The Internet is, among other things, a massive connection engine. I’ve made some great random connections following links around – some clicktrails I’ve managed to remember, some leave me scratching my head and grinning. The link to Sarah Jovan got established via Lord Whimsy’s live journal and an indication of interest in carnivorous plants. Regardless how tenuous the connection, there’s something in all of us (especially strong in me, perhaps) that loves to jump up and down and yell, “Hey! I (kinda/internet) know that person!”:
The commensalism in the title? Lichens are a symbiosis of fungus and algae. For Sarah, my favorite lichen (because my mum taught me it’s common name when I was about 8 or 9) – a Cladonia, too:
With longer days things are getting more active. My Phragmipedium caudatum has 10 buds distributed across 3 spikes, the frogs are having a ball and I’m busy planning a bog garden (to be put in after the ground thaws a bit – it’s still jackhammer time out there).
Amereega pepperi male transporting tadpoles (will embiggen maximally when clicked.
I opted for Nature on PBS rather than the Grammys the other night – it seemed a reasonable choice for a nature geek. How was I to know that Lady Gaga would reveal that her parents were monotremes? I’ll leave the venomous spur speculation to the internet tabloids… Seriously, the Nature pick was a good one; the episode was “The Himalayas” and it featured quite a few favorites of mine: Mt. Kailas – the axis mundi, Temminck’s tragopan, takin, big rivers in deep gorges, and rhododendrons. It also introduced me to something I was unfamiliar with – aeolian biomes. To quote L. W. Swan who coined the term (and who seems to have been a major, though as far as I can tell, uncredited influence on this Nature ep), “…I had discovered something that was beyond and quite different to what was called the alpine region, or alpine tundra, the zone of the highest life. This was a new zone, a zone based on atmospheric nutrients, a zone of the wind. I would eventually call it the Aeolian Biome.” * I’ll embed the relevant chapter from Swan’s Tales of the Himalaya – he describes the history of high altitude spiders better than I ever could (and he was there for important pieces of it).
I can’t resist pulling another quote – it’s the naturalist’s version of turtles all the way down. “When queried on this subject, Hingston, presumably when he was in his least lucid mood, vaguely suggested that the spiders may eat other spiders.”
I chanced across Secrets of the Dead: Japanese Super Sub while channel surfing last night. There wasn’t much exhumation/archaeology/poking around, but it was very interesting and jogged my memory a bit (see below).
Embedding the video seems to be borked – click the image below to go to a page where you can watch the show.
In the program, we briefly encounter Unit 731; one of the missions planned for the I-400 class subs was an anthrax attack on the west coast of the US. As always, when Japanese war crimes in Manchuria come up, I marvel at the differences between post-war Germany and Japan. Germany was forced to confront the horror of the Final Solution; Japan was allowed to deny and rationalize.
Quite a while ago I came across (via ?? – where’s my Memex?) pictures of engravings found during the restoration of the only surviving M6A1 Seiran (three Seirans were carried by each I-400 sub). I wonder who made them and what he was thinking about when he did.