Aug 182012
 

Back in April, Bug Girl found a trailer for a movie that looks amazing, “Eega”. The movie is about a man who is murdered while protecting his girlfriend from the bad guy and is reincarnated as a house fly to seek revenge! AMAZING. Well, I think that’s what the movie is about because it’s in Telugu, a language unique to southern India, and there weren’t any subtitles. I’ve added the trailer at the bottom of this post because I don’t think I shared it at the time, and honestly more people need to see it.

Then last week, Ani (of Wanderer’s Eye) sent me an email:

It is with great delight that I’m sharing this story with you. Telugu (an Indian language), and Southern India (known to make unique (read bizarre) movies, made a movie a few months ago. It is called Eega (Telugu word for House Fly). The story goes like this: A guy falls in love with a girl. But a gangster likes her too, and has the boy killed, who is then reborn as a fly (M. domestica), and seeks revenge on the villains. More on this movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eega

The first thing that came to my mind was to share this story with you. Please see the attached image.

Really, flies are taking over the world. The whole of the world looks upon other arthropods as a means of destroying the world – but not the flies! Isn’t this the most best means to spread awareness?!

And the best part? He sent a picture of the movie poster he found in Hyderabad (a city in central India)!

 

Eega poster in Hyderaguda – Photo by Aniruddha Dhamorikar

Thanks for sharing your find Ani! If anyone happens to find a copy of this movie with or without English subtitles, let me know because I’d love to see it!

Now, on to some linky goodness!

General Entomology

What’s more iconic about summer as a kid than camp? This camp in southern Ontario even featured a day with a forensic entomologist! Oh, to be a kid again!

Baseball is another of the great icons of summer, and the Yankees minor league team in Scranton is looking for a new team name, with The Fireflies making the shortlist! You can cast your vote here.

If you’re planning an end of summer bash, may I recommend some of Brigette’s delicious-sounding insect appetizers to kick things off?

For whatever reason, insects seem to find their way into a wide array of metaphors. Sometimes though, those metaphors aren’t quite correct, as Jonathan Neal at Living With Insects Blog explains.

If a fashion designer actually sold these amazing insect outfits rather than the boring old stuff in these ads The Endless Swarm found, I’d be a fashionista!

Flies (Diptera)

Brian Cutting has found what is easily the most romantic gift idea ever. Also, the best Yellowpages ad ever.

Richard “Bugman” Jones found a nice fruit fly in his garden, a species which apparently his father rediscovered as occurring in the UK recently!

This is awesome. Charley Eisemann found a weird golden rod gall last fall, reared out the midges inhabiting it, and inadvertently discovered what appears to be a new species! Great story of the important role that naturalists play in the advancement of science.

I love it when I learn of an insect that eats vertebrates, like these phorid flies Brian Brown & colleague recently described.

Africa Gomez “spotted” a great flower fly in her garden.

If you don’t mind me saying, this is not how you blog about science, at least if you want anyone to actually read and understand what you’re saying! This is important research, and had so much potential for a fun outreach opportunity considering it involves mosquitoes, spit and foreskins, but the author used so much jargon it took me several tries to understand what the hell he was trying to say.

If you want a great example of how to write about mosquito-vectored diseases, then read this chapter from Carl Zimmer’s book A Planet of Viruses about how West Nile Virus came to thrive in North America.

Beetles (Coleoptera)

My post from last week about the fly-mimicking weevil has gone just about as viral as I’m ever going to get, with almost 1,000 people having checked it out! I think a lot of that traffic came from Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True blog, which picked up the story and linked back to my blog. More interestingly however, one of the authors of the article contacted me and shared some more photos of the beetle and the flies it wants to be, which I’ve added to the original post.

The green dock beetle lives on land, but can walk underwater whenever it likes, and Ed Yong explains that now researchers have figured out how to do it to.

Sometimes it takes more than just good cologne or a good dinner reservation to get a date. Sometimes you need both, especially if you’re a hide beetle.

The Bug Geek has a new obsession that just can’t be contained.

