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How to Build a T.rex

This came in over the transom yesterday and I immediately realized we'd gotten way behind on our paleontology news here on the A-blog:

' ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 8, 2008) -- Paleontologists have long known that dinosaurs had tiny brains, but they had no idea the beasts were such airheads.

A new study by Ohio University researchers Lawrence Witmer and Ryan Ridgely found that dinosaurs had more air cavities in their heads than expected. By using CT scans, the scientists were able to develop 3-D images of the dinosaur skulls that show a clearer picture of the physiology of the airways...

The CT scans also allowed Witmer and Ridgely to calculate the volume of the bone, air space, muscle and other soft tissues to make an accurate estimate of how much these heads weighed when the animals were alive. A fully fleshed-out T. rex head, for example, weighed more than 1,100 pounds.

"That's more than the combined weight of the whole starting lineup of the Cleveland Cavaliers," Witmer said.

Witmer suggests that the air spaces helped lighten the load of the head, making it about 18 percent lighter than it would have been without all the air. That savings in weight could have allowed the predators to put on more bone-crushing muscle or even to take larger prey.

These sinus cavities also may have played a biomechanical role by making the bones hollow, similar to the hollow beams used in construction -- both are incredibly strong but don't weigh as much their solid counterparts. A light but strong skull enabled these predators to move their heads more quickly and helped them hold their large heads up on cantilevered necks, explained Witmer, who published the findings in a recent issue of The Anatomical Record.'


I visited Witmer in his lab a number of years ago for a story I did for National Geographic. Witmer's operation is amazing -- he has an abundance of animal heads that he uses in his anatomical research. They were set up on a table for a photo shoot. They'd thawed to the point of getting rather drippy and ... well, mephitic is a word that comes to mind and probably needs to be used more regularly.

I sent Witmer a question by email and he was kind enough to respond promptly:

J.A.: 'To what extent was the T.rex maximized as a killing machine? I mean, if you could improve on the design...what would you do? Or was it as lethal a creature as ever trod the earth?'

Larry Witmer:

'T. rex is indeed pretty amazing. Of course, it evolved rather than was created, and that means, like you and me, its "design" was compromised in many ways by evolution. That is, it could only modify what its ancestors passed on to him. So he wasn't particularly clever because he evolved from guys with pretty modest brains. And his teeth were made of enamel and dentine and not, say, steel. Still, T. rex is pretty remarkable. Our new study shows how many of its skull bones were turned into efficient strong-but-light hollow beams, which is the kind of "design element" that an engineer might draft.'

--

Interesting boodle comment this afternoon -- wildly on-topic! -- by butlerguy: "although i cannot give up my location within the federal beast, i can share that on weekends i moonlight at the carnegie museum. it is indeed an interesting experience to be in the dinosaur exhibit at night. they do not look small when you are alone with them in the dark."


And check out Witmer's home page and the great photo by Rob Clark.

--

Unbelievable. Here's the governor of Illinois scheming to make money or get an ambassadorship or somesuch gig, thanks to his power to appoint a U.S. Senator:

"I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there."


By Joel Achenbach  |  December 9, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
 
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Next: Free Rod Blagojevich

Comments

Glad the Illinois gov got caught. Sounds like he has a bit too much air circulating his brain, too.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I love this Kit.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This hollow bones theory reinforces the link between birds and dinosaurs as well. Bird bones have air pockets everywhere it's structurally efficient to have one.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Shreiking...better a bird brain than a Blagojevich brain!

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

All those sinuses might have helped T.Rex smell his prey very efficiently. (I found Witmer to be patronizing to our favorite science writer.)

Starting now, Illinois just got better.

Found a hilarious old SNL clip at Comics Curmudgeon. Lovitz's "Tales of Ribaldry."
http://joshreads.com/?p=1814

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Joel! There's an editing error in that old NatGeo article. I urge you to pester them immediately to get it fixed. In the second to last paragraph, you suddenly mention walking around "the park" with "Currie." I assume that's Philip Currie of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Looks like somebody pulled an introductory paragraph out of your piece.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 9, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice article about the 58 NFL championship

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3742033

I know 6 posts and I have already gone off kit.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 9, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Howdy y'all. This is a great Kit. Dinosaurs were a big favorite at our house from the Boy's late infancy. I remember once, looking at a picture book, his criticism of the captions. He charmingly noted the number of fingers on the tiny dinosaur arms and pointed out that "It not a T-Rex. It an allosaurus."

