Lazy Saturday Links – 12/22/12
Happy Solstice (a day late)! I’m sure we’re all glad the days are going to start getting infinitesimally longer now. I’m having an extraordinarily lazy Saturday and that means – links! Have a great weekend, everyone!
1: A victory for sea otters. My favorite mustelids are not only growing in numbers, but they will now have access to previous “otter free” zones, which means they can nom those sea urchins to their furry hearts’ content. Not loving the idea of de-listing them when they reach a population of a little over 3,000, though. That’s not very many, really (NY Times).
2: Sad news from the Chicago Field Museum, which will be cutting their research budget and staff. They have the one of the most extensive natural history collections in the world. A museum like this is a research institution, and it loses its purposes when it stops doing that. Not to mention the amount of knowledge and data that will be lost if the collections are allowed to deteriorate. Sarah Werning explains brilliantly (The Integrative Paleontologist).
3: A fungus has been killing thousands of frogs every year, of more than 200 species, driving some species to extinction. Scientists finally think they know the carrier – crayfish. Ed Yong explores the bizarre and problematic life cycle of this frog-killer (Not Exactly Rocket Science).
4: A tropical pitcher plant has a unique, and highly successful, way of catching its prey. We’ve already established that I love carnivorous plants, so I’m always excited to learn about a new one! (Smithsonian)
5: A stunning 126 new species have been discovered in the Mekong Basin in the last few year. A slideshow of the 12 most charismatic. And people say the world has been explored and there’s nothing new. Ha! (The Guardian).
General Science Links
1: Cold plasma? I know it exists, but still can’t quite wrap my brain around it. Jen Ouellette takes us through this strange type of matter and its many uses. But can I play with it? (Cocktail Party Physics)
2: A rundown of the top scientific discoveries of 2012, featuring the discovery of the Higgs-Boson and recording-setting quantum teleportation. Keep working on that last one – sometimes it’s too cold to drive anywhere (Wired Science).
3: How bilingualism effects the brains of children, featuring English/Gaelic and Italian/Sardinian speakers. I would like to see something similar done with languages that were less related to each other, but it’s probably hard to find a cohort of Swahili/Thai speaking children…(BBC News)
2: Mormon women around the country dared to wear pants to church last Sunday. Reactions were very mixed. It’s sad that this is even an issue, but I’m glad to see women standing for up themselves in the LDS church. As you might imagine, there has been a lot of chatter about this in SLC (Huffington Post).
3: More depressing news on the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, but at least we get to watch the Republican party destroying itself from the inside. Still, cold comfort to the average citizen facing financial consequences from the bickering (Slate).
5: The Good Men Project may have been attempting to raise awareness of an issue, but what they ended up doing sounds an awful lot like rape apology. You know, because men need to hear more reasons why no doesn’t mean no (Salon).
Things to Do This Weekend – Christmassy Edition
(I realize not everyone celebrates Christmas, but here are a few of the holiday things I plan to do this weekend, which are mainly Christmas themed).
Eat: Home made cinnamon rolls, unapologetically ripped off from Cinnabon. I make these every year around this time, and they will destroy your diet.
Drink: A Christmas cranberry mojito. Looks easy enough to mix up, and very seasonal. Must be a cranberry fan.
Watch: My favorite recent Christmas movie is Arthur Christmas. It looked terrible in previews, but that’s mostly because Hollywood has no idea how to market British movies here. It’s actually adorable and hysterical and not too sappy. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, go for the original Die Hard - it counts as a Christmas movie.
Cook: A Christmas goose! I’ve never done it, but I feel we should definitely bring back the goose as a holiday meal option. We just had turkey at Thanksgiving, let’s try something different! Here are some tips on goose roasting.