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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Interesting Animals

Tagged by Julia, our friendly neighbourhood palaeontologist!

An interesting animal I had

I'm not into keeping pets (for fear that one day alien overlords will tie me up to a wooden post naked and force me to bite rubber toys... wait a sec) but my family has kept a few small animals such as birds and fish.















One interesting fish that we had was this little dude. She was a feisty fish that went around attacking other fish and chasing them away from food.

We called her Mrs. C in honour of a particularly tyrannical teacher who afflicted one of my siblings for a few years. To stop her from attacking the other fish, we installed a plastic barrier to separate them.

But it was too late - her injured and starved aquarium-mate soon died.

It sounds funny now, but at that time we really hated her, as if she had really become the embodiment of the human Mrs. C. But yet, she continued to live on for months and months, managed to lay many eggs and eventually died of old age.

An interesting animal I ate

That would be one of these.















I bit through the transparent part of the candy and then nibbled cautiously at the mealworm. It had a flaky, powdery texture and no distinctive taste.

I wasn't brave, just bored.

An interesting animal in a museum

Opabinia at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, why of course.














Could anyone at Lucasfilm have imagined an alien species with two rows of swimming appendages, five eyes and a vacuum-cleaner mouth that can grab prey between its sharp, merciless spines?

Reality is always more bizarre.

I bet it used to make "sluurp-sluurp" sounds just like Noo Noo!

An interesting thing I did with or to an animal

This crab spider tried to hitch a ride into the lab on my T-shirt one day.















I trapped it in a Milo cup, observed it for a few hours and let it go in the garden outside.

Sounds boring? It is.

But can you imagine what would have happened if it succeeded in infiltrating the lab?

Instead of being an ordinary disillusioned grad student - I could have become Spiderman!

Stand aside Tobey McGuire. I want Kirsten Dunst.

An interesting animal in its natural habitat

















No... erm... I mean... fireflies! Fireflies are cool because they make dots and dashes of light while flying through the night, like some kind of Morse code.

I first saw them while on a stargazing trip at Pulau Ubin, one of the offshore islands northeast of mainland Singapore.

In addition, the protein that makes them light up is called luciferase - a commonly used tool in molecular biology.

Lucifer-ase. How much more evil can an animal get?

Simply awesome.

7 Comments:

Julia said...

You're braver than I am! I've never had the guts to try a tequila worm. I think it's the carapace that does it.

angry doc said...

Have you read this blog before?

http://skepticalpd.com/

Lim Leng Hiong said...

To Julia:

Heh, it's just flaky and powdery throughout. Maybe the worm has been processed too much during candy-making.

To Angry Doc:

No I haven't - I just took a quick look and it seems like good stuff!

The Flying Trilobite said...

Yay, Opabinia! There just aren't enough Opabinia online. It's nice that you are providing a safe forum for Opabinia to meet each other and have some romance online, without pressure from non-Opabinia.

Years ago, I read a science fiction short story about Opabinia having a rudimentary culture, and about a young female not wanting to turn male as she grew older...I think it was in "Science Fiction Age" magazine. If I find it anywhere, I'll let you know.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

The Opabinia looked at each other. And then she winked an eye at him.

Then the other eye.

And the other eye.

And the other eye.

And the other eye.

Heh.

That short story sounds curious. Yes I'd like to read it if you can find it.

The Flying Trilobite said...

It's possible the authour was Neal Shusterman, but I can't find the story. Hmph.

I guess if google doesn't find something, it's not omnipotent yet.

The Flying Trilobite said...

Okay, forget Shusterman, I found the story.

"A Song Against the Dark"
Mary A. Turzillo
(with an illustration by Greg Carter)
in Science Fiction Age magazine,
volume 4, number 2 1996 Sovereign Media.
ISSN #1065-1828

Here's a Locus link:
http://www.locusmag.com/index/s754.html