Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Morning Awesome: Two young ladies rock a giant piano

You may remember this piano from the movie "Big." Oh... did I just date myself?

Regardless, these two completely rock the keyboard. You go ladies, you go.

Enjoy folks with unusual, yet highly entertaining, skills,


[via Butternutjelly]

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fantastic talk on Creativity, Art and Artists

Ok all the Ted Talks are pretty damned good. Many are brilliant, actually.

This one is most excellent. It's inspired, fresh, and worth your time, I assure you.

Enjoy being released from some sneaky, negative shit in an interesting, charming way,


[via Dani of Dani Boyton Photography]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Housemate is better than Yours: The Rose Wall

T. is rocking the garden this year.

Check out this noise -- a beautifully executed rose wall behind the bee hive on the South side of the house. Seems he set it up right, and chose the right varieties to make it happen. Just amazing.

What can I say, my Housemate is better than yours. Sorry, but it's true.

Enjoy friends who help make your life immeasurably better,


Monday, May 25, 2009

Netherlands to close prisons due to lack of prisoners

According to this article, the Netherlands has too many prison beds and not enough prisoners. 1,200 jobs will be lost if these prisons close.

Hard times, eh?

According to this Radio Netherlands Worldwide article, it's due to the generous allowances of using community service time to offset jail time. The conservatives don't like that at all.

How is this relevant to the U.S.? I am not entirely sure, but I do love to peek into very different societies than our own.

Enjoy a wider perspective,


[via my faithful Canukistani operative "Yuri," photo credit in linked article]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama and "Prolonged Detention"

Ok, dammit, here is the straw. Camel's back is broken. Obama is talking about detention without trial. Not only not closing Guantanamo, but keeping it working in the same way it is now -- for holding SUSPECTS WITHOUT TRIAL. Indefinite detention -- no charges, no rights, for "preventative detention."

Get that phrase in your head -- "preventative detention." Meaning someone, somewhere, in the government has decided that you MAY commit a crime, IN THE FUTURE, so they're going to lock you up now. For as long as they want, without a trial.

Do the math on that. The real math.

God damn it.

Here is an excellent post at Pearls Before Swine about the speech in which this came out and the ramifications. There are lots of sources cited at the bottom for your perusal and investigation. And below is the Rachel Maddow clip talking about this as well.

Now we have to fight the Obama administration for basic human rights in our own country.

Here is the link to USA.Gov's "contact your government" page. I knew we'd have to be on top of this administration, but I didn't know it would be over issues this dire. Dammit.


[via Dani, of Dani Boynton Photography]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The most probable Colony Collapse Disorder culprit yet

So that last post I made about a possible CCD agent is on pretty thin ice, it turns out. This pesticide, however (imidacloprid) looks very seriously like a possible cause. In this article, they present some pretty compelling information.

Bayer CropScience, the producer of both imidacloprid and another suspect pesticide clothianidin, doesn't want you to think this, however. They've got big money on the association between CCD and their products just going away.

Although I can't say that case connecting these pesticides and CCD is waterproof, it sure deserves a WHOLE LOT of attention.

Enjoy possibly finding the solution to a problem with one of our most important agricultural animals,


[image credit in linked article]

Sherlock Holmes trailer

Ok, so this looks really "action-movie'd up" from the original source material. So, I've decided that (since I know damned well I'll see it anyway) I'll just watch it as a schlocky action movie, with an enormous dose of suspension-of-disbelief tea.

Could be fun.

Enjoy knowing the headspace you need before you go in to a situation,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Apologies -- and a praying mantis eating a hummingbird

Sorry I've missed a couple posts here [in hindsight, I realized I only missed one post -- and this one is late]. We have house guests, in my computer room...


Here is a radical story about a Praying Mantis eating a Hummingbird to keep you over until I get back. The pictures are a bit -- strong -- so I'm just providing the link and a g-rated wiki image.

Click at your own discretion.

