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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cellar Spider Pedipalps

So when I went to the Butterfly Pavilion, I finally brought my tripod. The lady behind the desk reminded me that only monopods were allowed in the pavilion, but I'd brought it for the spiders. The light is much lower in the "other bugs" room and it's much harder to get a good picture, especially behind all that glass.

This is a cellar spider, I assume male with those pedipalps. A female was nearby with a small egg sac.
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Sidling Up to the Banana Bar

At the Butterfly Pavilion the butterflies are offered very ripe bananas -- owl butterflies are the customers I see most often. My guess on this hungry species is a postman butterfly.

Yesterday I was listening to a chapter on the radio in the "Crossing the Divide" topic, specifically in this case two brothers who differed in both politics and religion. Allen bemoans the fact that some have treated him "like an idiot" when he has mentioned his creationist views. I've heard this complaint before from a number of creationists -- two of whom resided in the math department. I have to say that I'm going against the theme of the program when I say, "It goes with the territory."

Yes, creationism is a belief, it is a matter of faith and I certainly think one should be able to believe whatever the heck one wants. That does not mean however that I think that belief is not dumb. I think of creationism like I think of flat earthers, those who hold a geocentric view of the solar system and those who think light travels through the ether. It takes such a large amount of mental contortions to reconcile the current science of biology, geology, astronomy with the guesses and poetic musings of some shepards 4000 years ago. It also takes some fairly hefty logical seizures to differentiate the Judeo-Christian creation myth as somehow more intrinsically valid than any other creation myth. So if you tell me you are a creationist, I am bound to think of you as deluded as those who think the moon landing was a government hoax, that tuberculosis is caused by vampirism, or that left-handed people and black cats are evil.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Live Specimen

We went to the Butterfly Pavilion today. I had taken all three kids to the dentist in the morning and, being as it was across town, it seemed reasonable to hang out there rather than rushing them back for an hour or so of class. I am also sick of the snow and lack of bugs.

Hanging out in an artificial rainforest seemed like just the thing. We were there for the 3:30 butterfly release in which a zookeeper, in this case Kevin, tells the small crowd about butterflies in general and the different species in specific.

I'm not sure the name of this newly emerged butterfly ... part of my brain recalls the phrase "Mock Swallowtail", but that same memory is laced with monitoring three kids and learning this new macro lens. I'll have to write to the BP and ask. I have a few more to get id'ed as well.

This was taken with my new 105mm DG Macro EX from Sigma. I could afford this one compared to the Canon of the same type. See I also needed to get a hard drive -- 450 GB LaCie (design by F.A. Porche). Too many pictures. My last notable purchase was the Mozy backup service. You never know when your computer is going to explode.

POST POSTING NOTE: Originally this didn't show, it was still referencing my localhost address rather than the blogspot one. It should be all fixed now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mind Flayer de Milo

I am a rather accomplished pack rat, so I manage to discover long lost treasures all the time... generally while trying to locate my keys or children or coffee cup.

At the bottom of a jumbo plastic cup, moonlighting as a pen holder, I found a miniature I made during my high school AD&D days. The arms had broken off, but otherwise the paint and Sculpey had held up really well. These were the days that Sculpey only came in one type and one color, but it was still the most fantastic stuff a broke high schooler might want.

Anyhow, it reminded me of the Venus de Milo and that I like making stuff.

So, here's the set up and a quarter for scale. The photo is from an art history website about Greece. I had an unfortunate computer shutdown while trying to bookmark it, but I'll just say here that it's not mine.