27 December 2013


PlanetCatfish, the leading website for all things catfish, has announced the PlanetXingu project. The goal is to raise the money needed for hard scientific research into a vibrant but doomed stretch of the Xingu River. Many species of fish favoured by aquarists come from this area, yet little research has been done. PlanetXingu is a praise worthy effort to document a fast disappearing habitat.

To donate to the project via PayPal, the secure donation page is here

(by Julian Dignall on Catfish, June 10, 2013)
 "... Harnessing aquarists and the internet to quickly and globally support, disseminate and indeed test scientific research in the field of tropical fish ichthyology is something I thought I’d like have a crack at bringing about. It seemed to me that the loricariid catfish of Brazil’s Rio Xingu would make a good starting point, for a variety of reasons. ...there is a lot going on in the Xingu from socio-economic and conservation perspectives and knowing what’s going on would also be of interest to many. Furthermore, aquarists have identified many forms of catfish from the river that are not described by scientists and there are many, many questions keepers and breeders alike would like to know about new species, populations and so on. Brazil’s positive list that defines which species may legally be collected for export is another consideration... 

Money, as always, is a factor: many of these fishes are desirable and, so, worth a lot of money – the interaction between the supply and demand is important if we are to consider such things as sustainable exports and responsible fishkeeping. With likely habitat loss imminent, we may soon be in a last chance data capture and mitigation phase - the data captured during the project will help inform those intent on mitigating the "disaster". To do that we need to understand species concepts and, as a higher goal, demonstrate the global uniqueness of the Xingu. 

Finally, there is an element of time as well; it is very likely parts of the Xingu will be changed by man’s activities, and in the near future too. It appears some species live in relatively small areas and so are at high risk of impact by such activity. It is my hope that we can find out more about the fishes and how they live in the river. Perhaps we will find bad news too, but I think it is important to have facts... "

read the full article on PlanetCatfish

related posts on stormidae here

To donate to the project via PayPal, the secure donation page is here
Rio Xingu

10 December 2013

fun with fundies: Why I'm joining the the boycott of the Salvation Army kettle drive

^^Zinnia Jones

The Salvation Army was quick to issue an apology  for the comments made by Major Andrew Craibe on June 21st 2012, in an  interview with Melbourne radio station Joy 94.9 FM. Craibe was answering questions about the Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine, the manual used to train Salvation Army “soldiers” and members.

Craibe, a Salvation Army Media Relations Director in Australia, spoke to journalist Serena Ryan about calls by LGBTQ parents for a boycott of the nonprofit due to its anti-gay policies and beliefs.

Page 28 of the handbook cites Romans 1:18-32:
“For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. . .
“They know God’s decree, that those who practise such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practise them.”

Asked whether the Salvation Army took the wording literally, i.e. that practising homosexuals should be put to death, the Major Craibe replied in the affirmative. Truth Wins Out transcribed the resulting discussion

“ RYAN: According to the Salvation Army gay parents deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?”
CRAIBE: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.
RYAN (cutting in): So we should die.
CRAIBE: You know, we have an alignment to the Scriptures, but that’s our belief.
RYAN: Wow. So we should die."

But, is the apology worth anything or is the S.A. just covering it's ass over the Major's honest answers? It has a long history internationally of vigorously opposing lgbt equity. lgbtqnation lists just five:
  • When New Zealand considered passage of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986, the Salvation Army collected signatures in an attempt to get the legislation killed. The act decriminalized consensual sex between gay men. The measure passed over the charity’s objections.
  • In the United Kingdom, the Salvation Army actively pushed passage of an amendment to the Local Government Act. The amendment stated that local authorities “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The law has since been repealed, but it led many schools and colleges to close LGBT student organizations out of fear they’d lose their government funding.
  • In 2001, the organization tried to extract a resolution from the White House that they could ignore local non-discrimination laws that protected LGBT people. While the commitment would have applied to all employees, the group claimed that it needed the resolution so it “did not have to ordain sexually active gay ministers and did not have to provide medical benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.” After lawmakers and civil rights activists revealed the Salvation Army’s active resistance to non-discrimination laws, the White House admitted the charity was seeking the exemptions.
  • Also in 2001, the evangelical charity actively lobbied to change how the Bush administration would distribute over $24 billion in grants and tax deductions by urging the White House deny funding to any cities or states that included LGBT non-discrimination laws. Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary, issued a statement saying the administration was denying a “regulation sought by the church to protect the right of taxpayer-funded religious organizations to discriminate against homosexuals.”
  • In 2004, the Salvation Army threatened to close all their soup kitchens in New York City to protest the city’s decision to require all vendors and charities doing business with the city to adhere to all civil rights laws. The organization balked at having to treat gay employees equal to straight employees."
In Canada, a Supreme Court ruling from 1998 has set the rules for religious groups which accept public funding. Delwin Vriend, a lab instructor at King's University College, a Christian institution in Edmonton, was fired from his job because he is gay. When the case came up in front of the Supreme Court, the justices ruled that gays working in publicly-funded institutions were covered by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms even if the institutions are religiously controlled.

