Stranger Fruit

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J.G. Ballard

J.G. Ballard has died. So I give you “Atrocity Exhibition” by Joy Division. This is the way, step inside.

Friday Felid #16

Pampas cat, Leopardus pajeros Desmarest 1816 Plate from ‘The Zoology of the Voyage of HMS Beagle’ (source)

Who needs males?

Apparently Mycocepurus smithii doesn’t. It has become the first ant species to dispense completely with males. More details here. (The picture above – from the Daily Mail story – is actually by Alex Wild but is unattributed)

The Arizona Education Association is reporting that nearly 4,500 K-12 teachers and other personnel have been pink-slipped for the next school year. What is truly worrying about this is that it is based on reports from only 36 of the 220 districts statewide and more layoffs are inevitable. You may remember that Republican lawmakers called…

On #amazonfail

Janet has some extensive thoughts about the shenanigans over at Amazon.com. Do wander over and have a read. Suffice it to say, I agree with her and will be withholding any business until all of this has been cleared up to my satisfaction.

Seamus Heaney turns 70

Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner is 70 today. To celebrate here is his poem “Strange Fruit,” one of a series of poems about bog-bodies. Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd. Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth. They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair And made an exhibition of its…

Pogonomyrmex maricopa

   This critter is Pogonomyrmex maricopa, a species of harvester ant which is apparently famous for having the most venemous sting of any North American insect. One sting from the Maricopa Harvester Ant is equivalent to twelve honey bee stings. Best of all, it’s native to here in Arizona. Just one of the things that…

10 Things I Hate About Commandments

This is three years old now but worth a repost given the season in question. HT to Crooks and Liars for reminding me of this.

John Maddox, dead at 84

PZ is reporting that John Maddox – former editor of Nature – has died at the age of 84. Like PZ, I remember him for his review of Rupert Sheldrake‘s New Age garbage (“morphic resonance” *shudder*). As commentators over at Pharyngula also note, he was responsible for bringing James Randi on board to study the…

Adam Goldstein has a post over at the Evolution: Education & Outreach blog which discusses a forthcoming paper by Genie Scott and Glenn Branch (both of the NCSE). Scott & Branch follow Olivia Judson in calling for the abandonment of the imprecise term “Darwinism”. This is certainly something I support, having echoed the idea in…