Speaking of tiny arms, there's a dinosaur flaw for you. Along with steel teeth, why couldn't evolution provide some more efficient arms for grasping prey? Those claws on the end are pretty impressive but would be more frightening if the T-Rex could actually reach you.

I was going to admire Joel for cleverly sneaking football into the Kit but it occurred to me that the Cleveland Cavaliers might not be a football team.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 9, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out how Larry got the T Rex to put its head inside the CT ccan machine. In fact, I can't even figure out how he got that beast inside a hospital without scaring the crap out of all the patients.

(And did they make it put on one of those stupid, humiliating hospital gowns, the kind that make you freeze yer buns off in the hospital?)

(Heck, I can go further than that: can a cold-blooded creature "catch cold"? And if so, when a T rex's sinuses got all stopped up like mine do, wouldn't its head get all heavy? Instead of going "ROARRRR!!" would it go "DAWWWWWWW"? I'd think massive sinuses would lead to massive sinus headaches. Which possibily accounts for the T rex's notoriously poor "people" skills and ill temper.)

(See, I have to think about this kinda stuff, because nobody else will.)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Minnesota just got better, too.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

In which respect?

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, clearly, you could always add lasers. But I guess that would be pushing that whole "punctuated equilibrium" thing a bit too much.


"Biologically inspired design" was a really hot topic a few years ago. I remember lots of work on replicating the unique capabilities of animals. You know, subs with skin inspired by sharks, micro-uav's based on dragon flies. Electronic sensors based on dog noses. My fav, which I think I mentioned on this blog long ago (I seem to remember T-Rex's meandering about) was an acoustic sensor being developed by a hearing aid company based on the ear of an insect. As I recall, the research required some very precise arthropod decapitation skills.

Sometimes science isn't pretty.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 9, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

s_d, I was just thinking the same thing - bird bones *and* bird brains.

I am not sure what to make of the concept that brain mass contained in the skull is a biomechanical disadvantage for rising to new heights.

Well, the Bush Administration notwithstanding, that is.

I have plenty of empty space in my head, but this has not worked out to be any sort of advanatage that I'm aware of, practical or evolutionary. Apparrently, I'm not even good at being a bird-brain.

As a lycanthrope, I can live with that. Next full Moon is Friday night, I'll have to remember to put the trashcan away, lock my shoes up, and leave some hamburger out, lest there be another embarassing incident involving any of the neighborhood cats.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 9, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

mudge,
Was that you that started the kerfuffle in the Gene Pool yesterday? You should learn that it just isn't safe outside the boodle.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 9, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Funny that Witmer responded so defensively because of the mention of the loaded word "design". The sentences beginning "Of course" read to me like an addition by someone who's been burned before when quoted.

Obviously the design was wasn't that great if it couldn't survive the Flood.

Posted by: engelmann | December 9, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Was there a kerfluffle, yello? I never went back to look. But good.

Yes, it were I.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Cleveland Cavaliers are a pro basketball team

The current starting lineup for the Cavs is 1,120 lbs

Witmer should have chosen a wimpier team to pick on

Posted by: omnigood | December 9, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

You know, since we don't have the musculature and skin to go with the T. Rex skulls I was thinking that those cavities might in fact have contained reservoirs for mucus.

With such short arms and being slower than a chicken, how did T.Rex capture and disable smaller prey (assuming it wasn't always a giant reptilian hyena (why did I just suddenly think of Karl Rove?))?

Perhaps T. Rex constantly prouduced mucus, and then, when striking, would launch a Terrible Sneeze at it's prey, hitting it with a double-barrelled Snotgun blast of thick liquid and sounf, knocking it to the ground and trapping it in a paralyzing shroud of goo.

Rex's head, suddenly much lighter, could then snap around and grab any prey that wasn't immediately disabled or completely grossed out to the point of immobility by his display of Snot and Awe.

Perhaps future generations will rename said dinosaur Sinusaurus, and know that the sound of Jurrassic fear isn't that of a mighty roar, but a Terrible Sneeze at a time when there was no such thing as Kleenex. Or long sleeves, not that Rex's arms could reach up to his nose, you understand.

