Saturday, December 16, 2006

White whitetails on the Internet!

By now I am a jaded internet hand-- I take all photos with a grain of skepticism, even pictures of what seemed to be a perfectly normal and cute albino whitetail fawn-- especially since it came with a story attached. I checked out Snopes, which catches hoaxesand Snope wasn't sure where the picture came from. You can see the pictures there of a decidedly white fawn with red eyes and a pink nose. Another source casts doubt on the story, specifically.

It seems nobody is saying those pictures are doctored. Albino deer do exist, along with piebald and melanistic (black) whitetail deer. However, the chances of finding a fawn by accident is low, especially when you consider that there are whitetail farms in Minnesota and elsewhere in the North where capitivity can lead to inbreeding and easy discovery (and photographing) of albino fawns.

Of course, white deer do exist, but not albinos. Those deer seem like they may be genetically a very pale shade of cremello, similar to horses.

The Ghost bear aka "Spirit Bear"identified on Princess Royal Island in British Columbia, Canada was established by DNA tests and study to be actually a very pale brown-- the fur darkened slightly in summer and whitened in winter, as this cool photography shows, they're really a very pale "cinnamon" phase of black bear. During summer, some of those bears' backs can turn bright orange in response to the sun! More yellow, reddish, gray or orange bears also occur on the island along with those white and black bears.
Since we're on a roll, let's not forget white buffalo which are supposed to herald peace. The first Miracle was born in 1994 and died 2004. This present Miracle was born in 2006, on the same farm.
This link connects you to various First Nations (American Indian) legends of the White Buffalo.

It is ironic to hear this optimistic contrast to the daily war headlines. I was just reading The Sandbox this morning-- direct reporting from the soliders actually fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Maybe part of the key to peace is to get people to believe it is possible.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Great Google Moogle, where did the time go?

Time to feed the blog.

When I started this humble shack of a blog, I pondered my options and chose to seek work in this area. I have now decided to quit while I'm still somewhat ahead, and move up North to save money while I apply to graduate school. If all goes well, in a few years I'll have a Ph.D., a disproportionately large head, and an actual career.

That's the nice thing about biology-- many physicists and mathematicans go supernova in sheer career brillance by age 30, but if gathering actual data counts, biologists (and chemists) have very long careers, and they get better with age, kind of like cheese or wine. Or... Hmm.

WHIIIRRRR...Brilliant cognitive leap occurs as 100,000 facts spontaneously coalesce into a network, skipping a few logical steps between A and C.

Hey, maybe our body bacteria are actually doing our thinking for us, just like Lewis Thomas proposed that our mitochondria are actually "taking us for a walk." Next time somebody complains I could use a bean-o prescription, I'll just say Shhh... my gut bacteria are thinking. I certainly know a couple of columnists who does a lot of thinking on their gut bacteria, or at least the results of all that thought.

I would like to make this longer and more profound, but I have to continue expanding my brain by some healthy sleep. Most of this news is not surprising; I've always banked on a good night's sleep rather than an all-night cram for an exam. Of course, it helps I have a good memory for facts and other information-- at the expense of being able to remember where I put my keys last.

Never clutter up your brain with unnecessary, impermanent information, is my motto. Which is why I avoid reading about the sordid doings of celebrities, the Top 10 song lists, sports, etc. Heck, some days I avoid knowing what day it is.
As Alexander pope wrote in his poem "Eloise to Abelard"--
"The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!"

Forgetting is good. Make sure you forget the right things and you'll never have problems remembering the right things. The only problem is that I sometimes forget things before I'm supposed to, and that blows.
By the way, Wilbrodog has updated his blog a lot more often lately; go romp there.