Of course I had to learn more about her after seeing her work elsewhere. She is a scientific illustrator who traveled to areas near Chernobyl to see firsthand the results on insect life in the fallout zone. Here is that portion of her site.
There’s only one feeder at the moment. Over the weekend, I found another that is an inverted bottle-type, but the bottle has been gathering rainwater and outdoor debris for some time. Once it’s cleaned, it will be interesting to see how he reacts to it.
Yesterday I lowered the tripod, parked myself in a chair and waited to see if he would do anything different if I put the feeder on the other side of the tomato cage. I tilted the feeder so the nectar would pool to one side. When he showed up, he went to his usual side, then became frustrated at not finding his food at the usual place. He bounced around, beak down, then he did a flyby under the roof overhang, where he’s more used to finding the feeder. Eventually, he was able to get at the nectar, but not where I wanted him to be. Maybe today I’ll plug up the other holes.
An exhausting performance for the lady of his choice.
According to the Beeb, Nephila Komaci has a leg span of almost five inches.
Which makes my biggest garden/garage spider puny in comparison. I really don’t think I’ll be getting a ruler and stretching out its legs. For which we’re both grateful.
Yes, yes, I’m releasing it today. Not only does it seem to have an imploring gaze when I look at the photos, but yesterday found me searching the garden in vain for some live insect food to sustain it.
This time of year it’s hard to check the garden without walking into spider webs. In the 95° temps this afternoon, I found this creature. A hot breeze came up, so I didn’t get the shot I wanted. I suspect it will still be there tomorrow.
The Korean fish with human-like eyes, noses and mouths:
Some images from finalists in the 4th Annual Photo Contest.
Last night I bought a 5-lb bag of sunflower seeds, the black kind recommended for birds. At the feeder this morning, I tossed out a fistful. Within a couple of hours, probably less, they’re all gone, taken by a few chickadees.
Despite the fact that they’re hounded by the juncos, the chickadees do a quick overview of the various seeds, and pick out only what they want. Some days, it’s bits of peanuts. The popcorn yesterday seemed to intimidate all the birds, but after I cleaned off the feeder, a lone chickadee swooped in to get the one morsel of popcorn left.
No, they didn’t manage to eat all the sunflower seeds. They cache it somewhere, hopefully where the squirrels can’t get to.
Saturday, family members and I went to Pt. Reyes looking for tule elk, said to be near the end of their rutting season. I think they looked at the calendar and decided it was close enough, and called it quits. We could see them from a great distance as they rested.
On Sunday, we tried Safari West, and were pleasantly surprised at how many animals we could see up close. There might be pictures after I sort through all the blurry ones. We weren’t used to that kind of in-your-face experience, especially the drooling giraffe. Next time, we’ll be better prepared.
Speaking of elk, I found this link quite by accident. It’s old, but incredibly good.
It is named Martialis heureka after Edward O. Wilson exclaimed, ‘Wow, this ant might as well be from Mars, it’s so different.’
Wolves know that it is better to catch a salmon than to go after a deer. For one thing, they sustain fewer serious injuries. For another, well, there’s that omega-3 thing.
I saw it lurch by the window, and ran out with my camera. It’s not the most graceful of insects, and indeed its wings are a vivid blue/green. Loud too. It headed for a tomato bed. I got one shot off, but missed it. It looks like a shield bug, but unlike ones I can find online. After sloppily landing in a few other places near the ground, it disappeared once again.
It appears to be over an inch long, possibly an inch and a half.
Years ago, a friend and I decided that your hair knows when you’re coming down with something. A really bad hair day just might mean there’s a bug in the system.
Thanks to Olympic pressures, a discovery has been made to detect infection early in athletes. The test, which involves the assistance of a luminescent mollusk, known as the piddock, will help coaches decide when to isolate a team member or to cut short the hard training sessions of a soon-to-be-ill competitor.
But I bet their hair looks like crap too.
Hawks frequently leave traces of their meals in my yard. Piles of feathers, usually, sometimes part of a wing. Some shrubs bear the unmistakable marks of a bird of prey that has been digesting in the branches above. From time to time, I even get to see one.
No one knows exactly what happened to this hawk, found by the side of the road here in California. The more sensational headlines surmise that the ingested bird managed to claw its way through. A more sensible theory is that the hawk was hit by a car, which caused the its crop to burst. But it’s certainly an startling photo.
Could a woman’s long hair support the weight of a man? Could a carpet really fly? Did the witch who took away Ariel’s voice have access to current technology?
Photographed by Taryn Simon, they include nuclear waste giving off an eerie blue glow known as Cherenkov radiation. A mentally retarded white tiger, the result of selective inbreeding. A peek inside the Cryonics Institute in Michigan.
One patient showed remarkable results within ten minutes after the drug was injected. Experts say that Etanercept, usually prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, might not have this effect on all Alzheimer’s patients.
At over eight feet in length, this formidable creature could make quick work of its prey with its 18-inch claws and saw blades on its legs. Nothing about the tail, though.
Quite active this afternoon. Perhaps there is earth movement nearby.
In the Arctic, three British explorers were surrounded by 17 wolves with blood-stained fur.
This is not the time to think of that Grandpa Simpson quote.
In the previous post, I mentioned tirefly lights, which I learned about from the evilmadscientist site via a tip from son Chris.