So while the S.A. in Canada cannot discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation in it's publicly funded endeavours, it is still a fundamentalist Christian organisation which teaches that lgbt people are contrary to god's plan.

There are other places to donate.

Clerical Whispers
the FreeThinker
America Blog
gayglobe us

7 December 2013

random science 25: Mary Anning 1799 – 1847

Mary Anning was a noted British fossil collector, dealer, and paleontologist. She became known around the world for a number of important finds that she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, England, her area of residence. Her work contributed to the fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth that occurred during her life time.
Anning's gender and social class prevented her from fully participating in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain. Despite her many discoveries, she struggled financially for much of her life, and was rarely credited for her finds. She died from breast cancer at age 47.

wikimedia commons
photos sourced from Wikimedia Commons
U. of C. Berkley page
Wikipedia page

25 October 2013

20 October 2013

nest art 3

^^inactive bald face hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nest in shrub

^^nest are only used for a year. Baldfaced hornets are present throughout most of Canada and the US except for the American Midwest. Except for newly mated females, the entire colony dies each winter. A possible exception maybe in the American deep south where colonies may overwinter. 

^^Adults feed on flower nectar, ripe fruit, carrion and insects, including other wasp species.

Check out BugGuide for more wasp info
thanks to Matteo's Gelato for the use of their patio to take these nest shots

17 October 2013

frogs at home: Frogbert

^^this is Frogbert, a Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla)
that arrived as a tiny tadpole hiding in an order of pond plants.

 ^^about 3.5 to 4 cm snout to tail tip.
Adult size of this species varies between 2 to 5 cm.
Read the full story at Canadaquaria. (forum registration required)
photo credit: Danielle
Creative Commons Licence
frogs at home: Frogbert by Danielle is licensed under a 

Never wild release plants or animals from your aquarium. 
If you remove it from its habitat, it is effectively dead.

The plant or animal could now carry aquarium pathogens, and it may also be a 
genetically different population from the one you release it into. The harsh experience of
aquarists is that you keep it or euthanize it.

While hard line, this is a rule responsible aquarists hold to. 
There have been too many ecosystems disrupted by human interference, even well meaning human interference, that there has been an ethic developed that says we ruin what we touch, and that whether we catch it to eat it or keep it, it doesn't go back.

See this University of Victoria page for one devastating example.

9 October 2013

random sounds 62: Delaney, Bonnie and Friends ... lots and lots of friends

^^with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock, 
Billy Preston, Jim Price, Bobby Keys, Rita Coolidge, Tex Johnson, live, 1969

23 September 2013

#spiritday is around the corner

^^Marcel Neergaard's #spirit day video. Marcel started a successfull petion early this year directed at rescinding an educational "Reformer of the Year" honor bestowed upon John Ragan, author of Tennessee's Don't Say Gay bill. (Marcel's story here)

Started by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan in 2010, Spirit Day is promoted by GLAAD and is observed by millions. Wear purple on Spirit Day as a sign of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and to speak out against bullying. Observed annually on October 20, individuals, schools, organizations, corporations, media professionals and celebrities wear purple, which symbolizes spirit on the rainbow. Go purple on October 20th!

