Rafinesque’s “absurd” botanical legacy, Gray wrote, amounted to little more than a “curious mass of nonsense.” Gray’s note wouldn’t be the last unkind obituary in the annals of taxonomy, nor would it be the worst. That’s because the rules dictating how taxonomists name and classify living things bind these scientists in a web of influence stretching far back into the 18th century. When an agent of chaos like Rafinesque enters the scene, that web can get sticky fast. In a field haunted by ghosts, someone has to reckon with the dead.
A handy single-page explanation of horse-drawn carriage varieties, with pithy descriptions and occasional photographs of the barouche, the brougham, the cabriolet, the calash, the char-a-banc, the char-de-cote, the curricle, the dog-cart, the gig, the governess cart, the jaunting car, the landau, the Ralli car, the sociable, the sulky, the waggonette, and others. [more inside]
You named me... WHAT? Nine baby-naming rules.
Why are pharmaceutical names so goofy?
"In the records of the more or less illustrious dead, there are many who are remembered for only one thing - but there can be few whose sole claim to posthumous fame is the extravagantly bizarre naming of their children..."
Pitohui - Lesson and Garnot, 1827 (poisonous New Guinea bird) The name comes from a response to tasting it
You may not recognize the difference between Sophophora melanogaster and the common fruit fly. That's because there isn't. The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature is proposing a name change from Drosophila melanogaster on scientific grounds, but it's ruffling the antennae of some scientists.
Got Playdar? Have you been seagulled lately? Find some great new words to insert into your work, family and friendly conversation. Have you seen that new bitcom?
Onancock Some towns just have bad names.
When Luzon was SALUBRIOUS. Names in the military are interesting things. How we got from Operation Blue Spoon to Operation Just Cause (many others or make your own!). Ship names are another matter, whether the Royal Navy, the US Navy, Japan, or the Federation.
Natural phenomena named after Frank Zappa "This series of articles describes a variety of Natural Phenomena - marine, terrestrial and extra-terrestrial - which have been named in honour of Frank Zappa, the smallest being a gene belonging to a bacterium, the largest being an entire planet."
Arsole? Putrescine? Dickite? Moronic Acid? This list of Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names (one NSFW image) proves that scientists can be funny, as does this Stuffy Scientists page, and Mark Isaak's terribly thorough Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature (see, especially, Puns). If you are tempted to wonder what the Father of Taxonomy might have thought of the irreverence of those last two collections, keep in mind that Linnaeus himself named this plant "Clitoria Mariana" in honor of an 'acquaintance', according to this page.
Meanwhile, Back in Communist Russia... BBC Radio1 clowns/idiots Mark and Lard have an ongoing quest to find the worst band name ever. Personally I think some of the bands in the poll have the best names. What makes a crap band name? Something unimaginative like The Michael Schenker Group? Something crass like Speculum Fight or Alien Porno Midgets? What, for that matter, makes a good name? Do tell.
I don't remember chemistry being this interesting.
"e-mail" vs. "email" - Wired declares style guidelines (again) - so in today's Wired News (lycos.wired.com, not wired magazine), there's a long explanatory article about a change in Wired News' style standards. A) do declarations from Wired News matter much anymore? B) is "e-mail" really 'more proper' than "email". To me, the hyphen looks amateurish and silly, but I'm too close to this to be objective.