Gotta run to a meeting now. I think I'll get there by a nose.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 9, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I was right proud of your response on the Gene Pool yesterday. But I do hope you don't die soon. Knock on some wood will ya.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I figure five to ten years, Windy. But the point is I'm thinking a lot about it, only because I've got stuff to do (books to write), and the clock is ticking. I'm on deadline, so to speak. (All my life I've been a deadline-oriented guy, of necessity given my occupation. So I'm just acutely aware of an impending deadline. Plus I'm aware that [fecal matter] happens.)

I'm afraid to go back and look at the Gene Pool. I saw Weingarten mentioned it in the chat.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

That was really gross, bc. And very funny.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Very funny, bc, in a really icky and evocative sort of way. The Boy would be in awe.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 9, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, it makes me genuinely sad to hear you speak that way. And I admire your directness.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I saw a history channel show recently that examination of teeth marks on dino bones suggested small fast dinos with razor sharp teeth ganged up on the big vegge eating dinos and killed them. Then the T-Rex came along to feed on the carcass.

Posted by: bh71 | December 9, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

bc, the Terrible Sneeze is an instant Classic.

But now I have the mental vision of a giant Dogue de Bordeaux doing a Terrible Drool to stuck an enemy in a pool of slime.
Free advice from the wise: don't think about getting a dogue de bordeaux if you are slimaphobic or like to walk barefoot in the house.

Mudge, the package is in the hands of the communists of Her Majesty's Postal Service. It should get in before you conk over.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

When we were "touring" the 'Burg this summer, we went to the Carnegie Museum, where they had the "T.Rex vs. T.Rex" exhibit. It's acutally been a good while since I saw a dinosaur exhibit, and somehow it just didn't impress me all that much. Maybe it's the difference between being a kid at a museum, when you're half the height, or maybe the "new-think" about the correct posture of the mega-raptors just made them seem smaller than they used to.

Posted by: ebtnut | December 9, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I grew up going to the Carnegie Museum. Great place. The dinos still look huge to me.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I view it as a relatively emotionless statement, Yoki, I like to think I'm a realist, and I know how to read actuarial tables, and I know how to estimate averages and probabilities.

The average life expectancy after bypass surgery is 10 years. I had mine 5 years ago, so I'm already halfway to the average. I actually figure I'll do better than that, since I didn't have a heart attack first, and I have no heart damage-- just artheroscerlosis (like everybody my age). I smoked (enthusiastically, and with pleasure) for 20 years. I have all sorts of diseases and "co-morbidities" (hate that word.

I'm just looking at the Big Picture, and with equanimity. I'm perfectly happy with 70, and I've got work to do before I get there, that's all. I've spent almost all the last 26 years devoting myself to my family. They're now grown and mostly flown. The next 8 years (or whatever)belongs to me and my work. (I'd have liked to retire at 62, which is now, but that was never financially feasible. I had intended to retire at 67, but after what the economy has been doing, I'm just as screwed as everybody else.)

I've got a list of 18 books to write (I may have e-mailed you that list, once upon a time, Yoki), and I already know I'm not going to accomplish all that, so I'm already in a bit of triage mode.

All it is is a version of estate planning, pure and simple. Just paying attention to the facts of life, and savoring the good stuff (which includes you guys), and trying to minimize the crap.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If bc's hypothesis based on the T-rex's sinus configuration checks out we know that only female T-rexes were doing the hunting; surely the males were staying home with such a man-flu.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

bc, I just hate it when something is so funny I laugh out loud and my husband wants to know what is so funny and I have to tell him and thus admit I have a very weird sense of humor! Bravo!

Posted by: nellie4 | December 9, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, at least keep the odds in your favor by exercising (walking works) and eating right. I know you love to cook and eat so this is simply a friendly reminder.

Lecture over.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Um, I've always said this blog is a bit weird. :-)

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

bc, if my Greek is to be trusted (and only a complete fool would do so) and your theory is correct, the T rex may have to be renamed, to brontoapshosaurus Rex (literally, king of the thunder sneezers), or just B Rex.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I am going to Chicago, then St. Joseph, Michigan the first week of Jan. on an assignment. Should be interesting as I've never even heard of St. Joseph cept maybe as a saint.

