We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
This is the time of year (mid-May to mid-June) when our Horseshoe Crabs come into the shallows to mate, sometimes ending up dead on the beach in the process. The WaPo did a piece on the spectacle a few years ago.
These critters, or ones similar, have been around for 1/2 billion years. The female digs holes in the sand and deposits around 20,000 eggs in each one, which the male then fertilizes. Those eggs are an important shorebird food.
Despite their size and intimidating appearance, horseshoe crabs are not dangerous.
A horseshoe crab's tail, while menacing, is not a weapon. Instead, the tail is used to plow the crab through the sand and muck, to act as a rudder, and to right the crab when it accidentally tips over.
The horseshoe crab's central mouth is surrounded by its legs and while harmless, it is advisable to handle a horseshoe crab with care since you could pinch your fingers between the two parts of its shell while holding it.
Horseshoe crabs have 2 compound eyes on the top of their shells with a range of about 3 feet. The eyes are used for locating mates.
Horseshoe crabs can swim upside down in the open ocean using their dozen legs (most with claws) and a flap hiding nearly 200 flattened gills to propel themselves.
Horseshoe crabs feed mostly at night and burrow for worms and mollusks. They will, however, feed at any time.
Horseshoe crabs grow by molting and emerge 25 percent larger with each molt. After 16 molts (usually between 9 and 12 years) they will be fully grown adults.
Horseshoe crab eggs are important food for migratory shore birds that pass over the Delaware Bay during the spring mating season. Fish also eat the juveniles or recent molts.
In the 1900s, horseshoe crabs were dried for use as fertilizer and poultry food supplements before the advent of artificial fertilizers.
The medical profession uses an extract from the horseshoe crab's blue, copper-based blood called lysate to test the purity of medicines. Certain properties of the shell have also been used to speed blood clotting and to make absorbable sutures.
A reader sent us this photo from two weeks ago. The male is the smaller one, clinging to the the barnacle-encrusted female:
Sex the wrong way, or, how to get the crabs, or worse--
AP--Court Upholds HIV Conviction
Moscow--The 2006 conviction of a Moscow man for transferring body fluid that may contain the virus that causes AIDS has been upheld by the Idaho Supreme Court.
The court's opinion concerning the case against Kanay A. Mubita was filed Wednesday. Mubita, who immigrated to the United States in 2001 from Zambia and relocated in Moscow, was convicted on 11 counts after a number of women testified at trial that they had unprotected sex with him.
Mubita denied any knowledge of having tested positive of the HIV virus, despite expert testimony to the contrary.
According to the 23 page ruling, Mubita created 'a clear and immediate danger to public health', and his records, which he'd voluntarily created with the Department of Health, were therefore subject to release during the criminal investigation.....
Mubita, 33, was sentenced to 44 years in prison. All the women who testified against Mubita said they agreed to have sex with him, with several testifying they engaged in sex on the first meeting and multiple times thereafter.
Moscow police launched an investigation when the office of the prosecutor was notified that a Moscow man who was thought to be HIV positive was having sex with two women without notifying them of his status.
Mubita was arrested later in the month, at which time police issued a news release asking people who may have had sex with Mubita to contact the department. According to records, police interviewed 13 potential victims, after which Mubita was charged with 11 counts.