My Epiphyllum bloomed last night. It defines ephemeral in my little plant collection – the flowers last for hours. When I went to bed, the buds were closed, they’re open now (just before dawn) and will be gone before the sun is high in the sky. I think our hot summer was to the plant’s liking; six simultaneous blossoms is the best we’ve ever done. Unfortunately, still no appropriate bats to perform pollination duties.


A super secret preview of the KPK Wunderkammer

My partner in sciencecrime is pulling some of his collections out of mothballs and displaying same. We’re assembling quite an interesting little wunderkammer. I’m responsible for most things that respire, he for the things that don’t or have ceased to. The name we’ve assigned to the project is both a geologic descriptor and a mashup of our initials (the last K is for kolossal!!). I’m hoping to take a panorama shot in a bit, but for right now, a sneak peak:

The Hall of Local Skulls


The Hall of Porifera, Vespids and A Fish


Don Coyote




Nepenthes truncata Paisan Highlands


“Atoms for Peas Piece Peace” Chemistry Set


The Siege Engine and Robot Annex


The Snowbird Ornithopter

Seems like it wasn’t all that long ago when any kind of human-powered flight was a very ambitious goal.

The Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter was designed and constructed by a team of students from the University of Toronto. On August 2nd 2010 it sustained level flight for 19.3 seconds, becoming the world’s first successful human-powered ornithopter.


More info at hpo.ornithopter.net.

Via a tweet from @bruces.

The Atlantic Tech Canon

Tons of quibbling possible  Рno The Elements of Programming Style (feel free to substitute your own title)? Regardless, any list that includes Fred Brooks, Vannevar Bush, Murray Bookchin and Donna Harraway is OK by me.


N.B. – a tech canon is very different from the meatball cannon drawn for me yesterday by a slightly off-task, but creative, second grader.

The Atlantic Tech Canon – Alexis Madrigal – Technology – The Atlantic.

Gigantic spider’s web discovered in Madagascar

But even that web is dwarfed by those spun by Darwin’s bark spider.

“They build their web with the orb suspended directly above a river or the water body of a lake, a habitat that no other spider can use,” says Professor Ingi Agnarsson, the director of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan who made the discovery with colleagues.

That allows the spiders to catch insects flying over water, and explains why the web is so long.

To reach from one bank to the other, the spider must weave anchoring lines of up to 25m.

BBC – Earth News – Gigantic spider’s web discovered in Madagascar.