Posted by: Windy3 | December 9, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, bc and Mudge, I needed those laughs.

Posted by: slyness | December 9, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

A boogie-woogie brontoapshosaurus?

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

We are here to serve, your slyness.

It occurred to me to wonder if a brontoapshosaurus Rex would eat gesundheitodactyls.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I can see it now: Jurassic Park IV: Drowning in Snot.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

A root, a toot, a toodli-a-da to toot toot toot
he's blowin' eight to the bar...
And the company jumps when he plays reveille...
He's the boogie woogie brontoapshosaurus of company B.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Jurassic Park V: Lost in a Loogie.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 9, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Jurassic Park VI: B Rex versus Kleenexodon!

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I am 100% with you that the Boodle is part of the good stuff.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Jurassic Park VII: Murder on the Mucus Express.

Posted by: Raysmom | December 9, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Which makes me wonder: If bc's theory is correct, could one thwart a T Rex with RPG-launched Mucinex?

Posted by: Raysmom | December 9, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Yoki.

Jurassic Park VIII: Vicksvaporubatops Meets Son of Brontoapsosaurus

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Jurassic Park IX: It Couldn't Hurt (inwhich a herd of vicious chickensoupterix join with Vicksvaporubatops to battle B Rex and his ally Catarrhilla)

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

although i cannot give up my location within the federal beast, i can share that on weekends i moonlight at the carnegie museum. it is indeed an interesting experience to be in the dinosaur exhibit at night. they do not look small when you are alone with them in the dark.

Posted by: butlerguy | December 9, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Mudge and BC, you've made my day. A good laugh out loud does the trick every time. My neighbors already believe I'm a little "off", so the laugh just kind of confirms it. They probably want to laugh too.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 9, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

That is amazing cool, butlerguy!

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget Raysmom, Cassandra: she started the Jurassic Park series.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, there is 8 in. of snow in the driveway. 2 to 6in. more to come. There is a certain boodler-skier who's happy now if new England got a a good bite of this storm.

Joel shouldn't do a kit on nasal cavities. For this crowd it's like a lecture on farts to a fourth grade class. We are so immature.

Weapons of mass destruction: Sneeze Right nasal strips.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Immature? Us? You're just saying that because a bunch of us in the back of the room snickered when VL wrote about the titmouse.

--signed

A Boodler in Mianus

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | December 9, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Jurassisgrass Park X: Itsnot Funny When Humanity is Blown Out and Wiped Away

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 9, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Y'all are awesome. I'd like to add to the saga but I keep reaching for my handkerchief. Snort. Snort.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 9, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

T. Rex actually had a symbiotic relationship with another dinosaur that lived in those cranial spaces and was expelled to assist catching prey.

Anteriosinus Ex

Posted by: engelmann | December 9, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I just love that story. It was initially reported as 2 Swedes lost in the Arctic but the Swedes turned out to be one Aussie and one Dane (regular size, not a Great one).
Walking on an ice floe in the Arctic.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081209.wcrash09/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Someone will wait for this plane for a while.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, I didn't see the gene pool entry, but yeah, it's not bad to make sure you get what you want to get done, done right now.

It's been on my mind. I'm half your age, but realistically, I have concluded that I may be lucky to see 70-- and if I do see it, I may be in really bad physical shape-- which I hope not. So while I always vaguely thought that life started at forty, I've moved up my schedule a little faster.

If it's any consolation, I do believe you could do all 18 books, if you really try, and that you will finish a few of those.

IMO, mortality isn't as depressing as the thought of what you will leave behind, and as you've said, you've done a lot already.

And I insist on reading all the tales of the 2,000,000 year old guy.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I thank my stars for my robust good health, because in my case life started to turn really good at 50, and I plan to enjoy it for as long as possible!

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I'm sure you put in a lot of spade work so life became glorious at fifty.

I want to do that. Maybe I'll be wrong about my life expectancy; most people tend to be.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I sure do hope you are wrong about it Wilbrod.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

And I still want to know how it is that Minnesota got better today.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

The human head's sinuses fill with water when there's enough external pressure--bodysurfing provides the right conditions. That water will stay in the sinuses indefinitely, only to gush out when the head's held at the right angle.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 9, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, they fired their basketball coach and the GM is taking over.......I think that makes them better......

