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The Corroboree


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Posts posted by Darklight

  1. My eyesight's not what it used to be, if that isn't a carpet snake in your blogpress pic, and it's night time, it's a night tiger/ brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis )




    Scale colour and underside colour can really vary in the same species between locations. I had a night tiger turn up in the kitchen at midnight a few years back which looked so close to a black snake- uniformly deep chocolate colour top scales and crimson belly ( red belly blacks have a pale belly and the red bits can only be seen from the side- I know that now ).


    A mate who is a snake catcher came down and told me that locally 3 key ID points were


    • They turn up at night
    • Prefer not to be on the ground
    • Have the characteristic 'doll's eye' whiter marking behind their eyes

    Minimally toxic and maximally cruisey snakes, they're pretty shy


    There's snake people round on the forums and locally who would know all this way better than me and who could give you more info

    • Like 2

  2. 3 hours ago, niggles said:

     I was thinking of SES but maybe fire would be good. My skills are more medical but the whole idea would be to learn new stuff (and help)


    Medical certs + experience will be welcome pretty much anywhere, and either SES or RFS is a good place to start volunteering


    There's plenty of places to volunteer up here, people are really appreciative of the help too

  3. Also: this on general n00b rural advice:


    Water, fences, fire-proofing, wind breaks, and access roads


    There's a fair whack of basic info to tick off against your just-arrived checklist. You've prolly done most of it already. Apologies if it teaches you to suck eggs


    Right *now* one of the first things you should address is fire ( because the season can come on fast, sometimes even within a week here and it's permit season already ), then access ( including turning space and unloading area ), or maybe water security. Then fences and windbreaks.


    About the smartest thing you can do first time you move out from the city to a new bush spot is make yourself known to the local RFS/ CFA. It's signalling to the locals that yes, you are new to the bush, but no, you are not a complete dickhead, and are willing to at least listen to what they say about your place and your plans.


    As the fire season progresses. and if it ramps up, it may become harder to find time to chat randomly with the firies because they may be busy here or out of area.


    Find out who your local RFS is, and when they meet ( usually monthly ). Get there a bit early, find the captain or a deputy, and explain why you're there. They may have time to talk right then, or they may allocate a time and meet you somewhere else. Usually they will love you to bits for this because you are one less clueless person they will have to visit at dinner time unless invited.


    They will usually know about fire ( and other ) history in your area, fire behaviour on your property, things you can do to help lessen the damage if there is a fire at yours or close by. And things not to do ( like burn off on total fire ban days- you might not start an actual bush fire but if the firies get an "I see smoke..." phone call at least one very pissed off person will show up. No. We do not get paid. )


    It's also excellent networking. Yes, there are the usual cohorts of arseholes and rednecks you find everywhere. Many of these are also lovely and you will come to learn that even though there are many diverging attitudes out here, no-one gives a fuck about that when there is an emergency. Almost all the people there will be well networked and resourceful and usually even capable. They can and prolly will do a zillion things to help you settle in ( and reduce their workload in the process )


    Joining these days takes time and a bazzillion police/ security checks as well as some pretty stupid worksafe checks ( please indicate the nearest exit... etc ) and the process is complete bullshit. This is not our fault, not at the pointy end, except we should def have complained more and louder when the shiny arses started making micromanaged demands on our time and attention ah shit... excuse me.


    But yeah, for a rural n00b I'd recommend going to at least one meeting to introduce yourself- it shows good will and good taste. You will probably learn some useful history of your place which will be unbelievably relevant to planning on your site ( drainage/ access/ all sorts of obscure but really useful shit ). And I'd maybe even recommend doing the Basics training. At least kick in for a sausage sanger at the Xmas party and chuck in for the raffle :D


    Bookmark this: FIRES NEAR ME


    And use it any time you see smoke rising which worries you. It's a map app which will show you where firies are already responding- useful if you see smoke but can't determine source or direction. Download the app and add it to your phone too if you can. It's not always up to date to the very minute, but it's good to check before ringing and reporting fires which may already be under control or not of concern


    Also: if you are in or around Nimbin, join either the FB Nimbin Hook Ups or the related FB discussion board. Mostly full of shit, but handy, and the occasional gem




    • Like 4

  4. 14 hours ago, Halcyon Daze said:

    Don't burn all those bamboo sticks mate, You'll wish you kept them. They are soooo useful. I often cut them and store them until I find a use for them. Trim the side branches off but leave the first section still attached, those little 1 inch bits sticking out are very useful for tying them together or letting a vine climb it etc.


