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It’s been a while! I’ve been slaving away working on my PhD and getting my life sorted in a number of other areas but hopefully will get back to writing and harassing the online secular world!

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Funky!

So, I’ve been reading a ton of scientific literature on speciation and patterns of diversity recently for my PhD work. This author keeps popping up all over the place on numerous articles and I can’t seem to quell the laughter every time I see his name.

You will know when you see it.

Sorry if this picture is too graphic for some, but for me it was just too beautiful and fascinating not to post! I hope most of you can appreciate its beauty and complexity as much as I can ūüôā Full sized shot here.

Also thought I’d share this link which is a gif of a human heart from a donor being kept alive in¬†a mechanical system which keeps it warm, oxygenated, with nutrient enriched blood pumping through.

There’s a species of small fish¬†from the Amazon called the Splashing Tetra fish, Copella arnoldi, which have an amazing spawning ritual. The males periodically jump from the water up into low hanging foliage to find the right leaves under which they can land on and stick to. They then guard them until a suitable female mate comes along with which to reproduce. They line up at the water surface and propel themselves in perfect synchrony out of the water, into the air, and stick onto the back of the leaf side by side. There they lay several eggs at a time before falling back into the water and repeating the process until they’ve laid and fertilised around 60 or so eggs.

And that’s not all folks… At this point you’re probably having a slight evo-gasm or adapta-spasm like I am, but it gets better. The males apparently stick around for the following few days whilst the eggs develop and periodically splash the leaf, and eggs, with fresh water so they stay moist and oxygenated. After about two days the small fry (yep, that’s where it comes from, baby fish are called ‘fry’) fall to the water that dad has splashed up to them.

Mind blow…!

Lonesome George died on Sunday, and with him disappears yet another species (well ‘subspecies’ to be correct, but it still matters!!) from the face of the earth. He was the last known individual of his species the Pinta Island tortoise, Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni,

The last known individual of the subspecies was a male named Lonesome George(Spanish: Solitario Jorge)[2], who died on 24 June 2012[3]. In his last years, he was known as the rarest creaturein the world. George served as a potent symbol for conservation efforts in the Galápagos and internationally.[4].

George was found in 1972 on Pinta Island when his subspecies was believed to be extinct. Since then he has been a conservation icon for the Galápagos National Park Service. Unfortunately, repeated efforts to breed Lonesome George with two females from the Espanola tortoise population, species Chelonoidis nigra, had failed. However, he at least had their company until the end.

I’m somewhat surprised at the results as the muslim community put up quite a fuss at the time of the 2011 Census being filled out, urging all Australian muslims to be counted to try giving the religion more power in the Australian political sphere.

It’s nice to note that the category of ‘No Religion’ has grown by 3.6% in the past 5 years, getting close to representing a quarter of the Australian population. One more encouraging point is that numbers in every other religious group appear to have dropped! Onward bound!!!