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Archive for April, 2012

This kingfisher gives no fucks!

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Dear readers, friends, ex-lovers and freethought badasses! I’m heading off to Sulawesi, Indonesia, tomorrow on a scientific research expedition into the jungle. I’ll predominantly be focusing on the capture of rodents, but there’ll be many other people along for the journey with us chasing all forms of creepy crawlies, lizards, frogs, mammals and birds.

For those of you who don’t know, Sulawesi is the K-shaped island located in the middle of Indonesia. It looks to be a pretty epic tropical island with beautiful beaches, dense jungles and incredibly high mountains.

I will undoubtedly be taking a shit load of photos, notes on my experience and hopefully coming home with a few new species in hand. Until my return, here are some photos from Google of Sulawesi’s tropical beaches, mountains and dense jungle.

I might also add, this is the animal I’m most excited to see besides all the awesome rodents I’ll hopefully be catch, the Sulawesi Palm CivetMacrogalidia musschenbroekii.

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Sharks are interesting creatures, and in more recent times it’s been discovered that they like having their noses rubbed, which can lead to a state of hypnosis or ‘tonic immobility’. They can also go into this state when turned upside down with shark researchers often taking advantage of this physiological phenomenon when studying these animals (see the guys on the Discovery Channel working on Great White Sharks).

This is believed to occur because of the vast number of sensory pores in the noses of sharks, called ampullae of Lorenzini, which are used to detect electric signals from muscle movement in animals around them. These sensory organs are overstimulated when touched and lead to the shark falling into a state of ‘tonic immobility’, whether because they enjoy it immensely, simply become temporarily paralysed, or otherwise I’m yet to ascertain. They can remain in this state for up to 15 minutes.

I did a quick search on Google.com and it lead me to a video on YouTube.com that turned out to be this same guy doing this with these sharks.

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I guess you learn something new everyday!

Iran has succeeded in sharply reducing its birth rate in recent years. Iran is the only country where mandatory contraceptive courses are required for both males and females before a marriage license can be obtained. The government emphasizes the benefits of smaller families and the use of contraception.

Referenced on Wikipedia from the Earth Policy institute.

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To me this photo is as interesting as it is terrifying. Apparently this is a result of osteosarcoma of the cranium, or for us medical laymen, bone cancer of the skull. I can’t imagine how horrific and painful this would be to suffer and die from.

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive malignant neoplasm arising from primitive transformed cells ofmesenchymal origin (and thus a sarcoma) that exhibit osteoblastic differentiation and produce malignantosteoid. It is the most common histological form of primary bone cancer.[1]

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I’m sure most of you know my stance on illicit drugs, if you don’t I’ll admit I’m very liberal on it all. Your body is yours and you should be able to do what you like to it whether that includes injecting things, breaking, cutting, modifying it, whatever. If you hurt no one else in the process, be my guest!

This recent article was posted on www.marijuana.com (you can imagine their stance on such matters too). It draws attention to a recent article in particular in The Huffington Post that reports that 300 economists have thrown their support behind the legalization of cannabis. And as they should! Keeping it illegal is by far the more expensive option, where the rest of us (the government included) suffer double the loss when it comes to paying to prevent its distribution in our countries, which we suck at if you haven’t noticed, and also missing out on the taxation that would be gained from appropriate and rationally thought out regulation of the substance (let alone all other illicit drugs), no instead that goes straight into the pockets of each countries organised criminal syndicates, and tax free I might add. (Sorry that was a long sentence).

Anyway have a read of this article, and throw your helmets on if you suss out the linked articles as they’ll throw quite a lot of good information your way.

We have all heard the classic argument. Marijuana could save the government a ton of money if it were legalized primarily in the savings from having not to enforce marijuana laws, not to mention the additional income that could be made from government taxation on the product. But, while this discussion is usually reserved for a stoned debate, 300 noted economists have released a study that backs all of this up, and big time.

The Huffington Post reports that 300 economists, which includes 3 Noble Laureates, “have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

The petition does not directly call for an end to marijuana prohibition, but, rather, suggests that both sides begin an “open and honest debate” about the current state of pot prohibition and whether it is actually causing any benefits.

In addition, as the article points out, with a $1.5 trillion budget deficit, the government is forced to choose between cutting programs and raising taxes as a way to make ends meet, while ending marijuana prohibition seems like a way to ease a small part of this financial need without the cuts or taxes.

A recent article in Businessweek takes this 13.7 billion figure and trumps it, stating that “based on the amount of money he thinks it would take to produce and market legal marijuana, combined with an estimate of marijuana consumers, (Stephen) Easton guesses that legalizing the drug could bring in $45 to $100 billion per year.” At the high end of that estimate, you are beginning to knock out a large portion of the budget deficit.

Do you think that legalizing marijuana would help the U.S. with their financial burdens? What other ways do you think the government can reduce their deficit?

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