Monday, August 31, 2009

Gaga + Japan = Perfection

Wow! It never really occurred to me until I saw this photo...Lady Gaga and Japan are a perfect combination. Weird, cool, fashionable, cute, disturbing, futuristic, colorful, fun, light, trendy, sexy, mysterious, modern...they have so much in common.

No wonder Japanese girls are nuts about her!

There are more (many, many more) photos of Gaga-obsessed girl fans at this website:

Separated at Birth?

Elijah Wood...and the Steller's Jay??

You, Sir, Are Silly-Looking!

This morning, as I was not working but instead gazing dully out the window (as I am wont to do), I suddenly spotted this silly guy sitting on a tree branch right outside!

Sadly, these are not my own photos, as I did not reach my camera in time, but he pretty much looked just like these guys. He had a black "crown" on the top of his head, a stocky, electric-blue body with sturdy legs and a thick beak, and he was holding a NUT in his mouth!!

At first I assumed he was a blue jay, but after studying photos online, I quickly realized that what I had actually seen was a different type of jay, a Steller's Jay.

From The Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the Blue Jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. It is also known as the Long-crested Jay, the Mountain Jay, and the Pine Jay. It is the only crested jay west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Steller's Jay shows a great deal of regional variation throughout its range. Blackish-brown-headed birds from the north gradually become bluer-headed farther south. The Steller's Jay has a more slender bill and longer legs than the Blue Jay and has a much more pronounced crest. The head is blackish-brown with light blue streaks on the forehead. This dark colouring gives way from the shoulders and lower breast to silvery blue. The primaries and tail are a rich blue with darker barring.

It occurs over virtually the whole of the western side of North America from Alaska in the north to Central America in the far south and east to south-western Texas, completely replacing the Blue Jay in most of those areas. The Steller's Jay lives in coniferous and mixed woodland, but not in completely dense forest, and requires open space. It typically lives in flocks of greater than 10 individuals.

As they are omnivores, their diet is about two-thirds plant matter and one third animal matter. Food is gathered from both the ground and from trees. The Steller's Jay's diet consists of a wide range of seeds, nuts, berries and other fruit. Many types of invertebrates, eggs, small rodents, and nestlings are also eaten. There are some accounts of them eating small reptiles, both snakes and lizards. Acorns and conifer seeds are staples during the non-breeding season; these are often cached in the ground or in trees for later consumption. They exploit human-provided food sources, frequently scavenging picnics and camp sites.

Like all jays, its calls are numerous and variable. Notably, its alarm call is a harsh nasal "wah". It also imitates the cry of the Red-tailed Hawk and Red-shouldered Hawk, which has the effect of causing other birds to vacate feeding areas at the Steller's Jay's approach. Some calls are sex-specific; females produce a rattling sound while males make a high-pitched "gleep".

This bird is named after the German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller who discovered them in 1741 (Evans 1986).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pasta Salad

This is a quick and easy pasta salad recipe that makes enough for 10!

In a large bowl, whisk together: 1/3 cup white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 clove garlic (smashed with a little salt), a bit of black pepper, and whatever additional spices you like (I like Penzey's Mural of Flavor). Add 1/2 cup olive oil slowly, while whisking. Continue to whisk until everything is well mixed. Pour mixture over one pound cooked pasta shells. Add 2 cups cooked peas, 1 pint cherry tomatoes (cut in half), and 1/2 cup fresh basil, cut into small pieces. Toss well, chill, and serve!

From Get Out of My Kitchen--I'm Cooking! by Beebo, available wherever fine books are sold.

Failure Pile In a Sadness Bowl

Space Delicacies Magazine

In the hot Saturn summer...nothing refreshes like FROZEN SLIMEBALLS.

Garnish with a cherry!

Also in this issue:

* Best Restaurants on Mars

* How To Toss Salad In Zero Gravity

* Meals On Eels

* Sea Monster Ceviche

* Guide to Interplanetary Bar Hopping

Illustration by Beebo

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Discouraging the Office Wolf

Here's another situation/problem from the book Secretaries On the Spot by the National Secretaries Association (International), 1961.

Read the problem below and consider how YOU would handle this sticky situation.

