Archive for the ‘Invertebrates’ category

Giant Purple Blobs Invading SF Bay!

September 7, 2018

Vintage science fiction movies cautioned us to “Watch the skies!,” but perhaps they better could have advised us to watch the seas, because you never know what’s gonna wash up.  Submitted for your approval is one such example, a large purple blob of the type that has washed ashore along California, even in San Francisco Bay.  

Sadly it’s not alien, but is only a harmless sea slug, measuring up to 30 inches long and weighing up to fifteen pounds, although most are about the size of a fist. Still living stranded specimens can even pulsate a bit, which led one observer to call 911, thinking that they had found a human heart.  They do have an internal organ-like quality to them.  Normally found off the Mexican coast and the Baja California coast, the large purple slugs are also called sea hares, because their extended antennae are thought to resemble rabbit ears.  They’re just not as cuddly and pet-worthy, but I’m showing a mammalian bias here…

…and isn’t Invasion of the Giant Purple Sea Hares a SyFy Channel movie that begs to be made?!

Kraft’s “Assume Nothing” Lobster Commercial

September 11, 2016

 

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In a brief surreal commercial for Kraft Foods, we are introduced to Bill, who assumed that an event was a costume party, attending it in a full lobster suit. – – Don’t you hate it when that happens?!  Hapless Bill even inadvertently clouts a woman with a claw when he turns; wouldn’t that make for an interesting lawsuit?  Like Bill, I can relate to social embarrassments, being a fox out of the woodlands myself; the faux pas is my life.

Bill also assumed that his mayo was the best, when Kraft olive oil mayo delivers the taste with half the calories of the competition.  “Assume Nothing!,” we are counseled by the advertiser.  While these are words to live by, this is not to advocate unconditional buying into conspiracy theories despite the fact that it’s an election year…

The Geico Snail…

March 30, 2014

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Many of us have had bosses who aren’t too swift, but this guy is an extreme case, mainly because he’s a snail.  Winding ever so slowly through a cubicled workplace, he wears a tie and tiny spectacles, and even leaves a slime trail behind him…how appropriate for a boss! Well, the snail-boss named Mr. Tompkins is greeted by an employee named Todd, and then informs the hapless man that he is fired before crawling slowly away, whistling as he goes!  None of us would have blamed Todd had he then introduced Mr. Tompkins to the sole of his shoe, but justice is rare in the work world.  

The commercial spot begins with two women having coffee, one of which points out that fifteen minutes with Geico can save you 15% or more on car insurance.  “Everyone knows that,” replies the other woman.  Seeking to one up her companion, the first woman then questions whether her associate knows that bad news doesn’t always travel fast, and the snail-boss is offered as an example of the same. One might also learn that slimy invertebrates make poor bosses, something that I can affirm from personal experience…

Termites Are Monsters!

June 13, 2013

termites– – A new Terminix campaign visually supersizes termites and other household pests, making them visually repellent and a disgusting joy to watch.  Rather than the small and largely unseen insects that termites actually are, these are giant, horrific hell-beasts that look fully capable of eating your house and probably anyone inside it as well.  They are delivered to viewers complete with eerie horror-movie sounds and sinister voiceovers; Syfy original movie monsters should be half this good!  One almost expects to see Ellen Ripley and a squadron of space marines appear to dispatch these loathsome and dangerous beasties, getting slaughtered in the process…the termites even have circular buzz-saw type jaws within jaws!

 

…fearmongering sells, ‘ya see, as the political world has long since discovered!

Leggiest Creature!

November 16, 2012

– – When something has more than four legs, it generally tends to inspire a cringe factor.  Something with 750 legs would definitely then register high on the creepy and gross-out scale, and this little beauty is so compact as well; a white millipede named Illacme plenipes, which is Latin for “the pinnacle plentiful feet,” and measures a mere 1 – 3 centimeters long.

Found only in a small area of Northern California and looking like a thread, the millipede also boasts a rudimentary fused mouth with no known function, and hairs on its back that produce a silk-like product.

A useless mouth, and 750 legs (at least in the females)!  A related species in Puerto Rico only has 742.  I thought you’d get a kick out of that…

Along Came A Spider…

August 10, 2012

– – If you are an arachnophobe, this tale is not for you!  It seems that a woman went to China’s Changsa Central Hospital complaining of itching in the left side of her face.–Well, it turned out that the source of her irritation was a spider which had been residing inside the woman’s ear canal for five days!  It had probably set up housekeeping.   The picture shows the actual spider before its removal…

Doctors used a saline solution to flush the spider out in order to avoid having it bite the woman, or burrow deeper into her ear!  Fortunately, the flushing technique was successful.  Speculation was that the spider crept into the woman’s ear as she slept,  brought in while her house was undergoing renovations.  Spiders can be quite the opportunists…

Spiders and insects are appearing in greater numbers this summer due to the warm weather and drought conditions across much of the United States.  As cold-blooded creatures, insects develop faster in heat conditions, producing more generations in a shorter time.   The Orkin folks and other exterminators ought to be able to get some memorable commercials out of this one!  And you thought the giant talking ants were creepy…

Artificial Jellyfish!

July 28, 2012

– – I’m sure that you’ll all be pleased as punch to learn that scientists in the U.S. have created a free-swimming artificial jellyfish!  I, for one, know that when at the ocean, I can never have enough of them bumping against me in the tide or lying on the beach.

It gets stranger, too; the team members built the replica using silicone as a base on which to grow heart muscle cells that were harvested from rats.  They then used an electric current to shock the created Medusoid into swimming with synchronised contractions that mimic those of a real jellyfish!  I swear that I am not making this up…

The finding serves as proof of concept for reverse engineering a variety of muscular organs and simple life forms.  As jellyfish use a muscle to pump their way through the water, the way that they function is similar on a basic level to that of a human heart.  Such similarities reveal what you need to do to design a bio-inspired heart pump.

Synthetic life is an emerging field of science that until now focused on replicating life’s building blocks.  Now instead of just building a cell, researchers at Caltech and Harvard University have built a beast!