Sun, 22 December 2019
The gang celebrates the end of the year by taking another break to play Fiasco, a crime/noir storytelling game by Bully Pit Games. This campaign will be broken into two parts.
The afternoon sun cast long, hazy blades of light across the linoleum floor of the Blue Label Diner in downtown Paradise Falls. Bill Larsen took a moment to stretch his aching back before hunching again to buff the counter with his cleaning rag. With weary eyes, he turned his attention back to the out-of-towner who was furtively sipping her coffee. She pulled out a notebook and pen from her jacket pocket and set them expectantly on the counter, waiting for Bill to speak.
“Do ya want some apple pie? Best in town.” No other restaurant in Paradise Falls sold apple pie, and Bill knew that.
The woman shook her head, “Mr Larsen, I’m just here to learn the facts about what happened in your town. So please…. from the beginning…”
“How did it all happen? Well that’s a long story.” He paused and gave a winking smirk “Ya sure ya don’t need somethin’ more to eat?”
The woman tapped on her notebook.
“Let’s see, well to understand any of it ya have to go back to the beginning. Ya see, first came the storm. Terrible winds ripped through our poor town like the gates of hell just opened up. Thank God most of the town was spared. Well…. except for the Tully farm. Such a waste really. Beautiful property that farm, and been with the family for generations. Pity Miss Tully had to sell. But in the long run, sad as it is to say, and I do feel just awful sayin’ it, but in the long run I think ya gonna see that sellin’ that farm was the best thing that ever happened to this town.”
The door to the Blue Label Diner swung open as another patron entered. With him came billowing black smoke from the outside, some of the thick soot that was beginning to blanket the entire downtown; a new daily ritual for Paradise Falls. The sunlight through the windows began to wane as the world outside became consumed in an ever thickening dark cloud of chemicals. But inside the diner there was coffee and pie.
"Paradise Falling" is a surreal tale of paranoia, failure, and cold hard capitalism.
"Andreas Theme" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Sun, 8 December 2019
The gang discusses two papers that look at how the morphology of tetrapods (animals with four limbs and a backbone) has changed over time. One paper looks at how dinosaur jaws are related to diet preferences, and the other paper looks at how spines have changed as tetrapods diversified through time. Meanwhile, James talks Star Trek, Curt gives some consumer advice, and Amanda would rather not talk about cowboys.
Up-Goer Five (James Edition):
This week the group look at two papers that are looking at different ways that animals get more different. The first paper is looking at the mouths of big angry animals with no hair. The big angry animals with no hair that eat other animals and get big have the least different mouths from each other, but those that are small and eat other animals have very different mouths from one another, and those that eat living things that make their own food or both other animals and living things that make their own food have the most different mouths from one another. We see the same thing no matter how we decide how different mouths are.
The other paper is looking at the line of hard bits in the back of animals that do have hair to see if they get more different over time and do different things along the same line of hard bits. We find out that the line of hard bits do get more different over time, and that the reason they get more different may be because the animals with hair start to breathe more air.
Jones, Katrina E., Kenneth D. Angielczyk, and Stephanie E. Pierce. "Stepwise shifts underlie evolutionary trends in morphological complexity of the mammalian vertebral column." Nature communications 10 (2019).
Schaeffer, Joep, et al. "Morphological disparity in theropod jaws: comparing discrete characters and geometric morphometrics." Palaeontology (2019).