    Bamboo sticks are ridiculously expensive at bunnings these days.


    Keep them if they're the type which store well. Most bamboo spp are known for their use profile and some store/ weather better than others


    I put down a clumping variety which was claimed to be good for outdoor building. 20 years later it's heaps big, but I couldn't work out how anyone would use it for scaffolding like they do on some Asian sites. Local bamboo expert told me it was the wrong type and is an indoor bamboo, best for veneer, needs varnish even for that.


    Mine lasts outside about 6 months before it falls apart. Great for staking and tripods ( re-use the U-nails and hay bale string, saves a trip to Bunnings ) but shit for the furniture and construction stuff I wanted.


    Anyone got experience with an easy, sustainable way to treat bamboo for storage? Like, actual experience, not just web links?


    ( OMG I have turned into the old lady who saves string, kill me now... )

    • Like 3

  5. On 30/07/2016 at 7:15 PM, waterboy 2.0 said:



    Theory is one thing....practice is another... and since I've recently seen "golden" rice held up as an actual beneficial thing right now....



    Nice one WB <3


    The GM debate has me frothing at the mouth. Always has. CRISPR has just added new dimensions to the froth.


    Protip: I've worked in GM at a registered facility. No plants were ever released into the outdoors on my projects. My views there were pretty well known, but I'm familiar with the finer points of the technology as it was used up until CRISPR came in.


    tl:dr: The GM debate is a classic example of fucked up politics. The public is lazy, and wants a bunch of sexy lab coated people to solve their problems for them.


    We've had some very workable solutions to world hunger for years. Don't be a cunt. Share your things. Stop breeding like idiots.


    But no, none of those debates have happened- and the elephant in the room is the question of overpopulation. It's a subject no government or religious organisation will sanction realistic discussions around. The debate has been, yet again, reduced to "Science will solve it".


    One of my former supervisors- who was a very rare and remarkable individual in that he was a brilliant scientist and manager and a general sterling human being, once asked me how we were supposed to feed the increasing number of people on the planet without GM.


    My response was that we have been tinkering with GM for nearly 40 years and it still isn't sufficiently functional to replace conventional agricultural output. In that time frame, all the money thrown at GM could have achieved quite dramatic results if it had been shuttled towards dealing with overpopulation and mis-allocation of economic and food resources. Those years are now lost to us. In that time the population has increased to stupid, and shows no signs of slowing.


    There are many aspects of GM I have no problem with. Vat grown medicinal compounds which would otherwise be expensive or prohibitively complex to acquire- totally in favour of those. There are other examples.


    Up until CRISPR I believed no viable replicable GM cells should leave the lab. All potentially replicable GM crops should contain non-viable pollen and/ or Terminator genetics. It hasn't been a popular position, but situations of crop contamination from GM pollen should not be possible, and horizontal transfer of artificial genetic material via bacteria should not be allowed.


    Now we have CRISPR, and we're going to get ag GM in sideways fast, because nobody is going to say to little Janey or Tommy's mum that the cure to their child's crippling and possibly fatal genetic disease can't be dispensed to them because GM. CRISPR human trials are very much a thing- the public are going to increasingly accept- and rely- on GM tech. The discussion about possible inheritance of human CRISPR modifications won't happen, because blah blah nobody wants to talk about overpopulation. Thus agricultural GM- and industrial GM can wait quietly in the wings until the public is ready for that too. And isn't science great? So shiny.


