Christopher Merle

Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, but first I need more coffee.

Category: Science (page 2 of 3)

All about science


Ark (1970) written and directed by Rolf Forsberg. I saw this short environmental film in grade school. It left an indelible impression on me. It was set in the near future (our present day, most likely) This old man had a greenhouse and the Earth was very polluted. The greenhouse was full of life, animals and pants. Eventually, the neighbors destroyed it. Very dystopian. It was the first film to make me ecologically aware and has been with me ever since.

The other film that made a great impression on me was The Snow Goose (1971) It starred Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter. It was a made for TV film off of the book of the same name. Sadly neither of these films are available on video tape or DVD. It was about a young girl who rescues a snow goose and the man nurses it back to health. Later he rescues soldiers from Dunkirk and is killed doing so.

I could probably write a great deal more about these movies. Both were very powerful and I remember them to this day. Ark was shown to us in grade school. It’s hard to say exactly when or how old I was, but it was sometime between 1971 and 1977. I certainly saw it before Star Wars. The Snow Goose was a Hallmark Hall of Fame film.

The Third Eye (Tuatara)

Tuatara is a reptile. They live for almost a hundred years and only become sexually mature at the age of twenty. They are only found on some remote isles off the coast of New Zealand. These creatures are a living fossil much like the coelacanth is. They are endangered. The most interesting thing about them is their third eye or what is called a parietal eye. It’s not a fully developed eye but it’s on the top of the and only in juveniles. As they get older it is covered with scales. Other creatures have them.

I’m publishing this blog entry because I’m tired of looking at it in my drafts, and I keep forgetting the name of that damned reptile. It’s not a lizard but closely related. I’m wondering if this third eye thingy somehow connects to our mythical third eye ideas. Is there some basis for it?

More later, maybe.

Bee Afraid

I knew that bees were disappearing in the US and it is very alarming, but I didn’t know it was starting to happen in Deutschland. At best honey and fruit is going to get a lot more expensive. At worst world the human race is doomed. Killer bees don’t sound so scary after learning about this.

Der Spiegel Are GM Crops Killing Bees?

BBC NewsVanishing bees threaten US crops

science friday (podcast) – Honeybee Problems


It’s an interesting experience getting older, knowing at some point you reach the full height of your physical and mental powers and then begin their gradual decline. I’ve passed my physical peak and now begins the physical gradual decline. Let’s hope it’s a gentle slope. Now I get to experience problems that come with not so much age as it is my genetic predisposition.

I have a frozen shoulder. 50/50 chance of guessing the correct one. It seems that women, diabetics, and redheads are prone to it. Basically, the cuff surrounding the ball and socket become inflamed and limits mobility. It will take months of stretching to restore most of the mobility. I am not female nor diabetlic, but I do have reddish hair. I wonder if a female diabetic redhead is thrice as likely to develop a frozen shoulder.

How did it happen? I strained my arm trying to start a gas powered leaf blower. I must have pulled the cord fifty times very hard. I thought it would heal up. It didn’t. Went to the doctor. He examined my arms and took X-rays. No torn muscles, no damaged bones. All good. It’s not pleasant and can be painful at times, but when I know what ailments friends, family, and acquaintences suffer from, I feel fortunate. The rest of me is in pretty darn good health. I could lose a few pounds again. It sucks when you stop exercising on a regular basis. Your waistline behaves like the imperceptably slow inflation of a balloon.

Update – I went to my first physical therapy session today. He assessed my mobility or lack theirof. Then he worked on my shoulder a bit and then showed me a number of exercises which I did. At the end he hooked up some electrodes and slapped an ice pack on my shoulder. I sat their for fifteen minutes while my shoulder was frozen and electrocuted at the same time. I get to go back a few more times and then I get to do the rest on my own sans electrodes.

Nanotechnology vs. Bigfoot

This is more of a grab bag. I heard two very interesting podcasts, one on Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch) and one on nano-soldering iron. So the title of this post is very misleading because they have little to do with each other. I listen to lots of podcasts. In fact I even produce one called the Conestoga Podcast for our local science fiction convention in Tulsa, OK. I’m proud of the fact we are the 2nd convention podcast after Balticon. I need to survey to see what other con podcasts are out there now. Anyway back to interesting podcasts.

