming in Loch Ness.  As usual, nay-sayers don’t believe it and the believers do.

In all seriousness, it’s a big lake.  Humans have a lot of hubris, don’t we?  Who’s to say there isn’t a creature that lives in that lake whose species has never been cataloged?   (No, I do not think it could be a mermaid.)

We are discovering new animals and plants everyday.  This possibly non-mammal, manatee-like creature could be next.  They better name it after Nessie!

image

I imagine the Nessies are this cute.

UFOs Have Technology We Could Use!

In July, the UK government released UFO documents. Over 6,700 pages of data, most of which was explainable.  Sort of.  At least until an official said that it would be nice if we had the technology to move that way.  Our planet is the only one in the infinite universe to have intelligent life?  I can’t believe that.

I watched the TV show V (yes, both versions that aired) and the numerous other shows and movies that have portrayed aliens as probing, unemotional, human-eating, scary monsters.  I’m not saying that’s not a possibility, but I’d like to believe there are life forms out there who feel and love as much as we Earthlings do.

Crop Circles Created!

Less than a month ago, a wheat farmer in Washington State discovered crop circles in his field.  This crop circle and others have been discovered mostly without any witnesses or explanation.  Some people call them hoaxes, others believe they are created by aliens, and still others think they are a natural phenomenon.  I did a search on them and thought my head would explode from all the information that’s out there.  I can’t explain them, but I think some are gorgeous. No matter how they were created.

Mysterious Shipwreck (or Something)!

When shipwreck hunters came across an anomaly at the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they were baffled by the size and shape of the object in the sonar images–amazing imagesimaginations.

Who knows how they came up with this rendition (the Halloween movie-sounding music probably doesn’t help), but why does it have to be alien in nature? How do we know it’s not really ancient in nature?

Think about the things we’ll leave behind.   What off-the-wall stories will our descendants create about the head of the Statue of Liberty in a million years when they find it at the bottom of the sea and there are no records to give them hints?

The statue was:

  • The representation of an ancient goddess.
  • The image of the wife of the first President of the United States.
  • The first woman President of the United States.
  • A look of what woman wore in America in the Twenty-First Century.
  • An enigma with no plausible explanation that anyone could agree on (like the Sphinx).

The mysterious is so, so, well, mysterious.  *rolling eyes*

That’s what is great about these things.  Everyone can have their own opinion, science, or conspiracy theory about them.  Are they true?  Did someone make them up and put them out there for other imaginations to believe and perpetuate?  Or not?  Do you have a favorite myth, hoax, or conspiracy theory?

Don’t Feed (or Chase) the Bears

The activity packet warned us about bears in the area–black bears, specifically.  A full page of things to do and not to do around the cabins.

To prove that men do not often read information, one of the men (name withheld to protect the not-so-innocent) in the family put trash out in the afternoon.

Ooops.

That evening, my brother-in-law spotted a smallish bear outside our cabin.  He called on his cell phone to tell everyone while he followed the bear around the back of the cabin in a wide circle.  A few of us ran outside (I know, crazy) to watch him follow the bear.

Black bears would rather avoid conflict

Here’s a picture he took from his cell phone. The bear is in the red box.Those of us outside watched from a greater distance while the cell phone photographer got a couple more pictures of the fleeing bear.We spent the rest of the week teasing him about chasing bears.  I don’t think he’ll ever live this down.

Later that night (1:30 am), my husband and I heard a terrble noise outside our room.  We had a first-floor, corner bedroom, and the cabin trash container was in front of one of our windows.  Something was trying to open the trash container.

What do you think we did? We got up and looked out the window, of course!

My husband shined a flashlight into the growling bear’s face.  It was much bigger than the bear that my brother-in-law chased followed the day before.

There we were standing three feet away from a very large black bear with nothing but a window and a wooden trash container between us.  With more noise from us and the flashlight blinding it, the bear disappeared into the darkness.  I’m so glad we weren’t in grizzly bear country (which is only in the far northwestern part of the country, according to my very knowledgeable 14-year-old).

My husband managed to take a few pictures of the bear, but I won’t post them.  They are about as interesting as a black bear on a dark night or a polar bear in a snowstorm.  Nothing to see.

The bear’s mess

Needless to say, I didn’t get back to sleep for a long time.

In the morning, we found that the bear had pulled the trash container door hard enough to break the latch.  A simple push on the door gave the bear access to the trash bag inside. It was quite a mess.You would think after TWO bear encounters in less than 12 hours, the family would get the message about putting trash out.

Nope.

Really?

Really.

Bear tracks outside our cabin

The next night, the same big bear paid us another visit and took out the trash again.  I scared it off when I opened our bedroom door.  The hallway light was on, and it streamed into our room.  The bear ran away before my husband could take any pictures (sorry, Honey). I did get a picture of bear paws in the morning.

With another trash mess to clean up, we got our act together about the proper time to put out the garbage (before noon, so the facility could collect it before 5 pm).

The third night, my 14-year-old waited up to see the bear.  It showed up around midnight–a black ghostly form in the dark.  Without trash to keep its interest and with the noise we made looking for the camera, the bear left.

The bears knew which cabins had the older, not-bear-proof trash bins.  They were known to follow the same path every night.  Lovely.

I heard the big bear one other night, but it left us alone for the rest of the week.  Now that we’d gotten the trash pickup schedule down.  Sheesh.

Do you know what are you supposed to do if you encounter a bear? This website has great information. It also differentiates between black bears and grizzly bears.

If you want to check out were we stayed, go see the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch blog. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful (that’s saying something since I grew up near the coast and love the beach).

What wild animal encounter stories do you have to tell?   Share in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you.