Monday, March 28, 2011

Time Lapse and Panoramas- Chiemgau Impressions

Chiemgau impressions from Mario Feil on Vimeo.

The music in this clip isn't really my thing, but I am a sucker for time lapse footage and HD panoramas, which this video from Mario Feil on Vimeo has plenty of.




Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic

On November 5th, 1960 a Soviet Antarctic expedition team set sail to the ice shelf on the Princess Astrid Coast where they were tasked with constructing a new Antarctic polar base inland at Schirmacher Oasis. Nine weeks later, on February 18th 1961, the new base, called Novolazarevskaya, was completed just in time for the onset of the polar winter.

With the sea now frozen over, and months of sustained darkness, snow storms, and extremes frosts setting in, the team would have to remain on the base, isolated from the outside world, until the ship which brought them to the site was able to return the following year.Unfortunately for the team’s doctor, then 27 year old Leningrad surgeon Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov, it didn’t take long for things to take a turn for the worse.

By April, Just a few weeks into the their extended isolation on the base, Leonid had begun to fall ill, suffering symptoms of weakness, nausea, malaise, and later, a pain which began in the upper part of his abdomen before ultimately shifting down to it's lower right quadrant. The symptoms were unmistakable, and by April 29th Rogozov was certain of the diagnosis, writing in his journal:

“It seems that I have appendicitis. I am keeping quiet about it, even smiling. Why frighten my friends? Who could be of help? A polar explorer’s only encounter with medicine is likely to have been in a dentist’s chair.”

The surgeon knew that his only chance for survival was an operation, but transportation at this point was clearly impossible, and as the only doctor on the team, Rogozov new his only option was to perform the operation on himself. Preparations began the following day.

After having several members of the team help prepare a make-shift OR in his room, Leonid assigned each of his new assistants specific tasks and showed them how to administer artificial ventilation and injections with the drugs he had prepared in case he lost conscientiousness during the procedure. Once these preparations were complete, and the doctor had helped to properly sterilize his assistants, as well as his operating room, at 2am local time, Rogozov began to perform his own appendectomy.

Lying in a semi reclined position, Leonid began the operation, first injecting himself with the anesthetic procaine before making a 10-12 cm incision into his abdomen with the aid of a small mirror. Though he would turn to the mirror throughout the procedure to try and get a better look at what he was doing, Rogozov worked primarily by feel, using his ungloved hands to feel around inside of his abdomen in order to locate and remove the inflamed organ. Which he did, fighting through weakness and vertigo, and working mostly blind, in just an hour and forty-five minutes.

Leonid went on to make a full recovery in just two weeks, and returned home the following year, where he would live a full life up until his death from stomach cancer in September of 2000.


To read more excerpts from Leonid's Journal, as well as a more detailed description of the procedure itself, be sure to read the original article from the British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) website.

This story was also posted on: Compendium oF Strange.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Et tu Spock?

How could I possibly in good conscience mention Captain Kirk's birthday birthday but not Mr. Spocks? Answer: I can't. Sure, had I remember that today was Leonard Nimoy's 80th birthday I probably would have just mentioned the two together, but what can I say, I guess I'm just not a very good Star Trek fan.

Though obviously less active today where film and Television are concerned ( he actually announced his retirement from acting last year), like Shatner and the rest of the cast, Nimoy has gone on to do a variety of things post-Trek.

He's appeared in loads of television shows, the Star Trek Movies of course, two of which he directed ( he also directed Three Men and baby, which I did not know, but will try not to hold against him), he's an accomplished photographer (link contains naked people), AND he even managed to record an album of his own AS Mr. Spock.

So, if you're fan, why not take a moment to hop on Twitter wish @TheRealNimoy a Happy birthday?! Oh, and if you make a live long and prosper joke when you do it, you're a terrible human being and your children will all be born with two heads.


Leonard Nimoy, "Highly Illogical", from "Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space"( I have nothing snarky to say about this as it is the man's 80th birthday).

Posted by Youtube user:synthastia

Image credit: Unknown- via:Phantasmagoria

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shatner's 80th

As you are no doubt aware, earlier this week William Shatner celebrated his 80th birthday, which I obviously failed to mention at the time thanks to the rediculous hours I keep during the week.

