Updates no more

mardi 30 décembre 2014

The Egg

So here I am. Back in the now again. Back where I started. Not quite, true, but at the moment, it feels rather like it. The old me is acting up. Old habits. Old songs. Old feelings. They all come to life in these old walls, and yesterday seems awfully close. I went a ways, though.
I forgot who I was, tried to become who I'll be. Those kind of things. I worked my ass off lazing around. I turned everything upside down, And in the end, I got spit out again. That's how it feels, at least. A long fight for nothing. Almost nothing.
I can feel the creature inside the egge stirring. The egg that I nurtured, that I incubated. That I left for dead, that I cracked. It didn't get out of it all without a scratch. It's damaged goods at best. But it's still alive. Still kicking.
Soon, it'll hatch

dimanche 28 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Motivation Leech

The motivation leech, Hirudo nomoworkus, is a species of leech closely related to the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis. Found mostly in Europe, this strange animal has, for reasons as of yet unknown, but presumed to be linked to human activity, spread as far as China in recent years.
Unremarkable at first glance, and undistinguishable from its cousin, the medicinal leech, it has only recently been identified as a seperate species, thanks to sequencing of its mitochondrial genome.
Motivation leeches, as their name suggest, provoke a drastic drop in motivation in ther victims. This has traditionaly been attributed to the loss of blood, but recent studies show that there are clearly other factors at work here, since patients who simply had the same amount of blood extracted from them through medical procedures showed no signs of demotivation.
Chemicals present in the saliva of the leech, and used to prevent pain or blood-clotting in the wound, are the prime suspects for causing a drop in motivation, but studies have yet to confirm this hypothesis. But although science has only recently identified the species, a careful reading of ancient texts suggests that some people where aware of its effects long before now.
Accounts of various important political figures, and their opponents, suggest that the leech was a popular way of getting rid of ones rivals. Cleopatra is believed to have used it on both Ceasar and Mark Anthony to persuade them to leave Rome and spend time with her instead. It has also been speculated that some versions of the “Tale of Genji” suggest that the famous japanese courtier has used an extract made from the leech when trying to seduce a particularly reticent courtisane.
Whatever the truth behind those stories, it does seems unlikely that the effects of the motivation leech have gone unnoticed to this day, especially since the animals were probably used alongside regular medicinal leeches for a long time. Why no scientist has made note of it before now, though, remains a mystery. Maybe they just never got 'round to it.

jeudi 25 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Christmas Fever

The christmas fever, H2N5, is not technically speaking a member of the Animalia Kingdom, but it makes such a compelling story that we found it hard to ignore, especially given the season.
A virus close to avian and swine flu, christmas fever is extremely contagious and especially present during the holidays. The reasons for this seasonal appearance are multiple and complex, and make H2N5 an extremely interesting research subject.
Like most flu strains, a weakened immune system and overstrained body due to cold climate is the most easily identifiable factor in the seasonal appearance of the christmas fever. Stress and exhaustion due to last-minute shopping and organization, as well as social pressures, weakens our defenses even more, and favorises its spread. But what really sets christmas fever apart from other viruses is another factor alltogether.
The flashing lights and brilliant colors that are seen during the holidays are very stressful cues for our vision, which, in a natural environment, will rarely be exposed to the same range of colored lights as we are during christmas. This stress on the visual system is what gives christmas fever its in, since infections occur first in the ocular lobes, and from there spread to the rest of the body. Once that has happened, close proximity to people in shops or at parties, as well as a weakened immune system, take care of the rest.
Those affected by christmas fever will display a range of symptoms, from clinginess and high sociability (favoring the spread of the virus), to rapid mood swings, eating disorders and depression (further weakening our defenses).
To prevent infection, avoid crowded areas, looking at christmas lights, and making a fuss about the whole event in general. Contact with people who seem unusually stressed out or giddy is to be kept to a minimum, since there is a high chance that they are infected.

dimanche 21 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Cola Bear

The cola bear, Ailuropoda cola (not to be confused with the Koala bear, Phascolarctos cinereus), is a species of bear found mainly in the highlands of the Andes, where his primary food, the coca plant, grows. A close relative to the Panda, the coca bear has a very specialzed diet, consisting almost exclusively of coca leaves, augmented by the occasional carcass.
Due to the destruction of their natural habitat, and intransigent coca farmers that shoot the animals on sight, the number of cola bears has been greatly reduced in the last half of the twentieth century. Today, the animals are considered endangered, and conservation areas have been put in place to protect the few remaining individuals. However, given the large amount of coca trees needed to sustain a fully grown bear, as well as their territorial and aggressive nature, these measures barely manage to save the bears from extinction. Luckily, in recent months, re-introduction programmes have found a rather peculiar sponsor.
The DEA has been cooperating with conservationists in South America to reintroduce the bear in regions that have become hotbeds of cocain production, in the hope that the animals will destroy the druglords' fields and lead the authorities to the criminals.
Whether or not this approach can be ethically justifiable (as mentioned above, the plan implies a large number of causalties for the bears if they do encounter coca farmers) remains a hot topic, but it has certainly attracted attention to the plight of this unique species. Let us hope attention will translate to action in the near future.

