Archive for June, 2009

Happy Father’s day!

To all those men around the world who care for and love their children, and make such a great difference in our lives! (especially my dad, of course :)

And to these little guys… the most extreme fathers I’ve heard of so far!


The male seahorse, rather than the female, becomes pregnant. This unusual mode of reproduction is the most extreme form of male parental care yet discovered, although it arises from a general bias towards paternal care among fishes. Eighty-nine of 422 families of bony fish exhibit parental care, with almost half of these (36) being cases of paternal care. (See Blumer, L. S. 1979. Male parental care in the bony fishes. Quarterly Review of Biology. 54: 149-161.)

Sexual maturity in males is usually determined by the presence of a brood pouch. Male seahorses are able to become pregnant any time during the breeding season, which varies with species, and is most likely dependant on temperature of the water. Other factors that may affect the timing of the breeding season are monsoon patterns and the lunar cycle.


Pregnant male and female intertwine tails (Grant, 1987)

Most species of seahorses are monogamous, forming pair bonds that last the entire breeding season (and perhaps even last over several breeding seasons), although some species may not be pair-bonded. Pair bonds are reinforced by daily greetings in which the female and male change colour and promenade and pirouette together. This dance lasts several minutes, and then they separate for the rest of the day. The greetings occur throughout the male pregnancy, and are even thought to ensure that the male and female are ready to re-mate at the same time. Once the male has given birth and it is time to re-mate, sometimes only hours later, this greeting is extended into a courtship that, for one species, lasts up to nine hours.

The female inserts her ovipositor into the male’s brood pouch, where she deposits her eggs, which the male fertilizes. The fertilized eggs then embed in the pouch wall and become enveloped with tissues. The pouch acts like the womb of a female mammal, complete with a placental fluid that bathes the eggs, and provides nutrients and oxygen to the developing embryos while removing waste products. The pouch fluid is altered during pregnancy from being similar to body fluids to being more like the surrounding seawater. This helps reduce the stress of the offspring at birth.

Pregnancy lasts between two and four weeks, the length decreasing with increasing temperature. At the end of gestation the male goes into labour (usually at night), pumping and thrusting for hours to release his brood. Young are miniature adult seahorses, independent from birth, and receive no further parental care. Newborns of most species measure 7-12 mm. The number of young released averages about 100-200 for most species, but can be a low as five for the smaller species, or as high as 1,500.

Info available at Project Seahorse.
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20 de Junio: Día de la Bandera

Alta en el cieeeeelo....
un águila guerreeeraaaa...
audaz se eleeeeeeva..
en vue-elo triunfaaal...
Bandera querida.
Algunos murieron por vos.
Otros simplemente nos cagamos de frío a la mañana mientras te izaban, sin conocerte.

Ahora, finalmente, aprendí a quererte. ¡Feliz día!

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What’s it called…? Bing it!

I enjoy using search engines. They’ve become a part of my daily life. They are probably the resource I use most at the moment. Whenever I have a doubt, or want to know something about something, or need a picture, or want to have immediate access to the latest news, I just google whatever it is that I am looking for.

“Google it”… The verb “to google” is now part of our language, or many languages in fact. I know we use it in Spanish too. The expression is now known worldwide… it’s just impressive.

I still remember the times when looking for information required calling my aunt and asking her if she knew about itor, if the case was that she didn’t, asking her to look it up in the encyclopedia.

We never owned (that I can recall, at least) a printed encyclopedia. We had a couple of barely-good-enough dictionaries and then some school books and a collection of school-oriented magazines like Billiken or Anteojito (the former was more fun, the latter more “serious”… hehe). I remember that every time I was asked to do a project at primary school, mom and I would walk to the nearest newspaper kiosk to buy these magazines, which conveniently manage to bring an article on exactly the topic you needed to do your homework on. Well, ok, it was primary school… topics were quite predictable, I know!

The walk to the newspaper kiosk was not that easy, though. When I said “nearest”, I forgot to specify that it had to be the nearest “open” kiosk. Yeah… it turns out that my bad (awfully treasonous) memory has been at play since I was very little, and so I usually remembered at around 11pm that I had homework due the next morning. Saint mother of mine, she was always there to give me a hand and save the day! (or, better said, the night!). Sometimes we had to get images of important people of history, and we had to go buy a magazine just for those ridiculous pictures. Now you just select the “Images” tab on any search engine and you can find pretty much, though not always, what you need.

Our first step into the world of digitalized information was Microsoft Encarta. Oh, how I loved that software! Soon everyone had it and at some point the teachers got tired of having to correct a series of plagiarized texts, so another expression was born and easily adopted in daily academic slang “copy-paste” (“copi-peist” in Spanish).

Finally, we got an internet connection and a computer that was steady enough to support basic web browsing. Since then, I’ve been sucked by the web of the world wide web. I use it all the time and, yeah, I do feel incomplete whenever there’s a power-cut or the cable-modem service is interrupted :-s

I like the Google brand. I like googling. I like the other services like Gmail and Google Docs, Google Groups, and so on.. I like the fact that you can have everything at hand from one homepage. And I like even more the fact that you can personalize such homepage and that it even comes with cool themes like the “Tea House” one, where a cute little fox moves around doing his daily chores as the day goes by :)

However, my loyalty to google has been put to test lately. It all started once I googled images under the term “pulmotor”. It turns out Safesearch was not on (I didn’t even know such an option existed), and I got unpleasantly surprised by the results. Same happened when I looked up “tanti auguri”, to see if I had spelled correctly. Just do the experiment (and remember to make sure Safesearch is off). Or just press here and here. Also, as you may have read on a previous post, I found out that an image/post from my blog was featured as a “related video” linked to an anti-abortion video. Leaving aside my personal views regarding abortion, my image/post had nothing to do, whatsoever, with abortion. It wasn’t even a video… so how could it be a “related video”?!?

Of course, these are just the shocking examples that I remember at this time. But I have been disappointed by google’s search results for quite a while by now.

So I heard of Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine.

I looked up the two infamous examples, and I was happy to see that, even with Safesearch turned OFF, there were no unsuitable-not-to-mention-totally-unrelated pictures between the results. Of course this is just a test with very biased and personal standards, it is not enough to say that Bing is good enough, but it is enough for me to give it a try and see if I like it better.

So if you want to know about Bing, google it!    :)

Just kidding, you can test it yourself at Bing.com. Alternatively, you might want to read an interesting review by Rafe Needleman of cnet.

Bad news..

… got this yesterday.

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Can I make an appointment for another day, maybe?