12 September 2013

aquarium resources you should know about

Canadian Aquarium Connection announced earlier this month that it would be shutting down after seven years. It's a real loss for both Canadian and international hobbyists; a peaceful, genuinely friendly forum where vastly experienced aquarists mentored fledgling hobbyists. It was the best place to learn about fishkeeping, breeding and lesser known creatures; livebearers, killies, snails.

edit October 15/2013 Canadian Aquarium Connection has reopened as a National auction. Check out the new, upgraded site here.)

Over the next few weeks I'll be removing updating the links to CAC from the pages here. Fortunately, some of the CAC Forum database (and many of the members) is being moved to a brand new forum set up by CAC members, Canadaquaria.

It's turning out to be a great forum. Check it out here.

If you're into shrimp, there's a new Canadian forum, Canadian Shrimp Exchange. Now that the amazing resource CrustaForum has been lost to spam bots, CSE is a good, friendly place to get the information you need.

Lastly, while not new, Happy Turtle Pub is a brilliant resource for turtle keepers, and Canadart is the place to go to get the dirt on dart frogs.

Happy hobbying!

10 September 2013

random flowers

Brugmansia, also known as angel trumpets, put on their annual show on the corner of Shaughness and Wilson in Port Coquitlam.

3 September 2013

Russia and the new Dark Age pt.2: Immigrants and Queers

 On July 25, the Daily Caller published an op-ed  titled “Putin is not the gay bogeyman,” written by Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) President Austin Ruse. According to Ruse, international concerns about Putin’s brutal crackdown on LGBT people are wildly exaggerated. In fact, Ruse argues, America should be learning from Russia’s anti-LGBT policies...  (article by Carlos Maza on Equity Matters Blog, July 29, 2013)
 Violence against lgbt people is now a national Russian sport. With the Olympics 
coming up, some athletes are speaking out.
Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis has come out in support of lgbt Russians.

(from: Daniel Carter, Pink News, Sept.3, 2013)
" ... Ms Bucsis has been open to her family for over 2 years but this is the first public statement she has made regarding her sexuality, she went onto say: “I could never promote that message of concealing who you are with all of this going on in Russia..." She added that it was vital that young LGBT people in Russia were sent a clear message that they were not alone.

Ms Bucsis is among a handful of athletes who have now spoken out against the gay propaganda law... Last month Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird slammed Russia’s anti-gay law as “hateful” and promised that the Canadian Government would raise the issue with Russian officials..."

Immigrants and migrant workers are traditional targets

" ...In the past year, “50 coffins of those killed in Russia at the hands of nationalists have come home to Azerbaijan,” Vremya Novostei reported, citing Soyun Sadykov, the leader of an Azeri cultural organization in Moscow. Another 30 coffins have gone to Georgia and over 100 have returned to Central Asian countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Mr. Sadykov said.
Denis Kislov, the editor of the Central Asian news portal Fergana.ru, blamed the Russian government for provoking attacks on foreigners by passing anti-immigrant legislation, which, he said, many Russians have interpreted as “a call for action,” Gazeta reported... )
Michael Schwirtz writing at The Lede, New York Times Blogs

trigger warning: this video depicts extreme ethnic violence

trigger warning: this video depicts extreme ethnic violence

Pink News: violent crimes against gays
Russia and the new Dark Age pt.1

random sounds 60: Eric Burdon and War

Beat Club 1970 (live)

23 August 2013

guest shots: Fundulopanchax fry by borneodaya

Fundulopanchax gardneri nigerianus
 (Albino blue lyretail killiefish) 24 to 72 hours old
photo sequence by borneodaya

^^newly hatched fry hug the substrate
 ^^these unidentified mites are insect parasites, attacking fly larvae
and dragonfly nymph. And maybe shrimp.
 ^^yellow shrimp (Neocaridina heteropoda var. yellow) help keep fungus at bay

more borneodaya@gmail.com on stormidae
American Killie Association info page
Killie.co.uk info page

17 August 2013

random sounds 59: HitZone and Whiskey Jane

Recorded at The Homecoming Weekend public concert, part of Port Coquitlam's 100th birthday celebration. (The HitZone video starts a few seconds into the song.)

 the HitZone home

Whisky Jane home

12 August 2013

a different kind of fundi: albino blue lyretail

^^a very curious killie
^^male albino Blue Lyretail (Fundulopanchax gardneri nigerianus)
 ^^very much a surface hunter