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Posts Tagged ‘beetles

Meet the Beetles!…

 

In 1912, Ladislas Starevich, serving then as Director of the Museum of Natural History in Lithuania, set out to film the combat of stag beetles, but the nocturnal insects kept shutting down when the lights went on.  His solution, inspired by the work of Émile “Father of the Animated Cartoon” Cohl, was to use dead beetles…

Starevich went on to develop theatrical narratives and story arcs for his “actors,” creating the likes of the dreamy-but-eerie film you can watch here:

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Read the full story at the ever-educational Dangerous Minds.

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As we recall that Starevich had lots of actors from which to choose, we might send carefully-sculpted birthday greetings to Joseph Constantine Carpue; he was born on this date in 1764.  A surgeon and anatomist, Carpue performed the first rhinoplasty in England, adapting a technique developed centuries earlier in India.  In 1814, after practicing on several cadavers, Carpue operated at the Duke of York’s Hospital, Chelsea, on a British military officer who had lost his nose to the toxic effects of mercury treatments for his liver, though his nasal bones were intact, and on another whose nose and cheek were mutilated by a sword. These two successful operations are considered the birth of modern plastic surgery. (In fact, in the late 16th century, a Venetian surgeon had used arm/shoulder skin– as opposed to the forehead skin used by the ancient Indians and Carpue– but his procedure was never adopted.)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 4, 2013 at 1:01 am

“The Creator, if He exists, has an inordinate fondness for beetles”…

 

J. B. S. Haldane was moved to utter the quote that gives this post its title by his observation that there are more types of beetles than any other form of insect, and more insects than any other kind of animal. Cataloguing beetles, then, is a formidable challenge… But not too daunting for Dr. Udo Schmidt of Selbitz, in Germany.  Dr. Schmidt has photographed and catalogued thousands of them– which readers can find here.

(Dr. Schmidt, something of a taxonomical overachiever, has also photographed and collected thousands of mollusks.)

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As we wonder where we left that roach, we might recall that it was on this date in 1871 that the American Museum of Natural History opened to the public in New York City. Organized into a series of exhibits, the Museum’s collection–which had ben gathered from the time of the Museum’s founding in 1869– went on view for the first time in the Central Park Arsenal, the Museum’s original home, on the eastern side of Central Park. The cornerstone of the Museum’s first building was laid in Manhattan Square (79th Street and Central Park West), the Museum’s current location, in 1874; but it is obscured from view by the many Museum buildings in the complex that today occupy most of the Square.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 27, 2013 at 1:01 am

Oh, the Ig-Nobility of it all…

 

Thanks to two of this year’s winners, the Wasabi Silent Fire Alarm (Chemistry Prize)…

…and Vilnius’ young Mayor’s novel solution to parking problems (Peace Prize)…

…this year’s Ig Nobel Awards have happily gotten rather more attention than usual.  But lest one miss the full range of achievement celebrated, one should visit the complete list of 2011 winners, where one will find less-widely reported, but equally-educational winners like:

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Darryl Gwynne (of CANADA and AUSTRALIA and the UK and the USA) and David Rentz (of AUSTRALIA and the USA) for discovering that a certain kind of beetle mates with a certain kind of Australian beer bottle

REFERENCE: “Beetles on the Bottle: Male Buprestids Mistake Stubbies for Females (Coleoptera),” D.T. Gwynne, and D.C.F. Rentz, Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, vol. 22, , no. 1, 1983, pp. 79-80

REFERENCE: “Beetles on the Bottle,” D.T. Gwynne and D.C.F. Rentz, Antenna: Proceedings (A) of the Royal Entomological Society London, vol. 8, no. 3, 1984, pp. 116-7.

 

As we cue up those old episodes of Mr. Wizard, we might recall that it was on this date in 1866 that J. Osterhoudt patented the tin can with a key opener (“Method of Opening Tin Cans,” U.S. Patent No. 58,554).  An ancestor of the “pop top” and “pull tab,” the “key” was used to roll a thin top from a can. The approach survives to this day, notably with canned meat products.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 2, 2011 at 1:01 am

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