Biology/ Zoology links

We have always known about the parthenogenetic (but mating, and reproducing, sometimes in the yard–see below) hybrid whiptail lizards of New Mexico, some of which live in our yard, known as Aspidoscelis (formerly Cnemidiphorus) neavesi, or more rudely, if correctly, as lesbian clone lizards. They are indeed a species of all- female virgin clones that reproduce after sexual behavior.

But now scientists have bred dual hybrid versions, tetraploid in chromosome number. What the hell are they? And do they exist in the wild?

Tardigrades exist in your local stagnant pond, in outer space, and in cult science fiction stories of the seventies.; they are everywhere. Nevertheless, they make clone lizards seem mundane.

Here is a model:

Next (tomorrow): Italian gun trends and esthetics…

Links 1

I have many I have been saving, some worth your time, some that just caught my eye An example of the second is this horrifying skeletal “bird”, aptly titled “Epic Bird Anatomy FAIL”:

Love those feather bones..

On the serious front, we have more dispatches from the front lines of the AR fascists’ attempts to make us cease all contact with our animals, from the invaluable and necessary Bedlam Farm blog. “We”,  ie the side of sanity, won the first battle for the continuing existence of the New York Carriage horses, but can we be complacent? Jonathan Katz says no.

He also revisits the larger issue here; whether it is possible to have a traditional relation with an animal, say WORKING, in our society. I would have thought he was being paranoid, but after belatedly reading Ted Kerasote’s latest, Pukka (review TK) I learn that a large majority of urban Americans think that ALL dogs must be spayed and neutered. Where do these mooncalves think that dogs COME FROM?

A quote from Bedlam Farm:

” The truth is that American dogs live the best lives of any animals in
the world, very few of them suffer and die at the hands of abusive and
uncaring owners…

” We are moving towards a kind of quarantine for dogs, increasingly
sealed off from the opportunity to socialize them, to give them varied
and stimulating lives, to accompany us in our travels, be appreciated by
other people. Dogs deserve better than to be isolated only in homes and
backyards because society does not permit us to take any risks with

Eleanora’s falcons have always been thought  strange. Island – nesting relatives of the European Hobby, they resemble little Peregrines with big wings. They live on Medterranean islands, and breed during the FALL passerine migration to Africa, using that bounty to fuel their reproduction.

 Now it appears that they keep “prisoners” in a larder as well. Please forgive format– it came out this way:

“…the falcons keep or
‘imprison’ some preys in a relatively deep cavity or in a fissure of
rocks from where they can’t escape as their flight feathers (both tail
and wings feathers) were already pulled out …
Or by keeping them trapped in a tight and deep hole which makes them
unable to move neither their wings nor their hanging legs…

“The authors reported
also that this behaviour can occur even before the eggs hatch, and was
already well known to a local fisherman who is staying in the
archipelago in a more or less regular basis for decades…”

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

Last before dinner: a relative, a wild Eurasian Hobby, flies down a Swift . That we have not yet mastered such flights, apparently done easily in the Old Days, should suggest we don’t know everything yet…

Catching Up

Yesterday I went hunting on Piet Ditmar’s Dunhill Ranch. I am not 100 % yet (100 % may be a ridiculous concept, making age run backwards), but I walked about four miles in rugged terrain and came back exhausted but happy, having at least SEEN game. Most exercise I have had in 6 months and biggest distance covered in years. Now I must walk– solvitur ambulando- and get in REAL condition.

Not just recovery, but because of work deadlines as well, I have been neglecting the blog, and have a lot of links, reviews, and other things, which I will trickle in over the next few days.

Meanwhile Skyhorse seems to have settled on a cover, having tweaked it some more. My only request is that they substitute a photo of Taik for the one they had included. Libby sniffed “supermodel”, and I pointed out that no field dog ever had such groomed ears.

And the reprint of Rage, with the cover by Michael Quinton and the intro by Helen, is ready to go too, but it is in PDF and I don’t know how to convert it.

UPDATE : Jackson just converted it. Thanks Jack (and Karen who offered to)…


I can only say things are GOOD- not “perfect”, whatever that means.

In the morning I often feel “normal”, i.e., how I feel I remember from 6 – plus years ago; I often hit a wall by 5 PM. It is not bad, and getting better as we learn how to adjust my machine…

I must learn, as Sarah says: it is a PROCESS,  perhaps un- ending…

Here is a more objective Libby report:

“Steve had the second part of his surgery in which they run the lead wires under the skin and attach them to the “battery”, which is somewhat like a heart pacemaker. Then the next week we went back and Sarah, our wonderful neurologist, turned the contraption on and did the initial programming. They put an electrode in each side of his brain; each one has 8 locations which can be individually turned on and off, and have different amounts of charge delivered. My mathematically challenged brain can’t conceive of how many different combinatioin possibilities this presents — needless to say, it will take some time to work out the best combination to achieve optimum effectiveness.

“At this point, Steve’s dyskinesia is absent, which is wonderful. He is still having troubles with small motor coordination, leg cramps, a very soft voice (this started right after the first surgery) and sometimes his walking. Every day presents something different … sometimes he feels pretty normal, and then a few hours later he hits some mysterious wall and feels awful for several hours. Luckily Sarah is very responsive and can communicate well… when we send her an email she usually gets back within four hours; and remarkably, when we describe what is happening, she knows how to guide us through changing the settings so we don’t have to make a trip to Albuquerque. With our marginal cars that can be a problem in itself. We go back for another office visit at the end of September — we’re keeping a log of what is happening every day to try to discover if there is some pattern to all the ups and downs. “

Actually, better than that- this was written before my last “tweak”.  I am now over 80%, and getting better…