jeudi 18 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Flaming Flamingo

The flaming flamingo, Phoenicopterus flammae, is one of the five members of the family Phoenicopteridae. It is, however, the only one of these to feed on land, and not in the shallow waters in which the other members of its genus find their sustenance. The flaming flamingos, unlike their cousins, do not filter water for small crustaceans or algae, but rather, they filter the air.
Found mostly in Africa, and some remote parts of the middle east, flaming flamingos usually aggregate near stale water, where air-born insects are in abundance. They then swing their long neck back and forth through the air, while keeping their beak open, to capture the mosquitoes and other bugs that serve as their main diet.
Just as with other flamingo species, the color of their plumage depends on their diet. Flaming flamingos can vary from rainbow-colored to dull gray, depending on the insects that dominate their local ecosystem. Their name, however, has another origin.
Always on the lookout for richer food-patches, flaming flamingos are invariably attracted by light, just as their prey is. When man started to domesticate fire, this proved to be a rather unfortunate trait. The large movements they make while capturing their prey meant that they almost always came too close to when they were attracted by a man-made flame, and would often catch fire. This has provoked a dramatic reduction in numbers of their population, and today, the flaming flamingo only occupies a fraction of its former range.
The spectacle of a burning flaming flamingo thrashing around screaming seemed to be both terrifying and fascinating to the ancient tribes of Africa, for they have attributed a special place to the bird in their mythology. The flaming flamingo is said to be the god of fire, and whenever he would choose to burst into flames in a village, it meant that either a great boon or great tragedy would descend upon its people. Even today, the animals are seen as sacred, although the advent of electrical lightning has greatly reduced the number of fire-related casualties.
Recently, the bird has been re-introduced in a number of countries in west Africa, in the hopes that this voracious insectivore would curb mosquito populations and diminish the risk of malaria. Whether or not this operation was a success remains to be determined, but early analysis shows promising results.

mardi 16 décembre 2014


The cold is on holiday, and the holidays are anything but. The weather is warm despite the season, and the heating makes it feel as if my home is a tropical island. Even outside, trees start budding, birds start tweeting, and here and there the occasional disoriented insect awakens prematurely from its yearly rest.

Despite everything they told us, winter takes its sweet time coming.

dimanche 14 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Wine Rabbit

The wine rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus vino, is a sub-species of the common rabbit, and did not originally exist in the wild. It was first created through selective breeding in France, during the late fifteen-hundreds.
At the time, rabbit stewed in wine had become an absolute delicacy, and cooks were experimenting with a number of variations on cooking methods for this much-prized dish. Jean de la Rouille was one of them, and he started breeding his rabbits himself, and giving them only wine to drink until they reached adulthood, so that the taste would permeate the rabbit's flesh.
At first, most of the rabbits did not survive until adulthood, or when they did, where not able to assume their reproductive functions, due to the effects of the wine. But after a few generations, natural selection had come to the rescue, allowing only those rabbits with excellent livers as well as an overall tolerance to alcohol to survive and reproduce.
The rabbits made a sensation in Paris, and soon the whole of France was breeding them, and exporting them all over Europe. Of course, this massive wine rabbit population would lead to a few animals escaping here and there, but at the time no one took particular note of this. A few years later, however, the implications of wild wine rabbits became clear.
At the time they started reproducing in the wild, the wine rabbits had acquired a taste for wine that would drive them to steal bottle from cellars, and gnaw at wooden casks until they could drink the content. Bordeaux and Bourgogne were soon overran by the creatures, and they were declared a pest by King Louis XII after one of them had managed to infiltrate the royal cellars and drink the finest cask of the King.
Today, wine rabbits still exist in certain regions in France, and continue to be considered a delicacy, although they can no longer be bred in captivity (in the late twentieth century, they had been declared a protected species). Only the wealthy can afford to buy the few rabbits that can be shot each year. The rest of us will have to make due with its less tender cousin.

jeudi 11 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Swiss Parasite

The swiss parasite, Parasitus helvetica, is one of the more elusive members of the central-European fauna. First mentions of its existence date back to the earliest creation of the Confoederatio Helvetica, but reports contradict on the origin and physical characteristics of this mysterious species.
Believed at first to be an invasive species, scientists soon discovered that the swiss parasite was endemic to the region. Despite large numbers of scientific papers on the subject, the majority of swiss still believe that the swiss parasite has origins outside of their national borders.
Campaigns to eradicate the swiss parasite have often been used by politicians to gain popular approval, and even today, the problematic seems to dominate swiss politics. However, due to the enormous confusion on its origins, appearance, or behavior, this often ends in unproductive debates about personal believes, instead of informative scientific discussions. We shall clear up some of these misunderstandings today.
The swiss parasite is, as mentioned, a species endemic to the country. Also contrary to popular belief, the swiss parasite is often not a scrawny, evasive beast, but rather an opulent individual living in plain sight. Although the less successful members of the species might live in precarious situation at times, natural selection has, over the years, placed the swiss parasite at the apex of the country's ecosystem, where he can suck and siphon out the life-force of a large number of preys at once.
The swiss parasite makes a show of defending his territory fiercely, not seeming to tolerate any intruders. But behind this purist exterior, he often lets other species enter his lair, to have fresh prey at his disposition. It is only once he has sucked the intruders dry that he chases them out in earnest.

