E Pluribus Enum

Out of Many, One.

Origins.

The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase was that out of many states (or colonies) emerge a single nation. However, in recent years its meaning has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation…

Asclepias Viridis a.k.a Milkweed

Have you seen the recent explosion of asclepias viridis? Also known as common milkweed or the Green Antelopehorn Milkweed?

milkweed

asclepias viridis (http://monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweed/milkweed-profiles/asclepias-viridis)

While taking the kids to a park, I noticed a small colony of these guys in a bar ditch in Berryhill. I recognized the plant from previous sightings over the years, but couldn’t remember what they were. “Dogbane” was the first thought that came initially, but they didn’t look like the hordes of dogbane I’ve seen before around the Arkansas river.

After looking through my beloved Field Guide to Oklahoma Plants (Oklahoma State University Marketplace), I found the plant cited on page 270.

milkweed description

Field Guide to Oklahoma Plants Asclepias viridis

Turns out these beautiful plants are important to the monarch butterfly. They use this plant nearly exclusively to reproduce. The plant attracts aphids, which in turn attracts ants who defend the aphids from ladybugs. The monarch caterpillar feeds on the milkweed plant, which contains a very bitter milky white sap. The white fluid permeates the monarch making them a very non-appetizing food source for predators.

I’ve read online that some people propagate this plant extensively to benefit the monarch population. Seems easy enough. One must only gather a few seed pods, and you’re set.

Think I’ll plant a row of these and see if they attract the monarch, ants, aphids, and ladybugs.

Here are some photos of a plant I pulled recently. (no seed pods yet)

milkweed

milkweed

milkweed

milkweed

Get your copy of Field Guide to Oklahoma Plants at the OSU Marketplace here.

The Church of the Tin Foil Hats

When Oklahoma politicians spout their reasons for introducing legislation, they typically reveal their ignorance and inability to stop reading those emails that have been forwarded 1,000 times.

PicardFacepalm

*****
UPDATE: I see that this particular TW article has also brought out the stupid:
civilwarii

“Well there is one thing for sure. If the federal government wants to try to take over the Oklahoma Public Schools, they better bring a lot of fire power. Civil War II will begin, that day, for this country.”

What’s scary is I think some people really want another civil war.

Shut Up or Be Shunned

Recently received a practically brand new copy of Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1.

I remember when this massive book first came out being intrigued that Mark Twain had insisted that his autobiography not be published until 100 years after his death.

On page 2 of the introduction, it gives a glimpse (foreshadow?) of why he chose to publish the book in this way:

“We suppress an unpopular opinion because we cannot afford the bitter cost of putting it forth,” he wrote in 1905. “None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned.”

I think perhaps this also gives us an idea of the atmosphere of free-thought in 1905. And before.

Looking forward to getting past the introduction and into the meat of the book.

I Guess I Won’t Move to Yemen, Jordan, or Palestine

Interesting PBS interactive that “tells” you which country(ies) share your parenting values.

I didn’t take much time to determine the scientific basis for the surveys, but it is cool nonetheless. You can also compare two countries at the same time with a nifty graphic.

I thought a lot of the “values” were of equal importance… “hard work” and “determination” for example.

My three similar countries were Australia, Sweden, and China. China? What? A country that censors the Internet. Whatever. Go give it a whirl.

via Friendly Atheist

What We Truly Have is This Moment

Have you ever considered, really thought about the fact that one day you are going to die? Barring some insane medical breakthrough in the near future, death is something you will experience. As the old saying goes: nobody gets out of this alive.

Some of you may believe in an afterlife. Some of you don’t. And some of you don’t know. I think this gives us common ground, though, don’t you think? The common ground is that while we’re all here together on this earth, we might as well make the best of it for ourselves and for those we love, and do what we can to make the world a better place for those we will leave behind to live out their own lives.

It is always now.