Archive for October, 2009

Three succinct reasons why scientists should communicate science to the general public

Friday, October 30th, 2009 | Education, Science | Comments Off on Three succinct reasons why scientists should communicate science to the general public

wasp1Raghavendra Gadagkar, social insects biologist, writes:

I believe that most working scientists should spend part of their time explaining and discussing their work with a larger audience. There are at least three important reasons for this. One is that science needs to become an integral and essential part of society and not be perceived as an outside force that is at loggerheads with society. Second, scientists need to recruit the best young minds to make up the next generation and that can only happen if we devote time to communicate with the general public. Third, I have no doubt it will help us appreciate our own work better.

From the book review of  Keller, L. & Gordon, É. 2009: The lives of ants. – Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, XI + 252 pp.1

  1. That would be the other Keller, mind you.


Homology Weekly: Compound Eyes

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 | Ants, Comparative Anatomy, Homology Weekly, Morphology | 9 Comments

iGigantiops destructor/i (Michael Branstetter -

Gigantiops destructor (via Michael Branstetter -

The lateral eyes of adult insects (and most Arthropods) known as compound eyes, are like no other visual organs found in animals. You can think of our vertebrate eye as a simplified, one-lens photographic camera with a sensor composed of millions of light sensitive cells (and a blind spot, mind you). Well, that’s nothing. Each insects eye is composed of several small photographic cameras, each with its own lens and light sensitive cells (albeit, commonly only six of these). These units are called ommatidia (sing. ommatidium), and the image if formed by the combined information from all of them.1

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  1. To be honest, I have never know if this visual organ is called compound eye because it is composed of several ommatidia or because each ommatidium is composed of several elements. This has never disturb my sleep though.

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Queen of Formicidae

Friday, October 9th, 2009 | Ants, Art | 2 Comments

Hail Queen of Formicidae, ruler of all ant species! (that’s 12,591 species as of today if you ask)

Queen of Formicidae by Y Ikeda
Via Queen of Formicidae by ~Y-Ikeda on deviantART.


Charlie Darwin – by The Low Anthem live on Lake Fever Sessions

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 | Art, Personalities | 1 Comment

Low Anthem “Charle Darwin” from Lake Fever Sessions on Vimeo.

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Counterintuition in Biology

Thursday, October 1st, 2009 | Metablogging, Philosophy, Theory | 2 Comments

haeckel RotatoriaOver at Evolving Thoughts, the mighty white gorilla from the Antipodes (that sometimes goes under the nom de plume John Wilkins) has paused from his grand World Tour 2009 to write a nice and succinct reflection on the nature of concepts and definitions in Biology. He writes:

We ought not to think that a conception or definition or hypothesis that works in one part of biology must work in all others, and yet biologists themselves often behave as if this were true. That is another challenge: why is this? The answer, I believe, is that biology is both highly diverse, and also massive.

Read the rest in his post: Counterintuition: Bdelloid Rotifers « Evolving Thoughts.

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And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.
- Tom Waits