Enjoy insects pulling off impressive carnivorous feats,


[article via Uncle Ted, mantis image via Wiki Commons]

Saturday, May 16, 2009

9-year old Japanese guitar player covers "Crazy Train" by Ozzy

This video is not only awesome, but is full of cute. It's worth either watching til the end, or watching for a while then skipping to the end. Full of cute, I tell you.

Enjoy watching some reincarnated Metalhead take over a little japanese boy's body,


Friday, May 15, 2009

Cat Parasite linked to Neurotic behavior in humans

I didn't make this up, in this Live Science post, a case is made for that assertion that human behavior is affected when stricken with Toxoplasma gondii. Namely, the person is more prone to mood swings, neurotic behavior, and depression.

"Pop science" or no, I thought the concept hilarious.

There is so much I could say about this connection, and people I know -- hell people we all know. But I won't. I'll let ya'll fill in the blanks.

Enjoy wild generalizations generating aspersion and stereotyping, especially if you can get science to back you up,


[via my Canukistani, Ex-Pat Uncle Ted, image via blog]

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Laminar flow demonstration

This demonstration was filmed at the University of New Mexico in the physics department.

It doesn't matter that we don't really understand laminar flow, the video is only two minutes long, go for it.

Enjoy geekiness, even in instances where it may be useful in life,


[via my faithful Canukistani operative "Yuri"]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Installing a Nuc in my back-yard bee hive

Here is a series of photos showing me installing a nuc in my back-yard hive.

The term "Nuc" is short for Nucleus Hive. It is basically a box containing 3-6 frames which include not only a good number of bees and a queen, but brood cells (I.E. baby bees) as well. The presence of the brood cells means that the bees aren't going to pick up and move any time soon, because there are youngin's to take care of.

In my understanding, the advantage of installing a Nuc instead of a "package" is because the queen has a head start producing new bees (a 21-day process) and the hive can get down to business quicker than the package bees can. A package, however, has many more bees to work for their queen.

My experience last year with package bees and top-bar hives (basically, they took their queen and left -- "absconded") led me to the conclusion that for my next attempt, I was going to use a Langstroth hive (I.E. "standard") so I could start it with a Nucleus instead of a package. Bees with babies just don't abscond.

Here is what I had laid out before I started the process: the nuc (the waxed cardboard container there, they are also often in wood containers), my hive and stand on its screen bottom-board, extra frames, pollen pack (in the wax paper on the ground), and a frame feeder (the black "frame" inside the hive at the top).

Here is a view into the prepped hive, showing the gap I left (turned out I needed to remove one more frame as the nuc had 5 frames, not 4 as I expected) to receive the nucleus frames. You can see the screen at the bottom there -- screen bottom boards are becoming standard as they allow both debris and especially mites to fall through and not get back up into the hive.

Opening the nuc.

A couple pictures of carefully pulling frames from the nuc box (I pulled two at a time when I could) and installing them in my hive.

Tapping bees from the nuc box into my hive.

The hive, closed up, with the nuc box set nearby so the remaining bees could make their way into the hive. There is a lot of queen scent in the nuc box so if there were a lot of bees the next day still in the box I was going to do another "tap" into the top of the hive. As it turns out there weren't very many so I didn't feel the need to do this. I wanted to let the hive alone for a bit to settle in.

A note on feeding the new hive: I used one package of pollen and 8 quarts of syrup to feed the hive as a precaution. Although the weather has been variable lately, I didn't want to trust that there'd be good flying weather any time soon after the install. This way if they need the food it's there, if they don't -- well, who doesn't need food when you're starting a new project, right? There was already tons of forage nearby for the bees to work if they did fly (maple, hawthorne, apple and comfrey to name a few) so I didn't feed a lot, nor do I expect I'll need to feed any more this season.

The bees look dandy and I'll post reports as the project progresses.

