Friday, July 2, 2010

What's that Slate? Toxoplasmosis is the most interesting, and you'll run an article that bacisally says nothing, just to prove it?

Seriously, this article is as bad as an episode of Monster Quest (which sucks in a very boring way). It's just shit I linked to months ago combined with World Cup.
That said, it does increase the general knowledge about my favorite parasite, so... I guess I'm glad it got put out there, sort of.

These guys certainly aren't gonna own up to a behavior-changing parasitic disease that they unknowingly spread and reap the benefits of. They pretty much got it made, and they know it. But they are just cats, and don't have much of a clue about parasitology. I keep my clean laundry free of parasites, but full of cat fur, you see... that's normal behavior and totally not the behavior of someone who's had his mind hacked by cat parasites, right?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What was the best era of Tom and Jerry?

A lot of people would say it was the Chuck Jones era, but I've always been partial to the early '60s cartoons with the weird sound effects. I just found out they were directed by Gene Deitch, who also directed a bunch of Krazy Kat episodes (which I'm not yet familiar with).
Anyway, to tie everything together, here's a pretty good episode about a whale called Dicky Moe. Notice how the captain's peg leg sounds like a sonar blip. Krazy.

Other episodes from the Gene Deitch era put the duo in space, in a swinging bachelor pad, going fishing for muskie, going tiger hunting from the back of an elephant, or in the carribean, all with a vibe-heavy score and weird percussion instead of the work of foley artists for sound effects. It makes sense that Deitch was also the art director for a jazz magazine.

What's the best way for a paleontologist to excite the internet?

Why, in order for a paleontologist to win the internets, all he or she needs to do is come up with a new and interesting paleo-fight. If it includes a badass new species, that's just gravy, man.
This monster whale is named Leviathan melvillae, you know, after that sweet Mastodon album and that monster whale writer guy. Notice how the illustrator expertly drew old Leviathan as a cross between a sperm whale and an orca and composed the piece to echo the Jaws poster. It's a great illustration, but Dr. Christian de Muizon, speaking to the BBC, hints at what might make a BETTER illustration :

"And it's interesting to note that at the same time in the same waters was another monster, which was a giant shark about 15m long. It's possible that they might have fought each other".

Not to put words in the guy's mouth, but he's clearly referring to Carcharodon megalodon, the giant great white of the ancient seas. It's definitely a demonstration of the ___ vs. ___ formula of internet animal interaction. It's also a manifestation of our mammals vs. cold-blooded suckers bias. Finally, it is based on behavior that we see today in orcas:

(Interesting fact I just learned about megalodon from wikipedia: in Renaissance times the fossilized teeth of sharks were thought to be the tips of dragon or serpent tongues, were known as "tongue stones," and were used as a remedy for or amulet of immunity to poisons.)

Anyway, here's a little Nature video about it. Please notice the youtube comments. After you get through the firstie and firstie hate, the fifth comment mentions megalodon. It's on the tip of the internet tongue I tell ya!