Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (post in progress)

What are they?
Madagascar hissing cockroaches ("hissers") are large cockroach species native to Madagascar.  They are kept as feeders, as educational specimens, and increasingly as pets.

Are they the right pet for me?
  • Hissers can be handled and once they get used to it will not be stressed by handling
  • Hissers are not suitable for handling by small children or for extended periods
  • Hissers and their enclosure can host a diversity of mold species and so are not suitable for people with allergies or sensitivities to mold
How to keep them
Hissers are relatively hardy.  You will see people keeping them successfully in a variety of different habitat designs.
  • They should be kept in a tub or tank that will retain some heat and moisture, but with a mesh or perforated lid to allow some air circulation
  • Hissers can and will escape and their nymphs are small, so ensure there are no gaps they can squeeze through
  • They can be kept without a substrate but I would suggest using something like coconut fiber or tropical bark mix.
  • They should be given areas to hide and climb such as egg crates, branches, rocks, or tubes.
  • If they are being fed predominantly dry foods provide water via water crystal, droplets, or a wet sponge.  Small cockroaches (nymphs) will drown in open water dishes.
  • Keep the enclosure above 60 degrees, higher temperatures are better.
  • If you do not wish the hissers to breed keep only male
Things to know
  • Hissers molt (shed their outer layer) multiple timers as they grow.  Immediately after the molt, they are softer and white in color.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It may not be stress giving you weird dreams

The media is awash with anesdotal reports that people are having more weird dreams, and linking it with stress relating to the COVID pandemic.  There may be a si8mpler but less news-sexy Explanation, bear with me:

1) Some data suggests Americans are experiencing a whopping 20% increase in sleep times (probably due to less time spend commuting or at work at all)
2) You recall more dreams if you sleep longer and don't immediately get out of bed in the morning when you wake up

As for the dreams being weird, all dreams tend to be weird and incorporate aspects of what you thought about that day, but most people remember only one dream a week. Stress does not generally directly effect dream valence.  So the increase in remembering dreams at all seems a more likely cause of remembering more weird dreams.

Occam's razor, yall

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Boho Clothing Scams on Facebook

If you are tempted by Facebook advertisements, beware.  For months now the majority of advertisements I have seen for women's clothing are fraudulent.  If you order from them you will be sent nothing or possibly something very different from the pictures.

The scam seem to focus mainly on BoHo looking women's clothing.  High discounts will be offered for multiple purchases.  The stores have thrown together names and brand new websites that all look similar. (see: Leekway, Kendoco, Flinyclothstore -- see a huge list of them here)

My advice would be to not buy anything from a site advertising on Facebook unless you already know the brand and website to be legit.  If you are thinking of taking the chance, first check the company on a site like -- and pay with a credit card as they are more likely to refund you in case of fraud.

I have been reporting these ads for months but Facebook seems to just play wack-a-mole and let the scammers load another hundred or so new clone sites to keep scamming people.  And Shopify isn't much better, the most commonly used host for receiving the money-for-nothing.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Buster Browns Dog

A few weeks ago I came across this little jug in my local Goodwill.  So I had to add it to my antique-dog-stuff collection.

The characters are Buster Brown and his dog, Tige (short for Tiger), an American Pit Bull. They are from a cartoon strip that ran from 1902 to around 1911. It has been suggested that Tige was the first comic-strip animal to talk.

The jug turns out to be a creamer from a children's tea set probably made around the same time the comic strip was being produced.