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Nature - Paul's blog

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Name that Thing

I’m always fascinated by the Arizona landscape, when we fly over it on our annual trip to Las Vegas.
This year, however, was the first time that I noticed a big crater, a little south of where we were flying, to my feeling not too far from Flagstaff.
I knew there was a big meteor crater in Arizona somewhere and figured this had to be the one.
I just looked it up, and yes, it was the one!
.. learned some interesting facts about it.
I was also intrigued by its official name. Guess what it’s called?
Its official name is:

Meteor Crater.

You may think that this makes sense: calling ‘a’ meteor crater: Meteor Crater.
As it turns out, it is NOT called Meteor Crater, because it is, well, a meteor crater.
Names of natural features are determined by the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names”.
And the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names” has a simple formula for deriving such names: they simply use the name of the post office closest to the natural feature in question.
So, if this post office’s name would have been, say, “Canyon Diablo”, then the crater would now officially have been called “Canyon Diablo Crater”.
Which wouldn’t have been such a bad thing, because that’s exactly what the crater WAS called, before the “US Department of the Interior Division of Names” felt it necessary to change its name to the name of a nearby post office.
And, as it so happened, the name of the post office nearest to this meteor crater was, you guessed it: “Meteor”. Why this post office, located right next to a meteor crater, was called Meteor, is not hard to guess.

So, here we are, with a crater called after a post office, which derived its name from that very same crater.
A bit of a chicken-or-egg situation, although, unlike THAT proverbial problem, we DO know what came first. And even WHEN: some 50,000 years ago, and it wasn’t the post office.

So, what did I learn from all this?
That, apparently, post offices have names.

PostHeaderIcon Dogs attack alligator


Shamelessly stolen from, well, … actually, I forgot, but it’s all over the Internet.

Vicious Dog Pack Kills Gator in Florida

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the ‘apex predator’ in its natural eco-system, can still fall victim to an implemented ‘team work’ strategy made possible due to the tight knit social structure and ‘survival of the fittest pack mentality’ bred into the canines over the last several hundreds of years by natural selection.

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while the remainder of the pack prevents the beast from rolling and attacks the alligator’s soft underbelly.

See the attached remarkable photograph courtesy of Nature Magazine.

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PostHeaderIcon Two in the pool

poolThe other night, right after work, my wife went for a nice cool-down swim in our pool.

While happily splashing around she suddenly noticed she wasn’t alone in the pool.

Calmly and quietly she left the pool and called me at work, asking me to come home and escort the intruder off our premises.

Which I did.

Here’s a link to a picture I took of the intruder prior to urging him to leave.

(Disclaimer: my description of the manner in which she left the pool may be slightly in conflict with reality)