Tim Wong is an aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, but in his off-hours he raised pipevine swallowtail butterflies in his back yard in San Francisco, where the butterfly was now hard to find. His efforts have been successful to reintroduce Battus philenor to a region where the species is much less common than it used to be. You can join Tim and the folks in the North American Butterfly Association in improving backyard biodiversity by creating butterfly habitats, or even raise your own swarm or kaleidoscope of butterflies. [more inside]
"The first 21 days of a bee's life in 60 seconds" is a time-lapse video by photographer Anand Varma, who discusses his collaboration with the bee lab at UC Davis in breeding a naturally mite-resistant line of honeybees. (Via.)
2 UC Davis neurosurgeons accused of experimental surgery are banned from human research. Bacterial infection after surgery to remove glioblastoma is thought (anectodally by neurosurgeons) to confer survival advantage to patients, despite limited and contradicting information from previous studies (abstract 1, abstract 2). Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph J. Schrot, with patient consent, introduced Enterobacter aerogenes into open wounds of 3 terminally ill patients in an effort to prolong life. Two patients later died due to sepsis. Upon learning that Muizelaar and Schrot had given patients the bacteria, UC-Davis notified (pdf) the Food and Drug Administration of the serious non-compliance issue. Currently, both Muizelaar and Schrot remain employed at UC-Davis, and Muizelaar remains chairman of the Nuerological surgery department.
The Reynoso Task Force has released its findings (pdf) on the UCDavis pepper spray incident: "There is little factual basis supporting Lt. Pike’s belief that he was trapped by the protesters or that his officers were prevented from leaving the Quad" ... "Further, there is little evidence that any protesters attempted to use violence against the police." [more inside]
Lt John Pike, mustached UC Davis campus police officer, now finds himself the subject of the "Casually Pepper Spraying Cop" meme, where the nonchalant Pike is inserted into famous works of art such as the "The Creation of Adam," "The Scream," and yes, the cover of "Sgt Pepper." [more inside]
openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
British Women Romantic Poets Project is a collection of poetry written by women from the British Isles between 1789 and 1832. Over a hundred female poets are represented. Women rarely feature in literary histories of the Romantic period but there is treasure if you search (some poems are, frankly, terrible). A few places to start are Charlotte Turner Smith's Elegiac Sonnets, and Other Poems, Christian Ross Milne's Simple Poems on Simple Subjects and Mary Robinson's sonnet cycle Sappho and Phaon. The oddest works to modern readers may be Elizabeth Hitchener's Enigmas, Historical and Geographical and Marianne Curties' Classical Pastime, which are collections of verse riddles (the answers are at the end of the text).
The UC Davis corpse flower bloomed yesterday: "Amorphophallus titanum, also known as Titan Arum or the Corpse Flower because of its smell, takes up to 15 years to bloom and rarely does so in cultivation...The stink is astounding." (Another stinky flower previously discussed here.)
The failure of biotech. "In June 1996, the University of California, Davis, began an unprecedented effort to help the West African nation of Mali, using the promising and controversial new tool of agricultural biotechnology... Eight years later, no help whatsoever has arrived... In the hopes that inspired the effort - and the missteps that stifled it - lies a drama larger than the sum of its parts, one that shows both the promise and pitfalls of the largest technological leap in American agriculture since the tractor: biotechnology." The start of a five-part series in the Sacramento Bee: long, but well worth it. (Via MonkeyFilter.)