Lungs + Blogs + Flying Trilobite accolades

After posting about my own experiences with my asthma and flying in airplanes, the conversation continued in other blogs.

Blue Collar Scientist produced an insightful and shocking post about asthma, it's links to suicidal thoughts, and school policies that lead to tragedy. Ensuing comments and posts over at Blue Collar Scientist's blog led to me garnering a weekly comment award when I assume Mr. Scientist hadn't had enough sleep after staring at nebulae for too long.

A similarity in maintaining our lungs was found between Zach of When Pigs Fly Returns and myself, in that both of us thank our wives for their support in maintaining our bronchioles. Zach has written a revealing post about living with cystic fibrosis. Go for the lungs, stay for the dragons. No really, keep scrolling down until you start finding this impressive artist's dragon sculptures.

Have an asthma or lung-related story? Give one of our posts a link, and continue the conversation.

Elsewhere, some splendid things were said about my art. I love being included as an "internet wonder", so thanks to Splendid Elles. This atheist and skeptic is kinda off the wall and has her own opinions. I like blogs that don't act as mouthpieces for other blogs.

My new shale puzzle-painting has caught the calcium-carbonate compound eye of eTrilobite, who thought it was one of the three best articles read this week - and I've barely started! High praise indeed from another accomplished paleoartist. Spend some time at eTrilobite, won't you? Walcott's Quarry is great fun, and you can shop for author-artist Trilobite's amazing paleo-themed clothing.

The Flying Trilobite is sometimes also popular in other languages. Nifty! Le soledad del excentrico has me on their blogroll. Also, I was added to the feast on The Neural Gourmet's blogroll. *beaming*

If this keeps up I will continue to become a better and better artist. We have to feed our over-inflated egos to produce our best work. *wink*
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In Strange Company: strangemag.com

I noticed while pursuing that vainest of pastimes, googling myself, that I was quoted on a site called strangemag.com. I hadn't come across this online 'zine before, and it's...umm, weird. Or odd. Unusual. A little different, yes.

It seems to be a mixed bag. The subject matter is credulous; everything from 'giantology' and smoking chimpanzees to UFO's and the pterodactyl 'Thunderbird'. Then it shifts, and often is debunking what it finds, playing the skeptic. I've come rather late to this magazine, as strangemag.com's founder, Mark Chorvinsky, has passed away in recent years. Seems like an interesting guy.

It prompted me to look up the term, "Fortean". I had seen the Fortean Times on magazine racks, and thought it kind of New Age-hokey. It seems there is a bit of a poke-in-the-eye attitude toward scientists, mixed with a different sort of skepticism than you see in Skeptic magazine. A quote from Fortean founder Charles Fort (at right) on Wikipedia: "Now there are so many scientists who believe in dowsing, that the suspicion comes to me that it may be only a myth after all". The Skeptic's Dictionary, always one of my favourite places, has an entry on Charles Fort as well.

The quote from my blog was from my posting about palaeontologist Dong Zhiming educating some Chinese rural folk who believed dinosaur fossils were really medicinal dragon bones. It feels somewhat strange for a person like myself, trying to be rational and understanding the scientific method to be quoted on a site near articles on Bigfoot. But what I've read so far shows these journalists are showing a healthy dose of skepticism and tracking their sources, as wild as the claims are.

It's interesting that skepticism falls along a spectrum rather than a discrete definition. But perhaps that's a scientific simile.

Just a spoonful of Mamenchisaurus to help the medicine go down!

Pachycephalosaurus: overlooked source to cure gout, pinkeye, and disobedient children?

Yahoo News has reported that central Chinese villagers from the Henan province have been grinding up dinosaur fossils and using them as traditional medicine to cure dizziness and leg cramps. Their belief has been that the calcium-rich fossils are dragon bones.

And here's the good news. The scientist who reported this story, Dong Zhiming, also said that once the villagers found out what it was they were consuming, they stopped. Someone please, please fly this man to a certain 'museum' in Kentucky! His powers of persuasion must be truly awesome.

Really though. Folkloric animal-based medicines like shark-cartilege and tiger penises have been persuasive medicines for the desperate, the traditional, and the New Age set for, well, since prehistory, I would guess. And I think the two easiest ways to spot a false cure are 1. when it cures a disparate set of ailments, such as the "dizziness & leg cramps", or 2. when it cures something suspiciously too-related to what body part it is from, like tiger penis for sexual dysfunction. Makes me suspicious. Oh yeah, and lack of double-blind empirical testing is not a good sign either.

Good for these folks though. Stopped drinking dinosaur-calcium soup straight away. Perhaps last month's Seed magazine was right, and China is successfully pushing its science-based agenda thoughout the country. Hm.

The Flying Trilobite happily recommends Dinobase for an excellent source of dinosaur related science. And, next week, my wife and I will be visiting family in Alberta! I hope to produce more dinosaur sketches like the one above while I am there. Any of this blog's readers out in Calgary?