Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Humour from a German-speaker :-)


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Caterpillar id

Is anybody good at id'ing caterpillars ? I found this geezer the other day trying to break into my apartment. I did some internet searches but unfortunately didn't turn up anything that looked quite like him.

It turns out that when you talk about caterpillars in Japanese (='kemushi'; literally 'hairy insect') this is the type of creature that you are referring to. Rather than become a butterfly, this guy will become a moth and the spines (='urticulating hairs') are likely venomous (this seems to explain why Japanese people don't like kemushi; whereas my image of a caterpillar is of something eating lettuce leaves that is pretty much harmless). In fact, some of the venoms produced by caterpillars are the among the most potent in the animal kingdom (pretty cool huh). Actually, on a remote Okinawan island a few years back I managed to freak out our guide by presenting a funky caterpillar to him on a kayak paddle. Apparently, it was the most feared creature on the island (I am not joking) and it was looking fairly angry (its urticulating hairs which normally down were standing upright)!

Anyway, the other random bit of information that I learned about caterpillars in this process is that they do actually only have 6 legs near the front. The rest are things called "prolegs" that are not jointed and are based upon hydraulics and are pretty funky when viewed up close (as they have these things called 'crotchets' which look like minature venus fly traps).

If anyone knows what kind of caterpillar this is then please let me know!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

"History of God" Author interview

Really interesting interview with Karen Armstrong whose book I have been trying to read for sometime now.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Too funny!

Cheap car

After a couple of posts mentioning electric cars with decent performance characteristics here is a "regular" petrol one that is more affordable.