Monday, April 13, 2015

Quigley's Cabinet

Well, folks, it has come to this. The strength in my arms continues to decline and it has reached the point where posting to my blog is hit or miss. My strength begins to wane about 11 AM, but trying to blog, to get outside before it gets too hot, to fit my occupational therapy in, to accommodate nurses giving me meds and friends wanting to visit has stretched me too thin in the mornings. In addition, my roommate Ola died at age 102 on March 17th. I miss her smile and her peacefulness, and now have the added stress of rehab patients cycling in and out of the room and the associated noise and interruptions. After 6 1/2 years blogging daily, I am still compelled to share links to articles about weird news, animals, fossils, and the rest of it. Friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I will still try to wow you, faithful reasders!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Versus MRSA

Scientists at the University of Nottingham have found that a 1,000-year-old Anglo-Saxon treatment for eye infections works as an antibiotic against one of today’s most notorious bacteria, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). After being introduced to cultures and infected mice, the recipe – which calls for 2 species of garlic and onions, wine, and bile from a cow's stomach brewed in a brass cauldron and let sit for 9 days – killed all but one in 1,000 bacteria. Says Viking scholar Christina Lee, "We were genuinely astonished at the results of our experiments in the lab."

Monday, April 6, 2015

Noseless newborn

Before Eli Thompson was born in Mobile, Alabama, U.S., his father joked that he hoped he wouldn't pass on his nose to his new son. Little did he expect that the child would be born with no nose whatsoever. Eli has a rare condition known as complete congenital arhinia and underwent a tracheotomy at 5 days of age. Surgeons will not be able to construct his nasal passageways until he is past puberty, but in his mother Brandi McGlathery's words, "We think he's fine the way he is."
Read more here:

Read more here:
We think he's perfect the way he is

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bird backpacks

Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have just conclusively proven that the 4.2 ounce (12 g) white-throated, black-capped blackpoll warbler flies non-stop the 1,700 miles (1056 km) from New England to South America during its autumn migration. Not only that, it can do so with a .02 ounce (.57 g) geolocator on its back.

(I'm sorry I don't have the energy to correct the font.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spiky croaker

"I was so mad at myself! I thought I had brought back the wrong frog," says biologist Katherine Krynak, who was surveying amphibian species in the Reserva Las Gralarias in Ecuador. The marble-sized creature was spiky when she spotted it, but smooth when she examined it back at the labr. In fact, she had discovered the first vertebrate species known to change its skin texture.t

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Astronaut anatomy

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has just taken off for a yearlong stay on the International Space Station. He will perform sophisticated testing on himself and the results will be relayed so that researchers can understand the effects of long-term stints in space. Of the ocular analysis, UC-San Diego postdoctoral fellow Brandon Macias, a co-investigator on the project, says, "Our goal is to understand and measure the fluid shift that occurs in space. We hope to create a longitudinal map of changes: before, during, and after spaceflight.” And they have the perfect control for comparison of the results: Scott's identical twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fey ray

Diver Josh Stewart was trying to photograph the belly of a 15' (4.6 m) manta ray off the coast of Peru as part of a long-term identification project for Manta Trust when he found himself being tucked up and somersaulted. He describes, "I was just swimming down as I usually do to capture a manta ID shot and before I knew it, I was engulfed in the wings of this massive manta as I tumbled through the water. I suffered no injuries but it was certainly a big surprise.” (VIDEO HERE)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Quadruplet cows

A one in a million birth has occurred in Dekalb, Texas, U.S. The actual odds of a cow giving birth to four live calves is one in 11.2 million, but that is exactly what has happened to a run-of-the-mill red cow, as she is described by owners Jimmy and Dora Rumsey-Barling. In his 18-year career, local veterinarian Michael Baird has delivered twin, multiple, and even conjoined calves but has never seen anything like it. He remarks, "This is truly an amazing event if you are into this sort of thing.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Extra terrestrials

Two tiny examples of colorful Indonesian "vampire crabs" have been identified as new species, even though they have been known in the aquarium trade for many years. With bright purple or stunning orange claws and intense yellow eyes, the land crabs make popular pets, which is why competing dealers have kept the location where they find them so secret. The scientists found their habitat in Java, and as study co-author Christoph Schubart says of the dealers, "They start collecting in areas where scientists may not have made any expeditions so far, and suddenly the market is formed with some animals that no one has ever given a name.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tapir pallor

National Geographic contributing photographer Luciano Candisani set out to capture on film the legendary albino tapir said to roam the rainforest of southeastern Brazil. While unsuccessfully stalking the creature under cover of darkness, he met with success after setting up a camera trap, and describes, "My heart skipped a beat when, while reviewing the photos from one night, the white tapir suddenly appeared in one of the frames."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Beefy beakfuls

For reasons unknown, the rainbow lorikeets patronizing a backyard bird feeder north of Brisbane, Australia, have become carnivores. Instead of partaking in the seed meant for vegetarian birds including galahs, king parrots, and the lorikeets, they have been gorging themselves on the minced meat set out for magpies, currawongs, and kookaburras. Licensed wildlife carer Fran Sanders exclaims, "I'm absolutely amazed and horrified."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mont et mer

When I went to France in 1999 with my friend Cris, we went out of our way to see the famed Mont Saint-Michel, driving up the causeway from the mainland to the entrance even though I couldn't climb the many steps up and around it, which made its interior inaccessible. Recent visitors were barred altogether when a supertide turned the ancient monastery into an island. Called "the tide of the century," it actually should've been dubbed "the tide of the generation," since it occurs regularly every 18 years.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Underserved in Amsterdam

A few years ago, Amsterdam couple Rob Hagenouw and Nicolle Schatborn started a food truck they call "Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier" (“The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal”) to sell the meat that nobody wants in an effort to reduce unnecessary food waste. They offer up goose croquettes, pigeon rolls, and muskrat, with plans to extend the menu to include fallow deer, black crow, and parakeet. But their most popular item is the horse meat burger. Hagenouw describes. "'Ah, they have My Little Pony burgers,' little girls will say. Most of the time the girls eat the burgers; it's the mothers who don't like it."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bipedal butcher

Some 230 million years ago, a crocodilian standing on its back legs at over 9' (3 m) tall vied for food with dinosaurs in what is now North Carolina, U.S. Other smaller animals in the crocodile family – which have survived to this day – were further down on the food chain, the equivalent of foxes. Although its bones were excavated a decade ago, this beast has been identified as a new species and its name translates as "Carolina butcher." Paleontologist Lindsay Zanno of North Carolina State University says, "It was clearly a top predator. That's a niche we didn't know animals like this were filling.”

Friday, March 20, 2015

Malarial marrow

A Yale University team has developed a new method to identify malaria in the bone marrow of ancient human remains. It is the first time researchers have been able to establish a diagnostic, human skeletal profile for the disease, which still infect millions of people a year. Identifying hemozoin, the polymer produced by the parasite that causes malaria, may allow scientists to track the spread of malaria back to its first appearance in human populations. Jamie Inwood, team leader and graduate student in archaeology, explains, “The data set we build with this will be revolutionary for establishing the epidemiological curve for malaria in ancient societies. By understanding how this parasite reacted to societal shifts in the past, we can aid in predicting its future behavior. We can understand the way it has evolved.”