    I am a total fan. But not for the reasons and the circumstances and ethical climate which we are exist. Also: if you give scientists shiny toys, we will want to play with them. Historically, by the time we have worked out whether or not they're any good, or even safe to give out, some PR droid has sent out a bunch of glossy press releases and the public CBF with the ethical debate the lab crews have worked up.


    The future will not be evenly distributed. Someone said that a while ago, and it holds true. Just because you can imagine problems being solved doesn't mean the solution won't be hijacked, confiscated, taken out of reach, or used for fucked. So yes, CRISPR and GM offer potential solutions, but who's going to be holding them out to whom? Is the media brouhaha about CRISPR and rare genetic disorders going to generate billions of dollars to solve the problems of a few rich people at the expense of solutions to existing problems which will benefit more people?


    Save your seeds people. And buy from those who will. It's not 100% guarantee against famine, or starvation of people in countries you've never been to. But neither is locking your windows and doors 100% proof against burglary. It's just a good idea.


    Interesting anecdote: A couple of mates who work in international aid programs were told by a village of subsistence farmers in the tropics that they were going back to their traditional varieties of rice, because it only took a small handful of their local rice to feed each person a day. Their local species was substantially more filling at each meal and thus they required less room to grow more rice. They also complained that the rice on offer from the major seed company in the area was prone to disease. So they learned, or re-learned how to save their own seed.


    It only takes a generation to lose these skills, and they are gone.


    Apologies for the randomness of my response, the larger GM debate is a sleight of hand and renders me incoherent.




    • Like 4

  6. On 16/07/2016 at 4:39 PM, darkzen15 said:

     I have noticed weeds and plants blooming that normally bloom in spring blooming in mid winter and I have noticed flies and butterflies that are normally dormant till spring appearing in little bursts every few weeks or so.


    Has anyone else around the world noticed this or am I just over analysing?


    Extrapolating from insufficient data perhaps? Doesn't mean you are wrong


    I've lived in the one place nearly 30 years, and early bud- break for many Spring blooming plants has been absolutely a feature of most winters- I first noted it over 25 years ago when working pruning stonefruit.


    Early blooming isn't regarded well in most orchards as there is a good chance a later frost will knock the blossom off, the plants will have to use their reserves to re-flower and the crop will yield slightly less.


    What I have noticed is that over the last 20 or so years I have been using progressively less firewood to keep warm in winter. That could be for a number of reasons- increasing tree cover round the house is reducing both heat loss and the flow of cold air down the hill to the house, I don't go out til 3am as often and don't work in orchards at 6am any more, and have switched to mostly car driving in the last 5 years, I'm single right now so roaming round the house looking like a complete dag isn't an issue, and I'm not as big a sook as I was when i first moved here. Etc.


    But yeah, I do believe anthropic generated climate change is a real thing. However if HAARP turns out to be an actual working thing right now I will grind up and eat my crash helmet.

    • Like 2

  7. The tl;dr version of this is:


    Why are you concentrating on macrofungi so early on?


    Personally I'd monitor your control area soil micro-organism health and contaminant levels vs your rehab patches at +0 days baseline.


    Then throw some micro-organisms onto different patches. Recheck at different time points. Take photos, notice any vegetation changes in transect grids.


    Soil Food Web people at http://soilfoodweb.com.au can assist with monitoring, tho their focus is largely agricultural. Their analysis should give you some good ideas as to what's missing.


    Contaminant monitoring can be done at EAL Lismore for a reasonable cost. http://scu.edu.au/eal/


    Nutri-tech have some cool micro-organism products, if it's specifically native regen you're looking at you might be able to talk with their technical team. If you have baseline readings for soild diversity and contam levels they will have a better idea of what they're addressing  http://www.nutri-tech.com.au


    A blend of micro-organisms is more likely to be adaptable than a single macrofungus- they will self select. Macro species can be added alongside, at any time point.


