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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hunters of Pangea


Stephen baxter introduced some dinosauroid (anthropomorph dinosaurs) in his book Evolution, as a nice aside to the main plot of primates evolution... His charcaters were most likely inspired by the (fictitious) dinosauroid reconstruction made by Russell & S├ęguin (1982), in turn inspired by the novel The Dragons of eden by carl Sagan (must get it).

The dinosauroids were popular some time ago, and I saw them for the first time in Riddle of the Dinosaur by John Noble Wilford.

Now, Darren Naish at Tetrapod Zoology has a wonderful post about them, and how much they were likely to have (not) existed...

pity... Anyway, i'll buy baxter's book once it's out.. for the moment, enjoy the Dinosauroids!

Galactica drowns

oh my god, I managed to see it... the sixth episode, I mean...

Apollo goes from fat to perfect six-pack in one episode... how can he do so? may be he's a Cylon...

and Baltar, confronted with the option to die for his humanity, willingly tells the cylons where to go and look for earth... then, there's the visibile pulsar, in the lion-shaped nebula... I didn't know Lion were diffused on a galactic level... may be we should stop all conservation efforts, here on Earth... after all, the galaxy is full of Lions... and cheetas, and zebras, and so on...

and, Cylons are arriving, having decided that this is their perfect holiday place. I hope they will not nuke historical cities in Italy, at least...

what else? oh, baltar is told by a cylon that they see reality as they like, a bit like the guy in Noir, that dreadful cyber-punk novel... or some Egan's short story of which I don't remember the title right now... and since he lives in a world of his own, he starts wondering whether he's a cylon or not. and does not enquire any longer on the mistery of the five missing cylon models... bah...

oh, I forgot... he volonteers to go and explore the base-ship which has fallen in the nebula, with all their crew apparently taken over by a disease... after all, he's a scientist, he can do nifty observations - that is, take a blood sample, snap some piccies with his digital camera, and strangle the only cylon left alive... urgh... how's that for science?

oh, yes, he discover the beacon which apparently made them sick, but he doesn't bother to study it any better... and the cylons, with their image-processing prowess, second only to those guys at CSI, find out anyway about it... urgh...

how can this series be plunging so desperately into a black hole? sob...

I better wait for the next ep of DH...

or, may be I should switch over to Lost.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Galactica...

may be I'll find the time to watch it, tonight. yesterday I just had to watch Desperate Housewives... and it was a very good episode, with one of the characters I liked most being shot to death in the blink of an eye... sigh...

Unleashing Darwin's Radio

Darwin's radio is one of Greg Bear masterpieces.

One day, some viruses who's been sleeping for million of years inside our DNA, wakes up and causes a bout of accelerated evolution all over the world. Pity that the book, wonderfully researched and constructed, falls short to deliver a decent end, with the 'next stage' of human evolution composed of children which know how to talk since their birth (and ok), express sentiments through facial colored patches, and have two lips and two tongues, which apparently enables them to conference-call natively... urgh...

anyway, the book dwelves deeply into the subject of HERV, Human Endogen RetroViruses, and here's Carl Zimmer writing on the NY Times about how some french lads (and gals) have been able to re-create one of them and free it from our DNA, where it's been embedded since the dawn of times... they called it Phoenix, like the mytical bird which is born again from its own ashes... I apologise for falling prey of the Frankenstein complex, but et's hope we will not burn ourselves with this new technology...

Hubble lives again!!!

A very interesting article, from the NY Times as usual, talking about the new repair and servicing mission to the battered Hubble Space Telescope.It also gives a nice perspective look to its whole story... kudos to NY Times for putting up such good stuff for free... ok they require registration but I can assure you they do not send you spam.

Study Sees ‘Global Collapse’ of Fish Species

no time for long blogging today... meeting and work are pulling me away...

but I can't leave you without food for your brain, the only one that doesn't decrease our life expectancy (according to my previous post).

so, here is an article of NY Times (again) reporting on some scientist warning us that the ocean(s) global ecosystem may collapse beyond repair by 2050 or so, if nothing is done to address the issue of overfishing and general destruction of marine habitat...

I've been looking into this for a while, and have learned that it's better to avoid certain kind of prawn, which are being fished to extinction... some fisheries, like atlantic salmon, are already very much diminished, whereas the kamchatka salmon is well and good 'cause the whole region was subject to heavy military use by the soviets during the cold war. funny how the human activity reputed most distructive very often ends up being the most respectful of the environment - if you don't consider the leftover of it, such as heavy metal poisoning the ground... but nature has its own way of tackling these problems, with time...

enough, back to modeling before a double meeting... see you soon!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Eat Less, Live More

Why does the world have to go against me? Ok, I love cooking, and as a consequence I love eating...

and I've always lived in the illusion that, supposed that I do enough exercise, i will not suffer any adverse effect from this... But no, some scientist confirmed (it was known since long time) that eating a low-calorie diet can dramatically increase your age-expectancy...

mouse fed 30% less, live 40% longer... not only, they tend to suffer less from old-age diseases... same apply to animals all across the spectrum...

Il troppo stroppia, would say my mum... it's true for spices, but most of all for the food we spice it with...

click on the link (or the title) for the full NY Times story...

note: written while emptying a vase of yogurth...

...and, we're back!

I'm, back from this long holiday 'bridge'. Didn't get round to have an Hallowen party with my GF, but we went to the ardennes or almost there, then off to mechelen to check out whether or the city, where we might move to next year, is nice. It is.


here's some piccies of the market square, which as every saturday is full of shops... we didn't buy anything there, but I fell in love of a nice yellow 'cappotto' of which I made present to marie... It fits her nicely... but no piccies of her with it, sorry :-P


I did quite like the city, it's very old style, definetly nicer than Turnhout, and very very close to Bruxelles, which makes for a very nice evening life, but also for expensive rent. but what the hell! I hope it will be worth the hour that I'll have to spend in the train every morning to get to work...

edit: sorry for the crappy mobile phone piccies, but my camera was out of memory... no, I wasn't running a homemade program on its meagre processor... I just foprgot home the compact flash card...