Like the author, I found the lights at Target. ( Amazon is out of stock at the moment.) Aside from their Halloween uses, they seem to be handy aftershock detectors. Once in a while, one will start flashing, and I’ll assume it is telling me we are experiencing one of the numerous - 40 at last count - aftershocks of that quake we had.
All this time, as scientists tried to devise ways to kill the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA, the solution was simple and close at hand. Thousands have died when they encountered MRSA in hospitals, especially the elderly and others with suppressed immune systems.
Garlic is powerful medicine.
According to the local paper, those of us with oak trees are not going crazy. Acorns in vast numbers are raining down on roofs and yards, and if you have skylights, it is particularly noisy. Such an abundance is known as ‘mast’.
This only happens every few years, and the current opinion is that the last one was in ‘89.
That would have been the year that Tollund Man made an appearance in our front and backyards. My boys would have been 6 and 8, and decided the gazillion acorns were nothing more than a multitude of well-preserved corpses.
I never quizzed them about the details of their play. But when I step out in the yard and see all those capped acorns now, I remember the man preserved in peat. And the little guys who suddenly had a ton of action (inaction) figures to play with.
A Thai researcher has created a durian without the offensive odor. His next goal is a durian without the formidable spikes. Not everyone, however, is thrilled with his improved product.
An African grey parrot’s 950-word vocabulary stuns researchers. Hmmm. Almost a thousand words. Isn’t that more than some politicians can manage?
Or should I say, a whiter shade of white. Scientists are amazed at the unusual brightness of the white beetle, whose secret is a shell covered with ultra-thin scales.
And other tricks of the mind from the competitors at the World Memory Championship. Those folks who can tell you the order of a deck of cards in under a minute.
For certain coral reef fish, gender is not a predetermined thing, as it is for most of us.
Does your laptop or cell phone make you feel sick? Do you feel strangely warm, dizzy or nauseous around electrical equipment?
Perhaps you have electromagnetic hypersensitivity, the subject of a new study by the University of Essex. People who suffer from EHS find it next to impossible to work at their computers or use mobile phones without distress. Some resort to viewing their monitors with binoculars from a distance.
As we adapt to our high-tech lives, was this bound to happen?
Fans of Braveheart remember the vivid blue paint Mel Gibson and his followers wore into battle. That paint is derived from woad, a plant in the broccoli family that contains large amounts of glucobrassicin, a powerful anti-tumor compound that is especially effective against breast cancer.
Or what happens if a terrorist is asked to take a sip or two of his milk or juice in front of airport security.
The legend goes like this: when infertile women came to a local shrine and asked that they be blessed with children, the wish might be granted. However, the first child will be a ‘chua’, or what is referred to by residents as a ‘rat person’ due to the skinny face, sloping forehead and protruding teeth. This firstborn must be given to the shrine or else the woman will only produce chuas. These facial characteristics are also indicative of microcephaly.
Some said that priests might be guilty of retarding the growth of otherwise healthy babies by attaching clamps on their heads. Experts disputed this, saying that such deformities cannot be caused by human tampering. They pointed out that a certain percentage of Pakistanis living in Britain also suffered from this condition.
Then a Leeds geneticist stepped in, resulting in an encouraging future for families who carry the genetic mutation.
How drug research at St. George’s, University of London might wipe out allergy problems in five years.
A recent study indicates that those who get a good night’s sleep are much better at retaining a sequence of facts, even when that sequence is complicated by new information.
A most unusual sky phenomenon in Idaho on June 3, the circumhorizontal arc.
From the mind of Mitchel Resnick of the MIT Media Lab comes a kit filled with the stuff of traditional crafts but juiced up with sensors, cables, sound boxes and a small, programmable computer.
The recipient of such a box of treasure will be able to create musical sculptures and toy figures that will interact with their maker.
According to Resnick, the kit appeals to girls as well as boys. I certainly wouldn’t mind having one of these.
Upon closer examination, scientists found cell-like red structures that could reproduce. Yet, they contained no DNA. Theories abound, including a possible meteor strike into a flock of bats. But blood cells are unable to replicate.
Another idea is based on panspermia, and suggests that microorganisms from space enter our planet via comets now just as they did when life began.
Scientists are studying the fish that can survive without oxygen for months at a time. Its blood and gill structure have evolved to survive low-oxygen situations in a remarkable manner.
Coming soon to the sky near you, Saturn, Mars and Mercury plus the Beehive cluster.
History assumes that Cortes and his army infected natives with European microbes, decimating the population. An epidemiologist challenges this belief, and offers up his own explanation for the massive numbers of deaths.
He believes that the plague known as cocolitzli could well be a form of hemorrhagic fever spread by rodents.
So which came first? The chickens still aren’t revealing their family secrets. But a chicken farmer, a geneticist, and a philosopher just might have the answer.
The malaria pathogen and the potato famine pathogen both use the same protein code to infect their hosts.
This does not mean that one day you will have to be excused from work because you have come down with Irish potato famine. But researchers may be able to produce a single drug that could attack both microbes that cause malaria and potato famine.
She can recall each day of her life from early childhood, and has kept a diary. The good, the bad, the people, the weather.
If we all have this ability, perhaps evolution has decreed that we also don’t have the wherewithal to deal with so much data, considering our current brain toolset.
Websites of the future might provide ways to organize the vast, entire minutiae of our lives rather than just putting our photos in order.