    Fruiting macrofungus of various species are a good environmental health indicator overall. But they are notoriously unreliable in their appearance and you'd be wanting data taken over years IMO



    • Like 5

  8. Cool project :)


    1 hour ago, shortly said:

    I am posting this in the hope of receiving feedback, comments or any input really.


    Ok so a little background. I am in the process of rehabilitating a site in Seq that has been logged & flogged for decades,


    So, to the project. I'm thinking if i select a number of likely candidates starting with Lepista sp. Agaricus spp. Calvatia sp, Ganoderma sp. from locations where glyphosate has been regularly used & breed from these individuals. If each subsequent generation is fed a media with slightly higher glyphosate concentrations. What is the likelihood that i will either breed either glyphosate resistant mushrooms? Or mushrooms that can

    metabolize the glyphosate and actively seek it out?


    What level of detail are you looking at wrt glyphosate monitoring? Are you doing actual chem analysis? Or looking at results on petries and extrapolating?


    Yes, selective transfers up a concentration gradient over time could give you what you are looking for on a macro level wrt a single compound, but they may not play out so well when competing with other organisms ex vitro.



    The site appears to have relatively few fungi compared to other sites with similar habitats nearby. So we have been

    (re)introducing a variety of fungi from the local area to each patch as we go with mixed results.



    How are you determining results? How long has your rehab project been running? If you're determining results from visible fruiting over one or two seasons only, or in comparison to uncontaminated control areas over a year or two only you'll get very different results than if you were, say, monitoring for fungal colonisation of your target species in inoculated mulch.


    Are you running several patches, each with different treatments, against an uncontaminated control patch? Are you monitoring for an increased fungal diversity overall as a measure of rehab success?


    Determining which measurements accurately reflects the results you're chasing is best established early on.


    Apologies for sounding brusque, I get like that when something catches my attention :) PM'd you.

    • Like 2

  9. On 02/06/2016 at 3:18 PM, Anodyne said:

    dood, I think it's Nutri Tech Solutions (?)


    You're right, them. The tech dept was really nice when I had to contact them about stuff a few years back

  10. On 27/05/2016 at 4:30 AM, Ethnotramp said:

    Just curious as to whether anyone out there has any experience with this fungus? It is easily grown on various substrates (YM, PDA, PDY)  and forms  mutualistic symbiotic relationships with a wide variety of plants. It is reported to increase disease resistance, salt tolerance, drought tolerance, and phosphorus uptake. It cant help but feel this could be of interest to a lot of people here, but have seen no mention of it?  I have found cultures for sale only at ATCC.org for $354.00 US for an ampoule.  I want to get my hands on a culture, but at that price I'll be wanting for quite a while.:) If this fungus is as great as they claim, I would love to see this shared around with members of this great site:lol: and benefit all our growing endeavors.



    Tricho growers unite!


    I'm lazy, but is it available in Australia or found in Australia?


    ATCC is a pain to buy from, you need an account with the Australian distributors. A quarantine permit is usually compulsory, the distributors arrange it. It's a few weeks of hassle- longer if Biosecurity can't get their heads around it ( even if it has been previously imported )


    Try local vendors like Nutra-Life ( or whatever their name is these days ) and similar outlets. Email them and ask if it isn't in their catalogue.


    You shouldn't find Trich sp. inside stipe or cap tissue, but you will regularly find pseudomonas which can be easily cleaned up with amp. I also wipe down my specimens with h2o2 and tear them open rather than cutting. This is important because often contaminants can be introduced into the the tissue by the knife as it passes through the 'dirty' surface layer.


    Also, where is the contamination popping up? If at the inoculation site then this would be consistent with specimen contam, but if elsewhere then maybe your plate wasn't sealed?


