A Case Of Convergent Evolution, Oh My!

I have to wonder what the creationists will say about this? The usual hand waving and wailing about how they are still crickets I suppose. This is another nail in the coffin for creationism.

I was perusing one of my favorite sites this morning National Geographic’s Phenomena, home of a handful of great science blogs. Ed Yong’s “Not Exactly Rocket Science” has the post titled “The Silence of the Crickets” (x2 which was odd, but read on)

There is a species of cricket on the Hawaiian island of Kauai that is being predated by a parasitic fly and I quote: “whose larvae burrow inside them and eat them alive.” These flies zeroed in on the crickets by listening to the characteristic cricket chirp, then did the nasty business of implanting eggs when they found the source of the chirping.

An observant professor Marlene Zuk, PHD, University of Michigan, who had been studying these crickets had noticed on subsequent trips that the crickets chirp was being heard less and less every trip. An investigation shows why. The crickets were caught, in real time, evolving wings that no longer allowed for chirping. The crickets that had flatter wings which were bad at chirping were surviving, because they were invisible to the parasites. The survivors offspring of course had wings unsuitable for chirping to the point now where there are hardly any chirpers left. Which is a pretty awesome story, but…

What is even awesome-er, is the neighboring island of Oahu has the same crickets, with the same problem, that also independently evolved flatter wings unsuitable for chirping, over the same time period as the crickets on Kauai! This evidence was brought about by genetic testing that showed:  “the flatwings are caused by a mutation on a single gene, somewhere on the X chromosome. But both mutations arose independently! So the same mutation, flatter wings, happened on both islands, roughly at the same time, in two different populations, in differing area of the genome.”

Absolutely fucking incredible.

Get the full story here: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/29/the-silence-of-the-crickets-the-silence-of-the-crickets/

EDIT: Geez, I’m slow, my excuse is I was just on my first cup of joe when I posted this story…I get it now why the original post’s title was duplicated, 2 cases of mutations, on 2 neighboring islands…doh.

Also, I hate it when my attempts at posting links fail to work. I suppose a copy and paste will get you there. In the meantime anyone have link posting tips?

Clutter, And The Ability To Think Clearly

I have known for a long time that in my little part of the world, I need a certain level of order in my surroundings to be able to think clearly. If my environment is cluttered, my mind seems to follow suit. As a result I spend a lot of time cleaning up after the clutter monster. Having 2 kids here full time, plus a college student at home between semesters, plus all of their friends that happen to spend time here, as well as the mom and pop who have much to do to keep it all afloat…the clutter can sneak up on you.

I have a 24’x40′ shop that is my tinker haven. Between projects it gets cluttered badly. Sometimes the projects pile up on you, and the clutter grows exponentially. I can literally walk out there with a clear intent of what needs done, then step into the clutter zone and immediately lose focus. I have to stop right there and start throwing out the trash, cleaning and putting away the tools, and organizing things to an acceptable level before I can accomplish anything.

There is a 1964 SWB Chevy stepside pickup truck in there right now that looks like it has exploded.  The riding mower needs a place to sleep. All of the bicycles have to be somewhere. Got to have an air compressor if you want to do anything at all. There is an old gasifier project lost out there someplace. The old engine from that truck resides in the floor, the block is bad, I need to rescue the head, the cam and crankshaft before it goes out to scrap. My astronomy table, a couple of parallelograms I built for binoculars, and a few tripods are in there. The welder, the drill press, the vise, the chop saw, the hand tools… Now add to this a bunch of stuff deemed as potential materials for future projects unknown, a few gas cans, batteries, old tires that still have life in them, and I can walk in there and lose my damn mind.

Then this morning I was perusing one of my favorite web sites, Science Daily, and saw this: http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/may/may27_decoratedclassrooms.html

It is titled “Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention And Learning In Young Children” Someone actually did a study to see how the room is decorated, affected learning. It turns out that a de-cluttered room allows for an increase in learning ability. Which just happens to jive with my observations. Clutter in the environment clutters the mind. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

…as an afterthought I am not one of those wackos that just has to keep everything in a state of perfection. I don’t mind a place looking lived in, and do not need my surroundings to look like a museum. There is though a line someplace, where I just can’t take it anymore and have to organize, and clean up my surroundings, more for my mental health than a concern for what company might think.


Mind Control

I was reading one of my favorite Word Press blogs the other day (/waves @ Mak) and in the comments there was a post by a reader (/waves @ NeuronNotes) describing an encounter with a group of evangelicals using a mind control technique known as the “Voice Roll”

I hadn’t heard of this particular term so I looked it up. Turns out I do know what it is, I have seen it in action several times, I just did not know there was a term for it. The voice roll is speaking in a cadence, that is timed to the beat of the human heart. It effectively taps in to the human condition by somehow influencing our biological rhythms. This cadence has the power to put our minds into what is known as an alpha state, where we are more prone to suggestion, to the point of being brainwashed. 

