Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cephalopod Eyes

I was looking stuff up about octopus eyes and noticed an article titled "What animal has a more sophisticated eye, Octopus or Insect."

I remembered talking about the convergent evolution of eyes and how the octopus eye differed in that the nerves are attached at the back. Apparently that's because the eye evolved as an invagination of the skin, meaning that the eye evolved from the skin going inwards rather than an outward extension of the brain.

The article says that all invertebrate eyes develop as an invagination while vertebrate eyes are all extensions of the brain. I wonder if invertebrate invagination includes insects?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SpaceX Grasshopper


My brother works at SpaceX and sent me this link along with this message:

"I . . . called the test engineering manager for Dragon and said, 'I'm bored.  Is there anything I can help out with out there this evening?' and he replied, 'Get over here ASAP!  Grasshopper is about to hop!'"

This is just more proof that by studying insects, engineers and scientists can get a whole lot of inspiration for their designs. (Even if it looks nothing like a grasshopper.) And it's a huge leap for reusable spacecraft.


Disappearing Bees

This is so weird. Until today, I'd thought the whole bees disappearing thing was just a joke in Doctor Who. Then this morning, I was listening to a podcast (not even a scientific one) where they mentioned findings in this article and I had to look it up. It was only later in the night that I saw the subject of the Insect World readings and videos for this week. It was crazy.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Cobweb Hotel

This short video is a documentary showing the interactions of flies and what seems to be a rare 6-legged talking spider. Examples of mimicry, predation, and sociality between flies are included.