A funny series of letters between the writer/poet Marianne Moore and the Ford motor company about the naming of the car that would eventually be known as the Edsel: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2013/11/may-i-submit-utopian-turtletop.html
This is pretty cool. I wish he had left a section with just the slowed down version playing. I would like to hear that isolated.
At the fall kayak sale at Silent Sports in Nokonis, FL!
Velvet Worm - Slime Guns
The velvet worm - among the phylum, Onychophora - hunts by shooting fast drying adhesive at its prey and yes, I know what you’re thinking. The segmented worm-like organism can range from 0.5 to 20cm long and slime glands are located in the center region of the body making up about 11% of the total body weight in slime which is made mostly of water and some proteins.
In order to detect prey it senses slight changes in air currents with bumps on its skin and chemical sensors on its antennae to let them essentially taste something to determine if its food. When a prey item is eventually encountered, the slime is forcefully squirted through oral papillae near the head and launched up to 30cm in a sort of spray-and-pray manner. Once the slime contacts the victim, it quickly dries ensnaring it, where now the worm then seeks to eat the organism by injecting its saliva and digestive enzymes turning the innards into a slurpee. Mmm delicious.
The velvet worm are primarily nocturnal ambush predators and their senses and locomotion allow them to hunt. They move silently and fluidly with hydraulically inflated sets of valves to inflate/deflate their legs, meaning they don’t really rely on muscles for movement and is why it looks so cool as they glide along the ground. Another awesome thing about them is they have a tubular heart that extends almost the entire length of the body creating an open circulatory system.
Here is a diagram of the velvet worm anatomy
Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory posted this cool photo of spice bush swallowtail caterpillars. These are similar to the False Snake Hawk moth caterpillars that appear in my 1970’s entomology romance adventure novel, Love’s Naked Nature. Here is the scene from the novel (It’s from Victor’s POV):
“Yeah, coming here was a mistake. I thought it would be fun. It probably would if she wasn’t so stubborn.”
“She ain’t the only one,” mumbled Victor. Up ahead, he noticed a plant that had leaves the size of an elephant’s ear. As he approached, he noticed some shapes moving on it.
“What did you say? You said something.”
“I said, look at the size of these fat ass caterpillars!” exclaimed Victor, upon seeing three large caterpillars gnawing away at one of the massive leaves.
“God, they’re huge!” said Philip, pulling the camera out of his backpack.
Amanda and Reynaldo hurried over to see what Victor had found.
“Coño!” shouted Reynaldo when he saw the three bugs.
“What are they?” Philip asked Amanda with what seemed like genuine interest as he pointed the camera lens at the munching insects.
“They’re the larvae of one of the Sphingidae. Probably Histrilamella serpentii.”
“Damn, can’t we just cawl ‘em caterpillars?” Amanda could give anything twenty different names.
“In Espanish we call them oruga.” Reynaldo said proudly.
“Their common English name is the False Snake Hawk moth,” added Amanda.
“Damn! You all namin’ the hell out them fat ass caterpillars!”
“Why is it called the False Snake Hawk moth?” asked Philip. The camera was attached to the tripod and he was ready to film.
“Does anybody have a pen? I’ll show you.” Amanda seemed to come alive. If somebody showed any interest whatsoever in bugs, she was suddenly all happy and friendly.
“I think I got one, Amanda,” offered Victor, rooting around in his massive afro. He felt something and pulled it out. It was a plastic fork.
“Nope. That ain’t it.”
He put the fork back into his hair and, feeling around, caught hold of the end of a pencil.
“How bout a pencil?” he asked holding it up for her to see.
“That will work. Thank you.”
“Sho thang,” said Victor, pulling the tape machine out of its protective bag. “Hold on, Amanda. Let me get this on tape.” Victor plugged a cord into the camera, held out the microphone, and hit the record button. “You’re on.”
“Rolling,” said Philip.
“Because caterpillars are larva and have no exoskeleton, they are very susceptible to predation,” explained Amanda. “So, over time, different species have developed different strategies for protection. One of these strategies is called mimicry. In the case of the False Snake Hawk moth caterpillar, predators are fooled into thinking it’s a snake and leave it alone.”
“But it doesn’t really look like a snake,” observed Philip.
“Yeah, juss look like a big, fat ass caterpillar,” added Victor.
“Watch,” said Amanda.
She nudged the caterpillar with the pencil eraser and the creature immediately raised up on its back legs, flaring its body into the shape of a snake’s head. Two black spots blinked like eyes, and two tiny yellow appendages flipped in and out like a forked tongue.
“Aigghh!” shouted Reynaldo as the men scrambled backwards to get away from the frightening creature.
“Holy crap!” exclaimed Philip.
“It’s a got damn snake-a-pillar!” sputtered Victor from behind the protective shielding of Reynaldo’s cast-covered torso.
“Do you see how it uses it’s antennae to mimic the tongue of a snake?” said Amanda through a smirk. “Mimicry can be so effective that even a harmless little caterpillar can frighten the wits out of three grown men.”
Smiling, she held out her finger and the caterpillar crawled onto it.
Got damn, thought Victor, the woman actually had a sense of humor. Maybe the crazy bug bitch wasn’t so bad after all.
A cool photo of Atlanta recording artist Art Linton and I in Haight-Ashbury in the early 90’s. If you’ve never heard any of Art’s music, start with his Enemy Lines CD. “Enemy Lines” was one of my favorite songs from the 90’s and I feel so privileged to know such a talented songwriter.
(If you like it please leave Art a tip!)
Cool! A fly with spider tats! Read about it HERE.
David Attenborough narrates Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the VMAs.
I went to The Last Bookstore on downtown LA. The displays were so incredible! (Sorry for my creepy jet lagged face)
I am definitely going here my next trip to L.A.