Invasion of the Buddy Snatchers

There’s a parasite that eats crabs from the inside. (I read about it in Carl Zimmer's excellent Parasite Rex, reissued this year in a 10-year anniversary edition.) It enters the crab by penetrating a weak spot, then spreads long rootlike tendrils through the crab’s interior. The crab’s immune system fails completely to recognize it, and it soon takes over the hapless crustacean, body and brain. The crab continues to eat, to feed the thing, but it can no longer molt and grow, regrow severed claws … [Read more...]

Earthman’s Journey – Part 5 (of 8)

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ]Molly (cont.) This kind of thought wasn’t completely new for me – I confess I’d dwelt many times on the fortunes of other men, wistful and envious of the assets they enjoyed. “What would it be like to be him?” I had asked myself, him way up there with all that money, with a daddy who provides private airplanes and the family’s own airport, with new trucks and horses and jet skis and scuba diving lessons there for the asking. “What would it be like to be him … [Read more...]

Earthman’s Journey – Part 4 (of 8)

[ Part 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 – 7 — 8 ]Molly For eight years in my 20s and 30s, I was a draft horse teamster at a resort-town ranch, driving a two-up hitch of massive blond Belgians or coal-black Percherons, on a huge hay wagon for mid-summer meadow rides, or on big sleighs that would glide over the high-mountain snow on moonlit winter nights. Molly was one of the ranch dogs. She was no particular color – a little black, a little brown, a little gray, all mixed up in a dark grizzle. Like most co … [Read more...]

Autotuned Scientists!

I just snaked this from PZ Myers. Is that wrong?It's fantastic! … [Read more...]

Hey Kids! Free Drugs!

Suppose there was a way to make other people think like you? Imagine a drug you could hand out that, with regular doses over a period of time, would cause other people to be like you, to agree with you, in most every way. A drug that would cause them to be UNABLE, mostly, to disagree with you.1) Would you give it to your kids?2) Would you give it to your friends? … [Read more...]

Catholic Childhood Abuse

Regarding childhood abuse, I think the prevailing attitude toward it is that at some point you should just get over it. And I agree, mostly. Full-grown adults who talk about their childhood traumas, and never seem to get over them and just move on, well, you get tired of listening, don't you? But then again, I can't help but think of bonsai trees. Miranda Celeste opens a window into a type of childhood abuse which, because it is so socially acceptable, is often overlooked. … [Read more...]