Gizmodo Likes Spider Silk

September 29, 2010

Tags: excerpts

We're very excited that Gizmodo has chosen to post an excerpt from our chapter "Triumph over Thin Air." Check it out here.

Operation Spider

September 20, 2010

Tags: Citizen Science

Here's a very nice ad for Operation Spider, a Citizen Science Project sponsored by the University of South Australia.




Giant Webs

September 17, 2010

Tags: Kuntner, Agnarsson, Madagascar, Caerostris, Blackledge, evolution, CPALI

Between reality TV and the 24-hour news cycle, it's hard to be surprised anymore by anything much humans do. Spiders, on the other hand, get up to all sorts of things that I doubt most of us would believe without documentary evidence. A case in point: In the newest issue of the always-interesting Journal of Arachnology (published by the American Arachnological Society), arachnologists Matjaz Kuntner and Ingi Agnarsson provide the first description of a remarkable species of spider from Madagascar. Even if you're not up to reading a whole paper like this, make sure to take a look at the extraordinary photographs included.

Kuntner and Agnarsson's newly described spider belongs to the little-studied genus Caerostris, commonly known as bark spiders because they often look like lumpy pieces of tree bark. They've named it C. darwini, or Darwin's bark spider, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. (more…)

Norwegian Webs

September 4, 2010

Tags: Norway, Linyphiidae, Agelenidae, Dictynidae

My family and I spent August visiting family in Liverpool (yes, that is where the Beatles came from) and then vacationing in Norway. Once you've discovered spider silk, your vacation snapshots are never quite the same. Norway is a wide-angle country. It's the rare photographer who can capture how high and deep the fjords feel, how scraped and lichen-splattered the mountain plateaus look, how the sky hangs at many levels at once. Anyone willing to sit through the post-trip slideshow quickly tires of hearing, "It was much steeper than that looks," and, "That's only a small slice of the view from there."

But Norway also exists on a different scale, and if my eyes hadn't been drawn to nooks and edges because I now detect spider silk everywhere, close-focus Norway might have escaped my notice. And so, a small selection of our travel pics (taken by Spider Silk's crack illustrator, Peter Loftus).



Bergen's funicular, the Floibanen, hauls tourists from the city center to the top of Mount Floyen. The fantastic views of the city and suburbs from on high are the main draw. But a short hike on the trails leading away from the viewing plaza revealed how easy it is for residents of Bergen to take a break from the city. (more…)




Tags

"...a compelling introduction to evolution in action through the lens of spiders and their silks."

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