Category Archives: Uncategorized

Slime mold

Fuligo septica

I found this is the back yard early in the morning  after rain the previous day. I guessed it was some type of fungus, turns out to be a species of plasmodial slime mold called Fuligo septica, commonly known as scrambled egg slime or dogs vomit slime mold!

Dogs vomit slime mould. Slime molds are just a collection of amoeba yet they can move and coperate as if they are a single organism with awareness and intent.

It really was odd looking, bright yellow, soft and spongy to the touch and underneath it’s really slimy, like a slugs belly.

Slime molds are bizarre and fascinating things, they were initially classified as a type of fungus but this was found to be incorrect. They are now thought of as sitting under the Amoebozoa taxonomic group, a sister group of fungi and animals.

Slime moulds often exist as single cells, but in times of food scarcity they clump together to become a visible gelatinous mass. In this form they can move about as one and are even seen to change shape and function as well as exhibit sensitivities to environmental hazards and food sources.  One scientist John Tyler Bonner, observed that they are “no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviours that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia – that is, simple brains.”

resources and references

Slime mold Wikipedia 

Dogs vomit Wikipedia

Climate data update

The sea level, rainfall and temperature climate pages have been updated with the latest data from the BOM. As per usual temperature and rainfall are almost up to date but sea level is more than a year behind with the latest reading from December 2013. Why is this?

Always interesting to see how the most recent weather extremes stack up against the last century or so of readings. This most recent summer that felt so hot was nothing special if you look back only 15 years or so, but the longer term trend is clear for sea level and temperature. But not rainfall.

ABC Radio National science podcast

ABC radio has some really good shows, including a whole bunch of science shows. They offer an awesome podcast feed that combines all their science programs plus any scientific segments from other shows into one. ABC hides this feed really well, whenever I have to reload my podcasting app (with my luck with phones, way to often!) it takes ages to locate the feed again.

Well I finally found it, so here it is for the next time I need it, and for anyone else that may enjoy this gem that the ABC hides so well.


Now see this picture from NASA

Sun Over Earth (NASA, International Space Station Science, 11/22/09) Image cedit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center


Old photos from the Ku-Ring-Gai area

Ku-Ring-Gai library has been posting old photos from the area ( including some from Garigal ) to it’s Flickr account . What a great way to make access to it’s archives more convenient. I didn’t even know the library had the photos until I came across one of their online postings by fluke when searching for pictures of Bungaroo.

William Henry, the first settler in the Lane Cove Valley. circa 1860.

There are well over 1000 photos in their stream, and they seem to post a new batch every few weeks. Having lived in the area for a while I’ve found it addictive to browse through them and recognize familiar locations back when they were a rugged frontier.

Road filling work being undertaken in Vale Street, Gordon. A Dennis truck can be seen tipping. Mr C. Bowes Thistlethwayte and three children can be seen standing near his car in the foreground.

Unfortunately many of the photos are not labeled making them hard to identify, and also hard for people to discover when searching. ( I was lucky to be searching for one of the few photos with a label. ) I wrote to the library asking them if they had any information on the unlabeled photos. They do! They are working on linking the images back to the library catalog and then posting some of the information back to their Flickr stream. Apparently a large and time consuming job, not something that will be done anytime soon. But they did give information on how to search the catalog for information on each photo myself!

Go to
Click on the “Find information” link on the left hand side and chose catalog. Next, select the advanced search. In the fourth drop down menu labelled “Dewey class”, change this to “Call number”. Type in “photo” in the field along with the last four digits of the flickr photograph title and press search.

For example for the photo labelled “0044593“. Follow the above sets and type in photo 4720.


Their latest batch of posts are mostly on the constructions of Lady Game Drive  and Lane Cove National Park. Here’s a selection with annotations from the catalog:

Shows three men including Mr. C. Bowes Thistlethwayte standing at Horse Shoe Bend on Bradfield Road above the Lane Cove National Park. ( 1937? )
Shows the stone wall of the culvert at De Burgh Creek being constructed. Two horse and cart teams can be seen in the background. The culvert was part of the construction work for Lady Game Drive. ( 1934 )
Qarryman working at Pymble Quarry circa 1930 ( where was this? that looks like columnar basalt )
Shows men working on the construction of Lady Game Drive. Site is above Little Blue Gum Creek, Lindfield. 1937
Shows tents on the Australasian Scout Jamboree site at Bradfield (now West Lindfield), which ran from December 1938 to January 1939.

The full Flickr stream can be found here.