Then read on for the real-life solution below...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cats That Look Like Hitler

Are you a cat/evil dictator enthusiast?

Then you should check out this very cute website called Cats That Look Like Hitler. It's the only website that dares to ask the chilling question: "Does your cat look like Adolf Hitler? Do you wake up in a cold sweat every night wondering if he's going to up and invade Poland?"

My mom once painted a watercolor portrait of her dog that didn't quite capture his likeness; my dad claimed it looked more like Alan Dershowitz. But somehow, I don't think Dogs That Look Like Dershowitz is a winning concept. (Or, more accurately Dog Portraits That Look Like Dershowitz, which is even less catchy.)


Photograph by Ran

"Do You See the Problem?"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Goodbye, Raw Umber


Crayola crayons have come in a number of different colors over the years. When Binney & Smith first produced Crayola crayons in 1903, there were just eight colors. By 1949 there were 48 colors. In 1958 the number of colors increased to 64. Eight fluorescent colors were introduced in 1972, increasing the total number of colors to 72. In 1990 the total increased to 80 colors with the introduction of 16 new colors and the discontinuation of eight colors. The number of available colors was increased to 96 in 1993 and to 120 in 1998, though with thirteen crayons being retired along the way, the grand total of colors is 133. Along with the regular packs of crayons, there have been many specialty sets, including Silver Swirls, Gem Tones, Pearl Brite, Metallic FX, Magic Scent, Silly Scents, and more.

Colors have been renamed through the years. In 1958,
Prussian Blue was renamed Midnight Blue. The color known as Flesh was renamed Peach in 1962, partially in response to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Indian Red was renamed Chestnut in 1999 due to concern that some children thought the crayon color represented the skin color of Native Americans. According to the company, however, the name originally referred to a reddish-brown pigment from India that is used in artists' oil paint. In the past, some crayons have been temporarily renamed, such as the 2004 State-Your-Color Contest crayons and the 8 Kids' Choice Colors in the 2008 50th anniversary 64-count box.

In 1994, Crayola produced a 16-pack of crayons that released realistic fragrances when used. In 1995, Crayola changed 13 of 16 scents because of complaints received by parents that some of the crayons smelled good enough to eat (i.e. the Cherry & Blueberry scented crayons). The 13 crayons with food scents were retired in favor of non-food scents.

The Magic Scents included: Baby Powder, Banana, Blueberry, Bubble Gum, Cedar Chest, Cherry, Chocolate, Coconut, Daffodil, Dirt, Eucalyptus, Fresh Air, Grape, Jelly Bean, Leather Jacket, Lemon, Licorice, Lilac, Lime, Lumber, New Car, Orange, Peach, Pine, Rose, Shampoo, Smoke, Soap, Strawberry, and Tulip.

The Silly Scents, which are currently produced by Crayola, include: Alien Armpit, Big Foot Feet, Booger Buster, Dingy Dungeon, Gargoyle Gas, Giant's Club, Magic Potion, Mummy's Tomb, Ogre Odor, Pixie Powder, Princess Perfume, Sasquatch Socks, Sea Serpent, Smashed Pumpkin, Sunburnt Cyclops, Winter Wizard.

Crayola's thirteen retired colors are: Lemon Yellow, Violet Blue, Blue Gray, Orange Red, Maize, Raw Umber, Orange Yellow, Green Blue, Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Mulberry, Teal Blue, and Thistle.

"Yede Kale Iz Shein"

Or: "Every bride is beautiful." This young bride that I photographed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in O'ahu doesn't need the extra help.

But according to Howard Rheingold, "In every culture, there are many who do not fit the current standards of beauty, and this can cause a great deal of grief to the person who is considered homely...This matter of aesthetic standards once caused an ethical controversy among pious Jews, who considered it sinful to lie. If one is always to tell the truth, what do you tell the parents and groom of a homely bride? The great scholars whose judgments were collected in the Talmud addressed their efforts to this theological, ethical, and aesthetic question. A student of the great Rabbi Hillel wrote the line that became an established part of Talmudic doctrine: Every bride is beautiful and graceful."

