Friday, May 16, 2008

Giant Microbes

Giant Microbes must be the most clever idea ever for plush toys. Not only are they playful and cute, they are educational with a scientific angle. Each one comes with information about the microbe and a picture. Doctors and teachers use them as educational tools. There's nothing else like them and unfortunately you can't get them all over the world. :(

I had not visited their site in a while so I was happy to see they are still going strong and have expanded their range. Now you will find them grouped by type there are that many. You can still get the classic Giant Microbes in the Health group, the Common Cold, The Flu etc. Giardia is a Malady and a favourite of mine. I think it's cool you can buy Scum (Biddulphia)

There has been some artistic license taken, while still maintaining the correct forms and proportions. Most notable, clever and amusing are in no particular order:
Flesh Eating bacteria with embroided knife and fork;
Chicken pox resembles a chicken because of the colours chosen;
Heartworm has a collar with an embroided heart tag;
HIV wears a red ribbon;
MRSA, a Superbug, has a cape!

Right now I've got this one in my system:

As opposed to this one:

Here's an informative article which answers the age old question
What's the difference between the Common Cold and a Flu?
So having read this and visited the link, the next time you feel ill - with snottiness and so forth - you will not only know what ails you but now you have an idea of what the little bugger looks like!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Splendid nudibranches

Check out the amazing nudibranch (pronouced nood-ei-brank) photographs at National Geographic online.

A variation on a sea slug - technically they aren't sea slugs - their ancestors were snails. You could think of them as emancipated snails who shed the oppression of shells in favour of flamboyance and toxins. Hot damn, they're proud of it! :P

What curiously splendid creatures they are, with such gorgeous colours and baroque shapes. Note how small many of them are. So fantastic if you didn't know they were real you would think an artist dreamed them up and sculpted them in ceramics, or built them in a computer.

My favourites are:
Chromodoris dianae (4th image)
Flabellina exoptata (8th image)
Hypselodoris sp. (2nd of the second white background grouping)
Chromodoris sp. (as featured on Cute Overload aka 'Pimp Slug, McSluggersons' 4th last)
Mexichromis mariei (last)

Read the accompanying NG article here.
See more images, learn more about nudibranches, in the NG video here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bottled water

I'd always suspected it was a bit wasteful to keep buying bottled water instead of refilling a bottle - even a 'disposable' one - with tap water several times.

This article at Smithsonian magazine online is an eye opener

You don't realise how much extra water goes into making that bottle of water for you or how much energy is consumed both in making the bottle and transporting it to you. The reality is, most tap water is fine to drink and it actually doesn't taste much different, particularly if it's cooler than room temperature (pop an ice cube in there). The key to reusing any bottle is to wash it out with warm, mildly soapy water regularly - if not everyday - and let it dry out completely.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Guild of the Golden Owl

As I wrote previously I would provide an update on the 2008 Melbourne, Labyrinth Ball. There is now an official website so you can find all you need to know there.
Guild of the Golden Owl, the official Melbourne, Labyrinth Masquerade Ball website

Monday, May 05, 2008