Get the book on taxonomy fail

5 11 2009

But we're all mammals aren't we ... wait ... what ... that's not right

But we’re all mammals aren’t we … wait … what … that’s not right

Credit: 365:14 – Taxonomy Fail by sidesmirk, on Flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution, Share Alike)





It’s Alive in Brisbane: Junior Dragon

22 09 2009

Even the animals in Brisbane are friendlier than Sydney ones.

The waterdragons in the Mount Coot-tha gardens are not intimidated by some human company. Three waterdragons swam across the Japanese ponds to let some friends and I get a closer look, including this little juvenile:

Juve Waterdragon 002

Juve Waterdragon 004

Very sure these are Eastern Waterdragons – same as this one I saw in Lane Cove earlier in the year (I’ll also sheepishly admit that I may have thought the adults were frilled neck lizards when I first saw them – but quickly realised they weren’t).





Tokyo responds to North Korea

20 07 2009

In the only way they know how:

A giant robot that will inevitably go berserk and kill us all.

More pics at http://punynari.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/assembled-rx78-gundam-part-2/

*Punynari*

[AppuruPai] more pics at Flickr

*AppuruPai*

More pics at Moé Passion and Flickr.

Forget the Ugg-Crocs. This is truly awesome.

I think I just peed a little.

This monster is somewhere in the Odaiba area on Tokyo’s Bay, which was already a pretty awesome area. Sadly, the life-size Gundam is not in position to duel the miniature Statue of Liberty that also lives there.





Behold the UggCroc

16 07 2009

Pic: UggCroc at the Valley Markets (yes, it’s what you think), originally uploaded by David Jackmanson. (Creative Commons by Attribution)

Pure Awesome.





Taxonomy bugs (I mean fail)

12 07 2009

When I was trawling through the internet for some taxonomy fails to feature I came across some in the flickr stream of bug girl (from bug girl’s blog) – specifically these cases where an incorrect insect was used to illustrate an article on the insectoid origins of carmine, a common dye  that can be used in foods (the article made mistakes beyond just the wrong picture – read at bug girl).

At the time I decided not to run them on the blog. I mean identifying insects is tough work. They are  the most diverse group of animals on the planet. I got a migraine trying to wrap my head around the 50-70 marsupials of Dasyuridae which fit into the category “oversexed hoppy rat-like thing which may or may not have a pouch” – differentiating 1,000s of species, when your samples are usually smaller than your fingers – that’s hardcore. So, in my ignorance I was willing to forgive a news editor who uses a relatively unknown insect to represent another relatively unknown insect*.

Scientific American is slightly less easier to forgive when they use the same beetle with the incorrect story. It then gets a little bit crazier as editors decide to use their own stock imagery – any old insect will do, even a freaking ladybug.

This is not a once off. Bug girl highlights another capture of “bugs are bugs” in which stinkbugs are used to represent bed bugs (though, while they may only drink plant sap, I still would not want the former in my hotel room).

Or there is this epic taxonomy fail Alex Wild at myrmecos blog spotted on iStock Photo – either that or someone mutated a Drosophila a bit too much.

Oh dear…

And to leave you with a picture to round things off:

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

*Before entomologists send me hate mail – after my scale insect mimic identification, I now kow how different a carmine scale insect differs from the beetle pictured, so I can understand your frustation better. But hey, whatever, they’re still just bugs. Hate mail can be directed to zayzayem [at] hotmail [dot] com.





Moving in pictures

12 07 2009
From this:
North Sydney view of Harbour

Sydney

To this:

The Derelict

Brisbane

Read the rest of this entry »





Rx-ky business

16 06 2009

Well, AFM called me up on the Insight post for painting my town¹ a little too apologetic for our phriends in Pharma (possibly due to some comments I made on this post of his, and these over at The Scientist, and also just today on Flickr…) .

So I guess I should make some self-apologetics, that my point has *not* been that Pharma is cute and cuddly and can always be trusted – c’mon they are industry – the wonderful Merck saga unfolds beyond just deceptive journals – this sort of awful ‘hit list’ language to “neutralise” and worse, “discredit”, critical doctors makes me cringe (and if you’re sick of hearing about Vioxx, you can get upset at Lilly’s innapropriate off-label Zyprexa marketing instead). There is nothing I can concoct to attempt to downplay the totally unethical nature of that sort of behaviour, to me it is indefensible. There are bad elements out there. Even if we rule the Vioxx shenanigans as an exceptional exception (which is the closest I can get to a defence) just take a look at the US statistics on Pharma fines and settlements made by over the last 9 years (and that just to the government, does not include private parties, class actions etc.)

Pharmaceutical companies are corporations. And yes, they are motivated by making money. And AFM is right, some guy in marketing will try to put that goal ahead of making quality medicines. But let’s remember that’s also what these companies are about making medicines. Medicines that help people. People do not get into this industry because they want to hurt people.

And that is where I start to get annoyed by anti-Pharma movements.

Read the rest of this entry »








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