Sunday, 18 January 2009

Advertisement: New Snow-Making Equipment

If you are one of the many (dozens?) of persons who love the beauty of snow -- and who doesn't down deep inside, really? -- the Royal Society for the Advancement of Knowledge in the Natural Sciences is proud to offer you new SNOW-MAKING EQUIPMENT.

Derived from the still-secret technology behind the Loch Avie Cryogenic Seasonal Support System, this personal-sized snow-making device is IDEAL for use around your home, office, or lair.
This kit offers one water pump, copyable copper piping, and as many copies of the REVOLUTIONARY small-sized snow blower as you care to have.

To complete the effect, which numerous persons have called EXTRAORDINARY, your are provided, gratis, with a pile of manufactured snow, with full mod- and copy- permissions.
In no time at all, the discerning snow enthusiast can push back the forces of nature, and re-claim the charm of winter the whole year 'round!

A demonstration model has been set up in Caledon Tamrannoch where one can MARVEL at this new technological wonder.
This apparatus is offered for the reasonable price of L$ 100, which is roughly $US 0.41, or € 0,31, or £ 0.26.

Why not make this small investment in your PEACE OF MIND, knowing that winter (or some semblance of it) will always be at your fingertips?


Kate Nicholas, FRS

Friday, 9 January 2009

Have Gunbunnies Met Their Match? Zoology Update.

The BBC are reporting today on a particularly rare creature, the Hispaniolan solenodon, which has as its main distinguishing characteristic that it is a venomous mammal.

The astute readership of this journal has likely already noted the lack of solenodon Tiny or Anthropomorphic avatars available. Most likely this is due to the obscurity of these animals, and not their unique rat-vs-shrew looks, or certainly, their ability (rare in Mammalia) to inject venom during a biting attack.
Another peculiar (and one might rightly say, disturbing) feature of the solenodon is that the young stay close to their mother by "hanging on to her elongated teats", as one article states. Of note, these teats are located near the buttocks of the creature, an arrangement that may make one glad not to be a juvenile solenodon.

They also have odoriferous glands in the groin and armpits which are reported to give off a goat-like smell. These particular traits may explain the lack of widespread interest in solenodon anthropomorphic roleplay, at least in most social circles.

Normally solitary, solenodons only seek out their own for mating, after which they retreat from one another.

They are said to be easily-provoked, biting and squealing upon the slightest stimulus. However, when they sense they are being pursued as prey, their behaviour tends towards remaining motionless, and hiding the head -- not a particularly advantageous adaptation, which perhaps explains their endangered status.

So, perhaps, the initial thought that this venomous mammal would be a reasonable match against the Caledonian gunbunny was off-base. Granted, the solenodons have the advantage in the venom category, and they are ferocious in their own right. However, L. caledoniensis takes the lead in indefatigability, panache, derring-do, and loyalty.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Salinity Data for Caledonian Waterways.

A conversation on Caledon state chat yesterday raised the question of whether a certain body of water in Caledon was fresh, brackish, or seawater.

Fortunately, a prior field expedition which surveyed waterways around the Independent State had also collected surface salinity data. These results had been unpublished (and not updated after recent cataclysmic tectonic activity), but seeing as how at least one of our citizens would find the information useful, I exercised my editorial powers to publish the data without their as-yet-unfinished analysis.

This illustration shows the surface salinity in parts-per-thousand, mapped on a spectrum from green (fresh water) to blue (sea water). Brackish water is defined as having a salt concentration of 0.5 to 30 parts per thousand.*

A cursory view shows that the Independent State is fresh-water replete in areas with higher elevation. The Firth tends toward mild brackishness towards the east, and more pronounced to the west and the open sea. Lower-lying areas show a more-rapid increase in salinity as a function of distance from shore.

Limitations of these results include a lack of sampling at depth, no correction for water temperature, and a lack of readings across time (meaning that any diurnal or seasonal variations are unknown. The Winterfallen waters north of Caledon remain unstudied.

Readers wishing some advice on which fish ought to be introduced to a nearby stream, which plants may flourish at a given location, or simply where to refill one's canteen may find this map useful.

Regrettably, a lack of grant funding current prevents further data collection or analysis, at least at present.

* The actual phenomenon being measured is not salinity but rather halinity, a measure of the halide content of water. This should not be confused with conductivity (measuring the ionic content of water), or turbidity (measuring the particulate matter content), though each of these measurements overlap to some degree.