Thursday, April 11, 2013

Edith Widder and the Giant Squid

When I learned it was a woman's innovation that first captured a live giant squid on camera, I had a throw two arms in the air, touchdown kind of a moment. Can't help it. This excites me. But, just wait until you find out the brilliant plan she came up with. I'm going to let her tell you in her own words. Here is a recent TED talk by Edith Widder explaining the science and filming behind the recent Discovery documentary, Looking for Giant Squid.

The Singing Cow Cracks Me Up!

What can I say. I love this freaking ridiculous commercial, and no I am not trying to sell you anything. Milk does not always do the body good, particularly if you are lactose intolerant. And happy cows might live in all kinds of places. I'm not sure why they would be so thrilled by the overpopulated state of California when they could perhaps choose more wide open spaces, but whatever. All that aside, I had to share this commercial because it makes me smile.. Hope your day begins with a little time for singing in the shower!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

'Tis the Season. Butterflies are here!

Today, I finally felt like spring was here. Yes, I know the Vernal Equinox has already passed, but it was snowing here the other day. You heard me. Snowing in Virginia in April. It's been a little trippy weird. Anyway, today I broke out the shorts and enjoyed some fun in the sun. Now that the day is done, I find myself looking through my photography from the past two years. I thought I'd share a few. I'm partial to winged insects, it seems. All of the photos appearing on this page are my own. Feel free to use the images in any way you see fit, as long as you attribute Amanda Corlies as the artist.
Happy spring, peeps!

Don't forget to check out the online young adult adventure over at The Ravens Crossing . It's a ton of fun!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

March Madness Brought A Plethora of New Species

Being a science nerd, I spend a good deal of time most mornings trolling the science blogs, news outlets, and magazines. Maybe it's just me, but March seemed to be the month for new species to come out of the woods, or whatever habitat they call home. And these aren't just in one area of the globe, but all over the freaking place. Heck, a highway being dug in California even netted us the remains of a new and previously unknown whale species. But, I'm not talking fossils here, people. I'm talking living breathing beings we had no idea existed until now. Isn't that amazing? With all our technology, we are still discovering. So, I give you some new wonders of the earth, ocean, and sky to ponder. Hooray for March Madness.

Photo Courtesy of Avi Klapfer
First, may I introduce a new, and apparently unnamed deep sea jellyfish. This was recorded by the submarine DeepSee while exploring around the island of Desventuradas off the coast of Chile. The discovery is being credited to Enric Sala.

Photo Courtesy of Peter Kappeler
And as usual, Madagascar just keeps turning out the wonders. There are now two new species of Madagascan mouse lemurs on the books. Here you have the Marohita mouse lemur caught on film for the very first time.

Photo Courtesy of Philippe Verbelen
Meet the Rinjani Scops Owl and, okay, I admit, this one is a little bit of a cheat. They've known about this little guy who lives only on Lombok Island, a resort island off the coast of Bali for, like, ten years. It has a very similar species it lives with, and scientists had to have time to verify that this is indeed a different species entirely. As it turns out, this little owl sings an entirely different song. So the truth is in the music. At last, it has been confirmed as it's own species.

Photo Courtesy of Ranil Nanayakkara

And not to leave out the insects, I give you a brand new giant tarantula who just happens to be venomous. Woot. Isn't he gorgeous? From Sri Lanka, it is on average the size of a human face. Wow! This guy lives in the trees of the forest and is now threatened by deforestation. Guess what people, when you cut down their trees, where do you think these babies are going to go? Under the house, perhaps? One more reason to leave their habitat alone, if you ask me. I mean, he's pretty, but I'd prefer he keep to the trees, thanks.

So, there you have it. A few new species making the official science books here and there. There are plenty more where these came from. Can't wait to see what April brings.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My New Position as an Internet Sommelier

I'm very excited to announce that I have been given a new and prestigious position on an up and coming project with Google. My former zookeeping experience and my contacts in the zoo community have really paid off this time! As of today, I am proud to be one of Google's Internet Sommeliers specializing in exotic animal scents. This is, of course, a new and unexpected turn for my career, but well, Google made me an offer that I simply couldn't turn my nose up at. If you haven't experienced the wonders of Google Nose, I highly recommend trying the Beta. And, I can promise you, just as soon as I am able, there will be all kinds of zoo smells for your senses to enjoy. Must go, have to begin gathering scentibytes. But, make sure you check out Google's video about the new project.