I have a new hero!

John Vandenbrooks of Arizona U, you are the hyperoxygenated wind beneath my enormous wings. As you all know, way back in the Carboniferous the dragonflies, and various other insects, were enormous, as the fossil record records. The assumption has been for a long time that the atmosphere back then was more highly oxygenated, and therefore […]

Buzz Buzz

Possibly the oddest Shakespeare quote, out of context. Well, I did claim this to be Bee month, and it appears the Daily Mash agrees with me, with this article. The final paragraph about bees and wasps seems particularly appropriate. For the curious, this is a send up of a genuine news study, reported here. Viva […]

A Devonian Anomalocarid!

Because, every so often, I feel I should show that my geekery goes beyond RPGs or fantasy literature. There are plenty of links on this, within the somewhat clannish corridors of palaeontology, but I choose for reference this one. To declare, in tones of astonished wonder, “a Devonian anomalocarid!” is unlikely to prompt any great […]

The Camel and the Dolphin, or, Journalism: You’re Doing It Wrong (1)

I think I’m due an undirected rant, and so let’s have a look at this news article. The entomological pedant (2) within me would like to make known the following:   1. Most critically, final paragraph, the camel spider, or solifugid, is not an insect, for the love of all that’s chitinous. This utter failure of […]

Six Legs Bad – Two Legs Worse

“From childhood’s hour I have not been / As others were; I have not seen / As others saw; I could not bring / My passions from a common spring…”      wrote Edgar Allan Poe (1), although very few fantasists haven’t felt like that on occasion. It’s a genre that traditionally appeals to the […]

An Early Present from Santa Claws

Oh to have a reputation.   Specifically, a full half-dozen people have sent me links to the same news story, linked herewith: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7104421.stm   The obvious thought, when confronted with this, is, “slow news day.” Had the story broken a day later, then the football (1) would have squeezed it out entirely. Like the fossilisation […]

The Hirsute Conspiracy

Palaeontology, hotbed of political controversy, jingoism and prejudice!   A bold statement, you might think. I mean, anthropology, yes. One can see how debates over the history and development of the various races(1) of man could be turned to a number of political ends, and generally highly undesirable ones, but go back far enough for […]

Something Wicked This Way Scuttles

Actually, before all that, what was that about insects?   After promising some manner of insectery, which in itself is a monstrous and unwieldly neologism (1), I appear to have failed to deliver. The thronging hordes in their millions of species have been conspicuously absent. Even the affectation “the insect man” is currently unsubstantiated.(2) Why, […]