Category Archives: Science and Geekery

Things that have caught my interest from the world of science, and other geeky stuff

Being a Geek

Simon Pegg on being a geek

Simon Pegg on being a geek (this image has been doing the rounds on the net… have not been able to track down the original source, so sorry for the lack of credit, but thanks to Gwen who brought it to my attention)

I love Simon Pegg, and I love this quote because I too am proud to be a geek.

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NASA Telescope Confirms Alien Planet in Habitable Zone – Yahoo! News

I don’t usually blog about science – or news for that matter – but this article is quite exciting, so I thought I’d share it: NASA Telescope Confirms Alien Planet in Habitable Zone – Yahoo! News.

Yes, that’s right – NASA have found a planet very much like our own, where the average surface temperature is in the correct range to find liquid water, and where alien life could potentially be found.

Kepler-22b

Artist's rendering of planet Kepler-22b (Image from NASA via Yahoo News)

And because I am a geek, I think this is awesome.

Yay science!

Also, apologies for the lack of proper updates this week – I’ve turned out to be busier than anticipated. Will endeavour to get better at posting regularly again, as I’ve been a touch on the slap-dash side lately.

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My Top 5 Web Comics

I like web comics… and here’s why:

There are some brilliant comics out there to find and to be read, and masses of different styles – some are beautifully drawn, while others depict simple stick people.

Regardless of  artistic style, the best web comics, in my opinion, are humorous, relatable, slightly disturbing (maybe that’s just me though),  have great characters and tell a ripping yarn or two… or are just funny – to be honest, it depends on your mood!
Anyway – here’s my Top 5 favourites in no particular order:

  • Bear (Jamie Smart)*

Bear Comic SampleBear is full of wrongness – but it’s just brilliant.
It began as a proper comic made from actual paper, and is drawn by the fantastic Jamie Smart. Now available on the web, it’s still as mental as ever, depicting the crazy adventures of Bear and insane serial-killing, escapade-creating cat Looshkin. Yeah! Mental cat adventures!

Starting as the story of a ‘going-nowhere’ taxi driver, Sam goes from zero to bumbling hero over the course of six series of comics – with the help of his mysterious furry side-kick Fuzzy of course. Why is he mysterious? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Oh yeah, and there’s secret ninja organisations and such – awesome.

Dr McNinja

He’s a doctor, and he’s a ninja. Oh, and his side-kick is a young boy with an excellent moustache who rides a dinosaur. Seriously, there’s nothing not to like here!

Girl Genius

A steam-punk style story of epic proportions, Girl Genius features adventure, romance, robots and mad science! Beautifully drawn and great fun.

Questionable Content

QC follows a group of twenty-somethings through relationship dramas, life dramas and all that kind of thing. For me, this is the comic that got me interested in web comics. Read it from the beginning and watch both the characters and the drawing develop. T’is good stuff.

So there’s my top 5. Now it’s over to you – what are your favourite comics, web-based or otherwise? Have I missed someone out? Let me know in the comments!

*Images are samples – click-through for whole comics. Go on, you know you want to!

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Filed under It's My Life, Science and Geekery

Mermaid Biology- Could They Be Pretty Platypuses?

Alright, yes – the title of this post does pose the weirdest question ever asked on this blog, so I’ll tell you all how I came round to this hypothesis…

It started as a comment on a blog post about films, asking how The Little Mermaid would reproduce… it was a pretty random question; but one that got me thinking…

Ariel, the Little Mermaid

Ariel, the Little Mermaid - So pretty... but how do you breed? (image from disney.co.uk)

You see, if a mermaid has a human top then it would be likely that she would produce milk for her young – technically making her a mammal. On the other hand (or half, you could say), mermaids have fishy tails. This suggests that instead of giving birth to live young, they may lay eggs.

A mammal that lays eggs and lives in water? Sounds like… a platypus!

Platypus

The Platypus is one of only a few mammals to lay eggs (image from nationalgeographic.com

The platypus is a monotreme.

“The only surviving examples of monotremes are all indigenous to Australia and New Guinea, although there is evidence that they were once more widespread. Among living mammals they include the platypus and four species of echidnas (or spiny anteaters).” – Wikipedia

So, essentially my theory is that a mermaid could also be a type of monotreme; laying eggs and then looking after the young when they hatch… The eggs would have to be laid on land, as platypus eggs are – they would simply drown if they were laid under water. Perhaps there are caves with mermaid nests in. That’s a pretty cool thought!

Of course, this is glossing over the whole ‘ do mermaids breathe underwater?’ issue… If they are able to breathe underwater they must have gills, which means that they would not be mammals at all; gills simply cannot provide enough oxygen from the water to sustain a mammal.

“Cold blooded animals need a lot less oxygen than warm blooded animals do. Imagine that you have a 100-pound human and a 100-pound fish sitting on a couch. A human being needs maybe 15 times more oxygen than the fish does. If the human then gets off the couch and starts swimming, the human needs even more oxygen. So does the fish, but fish are super-efficient in the water… Compared to air, there just is not enough oxygen dissolved in water to keep a warm-blooded animal going.How Stuff Works Express

In most myths of mermaids, they are often seen on rocks – so gills would seem unlikely as they cannot function properly out of the water. This, along with the fact that images of female mermaids pretty much always includes mammary glands (hee hee – boobs! Sorry, couldn’t resist!), seems to suggest that actually the species would be classed as a mammal and thus would have to surface to breathe like a seal or a dolphin.

So there you have it: my theory that mermaids are actually a type of monotreme mammal; living in the water but having to surface to breathe, laying eggs on land and then feeding the young on milk until they can swim and fend for themselves.

I think it’s a good theory. If only mermaids actually existed…

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Filed under Randomness and Musings, Science and Geekery

Good grief, I just had a synth related nerd-gasm….

I have been very naughty and not updated my blog for over a week. Tut!

Unfortunately though, after several days of intensive copy-editing at work, I’m all worded out.

Lucky for me then, I came across this video on the interwebs and just had to share it with you all… So much keyboardy goodness all in one cleverly arranged package! I love it!

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