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Take 5: Notes of Greatness from the 2014 ESA Conference

Hoot traveled to Portland, Oregon last week for the Entomology 2014 conference, and had a blast! Here’s some of what she learned:

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1. Twitter takes taxonomy to the next level. Tweeps tweet life around them in places where taxonomists can’t always go. Just ask Morgan Jackson @BioInFocus.

 

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2. In fact, there are all kinds of reasons scientists should use Twitter and other social media—to find collaborators, help fight off imposter syndrome, share a really cool story about a centipede…  Such great insight from Derek Hennen (@derekhennen)

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3. People are seriously taking a sofa safari across the U.S.A.! We’re tuning in, as the Bug Chicks (Kristie Reddick, M.S., and Jessica Honaker, M.S.) trek through some of our own backyards. Awesome photos and stories on their blog, http://thebugchicks.com/blog/. Follow them on Twitter too (@thebugchicks)

 

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4. Phil Torres is more than just a fancy TV personality! He’s a social media whiz who really knows his science. Check out his work on TheRevScience and Al Jazeera America.

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5. Yes, bug art is a thing. Some of it is beautiful, some of it is fun, and some of it just tells us what’s up. Take, for example, Chris Hedstrom (@OregonBeatSheet), Katie McKissack (@beatricebiology), Esabelle Ryngin (@wowowosh), Carly Tribull (@cmtribull), Alexander Westrich, and Ainsley Seago (@americanbeetles).

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For more awesome science on social media, be sure to follow Gwen Pearson (@bug_gwen), Marianne Alleyne (@cotesia1), Cameron Webb (@mozziebites), Leslie Allee, and Scott Meers(@ABBugCounter). We […]

By |November 26th, 2014|Bugs, News|0 Comments

A Good Nose Isn’t That Hard to Find

Ever since the dawn of time — give or take a few millennia — humans and dogs have been best buds. People liked dogs, with their scary barks and teeth when needed. And their great noses. Dogs thought, “Why not, as long as they feed and pet us?”
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Ever since the dawn of technology, researchers have gazed past the dog’s eager eyes and sensitive nose and thought, “Meh. I can build something better than that!” The race was on for a “biomimetic olfactory microsystem” to replace the dog.
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Mash-ups of mechanisms and organisms abounded. An army lab rigged a tube with a wire that blood-loving bugs would dance on and signal if they smelled the enemy.  The cone-nosed bugs lacked judgment.
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Plants take less maintenance than dogs. What about a super fern that would turn white if it detected a bomb? Sure enough. A transgenic plant could detect TNT. It took the torpid topiary between 24 and 48 hours to turn pale.

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The Germans figured the turkey vulture, with perhaps the most advanced smell of any raptor, could replace the earthbound dog.
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Sherlock didn’t like to fly when he was searching. He waddled like a duck. He would bolt and hide.
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Reconsider the humble dog. The one researchers looked at and said, “Sorry, I’m just not that into you.” More fun than a machine and usually less expensive. Check. Can signal the presence […]

By |November 12th, 2014|artist in residence, Backbones|3 Comments