Hanging around the Web

Cruising the Web BW

A shiny robot spider hangs upside-down from a metal mesh

My son and I recently hauled a long dresser+mirror up two flights of stairs, and I cleaned up the master bedroom in preparation for the return of the new baby & parents from the hospital.  The downside of course is that after a day of labor, I must spend a couple-three days recuperating.  (In other words, I used up all my “spoons”, down to the last demitasse.)

I’m also on Day 2 of one of those low-grade-three-day migraines.  Right now it’s manifesting as misreads, which when I catch myself is kind of entertaining:

In light of all that, I thought I’d share some interesting reads/cool finds on the Web recently:

My sleep-deprived daughter would be envious of ant queens, who spend nine hours a day sleeping, while the workers must squeeze in micro-naps.

From the world of delightful architecture, an adult tree[less] house shaped like a bee skep, made of recycled lumber (wheelie adaptation not included).

The CitizenM hotels have the most amazing showers, which look like Star Trek transporter pads.  To start the shower, you simply shut the door.  I don’t know if they’re large enough for a wheelchair transfer to a shower seat, but with the zero-clearance there’s a chance of it (maybe Dave knows). Want!  (Or at least the trés geek LED shower head that changes from blue to red when your water’s hot.)

Reimer Reason posted It’s a Family Reunion! for the most recent Disability Blog Carnival.

In further hexapod news:  while I was distracted by our little geekling, Bug Girl has been faithfully covering Pollinator Week, including important information about CHOCOLATE. For more funs, Cheshire has teh latest Circus of the Spineless up.

And of course, what would a list of fun be without a LOLcat?

Six white kittens lined up and looking at the camera, while a seventh is distracted with a play ball

Six white kittens lined up and looking at the camera, while a seventh is distracted with a play ball. The photo caption reads, "PUZZLE PICTURE Find the kitten who has ADD."


a small orb-weaver spider centered on a raindrop-spangled web strung across a shrub rose

a small orb-weaver spider centered on a raindrop-spangled web strung across a shrub rose

To Boldly Go

or for the grammar mavens, To Go Boldly.

I found a Bold Jumping Spider (Salticidae: Phidippus audax), inside the house, running around near a window. Don’t let the photos fool you — this cute little spider is smaller than a dime, about a centimeter long. This was quite a difficult animal to shoot — it kept bouncing around, and I had to herd it back towards me by touching the wall to one side of it, so the photo’s not in complete focus.

When I got close enough to take a photo, it reared back and waved its pedipalpi (the “feelers” under the face) over its iridescent green chelicerae (fangs), a threat display which certainly caught my attention. This is a very common species of jumping spider; like the others in its genus, it has those gorgeous iridescent green chelicerae (I’m a sucker for iridescent greens and blues, ooh shiny).

Salticids have four large eyes at the front, which gives them Read the rest of this entry »

Garden Buzz: Bee or Not A Bee?

Okay folks, this almost-weekly post is a quiz, in honour of the fact that for the first time this summer I saw some honeybees in my garden! (I’m so relieved — the first cucumbers aborted for lack of sufficient pollination.) But don’t worry, you get helpful hints.

The first insect up is the familiar honeybee. Of course, you may not be all that familiar with what honeybees look like close up, because you’re (A) unduly terrified of them and/or (B) haven’t seen many lately due to losses from mites and Colony Collapse Disorder. So here’s a refresher. Kindly note that in addition to being gold and black and flying around going “buzzz”, a real honeybee is (1) furry (insect hairs are called setae); (2) has two pairs of wings; (3) has plain antennae, not feathery ones or tiny ones that are nothing more than bristles; (4) has a little tongue, not a long proboscis like a butterfly.

Aren’t they just so cute?

Other kinds of bees and wasps may or may not be furry or gold and black, but their bodies are visibly divided into the head, thorax and abdominal regions (you know, “wasp-waisted”). Aside from the coloration or varying amounts of fluffiness, they still look like other bees and wasps, not like beetles, flies, moths or other insects.

This shiny green motorcycle-with-wings is a sweat bee (Hymenoptera: Halictidae Augochlora sp.)

This large shiny almost blue critter is the great black wasp (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae Sphex pennsylvanicus). Both of these are nectaring on the oregano flowers. I end up having far more oregano in my landscaping than I’ll ever use in the kitchen, just because the insects love it so.

Smashingly gorgeous, aren’t they?!

Ready for the quiz? Okay, let’s go to my new insect photo page

“Ooh, shiny!”

I got a shiny award; I’m so tickled.*

thinking blogger AWARD

I’ve been meme-tagged! Twice, no less. I shoulda’ said something after the first time, but I got busy with the end of the school spring term (and a few blogposts that grabbed me by the collar and demanded to be written), and then I got tagged the second time and that got delayed because of the beginning of the school summer term (ditto more demanding blogposts — my Muses are very assertive). Mea culpa.

The Thinking Blogger Award is a blogging meme meant to aid in the dissemination of thoughtful blogging (as opposed to the more mundane chit-chat kind of blogging, e.g. “Today I found a cute frock on sale”). Unlike some memes, this one is highly codified in that it has concrete rules, and requires ongoing documentation, which is guaranteed to make historians and literary pundits absolutely delighted. The rules read as follows:

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
  2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
  3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

The first award was nominated by Read the rest of this entry »