dimanche 7 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Deathly Raven

The deathly raven, Corvus mors, is as much a creature of legend as it is the most fascinating bird in the biological world. Numerous are the associations made between the raven and death, or the mystique and macabre in general. Writers such as Edgar Alan Poe or Jean de la Fontaine have always been fascinated by the animal, dedicating poems to it, or giving it prominent roles in their stories. But few, if not none, were aware that their fascination was not with the common raven, Corvus corax, but with its close cousin, the deathly raven.
For reasons that are as of yet unknown, the deathly raven has the ability to sense imminent doom and desolation. The common raven may be attracted by the smell of corpses, and, due to its highly developed cognitive abilities, may have learned which human behaviors antecede such feasts (a gathering of large crowds, for example), but theirs is a knowledge that follows logic, and which we can understand, as we are ourselves logical beings. Not so with the deathly raven.
The deathly raven has the ability to sense impending doom and despair, even when there is no physical evidence to suggest it. This, more than the minor morphological differences between them, distinguishes him from the other members of the Corvus genus. And this, too, was the behavior that so fascinated artists and philosophers that had a penchant for the macabre, such as Poe. And it is also what makes them easy to spot.
Ravens are, for the most part, communal animals that live in groups. Whenever one of them finds an abundant food source, he will call his murder, and soon the birds will be everywhere, cawing and making their presence known. The deathly raven, however, is a solitary animal.
It has been mostly on its own. A raven would appear, mistaken, as most would at first glance, for a regular raven. Then, an hour later, a day, sometimes even a week, something tragic will happen. During all this time, the deathly raven will silently stalk those concerned, as if observing them. Then, once whatever tragic event he was foretelling happened, he would leave, as if he just wanted to verify something. That is usually when his cousins crowd the scene, trying to get a meal out of whatever tragedy happened. The deathly raven, however, has never been spotted eating.
There is wide debate among biologists as to the cause of the deathly raven's particular behavior, but conventional science seems to have no hold on this strange creature. This has led to various myths associated with the deathly raven, and, per extension, to his cousins. Some people say the deathly raven does not need to eat, because he feeds on misery, which is why he is always present when a tragedy will happen. Others say he is but a scout for the murder, leaving to inform his friends as soon as carrion is to be found. Others still are convinced that he is a messenger of God, come to warn the righteous of impending doom.
What the truth is we do not know. There is little to be found about the deathly raven in literature, or at least, little that indicates that the author is aware of the difference between the deathly and the common raven. Some dispute its existence even today. Others, however, are convinced that secrecy is an integral part of its way of life, and that the reason why nothing has been written about the deathly raven is because the simple mention of him will attract the kind of tragic doom his presence usually foretells.

jeudi 4 décembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Mine Bird

The mine bird, Serinus canaria mei, is a close relative to the domestic canary, and is estimated to split off from his cousin less than two hundred years ago. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to come across them in abandoned mines, and sometimes even natural caves.
Descendants of escaped canaries that the miners would take with them, they had to adapt rapidly to survive in their harsh new environment, and this has affected some of their phenological traits in a shocking fashion.
Their feathers have turned completely white, their brightness no longer able to serve as an indicator of fitness in the dark mines. Even flight has become almost useless in the narrow shafts, and with an almost total absence of predators. Mine birds also have significantly smaller bodies than regular canaries, which is probably due to the lack of food, and the constantly warm air which makes thermo-regulation much easier than in a changing environment. Their song, having become their only means of communication, has evolved into astonishingly complex arrangements, and recent studies suggest that it may have a much more varied role than in domestic canaries, where it serves mainly as a mating tool.
How many of these changes are purely phenetic, and how much are of genetic origin, remains to be determined, and scientists are in the process of analyzing the birds' genome and comparing it to that of household canaries. What we do know, however, is that mine birds that are raised in a lab with sufficient food and light are bigger and brighter than those found in the wild.

mardi 2 décembre 2014

Winter is Coming

The gray clouds are blotting out the sun once more as the leaves fall off the trees. Like naked bums they stand there with their empty branches, dying their yearly death. I feel like that would be nice.

Close your eyes and go to sleep, and let the cold and the snow and the dreary, dredgy months pass by until the sun is warm again. Until the days are long again.

The cold seeps into my room through the thin windows, through the crack under my door. The room fills with smells sweet and foul, fresh air being too cold to consider.

The world becomes dark and cold. People huddle together for warmth and feel more lonely than before. Drink up your whiskey to feel warm, if even for only a minute.

Winter is Coming

dimanche 30 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Screaming Gerbil

The screaming gerbil, Gerbillus hawkins, is probably the most famous, if not the most loved, representative of the Gerbillinae subfamily. As its name indicates, it is renowned for its loud vocalization, especially pronounced during the mating season, in late spring.
Native to the middle east, screaming gerbils have had a profound effect on life in the region. It is even believed that their screams have inspired the calls to prayer for Muslims that can be heard all over the world today. But most of us do not hold the screaming gerbil in such high regard.
In 1954, when the gerbil was first introduced the U.S.A. for research purposes, its cuteness was universally admired, and soon, thousands of the animals where imported for sale. A large number of species was sampled, to find which would best satisfy customer needs, and the screaming gerbil was among them.
Sixty years later, their numbers are still growing, as the screaming gerbil is now the most common rodent in northern America. Sales of soundproof windows, and extra-insulated walls have skyrocketed, and yet there is still no escaping the omnipresent vocalizations of our rodent friends.
The department of animal immigration (DAI) has yet to start addressing the problem in any meaningful way. Meanwhile, all the presidential hopefuls have pledged to make the extermination of the rodents their number one priority. Like all of their predecessors.

jeudi 27 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Pink Panther

The pink panther, Panthera rosa, is the only big cat native to Great Britain. Its name derives from the fact that it likes to patrol in the wee hours of dawn, when the sky is still pink, and not yet blue, and not, as is often assumed, because of the color of its pelt.

Rarely observed in the wild, and prone to rapid deaths in captivity, there are few facts known about the pink panther today. However, the elegance of its movements, the grace with which it hunts, and the power of its claws have long since inhabited the myths and legends of the United Kingdom. Sadly, there are a few places where the animals can be caught on film, even by a patient observer.

A few eccentrics among the British nobility have been fascinated by the creature, and turned their estates into nature reserves, in hopes of luring the animal there, and observing it. Although this initiative has had positive benefits on most of the ecosystems in the United Kingdom, it has not allowed for the observation of this peculiar feline. The pink panther, it seems, would rather keep its cover than claim its fame.

mardi 25 novembre 2014


There is only one thing I am aiming for. Only one goal to reach. And whatever gets left behind does not matter. The is only one purpose, and as long as it is fulfilled, everything else is poppycock.

