Even Witches Need Science...

...or, what happens when pagans skip biology class:


Happy Halloween!

Comic by Shivian Montar Balaris at Oh My Gods

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I'm not a biologist. What does weighing out some fungus have to do with plant biology?

A. muscaria, or "fly agaric" is a hallucinogenic mushroom closely related to the A. phalloides "death cap mushroom".

I would imagine that before ingesting any such substances, it would be wise to understand the biochemistry involved, including botany (identification), preparation, hepatotoxicity, etc.

Or just use your witchy-ways to guess.

Either way, it's not a smart thing to ingest, with or without urine (look that part up yourself).

when I took biology in high school, I was taught that fungi are not plants. Has this changed? Since the cartoonist referred to "plant biology," wouldn't it have been better for the joke if the required ingredient was a plant (e.g., belladonna)?

I get the point, I'm just puzzled by the execution.

Nescio: Fungi are often taught in intro plant biology even though they are not plants. Why? Because apparently no other biologists want to teach it. Basic fungal lifestyles etc. are under botany 100

It's funny... here I expected to get a bunch of grief over the post on tarot cards, and here everyone is arguing over the comic strip.

Personally, I thought the phrasing just enhanced the kid's ignorance of biology. Plus, I believe most of our categories for what is what were created simply out of convenience... does the mushroom care if it is considered a plant or not?

Shivian, I'm flattered that you commented; I love your comic. (I'm a fan of Nate, in particular, as you might have guessed.) Anyways, I'm always happy to share anything that might be critically geeked over--around here, that's the greatest form of compliment. Thanks for visiting!

raivo pommer-www.google.ee

Europe's largest bank, HSBC Holdings,

confirmed on Monday it was considering selling three of its major office buildings and said it
had received interest from potential buyers.

HSBC, which recently raised nearly $19 billion in a rights issue, said it may sell and lease-back office buildings in New York, Paris and London, including its headquarters at Canary Wharf.

London's Sunday Telegraph reported that HSBC was considering selling three of its biggest office buildings to raise 2.7 billion pounds ($3.98 billion).

"We are taking a look at the market, yes," spokesman David Hall said in Hong Kong.

"There are people interested in buying at an appropriate price," Hall said.

He declined to give further details.

HSBC bought back its building at Canary Wharf for 838 million pounds from ailing Spanish property firm Metrovacesa at the end of last year after the Spanish firm failed to refinance a loan secured on the building.

Globally, banks battered by the financial crisis have been looking to shed non-core assets in order to raise capital and improve their balance sheets.

"HSBC has just raised funds from a rights issue and the possible sale of offices could further boost its cash level and thus benefit the bank in its future acquisitions," said Alex Tang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International.

The bank, which planned to shut most of its U.S. consumer lending business, said last month that it was ready for acquisitions in its traditional stronghold of Asia where many banks are pulling out to focus on core markets.