an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Operation Popeye

In history, wild card on September 10, 2013 at 12:39 am

popeye-the-sailor-coloring-page07-source_7glOperation Popeye (Project Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a US military cloud seeding operation (running from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972) during the Vietnam war to extend the monsoon season over Laos, specifically areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The operation seeded clouds with silver iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful. The 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron carried out the operation to “make mud, not war.”

via Operation Popeye


In science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on August 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

ZOTzot v.

1.  to strike or destroy, especially with lightning or other beam or jolt of energy.

2.  slang usage on the Internet, to remove, censor, or ban material or participants.

3.  the cartoon strip “B.C.” has used “zot” for years as the noise the aardvark makes when “zotting” an insect or similar critter.

via zot definition

Super-Sargasso Sea

In people, wild card on July 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

bermuda_sargassoThe Super-Sargasso is the dimension into which lost things go, whose existence was proposed by Charles Hoy Fort, writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. It may be thought of as the spontaneous, anomalous teleportation of an object into another dimension. Fort did not actually believe that it existed but, in the vein of the ancient Greek skeptics, he wished only to present a theory that was just as plausible as those in the mainstream. The name alludes to the Sargasso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, which lies next to the Bermuda Triangle.

via Super-Sargasso Sea

Fine-structure constant

In science & nature on June 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

FineSTructureConstantIn physics, the fine-structure constant (usually denoted α, the Greek letter alpha) is a fundamental physical constant, namely the coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. Being a dimensionless quantity, it has constant numerical value in all systems of units. Arnold Sommerfeld introduced the fine-structure constant in 1916.

The current recommended value of α is 7.2973525698(24)×10−3 = 1/137.035999074(44)

via Fine-structure constant

Sympathetic Magic

In Religion, wild card on May 10, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Mumford full bodySympathetic magic, also known as imitative magic, is a type of magic based on imitation or correspondence. The theory of sympathetic magic was first developed by Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough. He further subcategorized sympathetic magic into two varieties: that relying on similarity, and that relying on contact or ‘contagion’:

If we analyze the principles of thought on which magic is based, they will probably be found to resolve themselves into two: first, that like produces like, or that an effect resembles its cause; and, second, that things which have once been in contact with each other continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed. The former principle may be called the Law of Similarity, the latter the Law of Contact or Contagion. From the first of these principles, namely the Law of Similarity, the magician infers that he can produce any effect he desires merely by imitating it: from the second he infers that whatever he does to a material object will affect equally the person with whom the object was once in contact, whether it formed part of his body or not.

Sympathetic magic


In science & nature, wild card, words & phrases on January 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

Harvey  (1950)

A thoughtform is a manifestation of mental energy, also known as a tulpa in Tibetan mysticism. Its concept is related to the Western philosophy and practice of magic.  Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially “thought forms” representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.

via Thoughtform


In science & nature, wild card on August 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm

In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, a cryptid (from the Greek “κρύπτω” krypto meaning “hide”) is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely.

via Cryptid

Punctuated Equilibrium

In history, science & nature on July 24, 2011 at 7:47 am

Punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most species will exhibit little net evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis. When significant evolutionary change occurs, the theory proposes that it is generally restricted to rare and geologically rapid events of branching speciation called cladogenesis. Cladogenesis is the process by which a species splits into two distinct species, rather than one species gradually transforming into another.

Punctuated equilibrium is commonly contrasted against the theory of phyletic gradualism, which states that evolution generally occurs uniformly and by the steady and gradual transformation of whole lineages (called anagenesis). In this view, evolution is seen as generally smooth and continuous.

via Punctuated equilibrium

Crab Island

In places on July 17, 2011 at 8:22 am

Crab Island is a roughly 40-acre  limestone island situated just outside Plattsburgh Bay in the town of Plattsburgh in Clinton County in upstate New York’s Lake Champlain. During the War of 1812, the island was utilized as a military field hospital for convalescent soldiers as well as both British and American casualties of the Battle of Plattsburgh. The island is the site of a mass grave, believed to contain the remains of roughly 150 of those casualties. The island is infamous locally for its poison ivy, which grows there heavily. Its name is thought to come from the large amounts of “crabs,” ancient fossilized shells, trilobites, etc., found along the island’s limestone shoreline.

via Crab Island


In science & nature on July 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and gymnophiona) and reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras). Batrachology is a further subdiscipline of herpetology concerned with the study of amphibians alone.

via Herpetology