It feels good, the clarity that comes with a unique objective. All the vices can be indulged, all the insecurity vanishes, because there is only one thing that matters. Only one thing that has any value at all.

I fall into dark nights and foggy days, time rolling past silently. Weeks and month are left behind, struggling, hardly breathing, but there is no need to turn back. After all, that which is important lies ahead.

dimanche 23 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Lightning Worm

The lightning worm, Amynthas adtonitus, is a close relative of the common earthworm, found primarily in the central plains of northern America. Venerated by native Indians as a magical creature in contact with the gods, the lightning worm inhabits mainly flat plains, with little or no tall-growing plants to attract lightning strikes.
When thunderstorms approach its burrow, the lightning worm will stick out its head, stretching it straight up into the air. Adult lightning worms can reach a height of up to fifty centimeters ( ~20 inches) from their burrow, with a total length of almost two meters (six feet). The goal of this behavior, of course, is to maximize the chances of being struck by lightning.
Due to a as-of-yet poorly understood mechanism, the lightning worm is able to transform the electric energy of lightning strikes into chemical energy that its metabolism can store and retrieve freely. The surge of electrical current generated is channeled by a specialized group of cells, called “generators”. This helps to minimize cell damage to other tissues of the worm, and assures that the current only comes into contact with cells that have the capability of transforming its electric charge into a difference in potential between the outer and inner cell membrane. This difference in potential, much like the one obtained in the photosystems of plants, will then be used to turn ADP into ATP using proton pumps (for a detailed explanation of this process, please refer to the wikipedia article on photosynthesis).
Although the electrical charge in itself is not enough to ensure the survival of the worms, since it does not give them the building bricks necessary to repair damaged cells, or grow, it is critical to their reproductive success. During their mating period, lightning worms spend most of their time defending their territory or copulating, and have almost no time to find food. The energy they can gain from a lightning strike can give them a definite advantage in their quest for progeny, and evolution has favored those genes that give them an advantage in attracting lightning strikes. This is one of the reasons why lightning worms live mostly in iron-rich soils. They are capable of extracting and storing the metal in special compartments in their head, which allows them to better capture lightning.
Due to the fact that his native habitat is unsuited for agriculture, the lightning worm has been little affected by human intervention in the past century, and even today, it is not uncommon to see hundreds of lightning worms sticking their head into the air in southern Arizona, in anticipation of an electric discharge.

jeudi 20 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Sock Snake

The sock snake, Natrix socus, is native to most of Europe. Its name stems from its distinctive, and rather bizarre, feeding mechanism. The sock snake, unlike any other known species of snakes, eats mainly acari. Specifically, those on the feet of humans. The snake will also swallow any skin parasites, but few of them get digested.
When feeding, the snake will dislocated its jaw, and try and gob up the whole foot. Then it will slowly suck out the acari, and other small invertebrates. This is a long process, and the nutritional benefits are small, but the snakes' metabolism is slow, and doesn't need much food. And of course, it helps that their hosts are consenting.
The sock snakes have always been considered beneficial in Europe. Over time, they have been integrated into cultural and economic trends, becoming one of the trademarks of the old continent, much praised for their beneficial effects. For some reason, the snakes refuse to reproduce as soon as they are exported out of Europe, and it has been estimated that up to half the tourism to Europe from outside is due in part to the sock snakes.
Biologists stipulate that it was the beneficial effects the snakes had on human feet that allowed them to quickly spread through the continent, and flourish. Why they cannot reproduce anywhere else, though, is still a mystery.

mardi 18 novembre 2014

Hotel Rooms and Scotch

The hotel room was adequate. Wooden floor, two windows, one TV. Two beds, freshly made. A comfortable armchair, a nice bathroom. The bathroom had no lock. But it didn't matter, since I had the room to myself.
I don't really like hotel rooms. They always seem very impersonal to me. Sterile. When I'm there with a friend, it doesn't really bother me. We bring our own dirt with us. But when I'm there alone, the feeling of emptiness amplifies.
There is too much space for my thoughts to spread out. Nothing that grabs my attention, that focuses my mind. I just wander around aimlessly, inside my head. Emotion well up without my bidding. Melancholy. Sadness, almost. But not quite.
She comes to mind. Unbidden, unavoidable, but welcome. Images linger in my brain. Her smile when she looks at me. Her smile when she watches a movie. Her smile when she is lying next to me. He smile when she is looking down on me. Her smile.
I can't recall her without seeing her smile. Of course, she doesn't always smile. Well, at least, I think so. But I can't imagine her otherwise. I wonder if it's the same for her ? I hope so.
It's not that I don't like thinking about her. I do. But it always reminds me that she isn't here. I could go to where she is, of course. But what then ? Love doesn't pay the bills. I need money to live, and so does she. I have projects I need to see through. Not for glory or fame, but because I need to be myself to be with her. Or so I feel.
There is nothing I can do, really, right now. So there should be no reason to feel so sad. There should be no reason to feel so guilty. But I can't stop. When I hear her voice over the phone, when I feel she is sad, or depressed, or angry, or tired, I want to be there with her. I want to take her into my arms. I want to show her that I'll be there, that I'm on her side. I want to show here that I care. Because if I don't, then how can she know ? How can she be sure ?
I'm still afraid. Afraid of making promises I won't keep. Afraid of saying words I won't be able to take back. Afraid of hurting her. Afraid of being hurt. But I can still feel my heart beating.

