The Odd Assortment: 2010-04-02

Can I keep him, mom?

Bathynomus Giganteus: Terrifying Sea Beast (more than 2 feet, head to tail) Hauled Up–looks like a giant ______? Anything from your rock turning childhood days this reminds you of?

New Blind Snakes Found No these are NOT worms. They’re on every continent except Antarctica. I’ve never seen one except in a jar of formaldehyde.

New Proof Unknown “Structures” Tug at Our Universe: from OUTSIDE the universe? There might be a thing or two we haven’t quite figured out yet about what’s going on.

Artificial letters added to life’s alphabet: now what? Creating proteins never before seen or possible comes to mind. What harm could it do? And it would all be patent-able so there’s money to be made! Wheee!

Genetically-altered pigs to save the dead zones? We are quick to patch the consequences and slow to change the preferences and habits that produce them. So let’s keep raising pigs in high-density feedlots, keep knowing their lagoons of poop will get eventually to the oceans. Let’s change the poop.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Regarding “Unknown structures Tug at our Universe” and the darkflow issue, humans have no idea what they don’t know when it comes to these issues. We are at the dawn of discovery hindered by the fact that we keep trying to understand multi-dimensional phenomenon in our world of three dimensions.

    It is hilarious that we think we know so much when we know so little.

  2. By the way, the bathynomus giganteus reminds me a little of a horseshoe crab. Particularly the legs and the carapace. On the BG the carapace is multi-segmented, whereas the horseshoe crab has the single carapace, of course, but I believe there is some similarity..(re: “anything my rock-turning days remind me of….”…and I did a lot of that on Puget Sound when I was a kid!)(no horseshow crabs there, though…)


  3. Turn a rock and find a “pill bug” or “wood louse” and you’ll have a very close cousin to the giant isopod pictured in this post. Our chickens find them delicious: wonder if they taste like crab or shrimp?