And you are over 50? you wear it well young lady.....

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 9, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I heart Patrick Fitzgerald.

Posted by: seasea | December 9, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

How very kind of you to say so, gwe. Nearly 51! *sigh*

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Larry Craig is going down in Minnesota. Sigh.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I am so embarrassed. Idaho. Goodnight.

Posted by: Jumper1 | December 9, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Fitzgerald got to be the Special Prosecutor hunting down W's criminal cronies. He would enjoy it. He is the real Uncorruptible.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

That's what they said about Eliot Spitzer, Shriek

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I never trusted Spitzer much (it takes a sexual deviant to know one and all that, he he he...).
Fitzgerald is unlikely to work for a Dem administration anyway, he is a bit of a Jesuit (i.e. a self righteous prick with the brains to back it), I think.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

shrieking:

"You said that your dogue does not bite!"

"That is not my dogue..."

Sorry, that's just what I think of whenever I see mention of the dogue de bordeaux.

Posted by: woofin | December 9, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, anybody seen or heard from CP today? She OK?

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 9, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I know woofin, such an unfortunate name. Read "dogue", or dogo in Spanish as Mastiff in English.
Means the same thing, dog of war. Meant to bring people down quickly, and that they do.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 9, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Shriek, you made me laugh. Thank heavens Fitzgerald is a Jesuit now and has done what he has done.

I have to second Yoki's happiness with life after 50. There have been significant changes in the place of my former employment this week, which make me grateful all over again that I'm not there.

:-)

Posted by: slyness | December 9, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

slyness! *hugs*

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I haven't heard from her since she said she was feeling ill. Y'all?

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Um, CollegequaParkian posted yesterday to say she thought she was on the mend.

Hope it is so.

I might run over there and check on her. May take some peppery chicken soup and offer to drive CPboy to his next activity.

She's a wonderful and beloved friend and someone I wish would come up for air every now and then to wave at us all, letting us know...

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure Kevin McHale coaching the T-wolves is an improvement, for them or MN. However, it could put him in a position where Glen Taylor could ultimately fire him and we could see a winning season in '11 or so. McHale made the deals that brought the players that Wittman has practically been describing as uncoachable, let him have a go at making it work.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 9, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

That surely improves the public-opinion standing of both Minnesota and Washington, Jumper?

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, don't worry about CqP just yet, it's exam time.

I noted that to the Geekdottir last week, with the comment that I was sure she wasn't missing it, and she replied that I didn't have any idea. I'm the one with two degrees, of course I have an idea!

Being in school can be fun, but there's nothing like a paycheck to make life interesting and bearable.

Posted by: slyness | December 9, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, this is a very busy time for teachers. She'll have more time shortly.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. Seems like an early night on the Boodle.

Sleep tight, everyone.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 9, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Curmudgeon. Good night, Cassandra. Bob, Bill, Wilbrod, TBG. Good night dmd, green, lit, slyness.

Good night.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Good night, dbG, Don, frostbitten, bc. Good night Boodle.

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Walking in the snow
Then toasting by fireplaces
..hey, where's my eggnog?!

-Wilbrodog-


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

goodnight Yoki, goodnight boodle and sweet dreams. Won't be around tomorrow, on the road most of the day then off to work in the evening.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | December 9, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Puppy eye master
Guilts chicken treats from the gnome...
Paw-lickingly good!

-Wilbrodog-


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, martooni, that was a good poem a boodle ago.

If I have made you write about yellow snow, my poetic work here is done-- and your therapy is just beginning.

-Wilbrodog-

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 9, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Rod Blagojevich: Predacity of a Dope

Posted by: laloomis | December 9, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Insomniacs Unite!

Posted by: Yoki | December 9, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Still need to backboodle, and catch up on Mudge's Bucket List.

But I'm tired, so I'm heading to Port (Dow's or Fonseca? Decisions, decisions) and to bed.

G'night, all.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | December 9, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Speak for yourself, Yoki. Wilbrodog went off to dream of chicken, snow, and adventure a little while ago.

Whether it's in haiku or not, I cannot say.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | December 10, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

“mudge said : I'm just looking at the Big Picture, and with equanimity.”