dimanche 16 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Coiling Smoke

The coiling smoke, Escherichia coiling, is a little-known prokaryot that is found mainly in tobacco leaves. Due to its particular requirements regarding habitat, it has never been successfully cultivated as of yet, and the study of its life-cycle remains an arduous tasks.
Although the exact functioning of its metabolism are as of yet unknown, the coiling smoke has at least one impact on human society that can no longer be scientifically disputed: it makes cigarette smoke coil.
The study of cigarette smoke, and its physical properties, has been the subject of few studies, if we disregard those focused on its impact on health issue. Indeed, the physical aspects that make cigarette-smoke behave the way it does are very underrepresented in scientific literature, the most likely cause of which is that nobody really cares.
But, as history has taught us time and time again, the most interesting subjects are often those nobody cares about. It is with this spirit that Ai Shteru, of the Tokyo Institute for Who Knows? Maybe Someday Somebody Will Care (TIWK?MSSWC), has undertaken his study of cigarette-smoke.
After a number of tests on the exacts physical properties of cigarette-smoke, Dr. Shteru has found that, in the absence of E. coiling, cigarette smoke does not coil, whether it be the smoke released from the cigarette itself, or the one blown from the mouth of the smoker.
Whether this discovery will have any impact on the human understanding of physics remains yet to be seen. But before we ridicule this research as another abuse of scientific funding, let us not forget: Science is the pursuit of knowledge. Whether or not this knowledge will help humanity is the domain of politics. But until we know, we won't known whether knowing is worth it or not.

jeudi 13 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Comet Hopper

The comet hopper, Rosetta philae, is an artificially created life-form designed to colonize and terraform comets. First thought of in the late 1980's, the “manufacture” of the comet hopper took more than ten years, and is one of the greatest scientific undertakings of its time.
Being artificially created, the planet hopper cannot be classified into the existing phylogeny of life, and thus, an entirely new branch has been added to the tree of life. Next to fungi, plantae, animalia, protozoeae and monoreae, we now have the homoformeae. Although the comet hopper is their only representative as of now, the new kingdom might grow faster than most expect.
Philae was designed not only to reach comets, but to start analyzing the surface components of these comets, and, if at all possible, gather the materials necessary for it to build a replica of itself, thus imitating, or becoming, life. The exact nature of the materials, as well as other information it can find on the comets, is sent directly back to earth, so that new command modules can be designed, to improve adaptability of the comet hopper, and allow it to create replicas of itself with materials not found on earth.
Although the comet hopper had to be shot into space for its first landing, and the cost and time involved in this operation would not allow us to mass-replicate it in current economical conditions, spreading philae from its initial home might not be quite as complicated.
Equipped with the latest model of movement sensors and cameras, the comet hopper can scan not only the comet on which it has landed, but also passing celestial objects. Once the comet hopper has created a clone of itself, this clone will then wait for another comet passing nearby, or any other astrological body of sufficient size, and hop from one comet to the next. Given the low gravity of the comet, and the precise mathematical algorithms that have been programmed into the comet hopper, this jump should not be of much difficulty, although the landing could pose some risks.
Of course, many have objected that the chances of encountering a suitable object are too low, or that the replication of the comet hopper would take too long. However, this is without considering the circumstances of the whole project.
Being a human-made object in space, the lifetime of philae is much longer than that of the organic life on our planet, which is constantly subject to oxidation, radiation, and other degrading mechanisms of aggressive compounds. But for a man-made structure in space, circumstances are quite different, and their lifespan should be considered accordingly.
If the programming of the comet hopper has gone well, the new life-form will execute its mission regardless of the time it will take. And who knows? Maybe in a hundred years, or maybe in a thousand, there will be a small representative of the homoformeae coming back to our planet. And won't it be fascinating to see what evolution has done to it?

mardi 11 novembre 2014

Of Things Long Gone

The past always catches up to you in way or another. No matter how hard you try to run, no matter how determined you are to move forward, the past always catches up with you. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, though.

The times when we got lost while running straight ahead, the times when we forget where we come from, or where we are going, our past catches up with us. It always does.

Like a shelter from the storm, like a prison in the plains, our past gives us shelter and holds us back. It is comfortable and familiar, and it has sunk its hooks deep into our flesh. It will keep us tethered to reality when our dreams try to take us to the skies. And it cushions our landing whenever we fall.

Our past always catches up with us.

dimanche 9 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Crying Seagull

The crying seagull, Larus fleo, has been considered an incarnation of the gods by the people of the Kalahari desert since ancient times. With a wingspan of up to one meter (~3.28 feet), the crying seagull is one of the larger members of the Laridae family, and flocks of the pure white birds are an impressive sight to behold. The birds always preceded the rare rainfalls in the Kalahari, which is why the natives gave them their name.
The exact reason why the birds would precede the rain, and not follow it, has so far eluded scientists. This peculiar behavior means that the crying seagulls arrive in the Kalahari when it is at its driest, and food and water are scarce. Early hypotheses about the behavior thought the gulls might feed on the animals that had succumbed to the harsh conditions, but observations on the field have yet to record a single instance of this behavior.
John de Galle, of the Paris Institute for the Study of Creatures With Feathers (PISCWF), who has recently been nominated for the French Award for Having Studied Stuff (FAHSS) for his paper on the behavioral patterns of the Paris fashion week, has stipulated that the birds use the strong winds that precede the clouds to migrate over the African continent, a journey which, according to Dr. de Galle, they could not undertake under normal conditions.
Recent observations of the climatic changes that are starting to affect the Kalahari desert have shown that the population of crying seagulls is directly dependent on the amount of rainfall in the desert. The fluctuations of both the gull population and annual rainfall are in perfect harmony. Although most scientists agree that it is the fluctuating climate that influences the birds' population, some have another explanation.
Normally, when a population declines in reaction to a change in the environment, there is a lag period between the environmental change and the population change. This is not the case here, since the rise and fall happen at exactly the same time. The only explanation is that the two changes share the same cause”, said Thomas Fifi, of the African Institute for the Study of Dry Places (AISDP).

