Category Archives: Uncategorized


Just when you thought you knew all about how crickets make sound, some researchers have to go and add more information. Sheesh!

Tree cricket song…


“Why do we bother spending so much money on NASA?”

Which is always followed by “We need to spend it here!” We do spend it here. There has never been a budget debate that involved sacrificing a program to allow NASA to be funded. I could go on, but Phil Plait of “Bad Astronomy” has an eloquent reply, so I see no need to repeat his work. I encourage you to read his article “THIS is why we invest in science. This.” Below are a few quotes from the article.

. . . we spend five times as much on tobacco in a year than we do on space exploration.

But it’s a rock-solid guarantee that investing in science always leads to innovations that have far-ranging and critical benefits to our lives. If for no other reason that’s why we need to invest in science: in NASA, in NSF, in NOAA, and all the other agencies that explore the world around us. It’s for our own good. And it always pays off.

“What have you done for me lately?” you ask NASA. What a coincidence, NASA actually has a site “What Have We Done For You Lately?” This is a showcase of NASA inspired innovations. To quote from The Right Stuff, “no bucks, no Buck Rodgers”. NASA research produces and makes available not only first-rate technology, but the “raw materials” that many researchers world-wide use to create new technology, or “spinoffs”. You couldn’t navigate this page without both direct NASA technology and spinoff technology.

The next time you think NASA is wasting your money, first give up your smokes or pizza and then put that money toward helping the homeless (or world peace or whatever your social agenda may be).


A juvenile of Brookesia micra, the smallest of the new chameleon species

Smallest lizard EVER! Well, in a tight race with a few others. Brookesia micra was recently found in Madagascar. The picture is linked to an evolution learning site at UC Berkeley, but you can read the primary journal article (just like a research biologist) in the journal PLoS ONE. PLoS is the Public Library of Science. PLoSONE is one of the many scientific journals it publishes.

Where did all of Madagascar’s species come from?

Clockwise from the top: A chameleon, an aye aye, a fossa and a baobab. All are native to Madagascar.

If you follow evolution surprises in the news, you may start wonder why so many come from Madagascar. You’re not the only one. Check out the link to see why this may be.

3, 2, 1 Lift Off!

Today is the grand opening of my blog. I’m the last one to jump on the band wagon. Why now? I’ve actually found something useful for a blog. My plan is to use this to post fun bio stuff I come across for my college students and add comments and my opinions. That means it will be most active during the school year and rather sleepy during the summer.