Bobbitt Worm


Ponder Eunice aphroditois, the Bobbitt Worm. Sightless predatory aquatic worm notable for stealth, dizzying speed and impressive size. Growing up to ten feet long, stinging bristles cover a colourful exoskeleton. Their business end is ringed by five antennae, Bobbitt strikes by turning its throat inside out to expose sharp teeth packed with paralyzing toxin. They prefer warm ocean reefs, evidence suggests this invasive species has a far greater range than once thought.

Viscous a predator as Eunice aphroditois may be, surely “Bobbitt” wasn’t the best we could come up with? Bobbitt refers to Lorena Bobbitt. In 1993, domestic abuse, rape and sodomy culminated in Lorena cutting off her husband’s penis while he slept. John’s penis was reattached, Lorena acquitted and released after a 45 day psych evaluation, John ruled not guilty of rape by a jury. Close as I can tell, an online myth circulated inferring female Eunice aphroditois cut off male organs after mating, feeding it to their young. Since when do worms have penises? I digress.

A co-worker introduced Bobbitt Worms. He shared a link, expressed astonishment, I reciprocated. We spoke of evolution remarkable perfection of species, unfathomable diversity and realization we comprehend a fraction of the natural world. Good talk. Then he said, “anything named for Lorena Bobbitt must be nasty, a real badass”. Whoa, that’s not funny. “I’m serious” he replied with a chuckle. I wasn’t laughing.

What’s wrong with “sand striker” or “trap-jaw worm”? Both common names for Eunice aphroditois prior to Bobbitt malarkey. By what stretch of imagination (other than click bait ) does “Bobbitt” make a species more fascinating? “Have you heard of the giant predatory sea worm named for Lorena Bobbitt? So horrendous it attacks without mercy, slices unsuspecting prey in half without conscience. A horrible creature unashamed of paralyzing bristles, venomous bite.?” WTF people!

We live in a world of embellishment, sensationalism, misinformation, monetized content and parroted hearsay. What’s funny about likening a desperate act by an unhinged domestic abuse victim to behavior of a predatory sea worm? I digress, end of rant. Sigh.

Eunice aphroditois – Wikipedia

John and Lorena Bobbitt – Wikipedia

bobbit-worm-2.jpg (700×443)

20 Facts about Bobbit Worm To Know What This Creature Is – Mysterious Monsters (science-rumors.com)

Geminid Borealis


Geminid Borealis by Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films takes my breath away. Envious is an understatement. Oh to be perched on a peninsula in Norway witnessing the Geminids through tendrils of ethereal auroras.

Spiders Rule


Forget cute baby kittens, look beyond conventional fluffiness and embrace the Peacock Spider. Look at this guy, he’s delightful. Yes, that’s a spider! A jumping spider native to Australia. Jumpers have excellent vision and stalk rather than trap prey in webs.

Cute soft-furred spider with vivid blue, red and yellow pattern on abdomen.

Delightful knows no bounds. Watch his courtship dance –

Considerably less fluffy, but equally remarkable are Diving Bell Spiders. In ponds across Europe and Asia, these wily arachnids spend their entire life underwater. They breathe air trapped in bubbles that are held in place by webs. Divers leave their bubble to hunt prey, surfacing only to gather fresh oxygen for their bubble.

See the source image

Flying spiders? Who knew threads of wind swept silk propelled spiders hundreds of miles? Known as parachuting or ballooning, countless small spiders raise their abdomen and cast silk to the wind. A phenonium which explains sudden appearance of spiders on ships at sea.

Long-legged spider, with back end pointing up.

Small spider raising its abdomen to balloon away. Image via Sarefo.

Orionid Meteor Shower 2020


Comet Halley is a prolific parent, matriarch responsible for the Eta-Aquarid meteors in May and October’s Orionid meteor shower. Every year between October 2 and November 7, Earth orbit encounters a elongated debris trail cast off by Halley – we know it as the Orionid meteor shower. This year Orionids peak the morning of October 21st.

Mountains with numerous thin white streaks in deep blue starry sky.

Composite photo of Orionid meteors over Montana in 2018, via John Ashley.

Orionid abhors flamboyance, preferring to stay the course with 10 -20 exclamations an hour radiating from constellation Orion. Orionid makes up for paltry frequency with dizzying speed ( 66 kilometers per second ) and roughly half the meteors leaving characteristic ionized trails lingering for several seconds in night skies.

