The whole unfurling happens in about 15 minutes according to Taylor Lockwood. Phallus indusiatus or the “basket stinkhorn” is an edible, cultivated delicacy in parts of Asia. The brown tip includes a sticky mass of spores or gleba that smells like carrion in order to attract flies for spore dispersal.
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva is a rare genetic disorder that causes soft tissue to become ossified or transform into bone. Sometimes called “Stone Man Syndrome”, the ossification is typically induced by trauma so removal of the excess bone worsens the condition. The rate of misdiagnosis is estimated at 80% and there is currently no treatment.
Niihau is a private Hawaiian island also home to 130 native Hawaiians. A European purchased the island in 1864 and passed private ownership down to family. The owners limited contact to the outside world for 150 years, hence its nickname “The Forbidden Isle.” Recently, limited tourism has been allowed to the island but the economy remains strictly controlled by the owners.
Surface area in the lungs roughly equivalent to a tennis court is required to provide sufficient oxygenation to sustain the human body. 300 million alveoli (0.3 mm diameter “bubbles”) provide this function together with lipoprotein-based surfactants to prevent all those little bubbles from collapsing. Only mammals have pulmonary alveoli.
The government of China is building new islands in the South China Sea. One site named Johnson South Reef is also claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. In 1988, China and Vietnam fought a skirmish over the reef that left 77 Vietnamese soldiers dead.
In the spirit of Today I Learned on reddit, here are some interesting things I learned today:
Crypto Cryptosporidium spp. are a genus of common parasitic protozoa that cause intestinal, tracheal, or pulmonary cryptosporidiosis or “crypto.” It is so common the FDA estimates 80% of the US population has been infected at least once in their lifetime. The most common symptom in healthy adults is watery diarrhea lasting 2 – 4 days. There is no known effective treatment. Immunocompromised individuals may have crypto for life and it may contribute to death. Crytpo is not to be confused with cryptococcosis, a different fungal parasitic disease more common in the tropics. Cryptosporidium spp. exhibit a similar life cycle to the Plasmodium spp. that cause malaria, called the Apicomplexan life cycle.
Germans and Spanish in Britain A German ascended the British throne in 1714. His reign led to the birth of the modern cabinet system with the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. Also during his reign, Spain briefly invaded Scotland.
Fenestrae Fenestrae is Latin for windows. In histology it is used to describe small pores in endothelial cells of capillaries that allow for rapid exchange of molecules. Fenestrated capillaries are notable for the functioning of the glomerulus that performs the first step in filtering of the blood and intestinal villi that absorb nutrients.
I was disappointed to find Android only natively supports one full screen window at a time. The Nexus 10 can handle multitasking yet Google has stubbornly refused to add it. Some Samsung devices and the Paranoid ROM (recently dropped apparently) feature their own implementations of multi-window support as well as some builds of OmniROM (but not the Nexus 10 builds). Luckily a few developers have created Xposed modules that allow for running multiple windows at once for any ROM or Android device. Unfortunately, it’s not a very straightforward process but after a bit of tinkering I was able to get it up and running. Root is required to install the Xposed framework but this will work on any ROM including stock. If you need to root I recommend the Nexus Root Toolkit, which will do it safely with a few clicks.
Load Xposed framework up, select Setup then Install
Load the Xposed framework app, select Download up top, search for the XHaloFloatingWindow module, select Versions up top then the Download button for the latest version of the module
Repeat above procedure to download the FixVisibilityOfMultipleNonFullscreenActivities module in Xposed (required for most but not all devices to fix an Android bug that prevents multiple windows on screen at once, Nexus 10 requires it)
While still in Xposed, select the Modules tab up top then enable both modules
If you installed the SwipeBack Xposed module be sure to uninstall it by long pressing it in the Modules tab of Xposed (for some reason it’s incompatible with multi-window)
Open your web browser and get the MultiWindowSidebar apk (look at bottom attachment of that forum post) then install
As 2013 arrives, I recently had a speculative discussion with some friends about what lies ahead. Will it be business as usual? What changes might we see? My thoughts are these are interesting times to be alive!
For the past 30 years we’ve seen some underlying economic trends that I think will continue, namely decreasing real wages for goods-producing workers (i.e. the real economy that produces things like food not pseudo goods like improving search time for pornography), increasing inequality, and increasing cost of energy as well as other necessities. As greed increases and debt can no longer finance social benefits, the boomers are the last generation to be more materially well off from their parents. Pension? What’s that? I would expect increased political instability with a breakdown in the social contract and ruling consensus among elites.
