Theocratic talking points smackdown

Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion foundation gives a Faux News talking head (who was spouting right-wing,  revisionist history, talking points) a spot on concise U.S. history and Constitutional law lesson regarding the 1st Amendment separation of church and state, check it out:

[Via Why Evolution is True]

Night of the Tenebrionids!

My back yard is overrun with tenebrionid beetles (genus Eleodes), aka stink beetles. This is in Southern California, early May 2010. My wife Kathy is behind the camera making comments from the peanut gallery.

Here is a picture of a larger version I took a couple years ago:

This was a good sized female who was a little worse for wear (note the dent in her elytron/back). She was ovipositing in a dirt road.

The not so itsy bitsy spider climbed out of the cactus

I was doing some long neglected yard work today and while pulling out some weeds around a dying bit of prickly pear cactus in the back yard I came upon this “little” beauty:

And here is one for scale:

OK, so it’s not a bird eating spider, the size of a dinner plate, but outside of a full blown tarantula it is the biggest spider I’ve seen in the wild around these parts (Southern California) since I was a kid. My first attempt at an identification would be a California trapdoor spider (Bothriocyrtum californicum), though it looks a little different from the pics I can find on the web and I didn’t find it associated with a trapdoor setup. It was just clinging to a bit of old prickly pear skin (an environment it was sharing with literally hundreds and hundreds of Eleodes).

Any spider guys out there that can confirm or correct my I.D.?