Archive for August 2009

Pademelon: A mini kangaroo

August 31, 2009

Did you know that kangaroo-shaped marsupials come in three sizes? They’re like poodles or coffee.  Fortunately we don’t call them “tall,” “grande,” and “veinte.” (Sorry Starbucks; calling a small a tall? Idiotic).

Since these beasts all hop around on relatively large feet, they carry the generic moniker of “macropod.” Kangaroos occupy the large position on the macropod menu, wallabies cover the middle ground, and pademelons represent the snack size. Apparently in the past people called pademelons “lesser wallabies” and wallabies “greater wallabies,” but now they each get there own name.

Last year I traveled to Cairns, Australia for a geophysics meeting. While I was there I saw this red-legged pademelon in the “Cairns Rainforest Dome“, an enclosed glass dome atop a casino, which houses injured or otherwise debilitated Australian animals along with over 3000 plants:

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Sewer Rats!

August 20, 2009

I traveled to Greenbelt, Maryland a few weeks ago to give a plasma physics seminar at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. One day after work, I wanted to get some dinner. So, I walked from the Holiday Inn where I was staying to a nearby grocery store. I cut through the back parking lot, where each business in the shopping plaza had its own dumpster. After passing several dumpsters I heard some little squeaking, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something surprisingly large scramble along the ground. A sewer rat! How do I know it was a “sewer rat”? Well it emerged from the sewer:

Rat emerging from the sewer

Rat emerging from the sewer

Sorry for the blur; these things move pretty quickly. This one was especially beefy:
beefy rat

I’d guess this beast probably weighed in around 2 lbs., and would occupy most of the volume of a small shoebox. I could not look away, and after a few minutes three or four more rats sallied forth from the sewer. Here you can see a brief instance of rat  socialization followed by scurrying:

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Welcome to my new blog

August 19, 2009

Does \LaTeX work?

\displaystyle \int_a^b f(x) dx = F(b) - F(a)

Yes it does!

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