Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Slow beats the heart of the salamander
Who rests guarding her eggs in the cool moss.
Silently she breathes in my time through gloss
Of skin gold and brown. Disturbed she gathers
Tightly against them; only they matter
Turning their gray yolks, spinning time to floss.
Unwraps the program of their lives embossed
Even in me through my life meander,
Back to the cold throated streams where she lives,
Her old slow eyes imprinted in my eyes
And drawing me into you with a stare,
For that brief moment; then my hair I give
One flick and with a couple pulls and sighs
My mother's eyes click red lips down the stair.

Two very disparate images I know, but salamanders of course typically go through a metamorphosis. Once going out, I was just checking my appearance and how much I can resemble my mother at this age struck me. And no, I don't think wanting to be like one's mother (or father) is really part of being transgender, so forget that.


Suddenly we are past the tipping point
And are staring at the body summer,
Her green skin crawling with beetles shimmers
Water, salt from her breast my eyes anoint.
She enfolds me;shoots rustle from each joint.
Dirt crumbling from her, she sheds spring's glamor,
And from her secret places rise odors
Half decomposed into the high dew point-
Not of spring's meadowed fem and lily scents
But fully herself dark entangled black
Charcoal odors from Permian forests.
Rises she from her old self redolent
With the notes of the hive, bees forth and back,
The ants, bees and I, all of us, her guests.

summer pads

One thing that always strikes me about summer is the smells. I don't have a particularly strong sense of smell and I am a bit quirky in terms of the smells I enjoy. They tend to earthy, complex and not floral in the standard sense, and to me these sorts of complex summer smells are incredibly sexy.

This poem is part of my ongoing exploration of the sonnet form. Normally I write more open forms but find sonnets incredibly fun to write and I am glad to have a bit of time this summer to continue my explorations.

Here are some other poems in the same series:

Full Moon:
Secular Poem:


Global warming skeptics that is. Turns out they are taking a page from Creationists who love to put out lists of scientists who support their positions. Over at Lightbucket there is an interesting post shedding light on the antics of the Heartland Institute(website, sourcewatch) with it's list of 500 scientists who are supposedly global warming skeptics.

Check it out at:

From the post:

"The list of Dennis Avery’s coauthors immediately looks odd. Some of the scientists are dead, some don’t exist [6], and the deceased astrologer Theodor Landscheidt is on it. Extraordinarily, Michael Mann, the author of the “hockey stick” paper, and one of the scientists running the RealClimate blog, is on the list as a coauthor “whose research contradicts man-made global warming” !"

Desmogblog at has been doing a great job of tracking this story.

See that blog's latest update at

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vote Republican!

Not convinced? Well, just check this video out.

More information can be found at:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cloning Copybot Hitting The Grid

While browsing my Flickr contacts I ran across this photo and entry posted by Prad Prathivi, a designer in Second Life. Apparently a copy bot exists now that will duplicate a Second Life Avatar, including major features of the Avatar profile, and and at least some of the Avatar's attachments.

According to Prad, Second Life allows copy bots for legitimate purposes-backing up inventory for instance but using them to copy other people's stuff-including their avatars is against the Second Life terms of service.

Indeed, according to Second Life's Knowledge Base entry on protecting copyrights, using copy bots to "infringe" on someone's content is a violation of the Terms of Service. However, SL also notes that residents are allowed to have Copy Bots for legitimate reasons.

When I asked Prad how one could tell the real Avatar from the copy he said this:

"I wouldn't have been able to tell them apart, aside of the rez date, quality of avatar and the No payment Info on File. But even that wouldn't have given me a second thought.. your avatar could be duplicated without you even knowing it, as well as content creator's work being stolen."

By the way I have a query to the person, whose AV is allegedly Kulton Short, who was reported to be selling the copy bot, but I have received no response.

Not everyone responding Prad's post feels there is a problem, several SL users didn't think there is much merit in duplicating avatars. Caliburn Sustanto says basically who cares, noting that it is already possible to make a copy of someone's avatar by tracking down all the attachments and duplicating the appearance of the avatar. Besides "Thousands of avatars already look pretty much the same already".

It is not clear to me how big of a problem copy bots are but I think there is at least the potential of a problem. The analogy is of course phishing in which users are lured to false websites in order to steal passwords. IN the old days an alert user could generally spot phishing sites after all. Once before phishing became widespread I got a message about my AOL account that said to go to the AOL website and enter my account and password because of some security issue. The site looked official but the URL was clearly not from AOL. So I called AOL security. As a reward I got several months of free service.

At the very least, these sorts of copy bots might have the affect of undermining confidence in Second Life's security and users ability to protect their avatars and original content.

By the way these bots don't seem to reside in Second Life but are external programs orginally developed for debugging purposes. Also they cannot get at account information so the avatar show up with no payment on record.

Here is another very recent report of what sounds like the same copy bot that Prad reported.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dragonfly- Big Dragonfly.

dragon fly big

This has been a great summer for dragonflies and this one let me get a great shot. Click on the image to see larger versions. The wings are really detailed in the full size image.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Secular poem

The garden in June is falling over
Itself in green, first flush of blooms deadheaded.
Vinca, leathered hand, the lily smothers.
Daisy flea bane riots among peonies spent.
Sphingid larvae frass honeysuckle leaves,
While gold ants slurp juices from a worm dead
On the brick path where sedums overflow.
Wasps hunt prey and drink flower whoopie
And along the border sweat bees work the lilies
For nectar, pollen sticking to hummers
Who flee my leisured steps like Disney pixies.
I walk along the garden's edge and stoop
To see another small and unexpected thing
In my late spring garden birthing summer.