Enjoy pursuing your passions,


Monday, May 11, 2009

British Member of Parliament spots undercover cops inciting riot at G20 conference

The G20 met in London last month. This, as always, incited protests. Something funny was going on -- as folks in the protest noticed a couple of gents throwing things and yelling at other people to do the same. They turned out to be plainclothes police. Some snippets from the article --

This from an eye-witness: "He [one of the alleged officers] was egging protesters on. It was very noticeable," Amos said. "Then suddenly a protester seemed to identify him as a policeman and turned on him. He ­legged it towards the police line, flashed some ID and they just let him through, no questions asked."

Here is MP Tom Brake's statement: "When I was in the middle of the crowd, two people came over to me and said, 'There are people over there who we believe are policemen and who have been encouraging the crowd to throw things at the police,'" Brake said. But when the crowd became suspicious of the men and accused them of being police officers, the pair approached the police line and passed through after showing some form of identification."

Brake, a member of the influential home affairs select committee, will raise the allegations when he gives evidence before parliament's joint committee on human rights on Tuesday.

Cue X-files music.

Enjoy the conspiracy,


[Originally found at Boing Boing, photo credit in linked article]

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Morning Awesome: Wingnut Confections

What is more awesome than candy? Well locally made, organic, fair-trade, vegan bike-delivered candy of course!

Wingnut Confections is the brain-child my friend Dave Beer. With a history as a pastry chef, and an adoration of dark chocolate, he decided to create candies of an entirely different caliber. Since Dave has plenty of friends with an intolerance to dairy, he worked to create luscious chocolate without it. He figured it out.

I can vouch for the truffles, they're amazing. They're fantastic. He has some trippy flavors as well, including Thai Chili, and Habanero Mole.

I don't know that I could say what my favorite truffle is, but some days its Thai Chili, and others (many others) its Earl Grey. Of course there is much research yet to do, as he has candied Oregon nuts, candied citrus, and Goji berry/Brazil nut clusters that I haven't even tried yet.

It's a rough assignment, but I'll do it -- for you, the reader.

Where do you get em? First off -- you can get them on line. Better yet, you can find Dave at the People's Farmer's Market year round (Wednesdays) and Saturdays at the Hollywood Farmer's Market (which just opened May 2nd). They are also carried in many local stores, including Whole Foods, the Alberta Co-op Grocery, and Proper Eats (among many others, check the link).

Now if I can only convince Dave to start mass-producing his fruit meade so I can have it more often...

Enjoy your friends pulling off epic business feats,


[all photo credits at the Wingnut Confections website]

Friday, May 8, 2009

Basking Sharks' hiding places found

The headline above, in a recent Discovery News article both excited me and bummed me out.

It's awesome that we know more about these animals (the 2nd largest fish in the sea) -- but holy hell the shark-finners know too. Or -- maybe they already knew and now the sharks can possibly be protected.

Most of the travel itinerary that the scientists discovered using tracking devices was quite a surprise:

"Tags came off in a wide range of locations, the scientists reported today in the journal Current Biology, from New England to the coast of Brazil in the Southern Hemisphere. Other locations included the Sargasso Sea, the Puerto Rico Trench, and the Guyana coast.

Five sharks traveled more than 2,400 kilometers (nearly 1,500 miles). One spent a month hanging out near the mouth of the Amazon River."

Enjoy learning more about some of the most impressive and vulnerable animals on the planet,


[photo credit in linked article]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

200 New Amphibians discovered in Madagascar

I envy herpetologists sometimes. This article in Discovery news made me very jealous. What fun, finding new herps (especially frogs) in an exotic locale like Madagascar.