I have often thought that religion uses brainwashing techniques, I could feel it in my bones. Now I know what they are doing, and how they do it. If you would like an education, click this link below. Be prepared to be blown away. This is I think something they would rather we did not know. The scary part is how successful these techniques are, and how mainstream they are becoming. Politicians, preachers, and the military have been using, and refining these techniques for ages. 

This is the best presentation of pretty much the same story I have seen in several places on the web after researching the topic. Enjoy:


Quote of the Month


Since breaking from the usual founding father quotes last month, I found a whole new plethora of material to play with. Which is good if I want to keep this thing going 🙂

This quote by Maher pretty much sums up my feelings on religion. How it is possible for the religious to see only the sickly sweet coating that religion has poured on the top, like syrup on your pancakes, you know… all of that love and togetherness and forgiveness shit, and then maintain the ability to ignore everything else it condones/participates in/encourages will always be a mystery to me.

…And Then There Were Three

I just came in from taking hawk pics. The wind is blowing, the leaves on the adjoining trees, or those along the sight path were constantly getting in the way. The little guys were regularly shifting around and with the wind/interfering leaves thing I was lucky to catch a shot at all that had birds in it and not just leaves. Because of my less than adequate rig I have to take the shots with a 10 sec delay so vibration can settle down. Then the battery died. It is charging… and as it turns out my focus was off for the entire session. Which is a bitch.

Anyway, for a while I thought there was only one little hawk. Then I saw that there were two. Only after going through the pics I just uploaded into the computer did I notice this:



No wonder they were moving around so much. There is hardly any room for them all! I haven’t been out to look at them in several days, I was astonished to see how big they are… Is it a bad thing to consider cutting down a couple of trees so I can get better shots? I am not sure how close I can get without getting into some serious hawk trouble. More to come, as I get them.

Woman That Was Gang Raped, Faces Cane

This woman was commiting adultery, with a married man. Someone found out about it and an angry mob was stirred up. Said mob forced their way into this man’s home, he was tied up and beaten, she was gang raped. Then the attackers dumped sewage on them.

While the authorities there did arrest 3 of the rapists on the spot, (the rapists dragged the couple to the police station because what they already did to the couple was not enough for them. Oh no, after all of that they wanted to see them face the Sharia court) a handful of others fled, they are still on the run. These rapists/attackers apparently will face some sort of lawful retribution. Only time will tell how that pans out, usually for some twisted ass backward ideologies this is always not the case. I wonder what penalties they will face…if any.

The raped woman and the married man who did commit adultery, under their law our ours, now face the prospect of being caned for their crime. The Sharia law there will ignore everything that happened to them already apparently, which is in my mind a humanistic atrocity. Is there no room for compassion with these people? Is there no sense of enough is enough already? Is there only the strictest hardline form of oppression on the planet instead? This is what some days makes me feel ashamed to be human. Injustices like these commited against the common people.

Such a just society Islam. I really do not think I will ever understand where these people are coming from, and x-ianity fares no better. The well known bloody, murderous ways of all religions I wrote about here: http://wp.me/p3z3rd-Xu  What prompted the rapists/attackers to take the law into their own hands? Religion. What made them think raping this woman was ok? Religion. What do people of all stripes turn to to justify the terrible acts they commit? Religion. What has no place in a modern society, endorsing barbarous acts, being used to incite murderous rampages and atrocities everywhere? Religion.

Story here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2621260/Widow-gang-raped-punishment-having-affair-married-man-Indonesia-caned-public-Sharia-law.html


More Hawk Pics

I went out a few days ago and noticed for the first time, no one was home at the nest. I didn’t think much of it, looked again that evening and again no one was home. I got up the next morning and looked again and still no activity. I was beginning to assume there could be only one reason for the nest to have been abandoned, and it could only mean the young did not survive.

However just because I didn’t catch anyone at home, it did not mean the worst case scenario, it was mere coincidence. I have seen them several times of late and got a few pics. I was also able to verify at least one chick in the nest with a binocular observation. I thought I saw a wift of white the day previous but it was fleeting and it was not visible again. Today while I was out observing the nest I definately saw it again. A movement of a fluffy white, very downy looking, little hawk. It was as if it was trying to stand for a moment and just could not maintain, and fell back down. 

Once I was just out with binoculars and saw one of the parents hunched over, while it was facing away from me I got the impression from it’s behavior it was stripping meat from some poor critters carcass, though I did not have time to confirm it. I have a pic, though where it looks like a parent standing by with a small piece of critter to feed the young.


Things are really starting to green up. The leaves are coming in quick, and with the wind blowing and trees swaying these leaves are proving to be difficult to get a good shot around. This was a rare finely focused shot, but a bit of green kept it from being a great shot.


Stay tuned. I will keep after these guys until the little one/s are all grown up.