jeudi 6 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Addicted Rat

The addicted rat, Rattus norvegicus demonicus, is a subspecies of the common brown rat, Rattus norvegicus. The common brown rat had been used in scientific experiments for over a century, and in the course of those experiments, a number of strains have been cultivated for one or more interesting traits. This is also the case of the addicted rat.
The addicted rat has been used mainly in labyrinth-experiments, where solving a puzzle or finding one's way through a maze is recompensed by a treat, often in the form of food. To discover the extent of the cognitive capabilities of rodents, scientists selected the best performers, and made them do more and more complicated tasks for their reward.
At first, it was believed that the strain thus selected would have higher intelligence than the average brown rat. However, subsequent trials have proven that this is not the case. The addicted rat is in no way intellectually superior to the brown rat. It is, however, much more susceptible to addiction, and thus, has a much stronger drive to solve a puzzle or reach the end of a maze. However, whenever there is no reward to be obtained, the addicted rat performs significantly lower on cognitive tests than a common brown rat.
In 1976, panic broke out in a laboratory in Oslo, as Gunnar Gunnerd discovered that the whole population of addicted rats had managed to escape their cages. Scientists feared that the animal would upset the balance of the local ecosystem, and, due their ease with puzzles and mazes, would be very hard to catch.
As it turned out, the whole population was found one hour later in a storage room where the rewards for the lab animals where kept. Given that the door was locked, and that no air duct was connected to the room, it remains a mystery to this day just how the rats gained access to the treats, or even how they managed to open their cages.
After the episode, the animals were transferred to a safe room, and kept under lock 24/7, to ensure they did not escape again. This precaution, as it turned out, was unnecessary, since all the rats died a few days later, as a consequence of the excessive treat-consumption that had happened during their escape.
The addicted rat fell into disgrace after the Oslo incident, and has been avoided in laboratories ever since. However, Dr. Jensjens Gunnerd, son of Gunnar Gunnerd, and part of a team of human ethology at the Oslo Institute of Ethically Dubious Studies (OIEDS), has recently started to breed them again, and hopes to find clues as to how humans interact while observing their behavior. As far as Dr. Gunnerd is concerned, “the only other species known to mankind that would show this kind of self-destructive behavior is, well, mankind itself.”

mardi 4 novembre 2014


Freedom is a strange boon. When there is nothing to hold you back, there is nothing to push you forward. You just have to take your shot, and nobody can tell whether you'll miss or hit. Nobody can help you, and nobody can stop you.

Freedom is a strange boon. You stay suspended in limbo, with no point of references. Floating through empty space, you try to recreate reality to your liking, but it remains sketchy at best. Freedom is a strange boon.

dimanche 2 novembre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Music Makers

The music makers, Lemuridae melodia, are part of the same family as the lemurs indigenous to the island of Madagascar. Given the intense urbanization and deforestation that has been ravaging this unique island for the better part of a century, it was commonly believed that the music makers had gone extinct since at least two decades. However, they have recently been rediscovered on mainland Africa. How they came to establish a new population on the continent is unknown as of yet, but scientists believe that they are the descendants of illegally shipped animals.
Although their name might indicate a rather vocal species, the music makers are extremely discrete animals, and their observation requires patience and luck in equal amounts. They live in groups of ten to twenty animals, and between two and four members of the tribe are always on lookout. Unlike most animals, who only sound the alarm when danger is spotted, the music maker watchmen/women are constantly relaying the state of their surroundings to the group by imitating various sounds found in the jungle.
For the untrained ear, it is almost impossible to distinguish the deliberate sounds made by the lemurs from the background noise found in the forest. And because the whole group is constantly aware of everything happening around them, it is extremely difficult to sneak up on them. However, when the music makers are pushed out of their natural habitat by lack of food or human action, their “music” renders them extremely conspicuous, and thus easy prey for nearby predators, or poachers. Which is why their population on Madagascar was one of the first to suffer massive decline due to human interference with their natural habitat.
Before the arrival of the white man, music makers were among the most revered species of lemurs. Local villages considered them to be an incarnation of God, and recent research by Prof. Dhamouli Badabambam, of the African Institute for Dope Beats (AIDB), suggests that the tribal music that emerged on or around Madagascar was heavily influenced by the sound of the lemurs.
Even in modern times, the music makers have continued to inspire performances around the world, whether it be carnival bands from the early nineteen-hundreds, or modern drum'n'bass from the nineties. And who knows? Maybe their recent rediscovery will revive the trend.