Here are pictures of some particularly handsome fellows:

Boophis aff elenae

Boophis ulftunni

Boophis aff miniatus Ranomafanakely

Enjoy portraits of awesome Little Dudes,


[Photo credits in linked article]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

YGTLO -- Nation ready to be lied to about economy again

Click here for full Onion Article, teaser quote:

WASHINGTON--After nearly four months of frank, honest, and open dialogue about the failing economy, a weary U.S. populace announced this week that it is once again ready to be lied to about the current state of the financial system.Tired of hearing the grim truth about their economic future, Americans demanded that the bald-faced lies resume immediately, particularly whenever politicians feel the need to divulge another terrifying problem with Wall Street, the housing market, or any one of a hundred other ticking time bombs everyone was better off not knowing about.
In addition, citizens are requesting that the phrase, "It will only get worse before it gets better," be permanently replaced with, "Things are going great. Enjoy yourselves."

Enjoy comedy in times thirsting for truth,


[via Uncle Ted]

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Hunt for Gollum -- the ultimate piece of fan art?

When I first encountered this film online, I blew it off. How good could a non-profit movie be, after all?

Then ultra-geeky and faithful Tolkein fans ("Yuri") told me it was impressive. Now that I'm watching it, I, too am impressed. In fact -- this piece qualifies as "fan art" -- and therefore must be the ultimate, end-all, piece of fan art in existence.

Here is the link to the official website for The Hunt for Gollum.

Here is a little about the movie in their own words:

The Hunt For Gollum is an unofficial not for profit short film by a group of enthusiast filmmakers. As a Lord of the Rings Fan Film, we are not affiliated with the Tolkien Estate or New Line Cinema and are producing this project as an entirely non commercial film. As with other fan films we are making this purely for the enjoyment of the material and the experience of making a high quality low budget film.

Production began in early 2007 when writer-director Chris Bouchard started adapting the script from the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings. Since then, the first three days of filming were completed in September 2007 on location in N Wales.

Making a high quality non-profit film would not be possible without the commitment of a large number of talented cast and crew. This production has been open to everyone for collaboration, and as a result, the passion for this project has drawn together a diverse blend of working professionals, students and youth from every walk of life.

Enjoy folks following their passion,


[via my faithful Canukistani operative "Yuri"]

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Double Dose of the Saturday Morning Awesome: Sonya the Slow Loris

[I found some video for ya'll] Sometimes, Cute is Awesome. Sonya is outlandishly cute. Some may have seen her via email, but when I came across a video at Neatorama it was a first for me. I had to post it.

Slow loris are polygamous primates from in and about SE Asia -- for those who need to know.

Let the awesomeness begin:

Sonya likes to eat bugs, too.

Saturday Morning Awesome: Stills

Since I don't have any moving-picture awesomeness, I thought I'd provide two stills.

This first one is so awesome I have a hard time looking directly at it for any length of time -- it burns with awesomeness. I, unfortunately, have no attribution. My source was a Facebook group called "I have to pee when I get home." Basically an enormous compendium of intartube randomness.

I know that's a lot to take in, I'll leave it at that.

Another unattributed photograph posted at (whatever that is) that rocks so hard I had to share it. It's also begging for a caption, but I won't put ya'll through that.

Enjoy following the quirks of the kids these days,


Friday, May 1, 2009

Urban Homesteading -- not just in the Portland Bubble

I was very pleased to see this New York Times article talking about the steadily gaining popularity of backyard livestock in urban and suburban areas of the East Coast and Midwest. Goat and bees were mentioned as well as the ubiquitous backyard chickens.

It seems that laws are being changed around the country to accommodate this lifestyle. As a natural extension of a home garden, a couple animals or backyard livestock only makes sense. Portlanders are all over this, with our coop tours and whatnot. I love it.

I'm often shocked when I start making assumptions about the rest of the country based on what I see in my home town. I'll see a push (albeit hard-fought) for public transportation, or bicycle access, for instance, and then travel elsewhere in the country and find these things utterly non-existent. Not that I think Portland is some paragon of how to do it right -- not by any means. But it is a progressive city as far as the U.S. goes, so it's nice to see one of our little citizen-led green movements actually getting a foothold in the rest of the country as well.

Thanks Nana Povi for sending me the article.

Enjoy knowing where your food came from,


[photo credit in linked article]