Adam Jewiss-Gaines explains how classic video games were inspired by some unlikely sources, like dung beetles.

Doug Emlen explains some of the work being done in his lab on male ornaments in scarab beetles.

Natural Resources Canada has a really nice video out about some new work being done on Emerald Ash Borer in the woods around my hometown.

Ants, Bees & Wasps (Hymenoptera)

Meet Lovecraft’s Tiny Cthuhlu gall wasp.

Want to know what it’s like to volunteer with the Wasp Watcher program? Check out Natalie Garcia’s experiences on using wasps to track beetles.

Ants took over the Summer Olympics last week, with a big mating swarm of males and future queens dropping into the athletics stadium, just like Her Royal Highness did at the opening ceremonies!

Did you know you can tell what kinds of flowers were visited by the bees who made your honey and where they lived by the traces of pollen left over? Vaughn Bryant goes CSI on honey as a professional hobby to keep distributors honest.

Ecosystems are infinitely complex, and Ed Yong explains why removing one species can have a profound impact on every other species.

Ant taxonomist Brian Fisher recently turned to crowd-funding to finance some of his research.

Brian and a bunch of ant aficionados were in Uganda last week for the annual Ant Course. Despite their dedication to ants, at least one participant couldn’t help but photograph a lovely dung-feeding picture-winged fly.

Well, all I have to say about these ants that Alex Wild encountered on the Ant Course is OMG SQUEEEEEE!

Moths & Butterflies (Lepidoptera)

James Hathaway is a science writer in North Carolina who has recently rediscovered his childhood passion of collecting and rearing moths. He’s started a great new blog to share his experiences with rearing a few species in his home (much to his family’s horror it seems).

In Washington state prisons, an endangered butterfly is being saved by a group of unconventional heroes. Ed Yong is on top form explaining the Sustainability in Prisons Project.

It’s been confirmed: the Home Bug Gardener has become addicted to Moth’ing.

Derek Hennen shares a great quote from Alfred Russell Wallace regarding the discovery of a beautiful butterfly.

It seems butterfly populations around the earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan are experiencing significant developmental mutations. Stories by CNN & BBC. (Insert Mothra Joke Here).

If you’re in the tropics and are looking for butterflies, give this creative decoy trick from Phil Torres a try.

Other Insect Orders

Check out these beautiful articulated metal mantis sculptures by artist Geoffrey Haberman.

More cool new organisms are being found on Venezuelan tepuis (have I mentioned lately I want to visit these geological time machines?). This time a cave cricket that swims, and captured on video by the BBC.

Another cool place I’d love to go is the Galapagos Islands, where Piotr Naskrecki recently journeyed. He found a beautiful and rare katydid, and because he’s a rebel with a cause, used flash photography to show them off to us.

Speaking of finding things in dark, damp places, how about finding a cockroach in your colon?

Spiders (Arachnida)

More cave discoveries, this time a new family of big spiders with sickle-like claws in Oregon. You can read the original description here. Itsy Bitsy Beetle also managed to ruin The Grinch Who Stole Christmas for me while covering this exciting new spider.

And one more arthropod chilling in a body orifice, this time a jumping spider who found a Chinese woman’s ear canal to be a terrific hideaway. That’s it for creepy things found inside people’s bodies for this week, I swear.

The Brown Recluse is blamed for a lot more injuries than it’s actually responsible for in the US.

This post about Canada’s largest spiders, the dock spiders, by Chris Buddle was well timed as my wife and I spent last weekend at the cottage, where we encountered our fair share of them!

Taxonomy, Biodiversity Research

Now here’s a Celebronym I can respect: an Australian spider was named in honour of Sir David Attenborough.

A reminder to taxonomists that constantly changing a species’ names, while usually scientifically important and necessary, can piss naturalists off.

The team at the Encyclopedia of Life is looking for big questions relating to biodiversity research, and they want your help!