According to Benjamin Blech, "An eligible young maiden is called a kale moid (a bride girl) and the bride proper is known as di kale. The word kale is part of many popular proverbs. If someone complains about something that is really positive--"But the house has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms"--the correct response is a rhetorical question: A khasoren di kale iz tzu shen?!--A failing that the bride is too beautiful?"

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish by Benjamin Blech and They Have a Word for It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words & Phrases by Howard Rheingold

Mexican Painting

Zoe bought this painting from a street artist in Mexico and gave it to me as a souvenir. It's painted on a little piece of brown paper (about 7 x 5 inches).

I like the bright colors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Most Oldest Burger

I'm not gonna lie: I love Orange King. It's hands down the best place in the U. District to grab a quick, cheap, but tasty cheeseburger and fries. And it's a Seattle institution (more on that in a moment).

Recently, they remodeled. Their new sign is great. It's bold and it's big and it's orange! Who could argue with that?

Plus, they kept the charmingly weird cheap sign offering a "Ham burger" which I would definitely miss if it were gone...

However, I think this new sign calls for a re-do. I don't even have a problem with the grammar, because I think incorrect signs can sometimes be cute (see "Ham burger" above). And I totally get their pride...Successfully running a business for over 30 years is definitely something to brag about.

I just think there must be a better way to phrase this:


Spaghetti Cat

The Pylon of Welcome

With his abnormally keen powers of observation, Guy naturally fixated on the one tiny flaw in the last photo I posted, the pylon in the front right corner of the photo, which he sarcastically called "the Pylon of Welcome."

But he "helpfully" "fixed" it.

(Side note: Ironic quotation marks really come in handy sometimes!)

I have to admit, though, the Pineapple of Welcome is darned cute.

Aloha Spirit

Of all the photos I took in Hawaii, this is one of my favorites.

I took this photo right outside our hotel, the Outrigger Reef On the Beach, in Waikiki.

Can't you just feel the aloha spirit?

Suddenly Obsessed with Lobsters

...because of this story I heard on NPR yesterday morning.

Portsmouth lobsterman Bill Marconi of New Hampshire pulled up one of his traps last week and thought he'd hauled up an old Miller Lite beer can - you know, the kind with a blue label.

It turned out not to be a beer can. It was a lobster, a blue lobster. Experts say the chance of catching a lobster with this rare genetic mutation is one in five million. Mr. Marconi says he has no plans to cook his catch. Instead, he may donate it to a marine science center. And he told a local newspaper, of course, he is planning to get a blue lobster tattoo.

It turns out that these rare blue lobsters aren't just blue, they are ELECTRIC BLUE.

But the NPR story is the least of it. Turns out, this story is even weirder than I originally thought, as I discovered by reading this awesome article at I highly recommend reading the whole article (link below) but here are the highlights:
  1. The elder Marconi has pulled tens of thousands of traps since he began lobstering in 1975, but until then, he had never caught a blue lobster."I was wicked surprised ... I thought it was a Miller Light can at first," he said with a laugh.
  2. Marconi said he has heard of blue lobsters and knows a friend who, ironically, caught one on the exact same day in August of 2003, which, he said, "is really weird."
  3. Marconi said two or three years ago he caught an all-white lobster, which he donated to the Seacoast Science Center.
  4. Lobsters — even the normal colored ones — have skin and shells made up of red, yellow and blue pigments that are absorbed into their bodies from the food they eat, which contain astaxanthin, an antioxidant with a red pigment derived from algae. Blue lobsters are different from regular colored ones in that they are better at processing astaxanthin, which results in their layers of coloring favoring a blue pigment as the substance bonds with proteins in a lobster's shell.
  5. Estimates show only one in five million lobsters are blue with an even more rare brilliant orange lobster coming in every one in 30 million.
  6. New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said the center has been seeing more and more reports of brilliant-colored lobsters in recent times. The occurrence is likely not a result of pollution or a chemical problem, but rather an indication that lobster populations are doing better, thus allowing more blue lobsters to mate with one another.
  7. Two blue lobsters having babies would produce, yes, a bunch of blue babies.
  8. To be sure, rare traits in lobsters don't just come as a result of their coloring, as some have unique sexual traits. Winsor Watson III, a lobster expert and professor at the University of New Hampshire, said a graduate student recently brought him a hermaphrodite lobster that is female on one side of its body and male on the other. He said the animal has a fatter abdomen for carrying eggs and a more skinny male abdomen on each side. Watson said it also has male and female sex organs. "It's split down the middle. It was a really strange lobster and I've never seen it before," Watson said.
  9. Experts say lobsters actually have the ability to change their gender as needed based on shortages of males or females in a given population.Watson said they called their lobster "Pat" — a reference to a Saturday Night Live comedy skit about a character whose gender was unknown to his or her friends.
  10. Bill and Will Marconi say they are just excited to have caught such a rare lobster."We are going to get blue lobster tattoos," Will said.

