29 August 2008

Insect Jewelry

I just saw these beautiful insect jewelry pieces on Alphabettisphaghetti's Etsy shop.

The first is a butterfly necklace modeled after Parnassius apollo.

This damselfly necklace also caught my eye.


28 August 2008

Why Study Plants?

I previously linked to an old educational video about why we should study science. For your viewing pleasure, here's a much more modern video about why we should study plants, or at least why plants are so important. I especially liked the part about how plants are portrayed in film.

(via the Botanical Society of America)


27 August 2008

Cows face north-south

You might have heard the saying that moss mainly grows on the north side of trees. That "rule" is generally only true in the northern latitudes and dependent on the area's ambient light and moisture. But here's a new orientation rule in case you get lost, cows and deer tend to face magnetic north or south when grazing and resting.

I'm amazed at how people use Google applications these days, and in the case of this study German and Czech researchers examined over 8000 cows and almost 3000 deer satellite images using Google Earth. Researchers have previously shown that many animals have a magnetic sense, from fruit flies, birds, amphibians and fish. However, this is the first report of large mammals sensing magnetic fields.

For a more in depth summary, check out Scientific American's article here, or if you're not up to reading, they have a 60 second podcast too.


26 August 2008

Growing Better

I had to share this video as it stars a former grad student in my department, Chris Martine, who's now a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh. I thought this was a great introduction to oak identification with humor that reminds me of Alton Brown. Give it a watch.

(Martine, if you're reading this I want more of these!)


25 August 2008

Cave formations tee

On your next trip to a cave put on the Stalagmite vs. Stalactite tee available on Threadless. That way you just have to look down to remember that stalactites hold tight to the ceiling, while stalagmites are on the ground.


23 August 2008


I just read a really interesting interview with Jonathan Meiburg, a singer/songwriter in the band Shearwater, over at Scientific American.

I am always on the look out for songs that incorporate biology and there are many songs the mention birds. But in this case, birds are a common theme in Shearwater's songs because Meiburg is also an ornithologist and got a master's degree studying the biogeography of the Striated Caracara. Looking for the band's website, I also learned even the band's name is bird related, shearwaters are long winged seabirds.

You can listen to several Shearwater songs online at the band's website and also on last.fm.


Squid hats

I just saw these cute plush squid hats on ObeyMyBrain's Etsy shop. If I wasn't a poor graduate student, I'd buy one and go as a giant squid for Halloween. Or maybe a ship being attacked by a kraken.

I think PZ would like these.


22 August 2008

Evolving Darwin Play Set

Just in at Archie McPhee (my favorite source of all things tacky), the Evolving Darwin Play Set. A reproduction of the classic illustration showing the evolution of man, the man being Darwin in this case. This is being added to my mental list of potential holiday gifts.


21 August 2008

LeRoi Moore, 1961-2008

I just heard yesterday that the amazing saxophonist from Dave Matthews Band passed away August 19th due to complications from an ATV accident earlier this summer. I was a big DMB fan in college, and man, can they ever put on a live show. Your sax solos will be missed LeRoi.

So this post isn't completely off topic, here are the lyrics to the DMB song "Proudest Monkey" (courtesy of the DMB website), which hints at the evolution of humans from apes, among other things.

Proudest Monkey

Swing in this tree
Oh I am bounce around so well
Branch to branch,
limb to limb you see
All in a day's dream
I'm stuck
Like the other monkeys here
I am a humble monkey
Sitting up in here again
But then came the day
I climbed out of these safe limbs
Ventured away
Walking tall, head high up and singing
I went to the city
Car horns, corners and the gritty
Now I am the proudest monkey
you've ever seen
Monkey see, monkey do
Then comes the day
Staring at myself I turn to question me
I wonder do I want the simple,
simple life that I once lived in well
Oh things were quiet then
In a way they were the better days
But now I am the proudest monkey
you've ever seen
Monkey see, monkey do
Monkey see, monkey do


Moss Ring

I'm going to steal this one before Jessica at Moss Plants and More blogs about it. AdornJewelry on Etsy is selling rings that you can grow moss in and wear. This shop also features rings with faux moss and bird collage pendants. The rings do not come with growing tips or moss, but that way you can select your favorite local species.
(Via Craft)


10 August 2008

We Climb

I'm really enjoying the July song over at The Guild of Scientific Troubadours. It's called "We Climb" and it's about Ventastega curonica, a transitional fossil between fish and tetrapods. In case you missed it, check out the song and the article its based on over on Grant's site.