But I simply could not pass up the oportunity to share one of my favorite things in the history of recorded time, Two of my favorite beings in the known universe, William Shatner and Henry Rollins (who's 50th I failed to mention last month), together performing the track “I can’t Get Behind That” from Shatner’s 2004 album, “Has Been”. Happy belated 80th Bill!



Unfortunately, there is no official video for this song, why no one set up a camera to record this session I’ll never know, but the song itself is the important part, so just hit play and listen!

Posted by Youtube user:tedjpclark

Source: Compendium oF Strange

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis And Zombie Ants

Image by: Erich G. Vallery

Earlier this month, scientists David P Hughes, Simon L. Elliot , and Harry C. Evans, published an article in the online journal Plos one describing their discovery of four new species of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, or the "Zombifying" fungus, as many of us have now come to know it.

is just one of literally hundreds of endoparasitic species of fungus belonging to the the genus Cordyceps, which can be found throughout the world, but are particularly abundant in humid areas like tropical forests. These endoparasites thrive by infecting a host animal, or in some cases other fungi, which they then begin to grow inside of and ultimately kill in order to complete their own life cycles. But what makes Ophiocordyceps unique amongst other cordyceps, is its ability to control the behavior of it's chosen host, in this case various species of ants.

Infection with these parasitic organisms begins with the host coming into contact with it's spores, which then gain access to the animals inner body cavity. As to the exact method of entry, I was unable to find a definitive answer, so I suspect it depends on the particular species of fungi you're dealing with. But what ever the method, once inside the spores continue to grow, extending fungal filaments called mycelia throughout the ants body and into it's brain.

Though the exact nature of how the plant manages to manipulate the animals behavior is unknown, it's at this point that the fungus manages to take control, driving it's host down from the canopy where the colony lives and onto the underside of leaves sprouting from the northwest side of plants growing on the forest floor where the colony forages. Once the Ant has reached this very specif destination, it is then compelled in the final moments of it's life to clamp its jaws down on the central vein of the leaf, where it will remained anchored even after it's death. This final resting place is purposely located in an ideal position to allow the fungi to continue to grow, ultimately erupting through the ants head and producing a spore pod, which eventually releases it's spores onto the forest floor below, allowing the cycle to begin once again.


Image credit: Erich G. Vallery
Source:, PLos, also posted on: Compendium oF Strange

Finally, a nice little clip from the "Planet Earth" Documentary via BBC Worldwide with a brief description of Cordyceps and some really amazing images of various insects infected by the fungus.

Posted by Youtube user:BBCWorldwide

Thursday, March 10, 2011

George Hrab "God is Not Great" Video by:Octavio Valdés

Posted by Youtube user:tavoman

While I'm trying not to make a habit of these quick video only posts, I just come upon this video for one of my favorite George Hrab songs via my twitter feed so I thought I'd go ahead and share it now rather than waiting for an appropriate post to attach it to.

Don't know much about it other than it was produced and designed by Octavio Valdés, features the likenesses (is that the correct plural form of that word? Doesn't seem right, no objection from spell check..oh well...) of many of our favorite atheists, skeptics, etc, and that it was nicely done.

So please enjoy Octavio's video for "God is Not Great" from the album "Trebuchet" by George Hrab, and be sure to check out and follow Octavio's channel on Youtube and don't forget to "like" the video before the trolls get to it!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to do some semi-late-night drumming!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

William Shatner's Wake up Call to the Space Shuttle Discovery

Posted by Youtube user:WilliamShatner

What can I say, I love the Shatner, and I don't care who knows it!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

APOD: Cassiopeia A and a Cooling Neutron Star

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / UNAM / Ioffe / D.Page, P.Shternin et al; Optical: NASA / STScI; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cass A) is a comfortable 11,000 light-years away. Light from the Cass A supernova, the death explosion of a massive star, first reached Earth just 330 years ago. The expanding debris cloud spans about 15 light-years in this composite X-ray/optical image, while the bright source near the center is a neutron star (inset illustration) the incredibly dense, collapsed remains of the stellar core. Still hot enough to emit X-rays, Cass A’s neutron star is cooling. In fact, 10 years of observations with the orbiting Chandra X-ray observatory find that the neutron star is cooling rapidly, so rapidly that researchers suspect a large part of the neutron star’s core is forming a frictionless neutron superfluid. The Chandra results represent the first observational evidence for this bizarre state of matter.

Source:NASA, Astronomy Picture of The Day