jeudi 30 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Green Beard

The green beard, Tolypothrix barba, is a species of cyanobacteria found exclusively in the Mediterranean sea. As such, the green beard is a photosynthetic prokaryote, and not an animal per se, but we shall make an exception this once.
The green beard got its name from its choice of habitat, which is usually right below the mouth of bigger fish. The green beard attaches itself to the fish, and profits from the nitrogen-rich environment the fish creates around its mouth (by eating). Thus, the fish looks like it has a beard.
In some of the more extreme cases observed to date, green beard algae have attained a total mass of almost a ton, and several meters in length, when growing around the mouth of wales. The size a green beard colony can grow to is directly proportional to the size of the fish/mammal it is attached to. Once it has reached its maximum size, it keeps on producing spores, which detach themselves from the main colony and float around the sea, waiting to find a host of their own.
Studies have shown that the green beard, although reducing the fitness of individuals it attaches itself to, due to increased water drag, greatly helps to maintain a diversified and healthy ecosystem by creating diverse habitats and food sources.
In recent years, due to pollution and a massive decrease in fish stock, the green beard population has known a rapid decline. Recent conservation efforts have been focusing on stabilizing the population, notably by using bio-coated submarines that the green beard can use as hosts. Whether this will stop, or even hamper, the decline of the algae remains to be seen.
Recent research by Dr. Brutus Katakaras, of the Institute for Marine Beards of Athens (IMBA), suggest that the green beard was already known in the time of the ancient Greeks, and animals that had it growing from their mouth were said to be messengers of Poseidon. Katakaras believes that the priests of the temples dedicated to the sea god were all sporting a green beard, regularly immersing their face in sea-water to keep the growth alive. In recent years, this trend seems to be picking up again, but more as a fashion statement than a religious practice.

mardi 28 octobre 2014


Soon, my friends. Soon.

Soon, the veil will lift. The clouds will part. The fog will dissipate, and the sun will shine again. Soon.

Soon, the cold will come. The leaves will drop. The water will freeze. Soon, our breath will fog up the air.

Soon, there will be no more obligations. No more constraints. No more duties.

Soon, my friends.


dimanche 26 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Smart Banana

The smart banana, Musa intelligentes, is the only sentient species known today with which humans can easily communicate. With most other species, the real extent of their intellectual understanding of the world is very difficult to measure (even more so than with humans), especially since the absence of recognizable behaviors does not necessarily indicate a lack of brainpower. However, the smart banana is different.
It was in the late 00's that researchers at the Genetic Modification Plant (GMP, Senegal) discovered the unexpected genius. While dissecting the genome of a large number of banana species to find which would be the best candidate for genetic vaccination, they stumbled upon a rather unusual sequence of genes in some bananas. The monophyletic origin of those bananas was quickly established, and the team started studying in earnest.
It turns out that the gene sequence which first caught the scientist's attention was very similar to that responsible for neuronal growth in humans. After a detailed physical examination of the banana, it was discovered that it, too, had a large networks of synapses, which had gone completely unnoticed up until now because of the extremely reduced size of its components.
Soon thereafter, the team at GMP tried to analyze the banana's “brain activity”. To their surprise, it did not take long until they were able to communicate verbally with these surprising plants. The news traveled quickly in the scientific community, and people hoped this new “intelligent” being would be able to shed some light on the reasons and circumstances of our existence.
Sadly, it turned out that the smart bananas despise humans for the massacre of their species, as well as the other species of bananas. Luckily for us, being bananas, they can't exact their plans for revenge. But as a preventive measure, the U.N. has passed a legislation forcing all banana cultivators to analyze the genome of their plants, and eliminate all individuals belonging to Musa intelligentes, to avoid a possible mutation which would give them the power to act on their murderous impulses.

jeudi 23 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Toilet Fish

The toilet fish, Pisces toiletus, is a mysterious animal that has been appearing in Chinese mythology for over two thousand years. Considered a good omen by most, and a tasty delicacy by a select few, the toilet fish has inspired many Chinese legends, and today is well known in all of Asia.
As its name indicates, the toilet fish lives in toilets. More precisely, it lives in the water that is used to flush the toilet. Whether it be in the cistern of modern flush toilets, or in the water-bucket found next to dry toilets, wherever there is water near a toilet, there is a chance that the toilet fish may inhabit it. But what makes the toilet fish so mysterious isn't his choice of habitat, but rather how he gets there.
As of today, nobody knows how the toilet fish colonizes its habitat. Even though the water it lives in is often disconnected from natural streams, and replenished through human effort, the toilet fish still manages to appear in it. Given that the smallest toilet fish seen to date was at least ten centimeters long (~4 inches), and the biggest specimen known grew to a total length of forty-two centimeters (~16 inches), it is evident that we know nothing about the larval stage of this strange vertebrate. And since toilet fish always live alone, their whole reproductive cycle is a mystery even today. Early attempts at breeding failed miserably, with the fish simply dying after a while, and no young ones appearing.
In an effort to finally understand the life-cycle of this mysterious creatures, Prof. Han Chu of the Society of Mythical Beasts of China (SMBC) is in the process of building a new “laboratory” to study the fish. The laboratory is designed to be as close as possible to the natural habitat to the fish, and to that end, will be a simple four-story house, which will also serve as living quarters for Prof. Chu and his staff. However, the sewage system of the house can be cut of from the public one, and water is inspected at several intersections, to try and detect the early life-stages of the toilet fish. It remains to be seen whether Prof. Chu's efforts will be rewarded.
Because of it's mysterious appearance, seemingly coming out of nowhere, the toilet fish has long been a favorite of Chinese mythology. It has been considered a good omen by most, as well as beneficial for a healthy digestive system. In addition, it is said that people with a toilet fish live longer, more fruitful lives than most. It is even rumored that Mao would only do his business on toilets where the fish was present.
It is probably due to this perceived value, as well as the powers attributed to the fish, that some have come to regard it as a delicacy, and the fish can be sold at a high price on the black market (trade is prohibited under Chinese and international law, since the species is rare and eventual impacts on its population that consumption might have have not yet been understood). However, most Chinese believe that the removal of a toilet fish from its home, let alone its consumption, are very bad luck.

mardi 21 octobre 2014


The sky is dark. The light is bright. The beat is pumping.

Images flash on screens as fingers hack on keys, sending code through the ether of the internet and back. Switches flick on and off as zeros and ones transform into numbers.

