Scientists must get bored, spending all that time researching arcane topics.  Sometimes, they just need to flex their creative muscles.

Following are names that some particularly artful scientists have given to various creatures, according to Professor Chris Impey in his new book How It Ends.

  • a beetle named Agra vation
  • a mollusk named Abra cadabra
  • an extinct rat-kangaroo called Wakiewakie
  • a spider genus named Orsonwelles
  • a genus of snails called Bittium includes a small snail species named, predictably, Ittibittium

via Linnaeus, Shlinnaeus! : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR.


This is almost incredible:

This is a bower from the one of the avenue species of bower birds — those who build a long avenue out of sticks, with a court at the end made of stones, shells, bones and bits of colored plastic. The female stands outside the avenue where the photographer was lying to take this picture and looks through it to the male bower bird who is dancing around on the stones at the back.

The funny thing about this picture is that to us the stones look like they are all a similar size, but they are actually arranged with the largest ones in the back, and the smallest ones in the front. If you switch the positions of the stones, the males will move them back into the opposite size gradient within three days. One of the possible reasons the male bower bird creates this Ames court might be to make himself look bigger in the front of the court when compared to other objects placed in the back next to the bigger stones.

via Boing Boing.

This is really cool: Yale Law School’s library checks out dogs for 30-minute breaks with students.

And for the students, it’s nothing short of brilliant. Just check out the rest of the entry and tell me that 30 minutes with a nice animal wouldn’t provide a welcome break during study time:

Monty circulates for 30 minute periods.
Graduate of Puppy School, 2000 (with honors), Certified Therapy Dog, 2010. Distinguishing features: white star on chest. Monty plays well with others and is fond of bacon. (Please don’t feed him hot dogs, that’s just wrong.)
Woof (unknown script).

Monty (Dog)
Therapy dogs.
Dogs in libraries.
Stress relievers for law students.

Additional author
Aiken, Julian, owner.

Title note
Full name: General Montgomery

Why do I have the suspicion that this idea came from a librarian who got tired of exercising his dog?  Even so, it’s a great idea.

Likemba, Zoo Berlin’s baby Bonobo. Only defined as a separate species in 1929, Bonobos differ from chimps largely for their more peaceful and easy going social dynamics.


This adorable tiger cub was found in a suitcase packed with plushies when the luggage went through an X-ray machine at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. From CNN:

Officials are trying to determine where the cub came from and whether it was caught in the wild or bred in captivity, wildlife trade monitoring organization TRAFFIC said. Authorities found the tiger Sunday in a suitcase belonging to a 31-year-old Thai national, who was scheduled to board a flight for Ira

Makes one want to introduce whoever did this to an adult tiger.

via Boing Boing.


One dead jellyfish wreaked havoc on a New Hampshire beach this afternoon, stinging close to 150 people, most of them children, and sending five to the hospital, fire officials said.

Rye, N.H., emergency officials received the call around 1:30 p.m. that 125 to 150 people, including children and a few adults, at Wallis Sands State Park had been stung by a jellyfish, Rye Fire Lieutenant Charles Gallant said.

Park officials had tried to remove a large dead jellyfish from the water earlier in the day, but it broke apart and the floating pieces stung the children in the water, he said.

The jellyfish was roughly the size of “a cover of a trash can,” Gallant said.

Didn’t it occur to anyone to close the beach until the floating pieces were collected or washed away?

via Ouch! Jellyfish stings 150 on N.H. beach – Local News Updates – MetroDesk – The Boston Globe.

Two prison escapees have (so far) evaded 300 Argentine police, by disguising themselves as SHEEP.

The pair dressed in full sheepskin fleeces, complete with heads, to lie low among farm flocks.

Robbers Maximiliano Pereyra, 25, and Ariel Diaz, 28, stole the sheep hides from a ranch after breaking out of an Argentinian maximum security prison a week ago.

And they have managed to evade the 300 cops on their trail – despite locals seeing them running through fields at night….

Police say spotting the pair among thousands of sheep is “almost impossible”. But one warned: “They can’t pull the wool over our eyes forever.”

I don’t know; sounds like some pretty woolly eyes!

But I predict that this manhunt will end right about the time that police release an excited ram into the flock.

via TWO escaped convicts dodge manhunt by dressing as sheep | The Sun |News.

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