Welcome June! Here’s the 10th edition of Expiscor – a weekly feature that brings you discoveries, ranging from natural history and entomology to big science and, well, other weird stuff.
Here’s what I stumbled across last week…
- Sorry folks, Tarantulas do not have silk spigots on their feet. According to this paper, that claim is bogus. And I tend to believe the lead author, Rainer Foelix. This does stir the imagination, though (think Spiderman). Thanks to Matthew Cobb for pointing me to that paper.
- Human-made spider silk – the future is here.
- Open Arachnids. I mean Access Arachnids. No, I mean Arachnid Access. Wait, how about Open Access & Arachnids! Here’s a special issue of Invertebrate Systematics devoted to Arachnology.
- In that special issue, a new FAMILY of Laniatores is erected – these are a kind of Opiliones, otherwise known as Harvestmen.
- Tiny spiders – two new species of Mysmenidae described – length of both < 1 mm. Females not described for one of the species (No kidding! They are likely quite small, also)
- Garbage spiders are pretty darn smart! They strengthen their webs in just the right places. Amazing.
- And from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Die Arachniden : Getreu nach der Natur abgebildet und beschrieben by C. L. Koch. Pretty amazing plates in that one (thanks Dr. Dez for the link!):
- SCIENTISTS WAGE WAR ON PERVASIVE STINK BUG (quite the title…) & thanks to The Ent. Soc. of America for tweeting that story.
- Insects did it first – great blog by Marianne Alleyne. Last week, a nifty post about The Dawn of the Artificial Coprophages.
- We had our annual lab BBQ last week. One of my graduating MSc students bought me this amazing book. Stunning artwork about invertebrates. (thank you, Sarah!)
- An “interesting” video about Gypsy Moths. They can be ‘all ova da place‘. (Thanks Staffan for that link!)
- Way too cool. Way too hip. Way too Thrips. Yes, the cool t-shirts are now ‘out there’ as Sean McCann demonstrates.
- Embrace nature. That is all.
- We should all love the Diptera. Matt Bertone helps us realize this:
- Listen up – Biodiversity sampling with acoustics. Neat idea – not transferable to all taxa, but I certainly see its value in some contexts.
- Speaking of biodiversity – here’s a list of the top 10 biodiversity hotspots in Canada. I’ve only been to one of them. Most Canadians have not been to any of them. That’s probably a good thing -maybe their isolation will save them…
- Can twitter be beautiful? Indeed – here’s the geography of tweets (thanks Bora Zivkovic for that link)
- Over at unpopular science, here’s a post about the top five fictional scientists. I’m ok with the 1st and 3rd on the list, but Futurama & The Simpsons? Really? There are better options out there: Dr. Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes (…I call him a scientist of sorts), Sheldon Cooper, Bruce Banner? And where are the women? What about Eleanor Arroway (from Contact), or Dana Scully (X-files)
- Is the peer-review process broken? Ever wonder what might happen if you submitted your published article again, to the same journal, under a pseudonym? Here’s a study that did exactly that. Truly alarming results. (spoiler: editors don’t notice and the articles don’t get very far along in the review process). As Terry McGlynn pointed out to me, perhaps the big message is that the original papers were entirely forgettable.
- Yay! Ainsley is back on Expiscor! Arrrrrrrrn’t you happy about that?
- Speaking of pirates, here’s a terrific looking read about sea monsters, on old maps.
- An interesting week for Mount Everest.The 29th of May was the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Everest. To celebrate that, this dude base-jumped from the mountain (really? Am I supposed to be impressed by that?). Why am I bitter? Perhaps because the world’s highest mountain is being seriously spoiled by humans. Sigh.
- It’s convocation time at McGill! Today is when grads from my campus walk across the stage for their degrees. Well done to all (I’ll be cheering you on)! Here are some great words of advice for college grads. (so much more than “follow your dreams…“)
- Life lesson: don’t bring german sausages to Iceland (thanks Jamin, for the odd Iceland links last week)
- Speaking of Iceland, gotta love Of Monsters and Men. Shut the office door, crank up the volume, and click the video below.