Star chart showing radiant point of Orionids.

The Orionids radiate from a point near the upraised Club of the constellation Orion the Hunter. The bright star near the radiant point is Betelgeuse.

Constellation Orion is the radiant point, but meteors can appear over a wide angle view of dark skies. This year a waxing crescent moon delivers dark skies, ideal for Orionid watching. Best viewed between midnight and dawn.

Night Lights In Real Time


No matter how long the work day, disheartening the news or lousy the weather, Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films never fails to put things right. Treat yourself to real time aurora majesty coupled with Mauduit’s innate instinct to nail the perfect musical accompaniment.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC0CLzCpM6nuLSAi1JNBjkA

Global Air Quality Index – Vancouver B.C. Worst In the World


A closed Canada/U.S. border is no match for invasive plumes of wildfire smoke blanketing the West Coast. For days, stinging brown haze has beset Vancouver, obliterating sunlight, vying with Seattle and Portland for worst air quality in the world. This morning Vancouverites woke to a staggering reality – official ranking as most hazardous air to breathe in the world. Link to worldwide air quality – https://aqicn.org/here/

See the source image
See the source image

I’m not crying in my maple syrup or diminishing the plight of countless thousand American lives impacted by the inferno. What I am is alarmed by unprecedented voracity of this disaster. Wildfire season is a fact of life, periodic stretches of regional forest fire smoke settle over Vancouver every few years. What I can’t recall is Vancouver ever having the worst air quality in the world. Nor air so hazardous Canada Post suspends mail delivery, If this is the face of climate disruption, we need to take notice.

See the source image

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-worst-air-quality-world-september-14-2020

Finding Polaris – Embrace the North Star


Ah Polaris, commonly known as the North Star – humanities guide since the dawn of time. Located directly above the north celestial pole, northern hemisphere skies rotate around this near constant pole star. Knowing where to find Polaris means you’ll always know which direction to travel. Face Polaris, stretch your arms out sideways – the right hand points due east, the left due west. About face and you’re pointed south.

Very many bright concentric circles in sky around a bright irregular dot, trees in foreground.

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star. He wrote, “For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference.”

To find Polaris locate the Big Dipper, focus on Dubhe and Merak, two stars forming the outermost edge of Big Dipper’s bowl. In your mind’s eye draw a straight line to the tip of Little Dipper’s handle – voila, that’s Polaris the North Star.

Think of northern hemisphere skies as a clock with Polaris at the centre, the line from Dubhe and Merak to Polaris as the hour hand. The Big Dipper rotates once around Polaris every 23 hours, 56 minutes. A few minutes short of a day, equivalent to 361 degrees in 24 hours. As such the North Star moves ever so slightly with each passing day. What never falters is the hour hand from the outermost bowl of Big Dipper to Polaris. Find the Big Dipper, you’ll locate the North Star. Do that and you’ll never be lost in the woods.

Diagram: White sky with four black Big Dippers in a circle around Polaris.

If you’re in the northern U.S., Canada or at a similar latitude, the Big Dipper is circumpolar for you, always above the horizon. Image via burro.astr.cwru.edu.

Cloud Streets


Cloud streets are long rows of cumulus cloud oriented parallel to the direction of wind. Cloud streets are a product of convection – rolling waves of rising warm air met by sinking layers of upper atmosphere cold air. Atmospheric science 101 – clouds form when water droplets contained in rising warm air condense on introduction to sinking cold air.

http://www.eumetrain.org/satmanu/CMs/ClStr/navmenu.php?page=2.0.0

Morning cloud streets over Vancouver Island. Image via CTV News Vancouver Island.

Thin parallel lines of clouds extending from ice shelf in black-and-white orbital photo.

The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these cloud streets over the Bering Sea on January 20, 2006. Image via Jesse Allen/ NASARead more about this image.

Cloud streets are technically called horizontal convection rolls. Typically observed from satellite eyes above, cloud streets generally form over vast expanses of ocean water. Unique to cloud streets are cloud free zones on either side created by sinking cold air.

Every cloud has a story, explanation and reason for being there. Next time you look up, remind yourself of exquisitely balanced natural forces responsible for life as we know it.