Podcast 1) nano soldering iron. The word nano is much abused these days because it’s sexy, trendy. Anyway but this is real nano-tech. The implications are macro. Richard Feynman is the grandfather of nanotechnology. Anway, this nano soldering iron can repair microchips. I used to do some soldering when I repaired two-way radios and I was just getting into surface mount repair for very tiny on the millimeter size for resistors etc. I never had the proper setup but I managed to do a few repairs if I was very careful. So I was much impressed with this device.

The major implication of this device is on a macroscopic, nay, a global scale. It costs billions of dollars to build a microchip factory and they take up acres and acres, not to mention the use of toxic chemicals and the destruction of the environment to get things like coltan mining for tantalum. With a device like this a microchip factory could be placed in a shoebox, literally reducing the footprint of semiconductor manufacturing to the size of a footprint. Well a pair of them anyway.

Podcast 2) bigfoot. Yes, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, that elusive chick in the hairy ape suit as seen in the movie. I heard a science friday about Sasquatch and I was impressed. The scientist interviewed presented some convincing evidence that Bigfoot may indeed exist. I know I was just a shocked as you are now. Does that mean the Loch Ness monster, UFOs (as aliens from outer space or another dimension), and Yeti exist too? No. I forgot to mention crop circles. Not them either. Crop circles are proven hoaxes. There is no evidence for Nessie and one famous photo has been revealed to be a hoax. As for UFOs as extraterrestrials/extradimensionals, I have only this to say. With the vast improvements in optical technology why do we have we only gone from fuzzy film to fuzzy digital video? So that leaves Sasquatch. I thought it was a proven hoax.

Apparrently not.

There are plenty of bigfoot hoaxes. So how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Jane Goodall said she wanted to believe they exist and that they do. So here you have a primate expert putting her two cents in. She could be wrong but that’s how science works. Meldrum who was interviewed on Science Friday talked about the famous Patterson-Gimlin film and that he’s convinced it’s not a hoax. There are articles on how difficult it would have been to fake in 1967 when it was taken. That is not proof. It’s like the evidence for water on Mars (past and present). We have enough evidence to warrant further investigation. Something is there. It needs to be explored further. So as with the film something is there and needs to be investigated further.

Today the film could be produced with CGI. I’d like to see a reproduction using a costume using today’s technology and camera tricks. Obviously we need proof that Sasquatch exists not to establish the film is not a hoax. If it could be proved it wasn’t a hoax something hard to that’s not enough. The creature shown has pendulous breasts and a saggital crest. This does seem to smack of Piltdown hoaxing. And it was filmed at Bluff Creek. Ironic location? And now I find this article about Patterson. It’s a review of a book that claims Patterson was a con man.

I’m reading all this information on the Internet. So it’s hard to distinguish the claims because both make convincing arguments based on their evidence. I don’t know if Bigfoot exists but I hope it does though as I read more the convincing evidence seems less convincing. I am willing to continue to explore the issue.

My other speculation is this and probably the least likely: Human and Chimpanzee DNA is very close. They could produce offspring but no one has tried. Nor should they. Horse and Donkey DNA is further apart than Humans and Chimps and they can produce mules. How far apart is Gorilla and Human DNA? Could they produce live offspring? What would a Human-Gorilla hybrid look like? Sasquatch? It might make an interesting science fiction story.

In the end I hope Bigfoot/Sasquatch exists that there is some large elusive primate roaming the Pacific Northwest, but if proven that’ll be a sad day. There are implications for environmental and habitat protection. Someone will probably go and kill one or more. And the hordes will descend on their range and habitat disrupting their way of life.

Update – I am somewhat dissapointed but upon further research I appear to be wrong. Just because I heard it on Science Friday doesn’t make it true. I decided to check what a reputable skeptic source had to say about Bigfoot (Bigfoot at 50) and it doesn’t look very promising. Just because I’d like something to exist doesn’t mean it does, sigh. At least I can use it as a possible story idea. Oh, well Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of the worlds greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, believed in fairies.

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