Grg Lstr's linkdump and thoughts on science, family and things in the ocean that would kill you if given the opportunity.

Category: General stuff (page 2 of 56)

The site was broken and it took too long to get around to fixing it. So, it is up for the moment. Let’s hope it lasts.

Free Corporate Samba

George Blood Audio in Philly’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood is doing the Lord’s work and digitizing old LPs to post them for free on the Internet Archive. Nice.

More info from Newsworks. 

The Internet Archive is kind enough to post share code ready made for WordPress, so going by the Samba filter, I found this little number from Bando Da Lua, a Brazilian group that tagged along with Carmen Miranda. It might be familiar to Disney fans:

And this one, a corporate commission by Monsanto, of all people. The “Onb Samba” has “Monsanto March” on the flip side.  Google hasn’t turned up any easy answers to what ONB might mean in this context, but that’ll come later. Castenada aside, I figure the Don Juan Quartet were session musicians.

No, that probably is not a brown recluse bite, I’m sorry to say

This, THIS! Is a Brown Recluse, honey.

This, THIS! Is a Brown Recluse, Radel.

I think I love this press release from UC-Riverside. Yes, it is nicely written and has a fine, eye-catching headline. (Really, I appreciate these things.)

I think I love it, however, because it doesn’t solve a problem for me. In fact, it creates new ones. And, sometimes, you have to appreciate the beauty in the world burning (and itching). Every spider in my house is a brown recluse. Just is. Until proven otherwise. And, perhaps that’s the safest way to negotiate a world that contains brown recluse spiders, even if they really aren’t an issue here in Jenkintown.

Basically, in a JAMA Dermatology paper,  researchers suggest that a misdiagnosis of a brown recluse bite could mask other serious skin conditions. When I first saw this press release, I somehow thought it would be about how rare these bites are and how easily misdiagnosed. Nope, it turns out that, with some skin conditions, you might just prefer the bite. That’s not going to go over well in Stinkbug Manor.

Another reason to love this press release–this video:



That’s just gorgeous.

But it gets better! The UC-Riverside entomologist and his dermatology pals at University of Missouri Health Sciences Center (I say the whole thing to make the Missouri flacks happy) even came up with a mnemonic device: NOT RECLUSE. Which, well, a little on the nose, but there you go.

For example, the REC of NOT RECLUSE indicates Red, Elevated and Chronic. Recluse bites are whitish blue or purple (not red), flat (not elevated) and don’t last more than 3 months. So, if a patient has a wound that is elevated or red or persists more than 3 months, something other than brown recluse bite should be considered.

Then the release goes into  little biographical detail about the lead author, Rick Vetter, now retired UC-Riverside, who wrote a book on the topic and created a map of where you can find brown recluse spider populations.

Note: Not Pennsylvania

A Hot Crustacean Band

I do have to confess, I am not a big fan of crustaceans. A not entirely shocking confessional, I know, given my how I peg the life aquatic on my fondness meter. It is strange, because I spent most of my childhood picking crayfish (not crawfish or crawdads, thank you, we’re Pennsylvanians) out of the Wissahickon Creek (Crick is also acceptable) as often as I could. Also strange, because I would annually beg for a temporary hermit crab pet when we went downna shore.

Perhaps what ruined crabs for me was this scent from the Blue Lagoon. While most kids watched for glimpses of Brooke (not Crick) Shields swimming in the buff, I always returned to this scene with a sense of horror and fascination:


Which gets me back to crustaceans. Crabs. Lobsters. What have you. They’re just unsettling. (Not woodlice, erm, roly-polies, which are technically crustaceans, not bugs).  Insects–and arthropods, in general–are unsettling to some, but not me. No, crabs and lobster. No matter how much butter or Old Bay you put on them, I’m just not a fan of their look, their taste or, frankly, the unnerving way we boil them alive.  The exception is shrimp, but they are merely a conduit for cocktail sauce, which itself is merely a carrier of horseradish.

So, when I see scenes like this:

View post on

I can’t help but be unnerved, unsettled. There, in the dark depths are unseen scuttling horrors with which humanity has no true business. Feeding off of the dead and dying forms that sink to the bottom. So crustaceans, in all their many forms, are why I don’t go in the water.


Sketchy Wikipedia Claims:
“Marine crustaceans are as ubiquitous in the oceans as insects are on land”

Source A:  The Australian Museum says:

“Just as insects swarm on land, crustaceans dominate the seas. Crustaceans include animals such as prawns, crabs, lobsters, barnacles, shrimps, yabbies, as well as garden slaters and pillbugs.”

…which isn’t the same as “ubiquitous” Also, yabbies? Apparently, a type of crayfish. I might have to start using that one. Either way, they aren’t attaching numbers to compare insects to crustaceans.  However, maybe not in total numbers, but function?

Source B: The Icelandic Fisheries says:

“Crustaceans in the ocean are comparable to insects on land which they are actually related to.”

No numbers here either.  I couldn’t find anything quickly to honestly compare. However, we should probably remember that that there are a lot of krill out there (and that link has a nice primary source). So, what do they mean by “as ubiquitous as” in this case? Numbers? Niche diversity? I dunno. Maybe numbers–krill are small and oceans are big. Who knows?

Still, just a reminder to kids that Wikipedia is delightfully inconsistent.


Time to Blow the Dust Off This Blog

Oh, hello there theoretical reader. I think I’d like to revive this space.

Sure, I’ll fiddle with templates and plugins and whatnots to avoid actually writing anything. Eventually, however, I’ll settle on a look and begin blogging again until whatever work/life developments once again force me to backburner the whole thing.



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