I attended a 10-days meditation course a many years ago. They tell you to view every event with equanimity. Be aware and whatever it is, it shall pass. I could be equanimous (this should be a word) if I stop myself fast enough. Unfortunately, most of the time, I’m too slow. My cousin who also attended the course preached at me all the time. Don’t react, he said. So one day I deliberately made him angry to test him. He said that if I do it again, I might find myself dead.

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 10, 2008 3:47 AM | Report abuse

It’s official : Men really are the weaker sex ….

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/its-official-men-really-are-the-weaker-sex-1055688.html

Posted by: rainforest1 | December 10, 2008 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Department of somebody had to do it.


(Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Theres a man in the funny papers we all know (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
He lived 'way back a long time ago (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
He dont eat nothin' but a bear cat stew (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Well this cat's name is-a Alley Oop (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)

He got a chauffeur that's a genuwine dinosawruh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
And he can knuckle your head before you count to fawruh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-
oop)

He got a big ugly club and a head fulla hairuh (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Like great big lions and grizzly bearuhs (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
(Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
(Alley Oop) He's the king of the jungle jive
(Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)

He rides thru the jungle tearin' limbs offa trees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Knockin' great big monstahs dead on their knees (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
The cats don't bug him cuz they know bettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
Cuz he's a mean motah scootah and a bad go-gettah (Alley Oop, oop, oop-oop)
(Alley Oop) He's the toughest man there is alive
(Alley Oop) Wearin' clothes from a wildcat's hide
(Alley Oop) He's the king of the jungle jive
(Look at that cave man go!!) (SCREAM)


Thair he goes, look at that cave man go
He sure is hip ain't he?
Like what's happening?
He's too much
Ride, Daddy, ride
Hi-yo dinosawruh
Ride, Daddy, ride
Get 'em, man
Like--hipsville

Posted by: -dbG- | December 10, 2008 4:26 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. dbG, thanks for that blast from the past from the Hollywood Argyles (what? you didn't think I'd forget them, did you?).

Pretty dull WaPo front page this morning -- maybe that's good. Bush and the Dems are close to agreeing on a $15 billion car loan. I hope Detroit can make the monthly payments. I've heard of some pretty outrageous car loans, but that takes the cake. I wonder what the vigorish is -- and if they don't make the installment, will they send around two guys named Vito and Tony to talk a little sense into them?

Otherwise, there's an op-ed piece by the aforementioned revisionist Amity Shales, telling us how to get out of this economic crisis by slitting our wrists.

Where's the rest of the Dawn Patrol? Gotta get 'em up and flying this morning. Later, dudes.

Posted by: Curmudgeon- | December 10, 2008 5:38 AM | Report abuse

'morning all, Curmudgeon.
We are officially buried in snow and the public transit system of Ottawa (the one I do not use) is on strike. Those clowns always strike, the last time in 03, during the high ridership season and the student's exam period. That's how they came to make $30 bucks an hour to drive a bus.
The traffic in town will be hellish so I telework today. I'm not sure I could get the minivan out of the street anyway.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | December 10, 2008 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Warm rain, SD, in contrast to your December weather.

Greetings to all. Every other day, I grade 66 small assignments in pursuit of the GRAND PROJECT....busy like a bee for the next two weeks. That cold was (is) a malingerer but each day is better.

Coffee all around and yes, that is French toast made with brioche.

Posted by: CollegequaParkian | December 10, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all.

CP, I'm comin' over for the french toast, cheerios & raisins here just don't appeal this morning.

I remember Alley Oop from the funny papers. :-)

http://www.mesasoftware.com/merrychristmas.htm

Elderly "cool cat" Christmas music to start your day.

Posted by: VintageLady | December 10, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all! I'm here but in for a much busier day than I normally like. Got a meeting with our webmaster about registration for conferences, and I must write a letter to my doctor, who hasn't gotten the message about my concerns with her treatment. I don't often have to write letters, but when I do, they are heartfelt and emphatic. We shall see.

Cloudy and 63 this morning, with rain forecast. I think I'll ride the exercycle instead of walking.

Cassandra, I hope you get to walk today.

Posted by: slyness | December 10, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Good morning, friends. Today is the busy day, and I have to do all without my car. That should be interesting. My daughter needs it today for work. Oh, well, I wil think of something.

