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Fun Projects

Heading out this week to Toolik, Alaska. I’ll be there fly fishing for the Fishscape project helping them assess the health of Arctic Grayling Trout. When I’m not reeling in fish for science I’ll be sketching and shooting lots of photos! The landscape looks very inspiring from everything I have researched, I can’t wait to get there. I am planning to keep a sketch journal of landscape, insects, wildlife, flora and fish. Will update when I return.

 

 

Rain Barrels such as the one pictured can be found @ EcoWise

 

The Specimen

 

So I was out watering the garden today when I heard a loud rustling in the grass. To my surprise a wasp was going to town on a large white moth with black spots. I rushed in for my camera and tripod and captured the 5+ minute battle (massacre) on tape, here it is condensed for your study! I am trying to find out if the wasp was merely after a late Tuesday breakfast or if it was trying to find a home for its little wasplets. I identified the moth as a Leopard Moth, male due to its yellow banding, and the wasp I believe is just a common wasp, which I think are not parasitic. I posted it to “Ask a Biologist” to see if they can give me the ringside details. In certain moments it looks like the wasp is stinging the moth, in another about half way through the video the wasp goes to the moths underside and begins to chew it in half. In any case, I kept the moth, post mortem and post wasp snacking, for study to see if anything occurs. I am certainly glad that wasps are not big enough to eye me up for lunch.

-Photo credit: Michelle Bright

 

Last week, Michelle and I went to a beach below the Town Lake Dam on the Colorado River. She was photographing the refraction of light in water in relation to depth for a project about hot springs.

So I set about looking for neat objects and stumbled on a lime stone fossil of what I believe is an Ammonite from some 251 – 65 million years ago! Based on its shape I thought it was a ancestor of the Nautilus, turns out its not. Its one of the earliest cephalopods in the phylum Mollusca,who’s lineage is now extinct. Needless to say, I spent the next hour or so scouring for more fossils. Alas, I was only to find patches of crumbling limestone with the occasional partial shell of some tasty clam of the past. Nothing to warrant exhuming from its rocky confines.

Below are a few pictures of the fossil after I found it and after I cleaned it out only to discover more rounded sawtooth ridges which helped me identify its likely time of existence.

The ridges are called sutures. Read the description below and pick which one you think it is, if enough people agree than we probably picked the right one!

Three major types of suture patterns in Ammonoidea have been noted.

Suture patterns:

  • Goniatitic – numerous undivided lobes and saddles; typically 8 lobes around the conch. This pattern is characteristic of the Paleozoic ammonoids.
  • Ceratitic – lobes have subdivided tips, giving them a saw-toothed appearance, and rounded undivided saddles. This suture pattern is characteristic of Triassic ammonoids and appears again in the Cretaceous “pseudoceratites.”
  • Ammonitic – lobes and saddles are much subdivided (fluted); subdivisions are usually rounded instead of saw-toothed. Ammonoids of this type are the most important species from a biostratigraphical point of view. This suture type is characteristic of Jurassic and Cretaceous ammonoids but extends back all the way to the Permian.

Post your guesses!!

 

My latest projects:

  • A handmade canoe paddle to enjoy all the beautiful waterways of Texas Hill Country. Made of epoxy laminated Ash and Spanish Cedar, the finished product will be glassed for strength and to bring out the natural character in the wood.

  • A new painting which draws from Turner and Albert Pinkham Ryder. I am continuing to expand on my narratives about exploration and the sea while pushing ideas about interdisciplinary mediums. This paper on panel piece will have many different layers from a grisaille underpainting, oil painting surface, encaustic, printmaking techniques and many glazes both encaustic and old master.

Keep an eye on later posts to see how they progress!

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We just won the People’s Choice Award at the Kensington Sculpture Derby with this Amish/Harry Potter inspired beast carriage! The bike has functionality for four riders and one puppeteer. It can carry 7 or so folks when utilizing the “trunk”. The piece is made from over 7 re-cycled bicycle frames, 4 of which were used to create two side by side tandem bicycles with linked steering. The puppeteer, seated in the center controls the legs and wings of the horse by pedaling from their seat and pulling wires just like a marionettes.  We have recently shown it at Moore College of Art and Design Philadelphia. To see a video of the kinetic sculpture in action click on this link. The project was a collaboration between artists Colleen Rudolf, Humankind Design and myself.

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A different take on the sidecar bicycle. The bike (A) moves independent of the sidecar (B) via a rear shock that mounts the sidecar to the bike frame via another bike’s pivoting headset. The other bikes (B) headtube floats near the chainstay of the main bike (A). The fork from the headtube (B) has been bent and welded to the chainstay and seat stay of bike (A). Main triangle of the sidecar bike (B) is left on the headtube and then a rear triangle makes up the outer portion holding the wheel. Bike (A)’s Fork broke so now it has a beefier chopped version. Bike was carrying about 300 lbs. just before it broke!!! Will update pics later.

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