Please, Australia!

Deep-Sea News reports that my cousins the Giant Australian Cuttlefish may be in serious trouble. It seems they had the lack of foresight to evolve in an area where featherless bipeds would eventually discover uranium, copper, and gold. As of this writing, the link to the original Australian source is down, so you will have to settle for the condensed version on DSN.

Australia is evidence: memories don’t last–
They ought to have learned from mistakes in the past;
The hull of a ship carries passengers, too
(Ask any whose job is to clean off that goo–
Green algae, and seaweeds, and mussels and such
Which can kill off the locals–it doesn’t take much).
This plan should be dropped like a really bad habit,
If Aussies have learned from the tale of the rabbit;
There’s a reason, you see, for the rabbit-proof fence:
Once you bring bunnies hither, you can’t send them hence.
They devastate flora, and quickly outbreed
Their marsupial neighbors–a problem indeed.
Or look to the waters at Port Philip Bay
Where another invasive is living today;
The Northern Pacific Sea Star is its name
At that bay, there’s a full hundred million to blame
For destroying the natives, both mollusks and corals–
When species collide, we get more than mere quarrels.
From foxes and cats, who are powerful killers,
To carp and salvinia, waterway-fillers,
From cane toads to mynas, to red fire ants,
Once here it’s too late, so you can’t miss your chance.
These cuttlefish giants are beautiful creatures
(Just look at the picture! What beautiful features!)
I hope that Port Bonython learns from the past
And decides that they want their Australia to last;
Ecosystems are fragile–we know they can break;
I’m begging you–please don’t repeat your mistake.

(Now, go to this page, download Michael McRae’s delightful illustrations, and use them when reading my verse to children.)

Photo from The Cephalopod Page… which I also cannot get to link. Bad day for linkage…

…and special thanks to Pod, of Podblack Blog

Tuber magnatum Pico

I’d like to report, for the gluttons among us,
A story about a remarkable fungus;
An auction today caused a giant kerfuffle
And set a new record—the costliest truffle.
A truffle dog found it near Pisa last week
(although hunting with pigs is another technique);
Weighing 1.5 kilos (or 3.3 pounds),
It’s the largest discovered by pigs or by hounds.
An artist was bidding, and so was a Sheik
But neither had what it would finally take;
The winner, from Macau, is named Stanley Ho—
He owns a casino; I guess he has dough.
A third of a million is what he will pay
For the privilege of taking that truffle today
A price unexpected, though truffles are rarities,
But proceeds, today, were donated to charities.
The price for this truffle, reporters were told
Is nine times (by weight) more expensive than gold!
So if your back yard contains Tuber magnatum,
It’s time to call Christie’s, and tell them you’ve got ‘em.

Knit me a brain!

A tip of the cuttlecap to Shelley of Retrospectacle for reporting on the Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art

We’ve got sweaters to mend; we’ve got socks we can darn,
So pull up a chair, and I’ll spin you a yarn;
It’s a song with a Scarecrow-of-Oz-like refrain:
Please pick up your needles and knit me a brain!

I’ve knitted my bones, and I’ve knitted my brow,
But I’ve never seen brains knitted—up until now;
With each neural pathway a separate skein,
It’s Art and it’s Science, so knit me a brain!

Two hemispheres knit, and then reaching across ‘em
A beautiful, zippered-up corpus callosum;
Such fine application of knit, purl, and chain,
I want one myself—so please, knit me a brain!

With the brain’s convolutions appropriately gyred
This fabric creation has got me inspired!
My love for this art, I can hardly contain—
So how can I get one? Please knit me a brain!

Some people may tell you I’ve gone ‘round the bend
That the stuff ‘twixt my ears needs some decades to mend.
I could use some new grey-matter; mine’s gone insane,
It would not go to waste, if you’d knit me a brain.

You can see for yourself—why, just look at the time
I must take to obsessively put things to rhyme;
Something’s wrong, and I think that the answer is plain:
I need a replacement—so knit me a brain!