Darwin, dinosaurs, and flesh-eating beetles!

Outlines of a distant past

I realize that I’m fashionably late for Darwin Day (12 Feb), but I offer cool-scary dinosaur skeletons and flesh-eating beetles in apology!

We were in London Friday to see the Kildegaards who (a) are friends of ours from Morris, (b) are living in Denmark this year on sabbatical, and (c) were in London for a week. We had a wonderful day, which included time in both the Natural History Museum (NHM – where the photo above was taken) and the V&A.

As part of our time in the NHM, we toured the wonderful Darwin Centre. (See the nifty connection? See? See? :->) This included amazing cool things such as a giant squid in a tank, loads of great big animals (mostly fish) preserved in equally big custom-made glass jars (including a Coelacanth and a whole jar of platypi), and flesh-eating beetles! They have a whole room of incubators of flesh-eating beetles that they use to clean specimens without damaging the skeletal structure. And to top off this festival of biological delights, they have a real-time beetle-cam where you can watch the little critters roaming around over the carcass of the moment (in a grainy, low-res format, to be sure), busily contributing to the scientific process. I suspect, in fact, that they will, in their oblivious fashion, will probably contribute more to science than someone like Huckabee.

I want to thank our tour guide (whose name I, sadly but predictably, have forgotten), as she did a great job. She was full of useful information, and handled our numerous questions gracefully and informatively.

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We can all make history come alive

Harry Lamin
Courtesty of Status-Q, I’ve just run across this amazing and wonderful little project: WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier.

Bill Lamin is posting the letters his grandfather (Harry Lamin) wrote home from the front of WWI as a blog. Each letter is posted 90 years after (to the day) Harry wrote it, so following the blog is somewhat like being his family, waiting for news, hoping it’s good.

What a brilliantly simple idea, absolutely full of potential and possibility. Our family is fortunate enough to have a number of excellent diaries, letter collections, and such, and I’ve often thought of “doing something” with them. My thoughts had always been fairly traditional; this opens all sorts of doors.


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