Posts Tagged ‘homiculture’

Taxidermy Tuesday

5 January 2010

Raccoon and culvert - Oakland Museum of California

The fact that I can never seem to maintain a weekly feature for more than a few weeks or so isn’t really any reason not to launch another one right?  Like most of you I am sure, I have lots of photos of mounted animal specimens from natural history museums, bars etc.  Some are interesting for what they are, others for how they are displayed, and some are just straight up crappy.  This one falls into the second category I suppose, a very honest if unglamorous display from the Oakland Museum of California.  The museum is currently undergoing a major overhaul, I hope this guy makes it into the new exhibit!


31 July 2009

Prehistoric animals are an astonishingly popular subject for postage stamps, almost always featuring animals never found in the country which issued them,  and most of which are really, really terrible.  However, I really like these ca. 1966 Polish stamps designed by Andrzej Heidrich.  I suppose it’s just my inner communist coming out.

Fluvial Mudstones are the new Candy Girls

25 May 2009

I once wrote a paper entitled “Applying the Principles of Stratigraphy in an Analysis of Melodrama.” Sadly, this was long before There Will Be Blood came out.

This video by Grizzly Bear reminds me of that paper, for several reasons, but, I’ll spare you the golemy details.  I dig the layers of metaphor though, puns possibly not intended.

Anyone recognize the location?  Anza Borrego or something?  And presumably those flags in the first scene are a paleo site right?

Props to Radov for leading me, indirectly, to this video.

Photo from

Photo from

Because every archeological discovery deserves a breakfast cereal

3 February 2009

choco-canyonUm…what are you working on?” my lab mate asked.  A few hours earlier she had shown me a truly rank skull that she had just dissected from a frozen chimaerid.

“…well…” I paused to consider my explanation.  “There’s a new paper out in PNAS about the discovery of thousand-year-old chocolate at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.  So, um I decided to design a cereal box based on that concept…”

“Oh, okay.  I’ll let you get back to that…”

For the record, the cereal’s mascot is named “Cocoapelli.”  Hat-tip to Will Baird for the name “Choco Canyon.”

I have somethings I need to tell you

2 February 2009

about marmots (woodchucks &c.):

  • marmots are basically squirrels with a weight problem
  • “wuchak” is a Cree word whose corruption is supposed to have given rise to the English “woodchuck.”  However, “wuchak” apparently means “fisherman” in Cree and the name originally applied to the fisher (“Martes” pennamti), a large weasel that bears almost no resemblance whatsoever to a woodchuck/groundhog/marmot aside from being furry and brown.  Except, hold on a minute, the name “fisher” has nothing to do with “fishermen” in the first place, it’s supposedly a corruption of the French word for a polecat pelt “Fichet.”  So it’s not entirely clear why the Cree word for “fisherman” should be used for either animal.  So, WTF?  “Wuchak”?
  • Marmota monax is more closely related to Eurasian marmots than the mountain marmots of the American west, suggesting that a band of intrepid groundhogs once (or perhaps more than once) crossed Beringia and invaded Eurasia, although some other scenarios are possible.
  • awesomely, wikipedia has six suggested responses to the old “how much wood…” tongue-twister, three of which are properly referenced with footnotes.  Astonishingly, the response I learned as a child “A woodchuck would chuck lots of wood if a woodchuck could chuck wood” is absent although, admittedly, it’s not very imaginative compared to, say “42 pounds.”  Still, any wikipedia editors out there, feel free to cite microecos on that one.
  • here is a recipe for fried woodchuck, from this very useful site.  I would bet this recipe could be adapted for any medium – large rodent, you might want to adjust the cooking time:

    Fried Woodchuck
    1 woodchuck
    1 tbsp salt
    1 cup flour
    2 tbsp fat

    Clean woodchuck; remove glands; cut into 6 or 7 pieces. Parboil in salted water for 1 hour. Remove from broth; roll in flour and fry in hot fat (deep fat may be used) until brown. Serves 6.

  • More over at Oryctology.

Fun with Fake Tilt-Shift

15 January 2009

Tilt-shift is a relatively sophisticated photography technique that allows photographers to play with perspective creating dizzying, fantastic images that confound our expectations about scale.

Tilt-shift maker is a fun, and easy to use website that allows you to simulate the effect (albeit imperfectly) on your own photos or things you find on the web.  I knew there was a reason I was taking so many photos of rooftops while I was in China… (click for larger versions)





Time’s Spiral in Arrow Canyon

6 October 2008

On an autumn afternoon, Earl Wadsworth climbed up to the top of a ledge in a remote slot canyon in Nevada.  With a knife or a nail or some other tool Earl scratched a large cursive “E” into the limestone wall.  After some consideration the graffiti-artist gave up on the formal script and printed his full name across the rock.

Just below he added the date: “November, 14th 1920.”

Eighty-six years later, to the day, I found myself on the same ledge admiring Wadsworth’s handiwork.  Read the rest of this entry »