    With love,




    Ta Mimz, I hadn't thought about tearing instead of cutting. The mushroom itself is quite fine and not sure it's possible with this species but I will keep it in mind for future isolations. I do frequently sterilise the scalpel with a bead steriliser, but not always between slices, and I know it's an issue


    This species hates H2O2. I've pretty much established that lol, a negative result is also a result. I've seen a pure culture of a closely related species re-establish after a 5 week lag on H2O2 spawn, but in the face of actual isolation from a small section, with competitors, I think it's not likely to work. Might try it with a small number of mycelia subcultures once I have a few- will be interesting to see how far Trich vegetative cells can run without spawning too. And if there are no Trich spore I can re-run serial dilutions


    Contam is from inoculation point, it's of specimen origin. Bacto contam was present but outrun with antibiotics.


    Dunked the latest acquisitions in a 70% ETOH soak 30 seconds before isolation, waited 5 min to see if it had killed them, they were still solid


    One thing with cardboard slopes I'll do next time is to use cardboard from three different sources. Trouble with cardboard, even the rough looking stuff, is you rarely know if it's been impregnated with anything, or recycled from that. I use a flame test - burn a bit with a lighter- to check for coloured flame or fire retardants, but one of the batches of cardboard I used for cardboard slopes came out of the autoclave with distinct green stripes- made me think of copper- possibly a fungal retardant.


    I *finally* got a spore print on alfoil. Tricksy little hobbitsses it is. Can try it on a range of media via serial dilution this way as well

    • Like 1

  12. 11 hours ago, Zen Peddler said:

    what works for me is h202 and sub culturing on agar plates. Every other technique is hit and miss,


    Ha! Brilliant, why didn't I think of that BM? I'd dismissed it in favour of antibiotics at an earlier stage cos H2O2 has a tendency to  reduce growth in that species significantly for a few weeks. But it might just work now I have the species more-or-less isolated away from everything but the Trich.

    If Trich can't set viable spore it might slow it down and the mycelia have a chance to recover.


    Is odd, I've never found Trich *inside* a specimen, so I wasn't expecting it. Worth a shot anyhow. I'll run a side-by-side.


    I have two candidates for the mycelia to be the target species, so will need to fruit and test them both

  13. use wet card perhaps?, the trich is definitely slower on that substrate ,,, and can be out run by the odd operation to remove the white myc

    and re-add that to fresh card ;) , then wet it I guess

    attachicon.gif2016-04-17 23.06.00.jpgattachicon.gif2016-04-17 23.06.27.jpgattachicon.gif2016-04-17 23.06.30.jpg

    ... works as a pocket fae pet too :3 - especially useful if you encounter a stint of homelessness to preserve the faeries for safe keeping/later down the line..


    I do like the pocket fae idea, I hope you didn't have to go thru that to find it out tho :)


    I'm thinking selective media trial. Research is showing the putative isolate could survive on a high pH media, and Trichoderma favours lower. ( Edit: more checking proves this could be wrong, I may try it anyhow )


    Will keep a few colonies back tho, just in case the publication is wrong.


    Other option could be a low nitrogen media, maybe even a water media.

    • Like 1

  14. I'm isolating some local woodloving species onto agar and Trichoderma contam is a constant hassle with one of them.


    Trouble is the little buggers don't show up as discernable until they sporulate. And the mycelia I am working with is slow to start.


    What are your best options for working against Tricoderma spp on agar? I couldn't find anything specific on it.


    My best options so far are


    • Serial dilution- a huge pain in the arse, because Trich is sporulating once it's visible, so the spores go into solution, and there are gazillions of them. Plus a good serial dilution run takes heeeeeeeaps of containers. Over a month. Minimum a hundred.


    • Subculturing ahead- taking only the tiniest fragment of the leading edge, culturing it on, repeat


    Cardboard slopes haven't worked, as I'm uncertain of this species' ability to grow on cardboard. Still waiting at +10 days to see signs of mycelia. And I've seen Trich grow on cardboard heaps of times. The mycelia would have to grow much faster than the Trich to outrun it and I don't think that's going to happen


    Is there an agar type media selective against Trichoderma I could try?




  15. Also, the tibicos ( water kefir ) grains are way more resilient than I'd given them credit for.

    My kitchen is a disaster area, there is always some myco experiment or plant tissue culture goo around somewhere. I gave the grains six weeks til something foreign wheedled it's way in and killed them while they were fermenting.