Academia

Because NSERC wasn’t screwing the scientific research community and early career scientists around enough, they’ve decided to artificially inflate their grant success rate by limiting the number of times you can apply for a Post-Doc award to once. So much for the old try, try again…

Before you try your luck with that Post-Doc grant proposal, check out some of these other Biology grant proposals that researchers have made publicly available (I especially like that they’ve noted which were actually funded).

Google Scholar can now suggest research papers for you that it thinks might be relevant to your work. Handy!

Steve Hamblin is giving us another look inside a post-doc’s psyche with his walkthrough of how to put together an oral scientific presentation. Coupled with his earlier scientific poster walkthrough, there’s no reason why I should ever see comic sans, horrid colour combinations, text-stuffed slides or jaggy, over-stretched photos ever again at a scientific meeting. I mean it people, read Steve’s posts and stop presenting that other crap.

I’m pretty sure I’ve solved some of the biggest issues facing society while walking the dog late at night, but forgotten my ideas and solutions before I got home every time, so this quote rang particularly true for me…

Science Communication & Social Media

There have been a multitude of scientific conferences of interest to me in the past few weeks, and while I haven’t actually been to any of them, I’ve been able to read what’s being discussed as it happens thanks to people live-tweeting them. The Canadian Field Naturalist Blog has nice discussion about this emerging trend, while Tom Houslay has collected some of the interesting tweets from the International Society of Behavioural Ecology meeting.

When doing science outreach, it’s important to recognize who your audience is. Marie-Claire Shanahan beautifully illustrates this point in a short story about her experiences teaching science camps in Northern Canada. You can also listen to her tell the story at The Monti’s ScienceOnline 2012 event (it’s #5, but the others are all worth a listen too).

An older set of posts by Melonie Fullick (which I’ve only just come across) about academic blogging: should you try it, and apparently there are some strong opinions about it.

A new paper preprint was released this week which discusses the emerging role of social media in science (specifically cognitive science, but all of the points made apply just as well to all other fields of research). Definitely in the must-read category for anyone who does science.

Does it matter how an institution like a university uses Twitter? I think yes, and so does Gavan Watson.

Other Fun Stuff

Apparently Google’s employee perks carry on after death, as they’ll pay your family half your salary for 10 years after your death and provide college money for dependents. Google needs a biology department… (not that I plan on kicking it anytime soon though).

Whale watching: it’s all fun and games until somebody almost gets creamed by a baby humpback whale.

In what is easily the most creative and brilliant method of exploring biodiversity I’ve ever heard of, Joshua Drew of Columbia University (@Drew_Lab) is studying Polynesian weapons to figure out which species of shark were present around an island 200 years ago but which are missing now. See more photos here, and read his presentation slides from the ESA meeting here.

Important discussion by University of Guelph associate professor Ryan Gregory about distinguishing the differences between evolution as fact, evolution as theory, and evolution as path.

NASA landed the Curiosity Mars Rover on Mars successfully 2 weeks ago (which was amazing to see live). If you have an iPhone, iPod or iPad check this out and be amazed (if you don’t have any of those devices it still works, you just have to move it manually). Here’s the explanation behind the panorama. And if you want to be the person who drives an SUV-sized remote controlled science lab on a foreign planet, check out this interview with one of the people who’s driving Curiosity.

Videos of the Week

Three great insect clips for you this week (plus the trailer for Eega): Bird louse evolution & diversity, the Field Museum’s Butterfly collection, and springtail mating (now with moustaches).

Further Reading

Bora Zivkovic – The Scienceblogging Weekly – Aug. 4 2012

Bora Zivkovic – The Scienceblogging Weekly – Aug. 11 2012

Ed Yong – Your Missing Links – Aug. 11 2012

Ed Yong – Your Missing Links – Aug. 18 2012

  3 Responses to “The Weekly Flypaper”

Comments (1) Trackbacks (2)
  1. To the ladybird spider story: That’s priority rules for you. Doesn’t matter if the name is 1 or 200 years old, if it’s older, it gets priority. And there /are/ provisions in The Code to eliminate unused senior synonyms created before a specific date. I wish the practice of ‘nomen oblitum’ was used more often.

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