Tag Archive: work

a pregnant pause


i'm pregnant.  (pebbles, keep breathing.  mom, you too.)  no – not the kind of pregnant that everyone else seems to be these days, the literal biological kind that brings horrifically squashed internal organs and the physical gain of 50+ pounds and the prospect of baby showers (still working on that post, btw).  i have three friends due this week (well, one popped already), and while i follow their developments with interest, believe me, their imminent offspring are all the imminent offspring i need in my life, now and for about the next ten years.

i seem to be academically pregnant.  i have plenty of things i'd like to get written up here, but the manuscript i'm working on (not even technically the thesis right now, although this will be about another 1/4 of it) has grown from a few tiny cells of information to a stage where it's so big, i can't sit and comfortably do something else without it getting in the way.  it gives me carpal tunnel.  it makes me pee frequently (indirectly, due to increased tea consumption).  it wakes me up at night, with nightmares of some huge glaring oversight.  it has a specific deadline (three weeks from now) by which i absolutely want it to be born and on its way, otherwise it will get buried under the next round of overseas findings.  it also gives me the liberty to work from home, since i can do much of the finalizing on my laptop, makings lists of things i need to check on the specimens next time i'm in at the office.  i get cravings, mostly driven by the nagging knowledge of what's in the fridge, waiting to be eaten.  right now i can smell fresh bread.

i suspect that this state of affairs will continue approximately until i depart for europe, at the end of the month, at which stage things will probably start picking up again here – the period of time during which i historically posted the most frequently (in the 7 months since this site's inception) was while i was overseas on the last trip.  so hang in there, i'm sure there are photos and adventures aplenty waiting to debut.

but in the meantime, here's a glimpse of the ungainly, many-armed, many-paged thing waiting to see the light of day.  to me, orchestrating the final assembly is like watching the tiny, perfect fingernails grow, but i guess i understand if it turns out to be the kind of thing only a mother can love.

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can you architeuTHIS?

groan, i know.

here she be, the giant squid that is currently pickling quietly in our parking building.  the container used to be used for transporting live sharks, and is shaped accordingly, regardless of coffin resemblance.  kind of appropriate now though.  this is one of the larger specimens i’ve seen – probably would have been about 10m in total, from the tip of the fins to the ends of the tentacles (which seem to be missing).  it was frozen when it arrived, thawed overnight, and has now been submerged in and injected with 5% formalin.  and as you can imagine, it smells noice.  the eyes are in very good condition though, which is unusual for a trawl-caught specimen.


Giant squid










calamarity jane rides again

sooooo, remember when i dropped that squid jar last week?  i did it again.  made it all the way through four full days in the collections without incident, and then, wouldn’t you know it?  the very last jar i was handling – i swept it off the table in a spectacular slow-motion arc of impending entropy.  and i have good taste in well-aged, alcohol-infused calamari, let me tell you.  this one was collected in 1922.  fortunately, although the jar shattered everywhere, the specimen was not damaged, and i don’t think too many glass shards disappeared under the shelving.

on to more positive things.  because there is no such thing as too much marine stuff, as soon as i finished working today i toddled over to the miami seaquarium.  i suppose i should have realized, being in florida and all, that it would be less aquarium-like and more theme-park-like – fewer display tanks and more of, well, this:

breaching orca jumping orca tada, orca

not that i’m complaining – i like to see big marine mammals as much as anyone else, even if (embarassingly) they do put a lump in my throat.  seriously, i don’t know whether it’s imagining their life in captivity, or just being in their presence, but there you go.  true confessions of a bleeding-heart squid-hugger.  luckily i am more composed around other large marine mammals, like these 15-18′, 7000lb manatees.  still incredible and humbling, but in a slow and majestic, algae-growing-in-the-armpits kind of way.

and let’s not forget the reptiles and their close avian relatives. one of these may not be as exotic as the others, but at least i finally got a decent shot of a curly-tail!

loggerhead turtlejuvenile pelicangatorgator

there were also things in smaller display tanks, of course. that’s where all the best animals hide out – there’s nothing quite like weird invertebrates to get you pondering what aliens would look like.

and finally, ok, some more mammals.  these guys were showing off on purpose, so i guess they get to make an appearance here.

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howdy, inkspot fans, both of you.  i will be offline for about a week.  to tide you over until i get back, i offer you the following treasure, a la richard lederer – the 'best' answers collected from  last semester's biology exams.  laugh, cry, scratch your head – i did.  and if you want more when you're done, try these.