Morning, Yoki, Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, and all the boodle. *waving*

Slyness, I forgot to mention, we here in Richmond County are preparing for the State Championship game after sending your folks back home. Just messing with you. I didn't know it until yesterday when my dad showed me the paper.

CNN ran the story all day and half the night about the governor of Illnois. At one point, it sounded like Lou Dobbs was trying to bring the President-elect into the fray. I didn't stay tuned for that segment.

Have a great day, folks. I walked this morning, and only wore a sweater. It was 62 degrees outside, and the sweater was too warm. I was sweating when I got back in. As the old folks used to say, pneumonia weather. We're expecting a high of 68 or 70.

Time to swim.

Posted by: cmyth4u | December 10, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Boodle. Cassandra, here is a *hug* for you.

We move into interesting times at my work place. Cost cutting is called for. Gotta think of ways to work smarter, though I think we work brilliantly now.

Weather report calls for a skookum chinook to blow in, very welcome after two days of ice fog.

Sorry to hear about the snow/strike nexus, Shriek.

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

My sister-in-law in Vietnam passed away yesterday from ovarian cancer at the age of fifty.

http://livebythefoma.blogspot.com/2008/12/rest-in-peace.html

No condolence replies necessary. Just remember her in your prayers.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 10, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite videos, thanks VL. Makes me smile when I watch it - even got a smile from the grumpy teen.

Shriek sorry about your weather, most of our snow melted yesterday, a little slippery now as the water starts to re-freeze.

Watched this video this morning about a French Horn Player for the Toronto Symphony, great music to wake up to (Jupiter from The Planets?).

http://www.thestar.com/fpLarge/video/550907

Have a good day all.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 10, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Holst! Thanks dmd. A favourite of mine.

Though there is one little motif in Jupiter that always sounds to me like the music that used to feature in Westerns when the wagon train was moving across the prairie (you *all* know that scene, right?). It strikes me funny, since I pretty sure Gustaf didn't have any exposure to Westerns.

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Yello - duly noted and acknowledged.

Rainforest - that article was pretty alarming. But then, men have always been vulnerable when it come to our reproductive organs. It's a physiological thing related to blood flowing away from the brain.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Yoki - Jupiter was on the radio the other day as I drove home, and several times I thought the music doesn't fit with my image of Jupiter - images of the west fit well.

Posted by: dmd2 | December 10, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

*snort*

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Today's the annual holiday party here in the lab. Time to play "A Christmas Story" over the Plasma Screens and extract the "good stuff" from where it is hidden beneath the raised floor.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Those air spaces in bones showed up very early in dinosaur history, and turned out to be very fortuitous. They allowed some later dinosaurs to grow very large without getting too heavy to walk around, and other, smaller ones to be so light that they were able to fly.

Posted by: Hopeful_Monster | December 10, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Thomas Friedman writes today at the NYT about the electric car network company, called Better Place in Palo Alto, Calif. Note that NPR science host Ira Flatow did a show less than a month ago about the electric Tesla car, (with operations in North San Jose off Zanker Road).

Clever and astute Friedman today:

"...our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet."

Posted by: laloomis | December 10, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Whenever a person, particularly a man, says "lab" and "party" and "good stuff" in the same sentence, I get a little nervous.

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

That's funny Yoki, I think...hmmm...I wonder how I can snag an invite. I seems to me that at those parties, sometimes the person having the most fun is just kicking back sipping ginger ale, watching, and laughing.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 10, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

If you find a source of invitations, snag me one too, LostinThought!

Posted by: Yoki | December 10, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Yep Yoki. When people start sprouting those extra appendages you know things have gone too far.

LiT - very true. As I am a notorious lightweight I usually have a glass or two of wine and then sit back to enjoy the show.

This is traditionally a fairly rowdy party, as techy parties tend to be, and there have been some amusing incidents.

Well, they seem amusing now.

Recently, though, they have cracked down a bit on excessive drinking. We now have "bar tenders" who are supposed to figure out when a person has had too much.

Unfortunately, for them, this often doesn't happen until after folks have already passed the Karaoke stage.


Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Just leave the lab as soon as someone lights a Bunsen burner. Nothing good happens after that point.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 10, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't even need to backboodle to know that yello speaks a universal truth.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 10, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

New kit!

Posted by: RD_Padouk | December 10, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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