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Home Cladograms – The Evolution of a Menagerie

Evolution is a powerful thing. In the span of generations it turns scuttling reptiles into towering sauropods and soaring birds, and it has made and unmade more living things than humanity will ever know. Understanding the relationships between the lineages of living things is one of the grander ways in which humans understand our place in the infinite assemblage of life, and it also tells us an enormous amount about how everything is related to everything else. For the right ultra-specific kind of nerd, it’s also barrels of fun. Fortunately, we have just such a nerd in attendance.

So I made cladograms for all my pets and plants.

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Home Cladograms – The Evolution of a Menagerie

You Don’t Want to Live in Miami

I have been away from Miami, the city where my family made their homes after relocating from the northeastern US, for many years. I moved away in 2009, and this year made the most complete departure I likely ever will. One by one, the threads holding me to that place in particular wither and crumble, in items reclaimed and funerals attended. I had sad, sad cause to spend a few days in this sunlit hometown recently, being driven around in relatives’ cars, and those days were enough to cement in my mind what my opinion of Miami had already long been: the sheer heedless decadence of this place is incompatible with a life well-lived. You do not want to live in Miami.

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You Don’t Want to Live in Miami

Operation Paludarium

For the past several years, I have known that I had space for exactly one more aquarium in my office and my tank-maintenance routine, bringing the total in my home to three. I have been hemming and hawing about what, exactly, to do with that space ever since. My original hope was to set up a marine system designed for a mantis shrimp, in fulfillment of a childhood dream, but my research into that quest showed it to be far more expensive and challenging than I was prepared to take on, especially as a third system. I ultimately settled on a different childhood dream to pursue: a paludarium. Continue reading “Operation Paludarium”

Operation Paludarium

Which Star Trek Should I Watch?

Star Trek is a rightful icon of televised science fiction. It was not the first televised serial science fiction property, but it was the one that catapulted the concept into the popular imagination, spawning decades of successors that keep it active to this day. The sheer amount of Star Trek that exists in the present moment can seem forbidding, and it certainly did for me. Even with the franchise’s long hiatuses and constant threat of permanent cancellation, there are no fewer than eleven entire series within the Star Trek umbrella at present, each with dozens of episodes and some with feature-length motion pictures mixed in. Watching them all in order might provide the greatest opportunity for recognizing references and keeping the continuity straight, but it also means that current Star Trek content fades into the distance, inaccessible until one catches up on decades of prior television. More than that, though, each Star Trek series has its own characteristic identity, marked by different writing style, storytelling focus, cast, and desired emotional impression. Landing on just the right Trek show to lure someone into the rest of the franchise is one of the better ways to manufacture new Trekkies, so, here is a rundown of the eleven Star Trek series, what makes them distinctive, and which episodes I liked, detested, or came to recognize as exemplifying what makes each series what it is.

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Which Star Trek Should I Watch?

Canadian Conservatives Scare Me More Than American Conservatives

It is election season in Ontario, and for the first time, I’ll be voting. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, my citizenship is complete and my voter registration is in place. I can call myself “Canadian” with that much more conviction now, and the attention I pay to this country’s politics now weighs on a vote where it previously weighed on just my thoughts. In this unusually portentous time, I have been confronted not only with the mainstream parties, but with the tiny splinter parties trying to gain a foothold in real politics, as they litter public spaces with their signs and pamphlets. And they have reminded me that Canadian conservatives are pit-in-the-stomach terrifying compared to their American counterparts.

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Canadian Conservatives Scare Me More Than American Conservatives

A Quick Tour of Alyssa’s 125-Gallon Aquarium

I’m trying something a little different today. By popular request, I’ve filmed a video going over the contents of my 125-gallon (473-liter) aquarium. Come for the aquarium insight, stay for my clothes, leave knowing more about turtle penises than you ever wanted to know. Have fun!

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A Quick Tour of Alyssa’s 125-Gallon Aquarium

Lessons from an Aquarium Upgrade

I made a big decision recently. I replaced my 55-gallon (208 liter) aquarium with a shiny new 125-gallon (473-liter) beast that now defines the layout of my home office. This was no small task, and I offer this series of thoughts as guidance for anyone else attempting a similar upgrade.

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Lessons from an Aquarium Upgrade