    Didn't happen. Brew performance was always standard, the grains behaved as expected, and nothing overcame them in solution

    • Like 1

  16. Who's had good experiences with probiotics/prebiotics in relation to their mental health?

    Me, oddly enough.

    One of the old forum members here bought me round a bunch of fermented food and some water kefir after a workshop they'd run- it was a generous and thoughtful gift and the cupboards were complete bare so I ate the lot over the next month.

    I felt obliged to drink the water kefir. Waste not etc.

    I started to notice the mood changes ( calmer ) after the first week with the water kefir. Now, I'm absolutely mired knee deep in a town full of hippies who are prone to believing the slightest expensive shiny stupidity, so I was inclined to be sceptical. Very very skeptical. But I turned over the water kefir ( tibicos ) grains and made a few batches in a row and drank them too.

    Having half-read a few of T's posts about gut bacteria before the issue started making the science blogs seriously I figured there might be something in it. Then I read a publication on the changes in gut bacteria in Parkinsons' patients.

    I have Parkinsons on both sides of the family and my lifestyle years back hasn't exactly seen me avoid some of the possible elicitors. So if there is a way to slow down the progression while I'm at the age a few family members were diagnosed at it's gotta be worth a try

    So I figured what the hell. Have been on it 2 years, just turning the grains over and making new batches weekly. I replaced my 2yo grains with new ones, as the old ones had slowed down, and noticed different effects- more mood smoothness than in previous six month's batches

    I've been off it for a few weeks here and there while on the road, and I notice a real difference after a fortnight without water kefir, the tension starts to come back slowly, and it goes again after the new water kefir batch

    Placebo? Maybe. I don't give a fuck.

    I just sailed thru menopause asymptomatically. Better than pre-menopause in fact. My family has a history of menopausal cyclones which can lead to years of estrangement and unpleasantness for everyone. Not me, smooth as silk. You can hate me for it later :)

    I spend about an hour a week making the drink. It is totally worth it.

    • Like 3

  17. Nice Fred :)

    It leaves in awe of how finely balanced our ecosystems are; in the lab its always one victor over another... whether thats mold, mites or moths.

    This. Always this.

    Latest one here is to really isolate in time mushroom growing lab sessions from plant growing lab sessions. Even in FP bags actively growing mycelia attracts compost flies/ fungus gnat flies. Not many, but enough to get into the flow hood working area and the flow hood when it's on.

    Once one of them flies over your sterile work it's anyone's guess as to whether it's contaminated or not. So I clump all my myco work at the EOM and then spend the next week or so out of the lab til the ferment flies rack off.

  18. Flavour can only described as bizarre even by Lepista / blewit standards.

    Bizarre like how? Tastes like Christmas trees and aliens? Intrigued :)

    Congratulations! So glad it's going well for you

    • Like 1

  19. Meet SCiO. It is the world's first affordable molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand. SCiO is a tiny spectrometer and allows you to get instant relevant information about the chemical make-up of materials around you, sent directly to your smartphone. Read More

    Am road testing one right now and I'm not impressed. Tho admittedly I still have to run some samples.

    It's not as simple to use as the hype suggests- far from it.

    First point is the 29 page manual. First hint that things are about to get complex

    Second- the documentation is pretty good- but a long way from perfect. SCIO isn't just the unit, it's the interface you set up between your SCIO unit, your web browser and the sampling package. You need to define that relationship.

    Thirdly there's a lot of things which aren't said- or are hidden away from the shiny main pages. Like the fact that the unit doesn't handle liquid testing right now ( tho they are allegedly going to fix that soon ), probably isn't going to be useful for testing medicinal cannabis at all ( spectral range is 700-1100nm ) and it doesn't work reliably to detect compounds <1%.

    I'm not familiar with NIR spectrometry, but I've a bit of experience running a UV-VIS standard spectro, and still the learning curve is way beyond what was implied in the PR ( FWIW I didn't buy the unit, I'm road testing it for someone ).

