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Showing posts from August, 2011

Science Video Friday: Neil deGrasse Tyson on the future of science funding

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If you're looking for someone who's passionate about science, you don't have to look any further than Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. This week's Science Video Friday features him articulating why the government funding science is important, even in tough times.

Aquatic Beetles in a Wheelbarrow

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When I think of beetles, what comes to mind are ladybugs, ground beetles, fireflies...maybe stag beetles. All of these are terrestrial beetles and are pretty neat, but why stop at land? There are a number of aquatic beetles that are just as cool, and can be found in rivers, streams, and standing water.

I was canvasing my yard the other day when I came upon a wheelbarrow that was full of standing water. I've checked it a few times before for insects, but usually only find mosquito larvae. Last summer I did find one aquatic beetle, but I never got around to investigating what it was.

When I checked it this time, however, I found a much more diverse assemblage of creatures.

Acilius mediatus
The orange you see in that picture is rust, while the green gelatinous stuff is an egg covering from one of the species of aquatic beetles in the wheelbarrow. Either that or it's algae or something similar. The beetle Acilius mediatus is in the family Dytiscidae, the predacious diving beetles. You…

Science Video Friday: The fastest living thing on the planet

This one threw me for a loop. I figured it would be something small, but really? Huh, how interesting.

I can't embed this one onto the page, unfortunately, so here's the link for the video. It's a clip from the BBC program Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds, which I haven't seen before, but it looks like I probably should check it out.
I don't want to ruin the surprise of the video, so I'll just leave things at that.

A Rare Developmental Anomaly

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I was researching some literature on millipedes today (spoiler alert: there's not a whole lot of it) and came across an article with the title "Report on a Rare Developmental Anomaly in the Scorpion, Centruroides vittatus (Buthidae)."

Obviously, I had to read it. When you come across a title like that, how can you not? If there's one thing scientists know how to do very well, it's how to hide something extremely interesting behind a hideously boring title. It's very important to learn how to recognize those titles and see what glittering treasure is hidden under their grotesque exterior.

So I grabbed my explorer hat and started reading. It was only three pages long (with the bibliography), so it didn't take long to read. But 30 seconds after I started, I struck gold. Well, it was more like gold with diamonds embedded in it.


Holy crap!
Look at that picture! A rare developmental anomaly indeed! The authors found this specimen while "perusing" (nice w…