The Fellowship of the Chip

This little guy really liked the stale corn chips I brought in for him.

And here's the same sqwerl in the same place eating the same chip...but somehow the lighting and angle of this photo make him look epic. This is like the movie poster for the story of the sqwerl eating a chip, like it should be called Chip Warrior or Not Without My Chip or something like that:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Multitaskers Bad at Multitasking

Whoa!! That is surprising! That's almost as mysterious and unexplainable as when Hillary Clinton got slightly cranky 'cause that one guy in the audience asked her what her husband thought about something during her Q&A. What was that all about?

But this is even more shocking. You mean that that girl I saw that one time who was walking her dog and smoking and holding a cup of coffee and talking on the phone all at the same time didn't necessarily have her act together?

I say: further studies are needed!

Study: Multitaskers Bad at Multitasking
Stanford Study Shows that People Who Do More Are More Easily Distracted

(AP News) That is the surprising conclusion of researchers at Stanford University, who found multitaskers are more easily distracted and less able to ignore irrelevant information than people who do less multitasking. "The huge finding is, the more media people use the worse they are at using any media. We were totally shocked," Clifford Nass, a professor at Stanford's communications department, said in a telephone interview. ..

In a society that seems to encourage more and more multitasking, the findings have social implications, Nass observed. Multitasking is already blamed for car crashes as several states restrict the use of cell phones while driving. Lawyers or advertisers can try to use irrelevant information to distract and refocus people to influence their decisions.

In the study, the researchers first had to figure out who are the heavy and light multitaskers...Then they tested the abilities of students in the various groups. For example, ability to ignore irrelevant information was tested by showing them a group of red and blue rectangles, blanking them out, and then showing them again and asking if any of the red ones had moved. The test required ignoring the blue rectangles.

The researchers thought people who do a lot of multitasking would be better at it. "But they're not. They're worse. They're much worse," said Nass. The high media multitaskers couldn't ignore the blue rectangles. "They couldn't ignore stuff that doesn't matter. They love stuff that doesn't matter," he said.

Perhaps the multitaskers can take in the information and organize it better? Nope. "They are worse at that, too," Nass said. "So then we thought, OK, maybe they have bigger memories. They don't. They were equal" with the low multitaskers, he added...

"They couldn't help thinking about the task they weren't doing," lead author Eyal Ophir said. "The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can't keep things separate in their minds."

Obama's Secret Reading List

The big story on the Internets today is President Obama's summer vacation reading list.

I'm reproducing the list here mostly because I needed an excuse to post the same illustration that used for their story on it.

Look at him reading! So cute!

This is the list:

1. The Way Home by George Pelecanos, a crime thriller based in Washington, D.C.

2. Lush Life by Richard Price, a story of race and class set in New York's Lower East Side

3. Tom Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded, on the benefits to America of an environmental revolution

4. John Adams by David McCullough

5. Plainsong by Kent Haruf, a drama about the life of eight different characters living in a Colorado prairie community.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sounds like a snoozefest, doesn't it?

Now, I have it on good authority that these are the 5 books he is really reading (but this information has not been released for security reasons):

1. Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4) by Stephenie Meyer

2. Passport to Peril (Hard Case Crime) by Robert B. Parker

3. 30 Years of Laughs & Lasagna: The Life & Times of a Fat, Furry Legend! (Garfield) by Jim Davis

4. Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life by Dr. Phil McGraw

5. They Have a Word for It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases (The Writer's Studio) by Howard Rheingold

Now that's a reading list!