The best stand-alone sentences:

  • They can move with their hard-celled and eat with their mouth jaws.
  • Behavioural adaptations include spitting, bitting…
  • The lava will eat the carcus of the zebra…
  • One example of mimicry is when a bee replicates a wasp.
  • Without decomposers, producers may not be able to reuse chemicals/nutrients from the dead organisms – would stay in their bodies forever.  [sad face drawn here]
  • The number of zebras will decrease, then the loins and flies.
  • Secondary consumers are organisms that eat secondary consumers and may eat primary producers like humans or cats.
  • Animals are able to move and they have a mouth opening and a anus opening.
  • Plants are blong to …
  • Animals enjoy nature and plants make the nature.
  • Invasive species are usually introduced to new hobbits by human introduction.
  • If the decomposers were taken out, there would be a lot of empty carcasses lying around.
  • Without decomposers, the dead living thing won’t be rotten…
  • What if happen removal each, the food webs will affect rest of the system, because will causing the consumers and the producers.
  • Some problems are that the new species could compete with existing native species for space, e.g. muscle on rocks.
  • Individuals have a common descendant.
  • Animal cells have no cell walls, pants do.

A symbiosis between an alga and a fungus is called a [lichen is the correct answer]:

  • Unicellar
  • Alfungus
  • Mualistic association
  • Mutalism
  • Algus
  • Eukaryote

Define ‘pinnate’ [a compound leaf with multiple leaflets coming off the main stem]:

  • A chat to depicts genetic triats
  • Alternation of species from place to another
  • A sampling method used to counting the number of biological organisms
  • Something small in size
  • For researchers.  A point on a line.  Where they are taking a sample of life there.
  • Low frequency of an organism in the ecosystem
  • This is when species from a population leave their own population for a certain amount of time and return

Give an example of a protist:

  • Virus cell (HIV)
  • Giant squid 
  • Ammeoba [sic]

Creative spellings:

  • Emdemic (endemic?)
  • Firzilied (fertilised?)
  • Zerba, zebar
  • Euglena:  Eugleia, Euglenia, Eugula
  • Neutrience
  • Poinous
  • Antratic, Antartica
  • Heterotrophs:  heterotrops, heterotrophi, hetratrophs
  • Popation
  • Genetic dirft
  • Indesget (ingested?)
  • Desecentdants
  • Distruted (distributed?)
  • Ajusted
  • Cholorplast (chloroplast?)
  • Enviorment, envoirment, envoiment, inviorment
  • Idenical
  • Seaweend
  • Speceie, specie, spicies, specise
  • Relativly unafted
  • Reducion
  • Mimicary
  • Seperated by quiet a distance
  • Reckognize
  • Anaylisis, anylasis
  • Lichen: lypsome, laykin, likin, likaen, leichen, lychen, lycan
  • Heterotrophic: hetertorphic, heterophobic

Name a Phylum in the Kingdom Animalia and one organism that belongs in it.

  • Phylum Mulinea, Organism Wordworm [student obviously knew his/her audience]
  • Phylum Neuilia, Organism Squid
  • Phylum Arthrapoda, Organism Crawling Spider [Hidden Dragonfly…?]
  • Phylum Spongy, Organism Jellyfish
  • Phylum Cnidarians, Organism Rats
  • Phylum Perforia, Organism Sponges
  • Phylum Cnidera, Organism Spiders
  • Phylum Spofira, Sponge
  • Phylum Arithmopod, Organism Scorpian
  • Phylum Ecochrada, Organism Seastar
  • Phylum Anotophta, Organism Ant
  • Phylum Architeutis, Organism Squid
  • Phylum Arthropoda, Organism Carb
  • Phylum Flagella, Organism Paramecium
  • Phylum Algae, Organism Ferns, Mosses etc.
  • Phylum Coelentrates, Organism Polyps
  • Phylum Tetrapod, Organism Lion
  • Phylum Architeuthis dux, Organism Giant Squid
  • Phylum Invertibrites, Organism Slug
  • Creatures, Organism Shark
  • Phylum Flight, Organism Bats
  • Phylum Apes, Organism Monkeys
  • Phylum Carnivores, Organism Lions
  • Phylum Herbivores, Organism Zebra
  • Phylum Tetrapoda, Organism Crocodile
  • Phylum Aneloid, Organism Bird
  • Phylum Feline, Organism Panther
  • Phylum Fish, Organism Snapper
  • Phylum Marine, Organism Frog
  • Phylum Aquatic, Organism Fish
  • Phylum ____, Organism Sell Fish
  • Phylum Arthnopod, Organism Crap
  • Phylum Mulluska, Organism Mullusk
  • Phylum Rataus, Organism Rat
  • Phylum Mammula, Organism Platurpus
  • Phylum Potatoes, Organism Lion
  • Phylum , Organism Tiger
  • Phylum Mosses, Organism Plant
  • Phylum Animalia, Organism Species
  • Phylum Musslus, Organism Slugs, Snails
  • Phylum Archandia, Organism Spiders/Scorpian
  • Phylum Homo speins, Organism Human
  • Phylum Ponira, Organism Cow
  • Phylum Arthrapod, Organism Crocodile
  • Phylum Hamivore, Organism Cow
  • Phylum Spongium, Organism Corral
  • Phylum Anaracnid, Organism Spider
  • Phylum Anfibia, Organism Reptiles
  • Phylum Cniedota, Organism Jellyfish
  • Phylum Mullscus
  • Phylum Parzola (?!)
  • Phylum Cnidofena
  • Phylum Psytophyta (?!)

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