There could be many diversions like the massive debt bubble of the 90s and 00s or the current boom in unconventional oil, which is the reason North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. The IEA, who said conventional oil production peaked in 2006, now says the US will return to the foremost hydrocarbon producer by 2020 due to previously unrecoverable gas and shale deposits. The caveat the likes of the WSJ forgot to report is the same IEA report predicts by 2036 we’ll be back to 2012 production levels.
Innovations can only delay the inevitable: that we will eventually have to transition from a fossil fuel based economy and culture. As a whole the boomers and Gen Xers seem to have made it clear they will not give up their God given right to transfer all the ancient underground carbon to the atmosphere as soon as technically possible. The fact no one has a good plan B after the stuff becomes scarce is incredible to me. I don’t see how the American Empire can survive this, as it was our oil wealth and geographic isolation from WWII that initially created American global hegemony. The writing is on the wall but who knows exactly when the empire will fall. As with Rome, I doubt it can be traced to a single date. But within my lifetime I see a fundamental shift in business as usual.
It looks like my generation will mainly be the ones forced to deal with 200 years of kicking various cans down the road. Increased ecological education seems to have paid off somewhat with my peers (I was taught about global warming and recycling in grade school). At least there seems to be more awareness and support on average for experimenting with “costly” alternative energies. But of course it’s all framed in the same manner of continuing extractive relationships and current levels of consumption.
The outlook for biodiversity is so grim I don’t even want to think about it. I am very disheartened as one who loves natural beauty and believes in the intrinsic value of all living organisms. When will the Holocene Extinction cease? Meager set-asides for conservation seems hardly a sufficient response.
On the bright side there is an amazing amount of innovations, interesting art and experimentation in new culture going on right now. Every year we learn more about our planet, solar system, galaxy, and universe. Our current scientific models began to show their limits as we discover 84% of the matter in the observable universe is dark matter, of unexplainable composition. Perhaps it is the multiverse? Further shattering previous beliefs, NASA now estimates 500 million planets outside our solar system reside in a habitable zone where carbon-based life could theoretically evolve. Discovering life on one of these exoplanets appears to be highly probable, with some saying a mathematical certainty. And the constant shifting of our assumptions continues…
We are born into a world already made and carry the baggage of our ancestors. However, I ultimately believe the future is more like an ongoing yet unfinished play. We are given a role and thrown into a scene. How we play this is up to us.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend the Fall 2012 Plants and Fungi at ASHH. I’m learning much with this great intro class and was thrilled to expand my horizons with natural dyeing last week. I found DIY dyeing a great way to re-purpose stained clothing as well as a totally new use/relationship with plants I never previously considered.
Word is going around that the gracious Arleen Bessette will soon do a dyeing with mushrooms workshop. In the meantime, she sent along this list of species to look out for:
To preserve for dyeing, thoroughly dry, place in zip-lock bags, and put into the freezer for 2 weeks minimum. Old, very mature specimens are good.
Sandor Katz has an ongoing love affair with saurkraut. Author and full time instructor at Short Mountain Community, Katz launched a genre of fermentation cookbooks in 2001 with Wild Fermentation. Katz spoke about his latest book, The Art of Fermentation, last night at Malaprops. He monologed only for a few minutes before engaging the audience in a wide ranging discussion. Juggling travel stories while demystifying microbiology and food science, he even troubleshooted fermented creations gone awry.
This self-avowed “fermentation fetishist” skillfully steered loaded questions seeking health advice and concerns about food safety by discussing risk. “We drive cars, go out in the rain, constantly take risks that we accept. All our choices have risks associated with them. We cannot completely eliminate risk.” Katz continued that fermentation practices have been used traditionally for many years. Now contemporary medical studies have validated health claims like minor improved digestion and immune response.
Katz cautioned against cure-alls and medical knowledge at the same time, sharing 21 years ago he tested HIV positive and takes antivirals prescribed by his doctor. “I don’t know about you but I don’t live my life in a lab changing one variable at a time. I’ve had some health crises but I feel great now. Digestion issues are a common side-effect with antivirals that I have never experienced. Will eating 2 lbs of sauerkraut a day cure cancer? No, but it might lower your probability from getting a tumor in the first place.”
Our bodies consist of 10x more bacteria cells than human cells. Our DNA is responsible for only a small fragment of our genetic material. To be human means having a symbiotic relationship with thousands of species of bacteria on our skin and in our bodies. We are literally a microbiome, an ecology of microorganisms that works together to survive. Bacteria can exchange genes with their environment. As Sandor said, it’s like us being able to just got to a hardware store and grab whatever tools we need. Lactobaccillus cells from fermented cabbage might not take up residence in your gut but it might positively influence the genes of the bacteria cells already there.