Friday, April 12, 2013
I've been sprucing this blog up a bit, and hope readers will find the added features useful.
Note that near the top of the pane on the right, there are three new gadgets: a Search Box, a Translation drop down, and a Follow By E-mail sign-up box. The blog has gotten big enough that I myself have taken advantage of the Search feature.
As so many of the readers that come here are from non-English speaking countries, I hope the Google Translation feature proves helpful. I can't make any claims for its accuracy, but I know from visiting non-English sites and using it to view them in English, it's prone to some funny mistakes. It also has a bad tendency to mess up the position and spacing of text near images, but hopefully we can live with that.
I've never pointed this out, but in the aquarium widget on the right, you can actually feed the fish. A mouse click drops fish food, and the fish come running. There are ten of them, and the colors are programmable. I'd considered making one black, and daring people to try to spot it, but that seemed a little cruel, albeit wholly appropriate :-) If there's a way to add my own "monster" to the tank, I'll have to do that one day just for fun.
Now you may notice, if you'd already read the previous post, that I've just re-titled it. It's still Part 2 of the post that preceded it, but the "Part 2 of 3" was getting truncated in some views, perhaps leading to confusion there was a new post here at all. That truncation was even giving me trouble on the composition page, as far as opening the correct post for edits and viewing. I'll also give the forthcoming Part 3 it's own distinct title, and the same with any further multi-part articles (although I'm going to try to keep articles short enough for single posts in the future).
Family matters both good and bad have kept me away from writing, but I should have extensive time for it this summer. The New Morphology vs. Classic Sightings article has been in the works for over a year now, but it will conclude with Part 3, and I will make it shorter than Part 2. I'm very excited to tackle the next logical theme after that, Taxonomy And Origins, a big subject to be sure, but one that must be faced in the development of this blog's thesis. I've gathered my thoughts and data for that task for over a year as well, and it's coming along rather nicely. Also shaping up will be an article on Behavior And Reproduction, as well as (yes, I'm afraid) my own suggested plan for capturing a live type specimen. Please don't hesitate to laugh, I won't be offended -- any plan to catch a one ton, aquatic, nocturnal, bottom-dwelling, sound-sensitive, overly shy amphibian is bound to be hysterical.
The most readership and feedback this blog gets is still for my first article on the Hugh Gray Photo from eight months back. Even after my second article on that subject there are loose ends to be tied up, certainly enough to allow for a third article on that photo someday.
Here it is mid-April and Winter refuses to release its icy grip on Chicago. Perhaps when it finally warms up I'll take my laptop and MiFi box down to the lakefront and see what Lake Michigan, our own giant body of fresh water, inspires. Back in the late 70's, at the height of the frenzy over the Rines photos and the glorious but short era when we spoke in terms of Nessiteras rhombopteryx, there was a half-serious proposal made to "grab up some of them" and start a breeding colony here in Lake Michigan. It was thought it would be good for tourism of course. A glossy, full color, but long defunct publication, Chicago Magazine, did a cover story on it, written totally straight as I recall. I seriously hope I still have my copy somewhere, and if I run across it I'll be sure to share it here. The cover illustration alone is priceless, depicting a leaping plesiosaur with rhomboid flippers stealing a fish off a boater's rod, with the Chicago skyline and its familiar landmarks as backdrop. Those were heady days for anyone interested in Nessie.
It's still as cold as Winter though, here and now. But I imagine soon, in another part of the world the Siberian Salamanders will be waking from their months of suspended animation and burrowing out of the permafrost. Perhaps in another much more westerly part of Europe, a considerably larger salamander is also stirring in the deep silt that lies at the bottom of one Loch Ness, anticipating a run of food in the warming layer above the thermocline. The hunt is still on.
Posted by Steve Plambeck at 5:33 AM