WikiMedia’s appropriate pic of the day

April 30, 2008

Well, it woulda been more appropriate in April 25, perhaps — though the species is not a malaria-carrying mosquito.

Still, you gotta love it, Wikimedia’s Picture of the Day for April 30, 2008:


Culex spp., larva, near the surface of a body of water.

This would make a great background for a PowerPoint presentation with just a bit of work, I think. The browns are about the same intensity as the blues and greens. Nice background for a presentation on mosquitoes — outstanding background for slide of a chart on mosquito populations or somesuch.

Warm up for biology class:  Invert the photo, ask kids to explain what it is.

Happy 75th, Willie Nelson

April 30, 2008

He’s on the cover of Texas Monthly looking like the oldest piece of shoe leather south of the Red River (see photo at right — by Platon).  He was featured in the Dallas Morning News last week for “Red Headed Stranger,” the album that broke the country music mold and made him the monument to iconoclasm that he is.  And there’s a new book on  his life from Joe Nick Patoski:  Willie:  An epic life. Texas Monthly cover photo of Willie Nelson, 5-2008

I’ll wager he’s on the road today, ready to make music.

Willie Nelson turns 75 today.

You oughtta check out:

Oklahoma parents speak out against Sally Kern’s unholy bias

April 29, 2008

From a paid advertisement in The Daily Oklahoman:

Bob Lemon's ad

Full text below the fold, should you find it difficult to read this ad on your browser.

Other resources:

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The $7 million dogwood blossom

April 29, 2008

Not perfect — there is a brown spot on it; but beautiful, surpassingly rare, a creature of the serendipity of nature, it is a natural dogwood blossom in Dallas County, Texas:

Dogwood blossom in Dogwood Canyon, Texas


What we came to see – the magical dogwood blossoms.

On April 5 Kathryn and I joined David Hurt and a jovial band of hikers for a trip into Dogwood Canyon in Cedar Hill, Texas. The physical formation of Cedar Hill upon which the city of the same name and several others stand, is one of the highest spots between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. It is an outcropping of chalk, a formation known as the Austin Chalk, that runs from Austin, north nearly to the Oklahoma border.

This rock formation creates a clear physical marker of the boundary between East and West. Dallas is east of the line, Fort Worth, Gateway to the Old West, is 30 miles farther west. On this outcropping is married the plains of the west with the oaks and forests of the east. Within a few miles of the line, the botanical landscape changes, cowboy prairie lands one way, forest lands the other.

On the chalk itself, the soil is thin and alkaline. The alkalinity is a function of the chemical composition of the chalk underneath it.

Dogwoods love the forests of East Texas with their acidic soils. Early spring produces fireworks-like bursts of white dogwood blossoms in the understory of East Texas forests. Dogwoods die out well east of Dallas as the soil changes acidity; driving from Dallas one can count on 30 to 60 miles before finding a dogwood.

Except in Dogwood Canyon. There, where entrepreneur David Hurt originally planned to build a family hideout and getaway, he found a stand of dogwoods defying botanists and the Department of Agriculture’s plant zone maps, blooming furiously in thin alkaline soil atop the Austin Chalk.

(continued below the fold)

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Cubs’ Rick Monday saved the American flag

April 29, 2008

Odds are high that readers of any blog are too young to remember. Heck, I’d forgotten about it until Matthew Tabor reminded me.

April 25, 1976: Rick Monday, center fielder for the Chicago Cubs, saved the U.S. flag.

Rick Monday snatches the U.S. flag from burning

Get the story from Tabor’s blog. He offers credits to

Major League Baseball was kind enough to preserve the story, which you may watch below.


Darwin speaks out, sorta

April 27, 2008

In his on-camera parts in his mockumentary movie “Expelled!” Ben Stein paid a visit to the statue of Charles Darwin in the British Museum (too bad Stein didn’t bother to visit any of the exhibits).

It was a brave move.  Stein, ever the prankster, surely understood that his move would be open to pranking itself.  Sure enough, The Beagle Project sponsored a captioning contest, similar to The New Yorker’s cartoon captioning contests.

Here’s the winner, in a .gif animation from Eclectech:

Ben Stein meets Darwin's statue

See the other entries in the captioning contest at The Beagle Project.

Oooh, and see all the other creativity Stein’s misstep created:

Tip of the old scrub brush (again) to Pharyngula.

Charles Darwin has a blog!

April 27, 2008

No kidding.  See it here.  High-end hosts, at

I gather they have wi-fi in the cafe at the museum from which he posts.

Charles Darwin in the cafe at the British Museum -- photo from 90% True

Charles Darwin sits congenially in the café of the British Museum.  Does he blog with wi-fi?

Huxley and Darwin in the cafe at the British Museum; temporary posts for both of them, during some renovations, it turned out -- update 2015. Photo from Airminded.

Huxley and Darwin in the cafe at the British Museum; temporary posts for both of them, during some renovations, it turned out — update 2015. Photo from Airminded

In his first post, he complains about the abuse he suffers from Ben Stein’s mockumentary.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pharyngula.

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