    Fourth point is the need to be constantly connected online. Not good for field analysis.

    Fifth is that the online forums aren't as well populated as you'd think, given the advertising and excitement around it's release. Which is a tell all of it's own- not as many people seem to be engaging with it beyond product purchase- and there's the rub. It will take a lot of crowd work to finally determine a reliable best-use application for it.

    I reckon it will be something most purchasers find too complicated and stick in a drawer.

    Running samples tonight and tomorrow, will update to see how it pans out

    • Like 2

  20. The professional units can be found really cheaply on occasion. However as mimzy says there are a few caveats.

    Replacement filters are exxy and may need to be factored into the cost. Even in the cleanest work areas the filters degrade over time.

    Moving the units can shift the seals etc possibly compromising sterility. Ideally you would have the unit professionally checked once it is in place, it used to cost about $100 but I'm not sure now. Check with the local TAFE or uni to find out who services the units in your area and ask the company to add you to the visitng list next time they're in your area ( save on travel fees ).

    In a pinch just leave open petries containing MEA or LBA along the full back length of the filter- for 30 sec and 1 min. Label, seal and incubate for 10 days to get an idea as to how well the final filter works.

    The professional units are heavy, and large. Factor this in when moving them- you may need to remove a door and have people handy to help, if the units don't come with a stand make sure you have something suitably weight bearing to get them to work height. Also consider the floor strength for their resting place- if you're working in an old house or an old shed with a flimsy floor the weight could place a strain- try to place it over some load bearing floor joists

    Clean the pre-filters regularly- they are the front line of defence for your final ( and more expensive ) HEPA filter

    • Like 1

  21. My understanding of this is it's not the sampling/ sequencing which is the expensive part any more ( providing you have a competent person and suitable facility to provide a quality sample- even these are readily available these days )

    The exxy bit is getting the sequence data analysed by someone who knows what they're doing. I know a few such people socially and once they started to explain the process to me my head assploded. Mind you last time I checked was like 2011

    Once the day comes when you send in your plant sample and a machine spits the data back at you in a form you can understand ( Echinopsis- yes! ) then we'll be able to get all these tricky taxonomic questions sorted.

    Til then just let the taxonomists flog it out in the carpark, they're a tetchy bunch, it can be hard to keep two of them in a room together ;)

    • Like 4

  22. I know that The Windup Girl won a whole heap of awards & was really popular & all, but I really didn't like it. He had some interesting tech stuff, some of it pretty cool & imaginative, but I felt that he totally ruined it with all the gratuitous sex & violence

    Interesting POV. I found the sex and violence well within context and not gratuitous at all. The first uses for most new technology are often sex, drugs or warfare, and the descriptions of the GM sex worker's treatment well establish the reason for her feelings of conflict and humilitiation without going into overdrive IMO. The oppressiveness of the environment the story is set in are in is well within the possibilities offered by the political and social climate described

    . For a bit of contrast, there's Margaret Atwood's Oryx & Crake, which explores a similar post-biotech/climate-change apocalypse world, but does it in a more Slaughterhouse Five kind of style... I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I actually find all the atrocities to be more vivid when they're not spelled out quite so graphically.

    Ooh I must read Oryx & Crake again, her book The Handmaid's Tale is something I periodically re-read and is brilliant- no idea what the movie was like

    Used to love Vonnegut as a kid, read 'em to death. I'll wait a few more years and re-read

    I don't like all of Neal Stephenson's stuff, but for his take on the nanotech-future, his book The Diamond Age explores what a society might be like if you could just build anything you liked in your local matter-compiler (or whatever the hell they're called). It was a bit more imaginative than his standard super-geek-saves-the-day schtick.

    Stephenson's female characters are getting better, Cryptonomicon was a good book but the main sheila was a bit 2D. REAMDE was much smoother with it's character development. I'll give The Diamond Age a re-read, ta for headsup

    • Like 1