...But don't worry, Mr. President! Your secret's safe with me!

(Guy just reminded me of the additional book that he and the President are both reading. Of course, it's The Fall of Eagles: The Death Of The Great European Dynasties by C.L. Sulzberger. I can't believe I forgot that title, because I overhear them on the phone together all the time, talking about it. History nerds!)

Adorable Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty


Drawing by Guy

Monday, August 24, 2009

More to Love

In case you haven't heard, evil genius reality TV producer Mike Fleiss, apparently bored with tormenting insecure skinny girls, decided to switch gears this summer to instead exploit the insecurities of desperate fat girls for our viewing entertainment, in a reality show called More to Love. As always, thanks, Mike!

Just to get them out of the way, here is our protagonist Luke, the dull but mildly attractive former football player:

And here is Heather, notable mainly for the fact that she is obviously going to win, like, it's not even close:

Moving on to more interesting contestants, my personal favorite was Bonnie, the make-up artist from Portland. Unfortunately, Luke dumped her fairly early on. She was too cool for him, clearly!

Bonnie endeared herself to me right away by confidently declaring, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach...and his pants. But first, his stomach." Hee!

She also displayed some creativity and drawing ability when she presented Luke with a little cartoon portrait she sketched of him. He was not sufficiently impressed by this (again: not cool enough for her) and that was the end of Bonnie.

Good luck, Bonnie! You can do better!

And then we have Lauren. Another favorite of mine, but for different reasons, Lauren is awesome for being a hardened, trashy redneck with a giant ugly tattoo on her right boob.

While Lauren appeared to have little interest in Luke per se, she did seem very invested in the show in terms of sheer competitiveness and a love of fighting dirty (i.e. creating drama and badmouthing the other girls whenever possible). Lauren was always strangely eager to portray marriage as a completely joyless enterprise characterized mostly by "hard work" (which, come to think of it, sounds like a frighteningly accurate prediction in her case).

This culminated in Lauren completely winning me over last episode when she called Heather a freak because "she's tryin' to get Luke's heart with affection." Good for you, Lauren, for heroically exposing Heather's underhanded scheme! Keep it real!

Sadly for us, the viewers, Luke "had to let Lauren go" the last episode (read: the producers eventually took pity on him and allowed him to shitcan her, after clearly forcing him to keep her on the show against his will for several weeks due to her entertainment value and ability to create drama).

Don't worry, Lauren! I'm certain that you will someday soon find yourself in a marriage filled with all the hard work, drudgery, and lack of affection which you so ardently crave!

Last but not least, we have Danielle. Sadly, also already out of the competition. The best thing about Danielle wasn't her terrible personality and the fact that she never stopped talking...

No, the best thing about Danielle was that she Ting Tong.

Beach Bar

This is a photo I took in O'ahu. The water looks so inviting, I wish I could walk right into this photo and swim out to sea!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Deebo Birdwatching

Here's Deebo engaging in one of his favorite pastimes, watching crows.

Pigeon Eating Corn On the Cob

This pigeon was enjoying his corn al fresco on Summit Avenue today.

Let him be an example to all you birds... Eat your vegetables, little buddies!

Sqwerl Blogging

Check it and see!

This is a sqwerl I fed on my way into work yesterday. I gave him pieces of leftover hamburger buns. He grabbed a piece and then ran partway up a tree to eat it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Actual Beehive

A beehive is an enclosed structure in which some honey bee species of the genus live and raise their young.

Natural beehives (typically referred to simply as "nests") are naturally-occurring structures occupied by honey bee colonies, while domesticated honey bees live in man-made beehives, often in an apiary. These man-made structures are typically referred to as "beehives".

Only species of the subgenus Apis live in hives, but only the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) and the eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) are domesticated by humans.

The beehive's internal structure is a
densely packed matrix of hexagonal cells made of beeswax, called a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to store food (honey and pollen), and to house the "brood" (eggs, larvae, and pupae).

Beehive symbolism

The beehive is an important symbol in Freemasonry, holding a prominent place in the lecture of the Master Mason degree, and is a symbol of industry and co-operation.

