The evolution of mussels

No, no, not muscles – mussels – those little barnacle-like things that live in the water. For those that doubt that evolution is real (and I mean that evolution occurs at all, not whether or not humans evolved from apes), here is yet another fine example of documented evolution in response to a changing habitat.

Some 15 years ago, blue mussels knew their enemies and had a rather peaceful life in the New England waters. But when an invasive crab species turned up, the mussels moved quickly to defend themselves against this new predator by thickening their shells.

Such rapid evolutionary response is a “nanosecond” compared with the thousands of years that it normally takes for a species to respond to a predator.

“It’s the blending of ecological and evolutionary time,” said study co-author Aaren Freeman, a graduate student the University of New Hampshire. “It’s an important development in the arms race between these crabs and these mollusks.”

There you have it. Mussels evolve to protect themselves. Let me know if you’d like more examples of evolution. Oh, and if you can’t be arsed to read the article, the invasive crab species in question is Hemigrapsus sanguineus, but I’m sure you already knew that.

[tags]The evolution of mussels, Evolution in 15 years, Crabs like mussels[/tags]

The benefits of stupid air travel restrictions

Some of you may have picked up on my dislike for the new, moronic, worthless air travel restrictions imposed by the idiots that supposedly run the country.  Given how I feel about this, I tend to keep my eyes open for what is being said online about the whole fiasco.  So when I saw this post on upgradetravel touting the benefits of the new travel restrictions, I felt I had to share with my visitors a few of the positive aspects of all the changes.

The foiled terrorist plot may have made air travel more inconvenient on the surface, thanks to the new restrictions at airport security checks, but hey, it’s not all bad. After all, there are people on CNN hawking peace of mind (“It’s probably the safest day to fly!”). There you go! Let’s look on the bright side of the 2006 War on JuicyJuice:

– No liquids means less drinking. Less drinking means… Shorter bathroom lines! Fewer stag parties, or at least tamer ones. (Hmm… Maybe it’s time to short Ryanair stock?) And less unwanted groping by drunken passengers.

I’ll admit, I agree with this.  Given the restrictions on liquids, there should be fewer folks going to the bathroom.  This gives you more time to work on your mile-high club membership!

– No laptop or paper means no working. If you’re traveling for business, that’s time on the clock. Time that you’re not doing anything but stickin’ it to the Man. Ka-ching.

That’s right – you can’t take books or laptops, but you’re on company time!  W00t for using your time productively.

Anyway, at least someone can take a light-hearted look at the latest round of government stupidity.

[tags]Air travel restrictions, The upside to the terrorism downside[/tags]

Learn to draw online

(via LifeHacker)
Here is a site I could have used 15 years ago in college.  I have a brother who is a pretty good artist.  I have the drawing skills of a ferret using a calligraphy pen to draw on pressed reeds (no, I don’t have any idea where that comparison came from).  That made my required art class much tougher for me than I would have liked.  But the folks at DrawSpace seem to think they can help folks like me learn to draw any way.  Here’s a snip of their front page.  Missing is any of the advanced courses, and most of the beginner and intermediate ones as well.  This is just a small sample of what is offered.


And since I’m sure just seeing what a few of the lessons offered are isn’t enough to convince most folks, why not look at one of the (advanced) skills purported to be learnable.


If you can’t do that now, but would like to be able to, it’s time to hit Drawspace and learn.
[tags]Drawspace, Learn to draw online[/tags]

Why one won’t worry walking with wood burning

Sorry, I just couldn’t carry the alliteration any further. But I think that’s a decent article title just for getting things going when talking about fire-walking. Since it seems many consider it some sort of mystical mystery, how about we look to for an explanation of the phenomenon from a professor trying to get students interested in thermodynamics.

Physics professor David Willey doesn’t use chalk and formulas to spark his students’ interest in thermodynamics.

He walks on fire.

“Nothing gets a student’s attention like the possibility that I might kill myself,” said Willey, this year’s winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

That bit then leads in to an explanation of just how firewalking is possible. Here’s the punchline – wood is a bad conductor. If you know what that means, then just jump ahead to the next article. If that’s not enough to clue you in, then please hit for the full article.

[tags]Firewalking, LiveScience, Thermodynamics, Walk on fire[/tags]

Top 10 women of gaming

(via TechEBlog)

We really haven’t had enough gaming news on this site lately, have we? Well, let’s try to improve that. Our starting hook-up is a link to where we can watch a video about the top 10 women of all time in gaming. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing Samus and Lara Croft made the list. Want to check me on that? You’ll have to visit the GameTrailers folks and see.

Some of the women who made the list I wouldn’t have guessed beforehand, but I could agree with the selections after seeing and hearing the reasons.

[tags]Women of gaming,[/tags]