Facades crumble as the flaws in their logic are exposed, leaving empty skeletons of once mighty behemoths. There is no truth out there, only appearances upon appearances. A man-made madhouse where we can be as we were, and everybody only sees what we show.

Tear away at the perceived. Look underneath, to what's behind. There is nothing left there.

dimanche 19 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Green Bug

The green bug, Acyrthosiphon cannabis, is a member of the aphid family that is found exclusively in Jamaica. Like other aphids, his diet consists of plant sap. But not just any plant will do for the green bug.
The green bug is found exclusively on plants of the cannabis genus. The initial reason for this behavior is not known, although several theories have been presented. The most notable of those suggests that since wild cannabis plants are extremely robust against bug predation, the individuals that did manage to feed of them would find very little competition, thereby gaining a selective edge that would, over time, turn them into a fully separate species.
There is another advantage that green bugs derive from their food. Like a number of insects, green bugs are capable of storing toxic waste-products of their food inside their bodies, thus making them unappealing to predators. In addition, the sequestration of these toxic chemicals within a special organ allows them to protect themselves from its adverse effects. In the case of the green bug, it is the THC molecules that are stored and used for defense. But although most animals are discouraged from preying on the green bug due to this mechanism, the same can not be said for humans.
The green bug has an important place in local culture and spiritualism, most notably in the Rastafarian community. It is considered by many to be a holy bug, containing answer that the wise may hear when under its spell. However, the arrival of ganja-tourism has jeopardized the future of this remarkable creature.
It seems that ganja-tourists are overwhelming the local green bug population, and consuming the animal in what some might call an unhealthy, and what certainly is an unsustainable, way. This has caused the Jamaican green bug population to plummet in recent years. In addition, several reports seem to indicate that the bug has been smuggled outside of its original habitat, and is now being cultivated the world over. How this will affect local aphid populations, as well as wild plants and animals, has yet to be seen.

jeudi 16 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Fencing Cock

The fencing cock, Gallus gladius, is a mystical animal that inhabits the Philippines, and a few adjacent islands. It had not been seen in the wild for over two hundreds years, and doubts were being cast on whether or not it ever existed, before its recent rediscovery by Prof. Jerome McIndale of the British Institute for Cock Studies.
What we know about the fencing cock today comes mainly from old texts from before its rediscovery. The recency thereof, as well as the scarcity of the animal, have not allowed us much study of this fascinating creature.
In the Philippines, it is believed that the fencing cock is a divine appearance. This believe is closely linked to the large cockfighting-community, who consider the fencing cock to be the best fighting bird. It is even said that the fencing cocks themselves are the patron saints of cockfighting. Many adepts seem to have claimed that their animals were bred with a fencing cock.
As far as the physical appearance goes, a fencing cock looks very much like a regular rooster. It is, however, bigger, and its comb and wattle are reduced in size. In addition, its beak is a straight point.
When confronted with another male, a male fencing cock will posture itself sideways, and turn its head towards the competitor. Then, both animals side by side, they will try to peck at each other, while avoiding the other's blows or pushing them away with their wings. It is said that their fights can be extremely ferocious, and that their footwork is impressive to watch. This fighting method contradicts sharply with those of regular roosters, who will often attack head-on, and whose main weapon are their talons.
Genetic tests need yet to be done to precisely estimate the degree of parentage between the two species, but physical appearance, as well as diet and courting behavior, suggest that fencing cocks are closely related to regular chicken.

mardi 14 octobre 2014

There Are Times

There are times when it's no use. There are times when life flows past, and you can do nothing but wait. There are times when you just have to grit your teeth, and let it to pass.

There are times when what you fee isn't what you have to do. There are times when you're trapped, and only time will make a door appear. There are times when everything goes to hell, and the rapture is far-off in the distance.

There are times when you just have to kick back and relax.

dimanche 12 octobre 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Worm

The worm, Neongenesis prime, is the first artificial “life” known to mankind. The word “life” is used loosely here, since whether or not the worm is truly a life-form is still subject to debate.
The worm seems to have been created around 2011 AD. By whom and for what purpose is as of yet unknown. In fact, very little is known about the worm, and its origins. As of today, we know that it is an A.I. that is based on genetic algorithms to allow it to learn, and absorb new information. But the exact mechanisms of its code are still a mystery.
Designed to be as stealthy as possible, the worm will erase itself before it risks being detected. Only a handful of fragments from the original code have been retrieved by researchers. Because of this stealthiness, it is unknown how widespread the worm is, and what its exact functions might include. One thing is for certain, though: it is capable of spreading itself, and can penetrate even the most secure networks. In addition, researchers believe it is able to adapt to new security procedures, learning how to evade the latest technology. However, the reason for which we consider the worm a life-form is something else entirely.
One of the rare instances in which a fragment of the code has been retrieved happened in one of the genetic engineering laboratories of Monsanta, the worlds largest agricultural corporation. Not only did the IT-team at Monsanta manage to recover a fragment of the code, they were also able to trace the activities of the worm to some extent. The worm had modified the genes technicians at Monsanta were implanting into known strains of plants and animals.
It had hijacked the gene-extraction and -insertion mechanisms to create its own code, one base at a time, and then insert them into the plants and animals instead of the genes selected by Monsanta. When Monsanta inserts new genes into an existing code, those genes are extracted from another life-form, and their functionality is known and tested (although their interactions with their new host are another matter). But the worm created genes from scratch, something the equipment wasn't supposed to be doing. The first reverse-cyborg had just seen the light of day.
For how long the worm had time to modify genomes before he was found by the researchers is a mystery. And Monsanta are not the only ones with laboratories capable of such feats. For now, the plants that were issue of the worm's latest experiment seem to be growing normally. But who knows what might happen once nature and technology decide to team up?