The beehive (usually as an iconified skep) is one of the symbols of the United States state of Utah. It is associated with the honey bee, an early symbol of Mormon pioneer industry and resourcefulness. (See Deseret.) Some early Mormon leaders were also Masons, such as Joseph Smith. The beehive, along with several other masonic symbolisms, is still a part of Mormon heritage and culture.

The beehive also is considered a symbol of industry in heraldry.

In Wellington, New Zealand, the round building used for Parliamentary offices is known as the "Beehive". The official website of the New Zealand Government is

Beehive Brand matches made by Bryant and May popular in New Zealand have a logo based on the traditional skep beehive design.


Modified Beehive

Keep it up, Amy!

From :

Singer stuns onlookers with quiet night out!
Friday, August 21, 2009

Infamous hellraiser Amy Winehouse has sensationally ... enjoyed a quiet meal, looking healthy and well-turned-out.

Just a day after being snapped looking shabby and sickly, amid suggestions of a return to drug use, the singer looked the picture of sobriety last night.

She enjoyed a meal at a branch of Italian restaurant Prezzo in Cockfosters, close to her home in the North London suburb of Barnet.

After giving one of her fellow diners a hearty hug, she left for home at the surprisingly-early time of 10.30pm.

Amy, 25, only recently returned from an eight-month stay on the Caribbean island of St Lucia.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Purple Beehive

Recently in Copenhagen on her world tour, Gaga wore this giant purple beehive and nude leotard.

Aaaand...that's about all there is to say about that!

"It Is Very Nice" To Have a Man-Eating Plant Named After Me, Says Sir David Attenborough

This story is oddly charming.

From The Guardian:

Sir David Attenborough is increasingly the go-to man for scientists overcome by the creative challenge of naming a new discovery. The naturalist has given his name to a prehistoric lizard, a parasitic wasp, an echidna (or spiny anteater), a fossilised fish and, now, a rat-eating plant.

It seems a dubious honour when your name is attached to a giant pitcher plant capable of trapping rodents in enormous folds. Sir David, however, is delighted that the carnivorous species was given the scientific title Nepenthes attenboroughii by a team of botanists led by Stewart McPherson, who discovered it during a plant-hunting expedition to Mount Victoria in the Philippines.

"I like these oddball plants and this is a very dramatic one. It can hold up to two litres of water in its jugs," says Sir David. "It is a very nice, complimentary thing for this young, intrepid explorer to do and I am very touched that Stewart McPherson should have done it in my name."

Every year, more than 15,000 new species of animal alone are recognised by scientists. In the old days, they would often pay tribute to a learned colleague but by the mid-19th century many species were named after wealthy patrons who funded scientific endeavour.

While modern scientists are admirably blind to the commercial potential of a new species of coffee plant called Starkbuckii or a prehistoric cow named McDonaldae, many have a weakness for honouring random celebrities. Hence we have a sea snail called Bufonaria borisbeckeri, a ground beetle named Agra katewinsletae and several dinosaurs named after Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg. Scientists have also immortalised their dodgy music taste (a dinosaur called Masiakasaurus knopfleri, after Dire Straits singer Mark Knopfler) and geeky passion for Star Wars (a wasp named Polemistus chewbacca and a beetle called Agathidium vaderi).

This year, a species of lichen was named Caloplaca obamae in honour of Barack Obama's support of science. The names given to three species of slime-mold beetle (Agathidium bushi after George Bush, Agathidium cheneyi after Dick Cheney and Agathidium rumsfeldi after Donald Rumsfeld) might not carry the same intent.

It is acceptable to name a species after a public figure but not after yourself, according to Steve Tracey of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Scientists naming discoveries after family members is also "a little bit naughty", says Tracey, particularly as the discoverer's name is anyway placed next to the species name so authorship is not forgotten.

His personal favourites are humorous: the mollusc of the genus Abra that was given the species name cadabra, while the naturalist Sir Peter Scott caused a stir by giving the Loch Ness Monster the scientific name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx. Supposed to mean "the wonder of Ness with the diamond-shaped fin", it was later revealed as an anagram of "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".

Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, Tuesday 18 August 2009