I think this post might be better categorized as Have “Science” Will Travel. A few weeks ago I went up to Maine to see some nature and get my lobster on. In my search for interesting things to do, I came across the International Cryptozoology Museum. At first I thought it was a museum of micro-organisms (my grasp of Greek prefixes may not be what it should)…but oh my, it was so much better than that. Cryptozoology is actually the study of and search for animals whose existence has not yet been proven (Like Nessie…or Bigfoot). Continue reading
Tis the season…for my 4 year old to ask me to sing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer repeatedly during any car trip longer than 30 seconds. My apologies to anyone who gets caught in the crossfire. My singing does not get better with repetition.
My kids also love the Rankin/Bass stop animation classic film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As you probably have come to expect, I have had a lot of time to wonder about how two seemingly normal reindeer could have a child with a glowing nose. Classic genetics is well-equipped to deal with this problem.
Both Santa and we should be very concerned about the genetics of red reindeer noses. According to Wikipedia, the Rudolph story dates back to 1939. There have probably been quite a few foggy Christmas Eves in the intervening years. According to the Pittsburgh Zoo, reindeer typically live for 10 years in the wild. While we can expect that Santa’s reindeer do a bit their those in the wild, it is clear that Rudolph alone would not be able to “guide Santa’s sleigh” today. Given their success breeding flying reindeer, it is not hard to imagine that Santa’s elves could generate a stable of red-nosed reindeer. How they would go about doing so would depend on how, genetically, Rudolph wound up with that first Red Nose. Continue reading
Last year our eldest daughter (then 3, now 4), The Frogger, fell in love with the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. This year she is obsessed with “A Holly Jolly Christmas”. It is no coincidence that both songs are performed by Burl Ives in the Rankin/Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Cut to me, in the car, frantically pushing buttons to cycle through CDs and play Burl Ives singing “A Holly Jolly Christmas” in order to fulfill the heartfelt request of my child. Experienced parents will know that there are a variety of potential motivations for such behavior beyond simply avoiding a tantrum, for example cutting short a half-hour of repeatedly yelling the same three lines of the song with 73.21% accuracy.
Having found the correct CD and as I pushed buttons to get to the right track, I began to wonder if I was taking the shortest route to my song of choice. There are three possible routes to any given track on my car’s CD player. Continue reading