On Thu, 13 Nov 2014 21:23:51 -0800, Megan
Post by Megan Post by Aramanth Dawe
On Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:30:19 -1000, Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
<snip - cane toads>
Post by Aramanth Dawe
Certainly the cane toads we dissected as a part of our 1st year
Biology rotation Back In The Day were huge - their bodies filled more
than half of the dissecting block (a wax-filled tray) we were using -
and the block was a good 8 inches square. Finding room to splay the
legs as well as exposing the abdominal organs was tricky!
Do you know if using invasive cane toads for high school biology is
part of an organized effort to get rid of the invasive species? Or
just a coincidence because they are plentiful and, no doubt, quite
cheap for a high school to purchase?
I'm rather impressed you remember your youthful dissection
experiences. I remember that I did have labs involving dissections,
and I vaguely recall a hapless squid. But I think there were other
dissection labs and I have no recollection of what they involved.
Rather thankfully, in fact. Not an activity that inspired an interest
in biology in me, at the time. (More recent news of genetic analysis
is more interesting. And doesn't involve scalpels.)
First year University, so this would be 1982. We'd done some
dissections back in High School (rats, for instance) but the toad was
fascinating. Particularly as for some of them (including mine) the
heart was still leisurely beating as I opened it up. It wasn't until
afterwards I realised that this meant I'd *vivisected* the toad rather
than disected it! The beating heart stopped when the lab assistant
injected coloured latex into the heart chambers and 'pumped' it with
her manipulation tools to move the latex through the circulatory
system, making the blood vessels more easy to distinguish from the
I think the Cane Toad dissection was mostly because they were cheap to
obtain and also because no-one (including Ethics Committees) cared
about them! Tell people you want to cut up a kangaroo or wombat or
numbat and people scream bloody murder. Tell them you cut up a Cane
Toad and the general attitude is 'good riddance to bad rubbish'. But
they are still vertebrates and have a lot of parallels with mammalian
structure so they are good teaching tools.
Biology, particularly genetics, has always fascinated me. Even now,
some 30 years after graduation, I'm interested in the new discoveries.
I envy Ishtar who is currently studying it because there have been so
many, many developments since I was a student.
Post by Megan
Post by Aramanth Dawe Post by Anne Elizabeth Baldwin
I agree: the best plan is not to get bitten in the first place. It's
not always feasible, but if you can arrange it, it will work out well.
Post by Megan
I'm glad your brother survived. Yay for those brave snake venom
Thanks, I'm glad he did too, even if he's often frustrating to deal
with. Bipolar disorder complicated by (illegal) drug addiction makes
for a hard time for everyone (himself not the least).
Even by the high standards in frustration that most brothers set,
that's an unusually frustrating brother. I'm sorry. My brother is
only of the ordinary level of frustration for sisters, and that was
more than enough. And he grew out of some of his worst
characteristics, eventually, a growth process which your brother's
disorder will make ... difficult. sigh.
We love them anyway. But brothers can be tough.
Yeah. He refuses to take his prescribed medication designed to level
out his moods because it 'robs' him of the high (manic) mood that he
enjoys so much. Which in turn makes the down (depressive) mood much
worse. So he takes illegal drugs to push the high up as high as he
can manage it, then more illegals to lighten the downswing and round
and round it goes. He has gotten himself to the point that a complete
cycle (mania-depression-mania) goes through in around 24 to 36 hours,
with more than one cycle per week, week by week. It's going to kill
him eventually, we know this but there's nothing we can do to 'help'
until he is ready to deal with reality.
Fortunately, after our mother died we were able to get him into a
program that manages his disability pension. It's paid to a charity
who pay his rent, utilities, etc out of the pension then returns the
balance to him weekly to live on. This means he can't go on a binge
of illegals on Pension Day and not have enough for rent so at least he
has a roof over his head. He also never has enough cash on-hand for a
major blow-out. They will also provide food stamps (which of course
he can't swap for drugs) to make sure he's got staples in the cupboard
when he runs out of pension money, as he invariably does with so much
of it going up in smoke or into his veins. He doesn't seem to resent
his case manager taking care of things the way he did when my sister
tried to manage his money for him before we got him into this program.
He has been known to forget we understand about his living conditions
and call up me or my sister and ask for 'a couple of hundred dollars'
because 'the rent is due' or 'the power is going to be cut off' and he
doesn't have the cash for it. We usually just tell him 'Don't have it
to give, mate - sorry' because basically we know he's looking for
money for drugs.
I love my brother dearly, but he is his own worst enemy. I haven't
heard from him directly for a couple of years now which is sad but I
understand where he's at. He's angry at the world for not giving him
everything he thinks he deserves but isn't willing (or now, capable)
of working for.