Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why do snakes have a forked tongue?

The answer: tropotaxis, or a "surround sound" tongue


Tropotaxis simply refers to the targeted following of chemical cues by an organism, I think.
I was asked a few days ago why snakes have forked tongues. It was asked by a kid, and was probably an idle question, unimportant to the person, and quickly forgotten. At least, to them. I puzzled and fumed and googled.

So, here it is. Science really isn't sure, but the accepted proposed idea is that a forked tongue gives snakes (and other reptiles, like Komodo dragons) a larger surface area to the tounge, allowing their sense receptors greater comprehension, and especially a better ability to sense direction of chemical traces in the air.

The principle to surround sound applies to the "tasting" of the air, too, soundwaves notwithstanding.

Well, I found it fascinating.

Oh, incidinetly, snakes and monitor lizards (such as the Komodo) are closer cousins than other lizards. I found that interesting, when considering their similar oral qualitities.

And oh, again, I misspelled "tounge" all throughout this blog, and had to keep correcting myself.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

JHW: Horrendous online application as usual

I just finished another horrible online job application for Target. I originally didn't plan on naming names, but I think it's worth naming if company's are going this outlandish with their drug screenings.

What concerns me most is the "or other specimens" clause. What? You want a finger or a toe? Well, I can't complain, I've signed my life away, whenever, wherever you find convenient. I realize that realistically it wouldn't be an issue -- at a minimum, the threat of civil law suits would make an employer restrain themselves. But this is crazy!

Drug Free Workplace Policy and Drug Test Consent form. I AGREE to
follow Target's Drug Free Workplace Policy and Drug Test Consent form
and understand failure to follow it may result in disciplinary action,
up to and including termination.

2. I UNDERSTAND that I must pass a drug screen/test to be hired by
Target.I ALSO UNDERSTAND that I may have to take a drug and/or alcohol
test, including an on-site screen where lawful, as outlined in the
Drug Free Workplace Policy and Drug Test Consent form.

3. I AGREE to provide my urine, breath, blood or other specimen(s) for
screening/testing for drugs and/or alcohol whenever deemed necessary
by Target, a collection site or a medical provider.

4. I CONSENT to the specimen(s) being collected at the assigned
collection site(s) or on-site screening facility and further consent
to have my specimen(s) analyzed by the on-site screening facility ( if
applicable) and/or tested at a U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(HHS/SAMHSA)-certified laboratory.

5. I CONSENT to the release of screen and/or test results to Target,
to the company's third-party administrator (including its agents,
affiliates, or other related entities involved in the
screening/testing process) and its Medical Review Officer (MRO) or as
otherwise allowed or required by applicable federal, state, or local

6. I UNDERSTAND I will be given the opportunity to discuss a positive
drug test result with the MRO, a licensed physician who will consider
any offered legitimate medical explanation for the test result. I
AGREE to cooperate with the MRO. I UNDERSTAND that the MRO is not
acting as my physician or health care provider in performing this
service and that no physician-patient relationship is formed between
us. I UNDERSTAND the MRO may contact my health care provider(s) or
others to verify any information I have supplied about why the test
was positive (such as being on a prescription medication). I AUTHORIZE
my health care provider or others to give the MRO this information.

7. I RELEASE Target or any of its operating companies, the MRO, the
laboratory, the collection site, my health care provider(s), or others
who verify information I have supplied, and their respective
employees, agents, and affiliates from any and all liability in
connection with a specimen collection and/or test, or any employment
action taken as a result of a specimen collection and/or test.

8. I AGREE that information relating to a test (including its results)
may be disclosed by Target, the MRO, the laboratory, the collection
site, my health care provider(s), or others who verify information I
have supplied, and their respective employees, agents, and affiliates,
if I challenge this test or results, or if I take any action as a
result of a test in any kind of administrative, judicial, legal or
other proceedings relating to my employment or potential employment,
including but not limited to worker's compensation, unemployment
compensation or other proceedings.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Absolute Friends by John LeCarre

The reason I tagged this book as "U.S. politics" will be clear to anyone who has read the final quarter of this book. Principally, it is not very kind to the American neoconservatives and the Iraq War initiative by the Bush Adminstration. It is also quite critical of conservative media, such as Fox News. With it's British interests, it also says unflattering things of Blair and the Coalition of the Willing and British media.

As such, I realized that may have been why I found the recent LeCarre tome on Goodwill shelves...twice in one week! It may have been distasteful to many conservative American readers, and thus more likely to be discarded. Sad, but to my benefit. LeCarre fans may have been used to the authors' pro-Western stance during his many Cold War novels, and many thus caught off guard. I only speculate.

This is a very very powerful book and I thuroughly enjoyed the experience. I intend to recommend it to friends of discernment.

The only negative I saw is that the book followed very closely the story arch I have seen in other LeCarre books, specifically The Constant Gardener. The ending is different, for sure, but too similar to escape my notice.

Ooh: http://kidicarus222.blogspot.com/2011/08/legend-of-zeldas-considerably-less.html

JHW: After the recent Adventure

Since my last post I won a job, worked 4 long long weeks, then lost said job, and am positioned to deposit my last paycheck tomorrow.

That's a long story, and a bit of a roller-coaster, because it rarely failed that I was happy with my job on my lunch-break but frustrated to anger at night after work.

Boiled down, the boss threw temper-tantrums and was furthermore impossible to please.

It didn't take me long to realize the character of the boss (chef-owner), so I wasn't suprised or upset when he finally dismissed me. It was sad, but inevitable, following another employee he had terminated the week before. With the previous target gone, I became the new one.

The fact I didn't consider my job worth fighting for doesn't mean that I slacked off. I did an honest and hard-working job until the end, keeping a professional attitude. I actually liked the boss as a person, but he was unreasonably stressful to work for.

Okay, enough prelude, I was a waiter at an Indian restaurant, working for a Hindu man from South India. Tamil, I beleive he said. The city of Che'Nai, however it is spelled.
I feel extremely priveledged to have gotten to work for a restaurant like that. After working in hum-drum American restaurants, it was a treat to be excited about the food I served and atmosphere I worked in. I learned quite a bit, and experienced more Indian cuisine than I ever would have in 30 years otherwise.

Okay, my rambling continues with a book post in just a moment, on Absolute Friends by John LeCarre.