October 28, 2009

No bathroom breaks on this evolutionary journey

Ok, you know it's cool:

These oogly little creatures that we'd rather not have as guests actually have lots of guests of their own. They play host to some waste-product-lovin' microbes and the relationship is so efficient that cockroaches have no need for potty breaks. One needs the other as much as the other needs the one. Ahh, symbiosis.

"To survive in hostile environments, cockroaches rely on their own vermin: Blattabacterium, a microbe that hitched a ride inside roaches 140 million years ago, and hasn’t left since.

Researchers who sequenced the Blattabacterium genome have found that it converts waste into molecules necessary for a roach to survive. Every cockroach is a testimony to the power of recycling — thanks to their microbes, they don’t even need to pee."

Wired Science: Cockroach Superpower No. 42: They Don't Need to Pee

October 22, 2009

Flu, Ew, and Flu

A bit of mish mash.


Swine flu provides foolproof excuse for slackers

Sick students or paranoid professors?
But the biggest temptation for faking swine flu might lurk on college campuses, many of which have been hit hard by the H1N1 virus.... nearly 40,000 cases have been reported since August. ...

“Students can e-mail their professors whenever and say, ‘I’m too sick to come in, and I don’t need a doctor’s note, and there’s nothing you can say about it.’”

At Texas A&M University, the student health center was so overwhelmed by sick students seeking excuses that health workers there composed an all-purpose student excuse form and posted it online, no signature required.

For educators ... it can be frustrating to have to take a student's excuse at face value. “Several students, they’ve gone three or four class periods without coming to class, and they‘ll come back and say, ‘Oh, I had swine flu.’ And I don’t know how to handle that,” Jackson says. “I’m basically being told to believe everybody.” But to really pull off the excuse of swine flu, which tends to linger, students would have to miss a week's worth of classes, which, some students realize, is really more trouble than it's worth."

Just skimming through the article, I first thought it was funny in the way ridiculously stupid minor injustices are funny. I thought, hmm, I've already admitted to being injected with 60 micrograms of antigen (four times the effective dose required to develop immunity) so if I make the above claim then you know whatever's going on that dictates I skip class is too embarrassing to tell the truth.

But when I re-read it this part in particular gave me pause...

“Last week I pulled the swine flu card to get out of a blind date,” says Ellie, a 21-year-old student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

The swine flu card? Ugh. I am sure the thousands of people who have had the flu and the families of the 43 children that have died from it so far wouldn't find "pulling the swine flu card" to be funny in the slightest, especially since that card was stacked against them.

Still, an interesting article on human nature.


Name that pink stuff!

Could it be:

a) ice cream
b) that denture glue stuff
c) meat
d) hint: it's c

Yepper depper. Mechanically separated chicken that ends up being hot dogs. Mmm. Now, I tried for about 10 minutes but couldn't confirm the origin of the photo. I saw t his through a FB post that linked to a blog so it's anyone's guess, but I reckon it could be true even if it is being piped into a cardboard box, which seems very odd -- I want to believe that's what it is because otherwise it probably isn't very funny.

Which leads me to...


Many thanks to DC today who warned me about the impending platypus flu pandemic (though apparently this is old news)

Platypus Flu Outbreak Info:
(Crotch Lake, Ontario Canada) In yet another outbreak of the maddening platypus flu, the Center for Disease Control has issued an alert warning health care providers to be on the look out for any new outbreaks of the influenza. Shown here Anita Lay displays some of the characteristic symptoms of the strange disease. While the disease ultimately leads to dementia, loss of memory, and end in apparen t brain death, one the initial symptoms include bugged out “crazy eyes”. In addition, patients will continuously attempt to make their lips look like those of a platypus, which gave the disease it’s cruel name platypus flu.

In the usual quiet town of Crotch Lake many parents are heard warning their children “If you don’t watch it, your face is going to freeze like that forever.” Platypus flu is limited to adolescent and pre-teen children, usual

ly appearing as early as 8 or as late as 17. While patients may already be suffering the later stages of the flu at 18, there have been no new outbreaks in patients older than 18 years. One of the difficulties in early diagnosis of platypus fever, as it is also called, is that the symptoms resemble so closely to children just “horsing around.” Typically the only way accurately rule out just plain old tom foolery is a Magnetic Resonance Image of the cranium, or as parents have always referred to it, “getting you head checked out.”

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Koramchad


And I just had to add one more, because you people just don't laugh enough! :-D

October 3, 2009

We think we're done with the flu... and other stuff

Charlotte has been quite sickly lately. The poor lass has had 104 fevers, has been coughing, sneezing, shivering, trembling, fussing, crying, and feeling just generally miserable. I'm 99% sure it's the flu, and since about 95% of the flu that's being circulated right now is H1N1, then we're fairly sure that's what she had. It has definitely struck our little town, with numerous kids out of the elementary school (some from A's classroom in fact) and with the middle and high schools having significant numbers absent as well. We've also come into contact with some other people who reported back as having it a few days after we saw them... so... that's what we're figuring.

I won't say 100% though until I see how it spreads amongst our family.

*Ugh, as of Monday she's still sick. Doc says could be a few more days still.

Anyway, here's how Charlotte does sick-time:

I did manage to get a smile out of her for this shot but it was the only time she smiled in about a 48 hour period!

A few days before:______

Daddio/Grandad with the sproutlings. They were making hats for him and forcing him to play the MASH game, while he demonstrated how to use fancy-dress suspenders. Yeah, I don't know.


Madison and Andrew playing in the water... during the rain. I guess it falls under the whole "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Andrew filling up his hat with water.

Now putting water-filled hat on.

Thumbs up for Hat 'O Water.