June 2008 Archives

California Coast north of Fort Bragg

I love the ocean. Here's my favorite little beach, just north of Fort Bragg around sunset. The full size image is amazing, check it out!
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Thunder!


Thunder!
Originally uploaded by botanize
It's the craziest, most backwards thing. Two nights ago we had these clouds roll in, then lightning! It rained for about 20 seconds, nothing even got wet. We heard thunder until 10 yesterday morning. The messed up part is that our little rain storm resulted in more fire than water. There are fires burning and smoldering north of us. The air is visibly smoky, and people with asthma are supposed to stay indoors for the next two days. We're not in much danger of fire, but this is the first time I've experienced a thunderstorm that left me dryer than before it came.
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Junebugs Mating


Junebugs Mating
Originally uploaded by botanize
The female sits in a little hole in the dust and dirt and the male flies around trying to locate her by scent. He eventually lands somewhere in the vicinity of the female and bumbles his way towards her. If he's lucky, he's the first one there. When it's over, the female quickly ducks back down her little hole.
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University of Minnesota EZProxy Bookmarklet

Are you a student, staff or faculty member at the University of Minnesota? Do you ever find yourself at a webpage of a journal publisher, when you realize you haven't gone in through the Libraries system, and the publisher won't give you access to the full text? All you have to do is make a bookmark with this code: javascript:location.href='http://floyd.lib.umn.edu/login?url='+encodeURIComponent(location.href) When you find yourself at a page requiring authorization through the University Libraries, just click your new bookmark and it will ask you to login (if you're not already) before sending you back to the correct page, fully authorized! Of course, it will only work if the Library has itself purchased access to the articles. But it's great when you follow a link in a news story to Nature and want to read the real deal. --------

Sink Frogs


Sink Frogs
Originally uploaded by botanize
So I walk into the bathroom, which is basically an outhouse with plumbing, and these frogs are sitting in the overflow drain holes of the sink. They didn't even flinch as I took their pictures, or washed my hands. I guess there are plenty of bugs and no snakes in the bathroom. Yet.
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Starry night


Starry night
Originally uploaded by botanize
Try viewing a large version of this photo by clicking on it. You should be able to see some stars, and just the slightest hint of star trails. The Moon is nearly full, so I'm expecting werewolves to come hunt down some of the bambis that have been prancing around the meadow like they own the place. The point is, when the moon is new, I'll take some pictures and try to get the Milky Way.
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A typical evening at the fire

This is one way to relieve tedium: fire and beer. I asked John to play "rockin' in the free world", because I was getting sick of hearing sad folky songs. He said it was the first time he knew a song someone requested; i helped him sing it.
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Box of goodies


Box of goodies
Originally uploaded by botanize
Lately I've been doing a lot of this: labeling small plastic bottles, filling them with water and freezing them. I'm going to thaw some of them out in a week and run ammonia on them. The others are going to be next day shipped to Minnesota on dry ice, so that I can spend all of fall semester analyzing them.

Science is tedious, the trick is finding a tedium you can stand.
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If the countryside is not green it is dying

I knew that California has a Mediterranean climate. I know that means cool wet winters and warm dry summers. I know how important that may be for the evolution of grains. But I didn't really know what that means.
"But Adam, looking out over his dry dust-obscured land, felt the panic the Eastern man always does at first in California. In a Connecticut summer two weeks without rain is a dry spell and four a drought. If the countryside is not green it is dying. But in California it does not ordinarily rain at all between the end of May and the first of November. The Eastern man, though he has been told, feels the Earth is sick in the rainless months."

- John Steinbeck - East of Eden
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