Comment: this is kind of a sonnet though in free rhyme. The thought that started the poem is that there is so much to do in the garden what with all the rain we have here in Kansas. But really a lot the garden does for itself though we don't always like the results. The larva pictured is really feeding on honeysuckle and at first I didn't make the connection between the larvae and the adult moth shown here also photographed in my garden.


The word "frass" is usually a noun meaning debris and excrement left by insects. Normally I don't like the tendency to turn nouns into verbs but sometimes it works for me. The word is probably related to the German verb fressen-to feed. Animals fressen, people essen as I recall from my German. Of course my wife thinks I fressen way too often.

There is also a related word in terms of meaning-"orts" scraps of food left over from insect feeding. So in ecology and entomology we often talk about "frass and orts".

Monday, June 16, 2008

Such details

I suppose one could postulate a creator that pays special attention to us. We are made in the creator's image, right? But notice the wonderful detail of this moth:

Bird dropping moth

Check out the poofy front legs.

Here's another view more from the top:

Bird dropping moth

Each organism seems to be sculpted to the same detail that we are. Now who does the creator love more, me or the moth, eh?

Don't creationists ever think about the issues raised by the personal God as pet notion?

Oh the moth is a Noctuid called a Wood Nymph, genus at least is Eudryas-a true wood nymph!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Protein Motif

Protein Motif
Originally uploaded by pdecell
My first Second Life video. Enjoy and either comment here or on Flickr. The animation is a complex sculpture of 3 sculpted prims free to rotate independently and intersect each other leading to complex patterns. My avatar (Simone) is sitting on the sculpture as in a dream.

The video was produced using Camtasia Studio, as a windows media file, and uploaded to Flickr. Flickr can only make 90 second videos and apparently takes the format you upload and processes it into an Adobe Flash file. What is frustrating aside from the 90 second limit is that Flickr won't accept Flash files!

The sound track is a translation of a protein called Gamma Crystallin, courtesy of Max Chatnoir of Genome Island.

If you have Second Life installed:

Visit Simone and her sculpture at:

and visit Max at Genome Island at:

As a tip, use the highest quality settings you can use to produce your video before uploading to Flickr. I could not get mov files to work but Windows media files worked fine. Flickr does have a video upload limit of 150MB.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Now You See It...

On Wednesday I giving my Second Life office a make over to make it more comfortable looking when I suddenly could not take stuff from my inventory folders into my land. So I got on SL's help chat and Rika, the tech I got at SL patiently had me try various things. None of them worked. So she had to reboot my entire region.

I went across the way to the next region to watch what happens when a region is taken off line. My office is the low build with the green roof. Not very imaginative I know:

Now you see it:

now you see it

Now you don't:

now you dont

While I was waiting for my region to be restored I found this wonderful build nearby-

Philia's Woods

where I could relax a bit:

Philia's Woods

The reboot worked and I could could return to my Second Life office:


Having access to online help is one advantage of a premium account and Rika was great. She probably spent 20 minutes working with me to figure out what the problem was. Second Life has been experiencing inventory problems this week and it may be that my problem was connected to that.

If you have the Second Life client on your machine you can visit my office/laboratory at

Friday, June 06, 2008

After the Storm

Last night we had more violent weather in Kansas featuring everything from tornadoes to escaped elephants. To quote from the Lawrence Journal World:

"The elephants, part of a traveling circus in WaKeeney, were apparently frightened by the storm and wandered through the town after breaking loose, said Trego County Sheriff Richard Schneider.

One elephant wandered into a resident’s backyard less than a mile from the Trego County Fairgrounds and was blocked off by fire trucks until its trainers could coax it onto a truck, Schneider said.

“I guess it got tired of walking around,” he said.

The second elephant was tranquilized in another resident’s backyard, coaxed into a truck and taken back to the circus, which was already packing up to head to the next town, Schneider said.

There were no reports of damage from the elephants..."

This morning, no elephants but a snail tasting the calm:


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

At work in Second Life

OK..maybe a little bit of playing. I've gotten back to working with sculpted prims and just for the heck of it and to challenge my limited skills but together a flower out of sculpted prim parts.

Here I am hard at work in my laboratory putting the insides of the flower together:

At work in Second LIfe

The final result:

Second Life Flower

And Simone sitting on a petal. She's not a very good pixie.

In my SL garden

If you have SL installed the flower is at:


Originally uploaded by pdecell
I climb up the scale and listen to your melody
As it casts itself out. A path for me.

A postcard from Second Life.

Originally uploaded by pdecell
I am alone on an alien beach.
Only your music sustains me today.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hungry Baby

This newly hatched mantid was one of many on my Viburnum yesterday.

Hungry Baby Mantid

Beauty in Second Life...

My last major post discussed evolution and beauty. By the way that post was also sent to my science blog where it generated a lot of discussion so check it out at:

Today I was down loading the new edition of Sculptie paint. This is a software tool for making irregular shaped objects called "sculpted prims"in Second Life. The creator is Cel Edman (at least that is his avatar's name) and today I briefly chatted with him and visited two of his second life sites. First his store where he sells prepackaged sculpties for those who need certain types of irregular shapes. For instance-building stairs the old way in second life eats up a lot of prims, but Cell has a stair tool which allows you to create single prim stairs. Remember in Second Life you are limited in the number of prims based on how much land you every prim counts!

Outside his store is a wonderful set of sculpted forms:

At Cel's Store

Cel also tells me that he has never really had time to build in SL and he has recently bought land in a public area and has begun to build some really exciting things. For instance, check out this wonderful sculpted prim tree and how in interacts with the light and fog in the sim.

Cel's experimental build

Oops a storm is moving in and my battery back up has just kicked on.