Heteromeles

Heteromeles

  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    It's interesting. Reading a book on African history (Toby Green'sA Fistful of Shells) argues that West Africa was relatively equal with western Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, but that they went in for exporting things that were...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    I think that the idea that characters must level up may be a more recent phenomenon? Might it possibly have to do with several generations of people growing up with RPGs and thinking that's the way reality is supposed to...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    My first thought on this is: --Gee, I hope it really works the way they say it does. And I also hope it keeps working that way for the long term under sea level rise, and --what does "relatively untouched"...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Kind of the other way around. Floating as a tiny propagule was the default for the first 4.4 billion years of life's history (roughly), and it's still the default for a lot of microbes, fungi, insects, and plants*. Animal dispersal...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    The basic answer is the ol' constipated seagull... That's a botanist shorthand for bird dispersal, bird unknown, but since it was a long distance over water, we'll call it a seagull. Something like a tern or a golden plover (or...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Actually, and this is not meant to be sarcastic at all, if you get into the microbial complexity and scale everything up, if wild nature were scaled to the size of a normal city, we'd be roughly the size of...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Well, if they're extending the season on tourists, are they also increasing the bag limit? Actually, if Disney hasn't trademarked the name to hell and gone, I'd suggest the following promotional campaign: "Come visit Tomorrowland Down Under, where the future...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    This is the difference between submerged and emergent plants. Cattails are emergents. They need to have their roots in water, but most of the plant is above the surface. What EC was talking about were plants that grow underwater. There...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    As far as I know, there are no sub-surface aquatic plants/animals with wind-borne seeds/eggs/etc. So I was considering one that evolved via floating seedpods into very light ones that would blow around, into ones that would actually take off. I...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    That's not so clear to me. Here's a Harpy Eagle taking a sloth. It's open, but then again, it's also in a place where it was possible to photograph what was going on. The top of the canopy isn't analogous...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Thanks for stating it this way. And I'd forgotten about the trackways. This might be why forest eagles gets relatively bitsy compared to open-country eagles. Um, yeah. There's even a listicle or two about the world's largest eagles, which I'll...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Yes, I'm quite fond of the giant fossil penguins. Wrote them into a story I'm working on right now, and I spent some time figuring out if someone could use (really dense) penguin bone as a tool or handle material....
  • Commented on Introducing Dead Lies Dreaming
    Just a point about operating systems: legacies. I was an executor for my late uncle, and got to handle all his online stuff. He was a lifelong bachelor, retired computer scientist, liked to fiddle with his operating system and use...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Gas-filled bladders... Wind is not entirely random, since there are all sorts of ground boundary layer issues and local vortices that I strongly suspect plant spores and seeds take advantage of, because there's all this stuff on seeds ("ornamentation") that...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Um, there are a bunch of misconceptions here. Pterosaurs aren't dinosaurs, they're another kind of archosaur (if you call them dinosaurs, you've also got to call crocodiles dinosaurs). They had hair, not feathers, although it's not homologous with mammalian hair....
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Before you get too wrapped up in what azhdarchids can do with their wrists, it's worth being honest and pointing out what we know of them. For example, in this picture, the known bones are in gray. We're speculating about...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    I think we disagree. A wing can be like a rigid plane wing, but it's also a propeller. Moving the wing moves air. This how helicopters take off. Your argument looks a bit like the old argument about why bumblebees...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Agreed on Titan's course with the lifespan of a red giant, but the fundamental point is that you can get a small body with a dense atmosphere. I don't think orbiting close to a red dwarf is going to do...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    My apologies for repeatedly revealing your ignorance, but that's not what you said. The problem with trying to come up with biological balloons is you're trying to create a scenario where something that's structurally complicated, metabolically expensive, huge, flimsy, and...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    You mean, like Titan? It's smaller than Mars, and has a surface pressure about 150% of Earth's. This actually presents another model, a small ice world, or exomoon, orbiting what is now a gas giant. For most of the planet's...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    See #181 for an explanation of how extrapolating from albatrosses can lead you seriously astray. It's not clear that a quadrupedal pterosaur could run bipedally fast enough to get enough lift under its wings to get a full downstroke and...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Different models of launch. So far as I know, Witton and Naish were advocating that the Azhdarchids launched something like a vampire bat, off their forelimbs. See this video of a vampire bat. Albatrosses and other large birds have to...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    There are a couple of solutions. One is obviously Earth, because we did it. The bigger point is that plate tectonics matter. There's a lot of water inside the Earth, and if it gets emitted by volcanoes, it can make...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    This was worked out most of 50 years ago in biology, by looking at the ancestral conditions of the species that colonized islands. Since my doctoral advisor worked on the Hawaiian flora and I've got a case of island fever,...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Why engineers should take classes before speculating about biology Believe it or not, biologists have studied what's in the air since around 1910 or so. Google aeroplankton and aerobiology for details. The most widely known result of this research field...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    The Chinese got there first, many centuries ago in real life. More to the point, wind-driven cargo wheelbarrows on the Chinese model are actually a really good post-apocalyptic/low tech vehicle. The Chinese reportedly adopted them when their road system fell...
  • Commented on Introducing Dead Lies Dreaming
    Um, there's a strong undercurrent of "burn it all to stop the threat of wildfire" in the firefighting community, both in the US and in Australia. That doesn't mean they're right. The thing to realize is that there's a huge...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    I'd always thought that it was supposed to be a trilogy, but I suppose not. Oh well, fun while it lasted....
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    For most scenarios I think hydrogen is better than helium, as it's a better lift gas and it's *easy* to get compared with helium. You may not have noticed, but helium's been in short supply recently. I'd point out that...
  • Commented on Too Many Thoughts About Genre
    Quetzalcoatl is a Central American (Maya/Aztec, perhaps other) deity. Quetzalcoatlus northropii is a giant, late Cretaceous, Azhdarchid pterosaur from Texas named after Quetzalcoatl. And after the founder of Northrop, of course. It's thought to be the largest flying creature known...
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