Category Archives: animals

Terrible beauty

“The Patrician took a sip of his beer. ‘I have told this to few people, gentlemen, and I suspect I never will again, but one day when I was a young boy on holiday in Uberwald I was walking along the banks of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs. A very endearing sight, I’m sure you will agree, and even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half-submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature’s wonders, gentlemen: mother and children dining on mother and children. And that’s when I first learned about evil. It is built into the nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.’”

Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals

Craft time

Something I had to make during my lunch break.

Because seeing Totoro in Toy Story 3 was awesome.

Dress for the Aporkcalypse

I was hypnotized by the recent rebranding of “swine flu” as “hamthrax”, which unfortunately compelled to me design a t-shirt for sale on CafePress:

How long until the band‘s lawyers come after me?

Until then, buy a shirt!. Or a hat. :)

They’re small but they’re smart.

It seems appropriate to follow up my previous post on politics with one about insects. We bought one of those Antworks ant habitats recently. It is filled with a NASA-developed transparent gel compound that the ants eat and tunnel through. I thought it’d be fun to make a time lapse video of the ants tunneling their way through our gel. Here it is, with a few small embellishments:

(youtube link)

This is about seven days worth of tunneling compressed to less than a minute of footage. You can see the daylight come and go in the background.

A high-quality version is available if you click the youtube link and click the “watch in high quality” link under the video.

Here come the scary clowns

We took Iris to the Cole Brothers Circus performance on Sunday. It was a wild time in a blistering hot tent full of underpaid, fearsome-looking Russian and Hispanic performers.

Cole Brothers Circus at the Salem Civic Center from David Oranchak on Vimeo.

(video link)

Aquaria Animalia

I got this funny email from Kathryn today:

I forgot to tell you about the weird dream I had last night – dreamt I was fishing at work (don’t ask) and caught several fish – they were “catfish” in the water, and then they turned to plain cats in the water. And then there was a large horse in the water, and other weird water creatures, and I caught and threw back several of those. For some reason I was here overnight, fishing with a lot of other staff.

I think it’s a sign of the apocalypse or something. Fishing for cats isn’t right.

Update on the triops invasion

Their horrific cannibalism continued; now only four big triops remain out of the three dozen or so that hatched almost two weeks ago. How’s that for a survival tactic? I’ve been reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy; the novel describes apocalypse survivors who resort to cannibalism due to a severe lack of food. Hopefully we will never have to experience such gruesome necessity employed by the resourceful little triops.

Video of them on days 5 and 12: (cannibalism at 0:38!)

(youtube link)


day 6

Triops, day 6Triops, day 6

day 10

Triops, day 10Triops, day 10

day 12

Triops, day 12Triops, day 12Triops, day 12

day 13

Triops, day 13Triops, day 13Triops, day 13Triops, day 13Triops, day 13

Triops critter lab, day 3

There are much fewer little triops swimming around today. Looks like somewhere around 15 or so. I don’t see any floaters or sinkers, so I think the stronger triops have turned the weaker/smaller ones into tasty snacks. Triops Thunderdome!

It is almost magical how these things can came from just a dried out little dot.

More photos and video to bore you with:

Day 3 hatchlings

Day 3 hatchling video. An excuse to play with iMovie.
(youtube link)

Yeah. I need to get out more.

Triops critter lab, day 2

Day two of growing triops is going well. The little triops seem slightly larger already; it is easier to make out their legs and tails. They are very active. It is hard to see if cannibalism has ensued, since I didn’t count all those tiny little dots that hatched yesterday.

Photos of some of the Hatchlings on Day 2

Video of the Hatchlings on Day 2 – Slightly less fuzzy than yesterday’s video

(youtube link)

How long before they eat each other?

I bought Iris a triops kit a while back. Triops are like sea monkeys, but cooler. You get these tiny, dried out eggs that are in a state of diapause, or dormancy. Just add distilled water at the right temperature, and watch the triops hatch and grow. But the eggs in the kit did not hatch, despite our best efforts. So, I sent away for replacement eggs, received them a few days ago, threw them into a tank of distilled water. A day later, the swarm of dot-sized triops emerged:

Cute triops babies. Getting ready to eat each other. The video’s a bit fuzzy because it’s hard to film tiny swimming dots with my camera.

(youtube link)

There are so many! There has to be at least thirty of them in there. I was only expecting to see a few little hatchlings. But after reading about Ryan’s experience with triops cannibalism, I imagine the triops count will dwindle over the next few days.